Manchester United’s defeat at Arsenal hasn’t exactly handed the Premiership title initiative to chasing Chelsea, but it has left the door slightly ajar for Carlo Ancelotti’s men ahead of the trip to Old Trafford.
While the championship won’t be won and lost this weekend, the showdown has to be considered a decider and as United are in the driving seat, the Blues probably need to become the first team this term to beat them on their own patch. However, Chelsea are 9/4 outsiders for the points, while a home win is 7/5 (Coral) and Betfred mark 23/10 against the draw.
That result would suit the hosts, whose strength at home makes defeat unlikely but with 16 wins in 17 matches at Old Trafford, Sir Alex Ferguson’s charges nevertheless tempt at 4/6 in bet365’s ‘Draw No Bet’ market.
Elsewhere, Wayne Rooney has broken the deadlock against the Blues twice this term and seemingly able to rise to the big occasion, he’s decent value at 5/1 with William Hill to repeat the feat or at the same price, courtesy of Paddy Power to be named Man of the Match. Nevertheless, it should be a low-scoring affair featuring fewer than 2.5 goals (4/5, Stan James).
At the bottom, Wolves look to boost their survival hopes with a victory against a West Brom side safely ensconced in mid-table. With more of an incentive, Mick McCarthy’s troops are considered favourites at 2.25 (5/4) courtesy of Betdaq, while Ladbrokes rate the Baggies at 23/10 to take advantage of any nerves in the Wanderers camp by collecting all three points at Molineux.
As it’s a derby clash, some punters might favour Stan James’ 5/2 for the spoils to be shared or even a 1-1 scoreline at 11/2 (Sportingbet) but on home soil, where they have taken some impressive scalps this season, Wolves could have the edge.
Crucial could be West Brom’s leaky defence, which also lends appeal to a total of three or more goals (4/5, Partybets) and Totesport’s 8/11 for both teams to get on the scoresheet. In turn, those fancying a correct score flutter could do worse than give consideration to Betfred’s 8/1 marked against a 2-1 home win and in what should be a tight affair, McCarthy’s side are 11/4 (Partybets) to shade it by a one-goal margin.
Shouldering the attacking burden meanwhile, in the absence of Kevin Doyle, Steven Fletcher catches the eye at 13/8 with bet365 to find the net at some stage.
Despite beating United, Arsenal aren’t really a realistic title contender at this stage and the Gunners, who are odds-on at 8/11 with Betfred, might find the going tough at the Britannia Stadium, where hosts Stoke are a generous 5/4 with Stan James to avoid defeat.