It’s an oft-trotted-out cliché that you’re only as good your last game and ominously for Bolton, Manchester United’s last game saw them ruthlessly destroy Arsenal 8-2. Fortunately from a Trotters perspective, the champions are an unrealistic-looking 200/1 with Stan James to prevail by an identical scoreline at the Reebok Stadium but they are nevertheless emphatic favourites for the points at 4/9 with Ladbrokes.
Wanderers, Sportingbet’s 7/1 outsiders, are tasked with containing a rampant United attack that has scored eleven times in three matches and even though the Trotters managed to retain the service of key defender Gary Cahill beyond the closure of the transfer window, Owen Coyle’s troops have a big defensive job on their hands.
It’s hard then, to oppose Sir Alex Ferguson’s in-form side, who are 10/1 with Boylesports to card a 3-1 away win, 6/4 (bet365) to get on the scoresheet on three or more occasions and 11/10 via Paddy Power to come out on top by at least two clear goals.
Given his tally of five goals in United’s opening three games, it’s perhaps not surprising to see Wayne Rooney installed as the 4/1 favourite by Skybet to break the deadlock. The England striker is also 21/20 () to fire his sixth of the season at any stage and Partybets offer odds of 3/4 for both teams to find the net.
Chelsea have yet to really convince, despite taking seven points from nine but as Sunderland’s start has been less than impressive, the Blues have to be fancied at 8/11 via Skybet to leave the Stadium of Light with maximum points. Bet365 post 11/4 against Andre Villas-Boas’ charges shading it by a one-goal margin, which could mean a 1-0 away success (6/1, Totesport) as there’s every chance the Wearside clash will produce fewer than 2.5 goals, an outcome Betdaq quote at 1.85 (17/20).
Second-placed Manchester City face what, on paper, looks like a straightforward home fixture against Wigan and Paddy Power expect Roberto Mancini’s men to run out comfortable winners, pricing them at 1/5. The same firm chalk 8/13 against City holding a lead at the end of each half but the value bet at Eastlands is arguably bet365’s 7/2 for Edin Dzeko to open the scoring.
Liverpool, in third, meanwhile, might have to settle for a point (9/4, Betfred) at resilient Stoke and a draw could also be on the cards at Molineux, where in-form Wolves and Spurs are 23/10 with to share the spoils.
Beleaguered Arsenal are priced by Boylesports at 4/11 to bounce back from their 8-2 Old Trafford disaster by beating Swansea, Stan James offering even money for the new-look Gunners to triumph by two or more at the Emirates Stadium while Betfred rate Fulham at 4/6 to see off Blackburn and Totesport chalk Everton up at 11/10 to make light of Mikel Arteta’s departure by defeating Aston Villa.
Finally, Sunday’s clash between Norwich and West Brom at Carrow Road is a 9/5 chance via Ladbrokes to result in an away win and Betdaq mark odds of 2.5 (6/4) against Joey Barton enjoying a victory over former club Newcastle, as he makes his QPR debut.
Wayne Rooney to score first – 4/1 (Skybet)
Treble on Man Utd, Man City and Arsenal – 12/5 (Blue Sq)
Chelsea to beat Sunderland by one – 11/4 (bet365)
Stoke and Liverpool to draw – 9/4 (Betfred)