It’s been a difficult start to 2012 for Manchester City, who have been eliminated from both the FA Cup and the Carling Cup in January but any talk of a crisis at the club is somewhat premature given that they still possess a three-point lead at the top of the Premier League.
Roberto Mancini’s men should pick up another three league points as they head to an Everton side desperately short of goals. The Toffees haven’t scored more than once in a top flight match since November and their cause in attack isn’t made much easier by the fact that City will welcome back Vincent Kompany in defence ahead of the tentative-looking Stefan Savic.
The visitors are worthy favourites then at 20/23 with Boylesports but as that price doesn’t give much away in what is still likely to be a tricky assignment, Mancini’s charges are arguably a better bet at 11/4 (bet365) to shade it by one at Goodison Park.
At Old Trafford, Manchester United should ensure they remain just three points adrift of their neighbours by getting the better of Stoke. Blue Square make Sir Alex Ferguson’s men 3/10 to bounce back from Saturday’s FA Cup reverse at Liverpool and as the Potters have the second worst scoring record on the road, behind Fulham, a United triumph ‘to nil’ at even money courtesy of Ladbrokes, isn’t out of the question.
Like United, Tottenham should enjoy a relatively straightforward evening as they welcome Wigan to White Hart Lane. William Hill chalk 1/4 against a Spurs success and it’s 10/11 (Skybet) for them to combine victory with a clean sheet.
Liverpool meanwhile, head to Wolves on the back of a great week in which they qualified for the Carling Cup final and knocked Manchester United out of the FA Cup. This clash however could be something of an anti-climax for the Reds and it might be worth backing Mick McCarthy’s strugglers ‘Draw No Bet’ at 5/2 with Stan James.
Similarly, Swansea stand out in the same market, at an identical price, this time via Betfred, as they host Chelsea. Brendan Rodgers’ charges are solid at home, where they have the joint best defensive record in the division and the Blues are far from convincing at present.
Man City to beat Everton by one – 11/4 (bet365)
Man Utd to beat Stoke ‘to nil’ – evens (Ladbrokes)
Wolves to beat Liverpool ‘Draw No Bet’ – 5/2 (Stan James)
Swansea to beat Chelsea ‘Draw No Bet’ – 5/2 (Betfred)