Everyone expected champions Manchester United to be a formidable opponent this season but few could have expected them to make such an incredible start; Sir Alex Ferguson’s men having won all five matches, averaging more than four goals per game in the process.
Sunday’s 3-1 success against Chelsea took them two points clear at the top of the Premiership and saw them go odds-on for the first time at 4/5 via Ladbrokes to defend their title but the Red Devils face a slightly different challenge this weekend as they tackle rugged Stoke.
Tony Pulis’ charges are bet365’s 6/1 outsiders ahead of the Britannia Stadium clash but they will aim to put United under pressure, prevent them playing free-flowing football and force Sportingbet’s 1/2 favourites out of their comfort zone.
The Potters’ slightly more physical approach can reap some rewards too but only to the extent that they can stay in touch with the visitors, who are 11/4 with Stan James to shade it by a one-goal margin and 8.0 (7/1) courtesy of Betdaq to finish on the right side of a 2-1 scoreline.
Wayne Rooney’s tally of nine goals in five games means he will inevitably be well backed at 7/2 (Skybet) to break the deadlock but Nani’s performance stood out in that Chelsea win and Betfred’s chunkier 7/1 chalked against the Portuguese winger notching first is a more alluring alternative.
Everton have been something of a bogey team for Manchester City in recent seasons but Roberto Mancini’s charges look a different proposition this term and can end their poor run against the Toffees, a result Boylesports rate at 4/9. Nevertheless, this also looks set to be a tight affair and Paddy Power mark 5/2 against a City victory by one in a fixture that is 9/10 at Partybets to see both teams find the net.
At the Emirates, two teams that have made terrible starts to the campaign, Arsenal and Bolton, seek improvement but it’s the Gunners, at 4/9 (Ladbrokes) that should kick-start their season while home wins are also on the cards for Chelsea (1/5, bet365) and Liverpool (2/5, Boylesports) as they entertain Swansea and Wolves respectively. That trio combine in a treble at tasty 7/5 with Paddy Power while adding Manchester United and Manchester City takes the odds to over 4/1 at Ladbrokes.
At the DW Stadium, make Tottenham even money to build on Sunday’s 4-0 thrashing of Liverpool by collecting a maximum haul at Wigan’s expense and Totesport offer 4/5 for a solid-looking Newcastle side to come out on top at St James’ Park, where Blackburn are this week’s visitors.
In Sunday’s televised match, Neil Warnock’s buoyant QPR have what it takes to inflict a first defeat of the season on Aston Villa and Rangers look slightly overpriced at 11/8 with Ladbrokes. Stan James meanwhile, quote struggling West Brom at 23/10 to earn a point against boss Roy Hodgson’s former club Fulham at the Hawthorns and it’s also 23/10, this time thanks to , for the spoils to be shared at Carrow Road, where Norwich take on Sunderland.