Live on ESPN: Sat 17.30: Andy Carroll is 6/1 (bet365) to net the last in a draw at Norwich while Monday sees a huge derby at the Etihad.
Like the title race, the battle for the top four is hotting up and Arsenal, at 10/11 (Coral) can boost their chances of playing Champions League football next season by beating stuttering Stoke. Off-colour Tottenham, at 2/5 via Ladbrokes, can do their bid the power of good by getting back to winning ways at the expense of struggling Blackburn but that might not be enough to see Spurs force their way into fourth spot as Newcastle could pick up a point at battling Wigan, a result Blue Square rate at 5/2. Bet365 meanwhile, offer 1/3 for Chelsea to keep their top four hopes alive by seeing off local rivals QPR.
In Saturday’s TV game, cup specialists Liverpool have only won three times in the league in 2012, a sequence that spans 15 matches, which makes Boylesports’ even money about The Reds to beat Norwich at Carrow Road a little short.
With their only wins on the road in 2012 coming at struggling Wolves and Blackburn, Liverpool are at best worth a draw at 13/5 (BetVictor). Norwich’s season has tailed off a little and they have a reasonable home record which only man City have embarassed. The Canaries are a bit tough to side with at 3/1 (Totesport) so a draw looks the best bet. Ladbrokes post 13/2 on a 1-1 result while Andy Carroll, with two late goals to his name in recent weeks, is 6/1 with bet365 to net the last goal.
Everton and Sunderland are both 10/11, with Stan James and William Hill respectively, as they entertain Fulham and Bolton, Coral quote West Brom at 6/5 to send Aston Villa home empty-handed and finally, Blue Square chalk Swansea up at 8/13 to heap more misery on relegated Wolves.
After 82 minutes at Old Trafford on Sunday, Manchester United had seemingly tightened their grip on a 20th league title having racked up what looked like an unassailable 4-2 advantage over Everton.
However, just as it looked like they would stretch their lead at the Premier League summit to a probably insurmountable eight points, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side switched off, the Toffees capitalised impressively to nick a point and second-placed Manchester City overcame Wolves shortly afterwards to put the tussle at the top right back in the balance.
Monday’s mouth-watering Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium can subsequently almost be called a decider although United’s three-point lead over City in the table means the Red Devils remain odds-on, at 1/2 with Stan James, to clinch top spot while bet365 make Roberto Mancini’s men 7/4 to wrest the crown from their rivals.
For the latter to be a realistic outcome, the hosts need to defeat Ferguson’s champions, a result that would see them move into the lead on goal difference and Paddy Power make them 5/4 to do just that. United meanwhile, are 5/2 via BetVictor to effectively seal the title with a victory and at 13/5, this time courtesy of Boylesports, is the stalemate, a better result for the visitors than City.
Mancini’s troops have won 16 of their 17 home fixtures, drawing the other, so a defeat for them seems unlikely but the leaders have a knack of grinding out results when it matters and they can snatch a crucial point here, in a match Coral price at 13/2 to finish one-each.
Always a man for the big occasion, Wayne Rooney has struck four times in his last five competitive appearances against City and he’ll attract first scorer cash at 13/2 via William Hill. At the other end meanwhile, Sergio Aguero is an 11/2 chance at Skybet to bag the opener having found the net on both of the occasions he has faced United but the script could be written for Paddy Power’s 6/1 shot Carlos Tevez, who is back in favour and back amongst the goals.