English Premier League champion Manchester United’s chance of retaining its crown will be close to zero per cent if the Red Devils lose to Arsenal at Old Trafford, a result that is attractively priced at odds of 3.25 with BetVictor.
The market on the English Premier League blockbuster at Old Trafford implies that Manchester United and Arsenal are of equal standing this season. Does anyone, perhaps apart from David Moyes and the man who recommended him for the job, Alex Ferguson, really believe that to be the case? Arsenal has gone up a level with the addition of Mesut Ozil to its midfield, whereas Manchester United has gone down a fair few notches under Moyes. And, in truth, Manchester United won the championship last season by default, so poor were the title challenges of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City.
Manchester United is unbeaten in its last eight games across all competitions but the Red Devils have been assisted by a soft schedule since losing 1-2 at home to West Bromwich. Credit where credit is due, Manchester United did well to get away from Shakhtar Donetsk with a 1-1 draw and the Red Devils missed a penalty in their 0-0 draw at Sociedad. But Manchester United’s recent record is inflated by its wins over Fulham, Stoke, Norwich and Sunderland, none of which is English Premier League royalty. In fact, going into the latest round of matches, the four aforementioned teams are 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th on the top-flight ladder. Easy kills are good for confidence but Manchester United’s raw form figures are misleading in the extreme. The bottom line is that Manchester United is looking increasingly like a spent force under Moyes, who is out of his depth, and one’s pre-season view that the Red Devils may finish outside the top four is getting stronger with every passing week.
Playing Arsenal at Old Trafford entitles Manchester United to favouritism but one nowhere near as pronounced as the one that bookmakers are giving them. Arsenal has every right to be trading at odds around the 2.75 mark so 3.25 is gross overs. Arsenal is the only English Premier League side to have scored in every one of its top-flight games this term and the Gunners have conceded only 18 goals in their last 24 away days. Arsenal is the clear value play in the big match.
Tottenham is the English Premier League’s new king of under two and a half goals and, therefore, it was a surprise to see odds-against quotes about Spurs and Newcastle combining for fewer than three goals at White Hart Lane. All bar one of Tottenham’s 10 top-flight games this season have gone under two and a half goals, with the exception to the rule being its inexplicable 0-3 home loss to West Ham last month.
Maybe bookmakers are reading more into Newcastle’s numbers than those of Tottenham – the Magpies have featured in four high-scoring matches away from their St James’s Park base – and that is why odds of 2.10 are available with Sky Bet about a low-scoring affair between the teams. One thinks that the Tottenham trend is stronger than the Newcastle one so the value play is betting under.
On the European mainland, Italian Serie A sides Fiorentina and Roma look home bankers versus Sassuolo and Sampdoria respectively. Fiorentina is trading at odds of 1.44 with Coral to dispose of a Sampdoria team that somehow managed to lose 3-4 at home to Sassuolo last time out. Sassuolo is out of its depth in Italy’s top division so Roma, which dropped its first points of the term when drawing 1-1 at Torino in midweek, should cruise to its sixth straight home victory. Roma is available at odds of 1.25 with many bookmakers but better still Roma is an incredible 2.10 with Coral to beat Sassuolo to nil. That could be the best bet of the entire weekend given that Roma has not conceded a home goal yet and Sassuolo is going to be on the back foot for the vast majority of the contest.
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