There are four football blockbusters on Sunday – Manchester City against Manchester United, Milan versus Napoli, Paris Saint-Germain against Monaco and Roma versus Lazio – and, fortunately, there are decent bets in three of the games.
Manchester City is available at odds of 2.20 with several bookmakers, including Bet365, to beat Manchester United in the first Cottonpolis derby of the English Premier League season. Manchester City’s UEFA Champions League midweek performance was superior to that Manchester United and then there is the factor of Red Devils boss David Moyes, whose managerial record in big matches is appalling because he approaches such games negatively.
Moyes would bite off one’s hand if one offered him a derby draw right now. That is the attitude of the new Manchester United chief in big matches, particularly those away from home. It is why Everton did not win at Anfield during the 10-plus years that Moyes was its boss and why Manchester United is worth opposing against a Manchester City team that, roared on by its fanatical home crowd, represents great value at odds against. Manchester City has kept four clean sheets out of five this term and its inspirational captain, Vincent Kompany, is back on board after missing three games with a groin injury. If Manchester United plays versus Manchester City in the manner that it did against Liverpool, the Citizens could blow away the Red Devils.
The Italian Serie A clash between Milan and Napoli is one that should be full of goals, given the issues that Milan has at the back and the impressive start to life under Rafael Benitez that Napoli has made, its latest superb result being its 2-1 home defeat of Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League. Dortmund had its goalkeeper sent off in first-half stoppage time but Napoli was in front before Dortmund went down to 10 men. Top of the Italian Serie A ladder with nine points and nine goals, Napoli is making a strong case for being the biggest title threat to Juventus.
Three of Milan’s four matches in all competitions have gone over 2.5 goals and the same goes for Napoli. BetVictor is offering odds of 1.95 that Milan and Napoli combine for at least three goals and that looks like an offer worth taking.
The French Ligue Un scrap between Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco is one in which bookmakers seem to have chalked up slightly the wrong odds about the home team, with PSG too short even at 1.91 with Ladbrokes. Some punters may opt to back Monaco at odds of 5.00 with BetVictor but the results of this term’s French Ligue Un games suggests that there is very little to choose between Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco and, therefore, one should think about backing the draw at odds of 3.50 with Bet365. It is difficult to hold a strong opinion about a draw other than a goalless one but one cannot escape the view that the draw is over the odds.
Away from Sunday’s show stoppers and Nice is the pick of the non-blockbuster bets at odds of 1.83 with BetVictor to beat Valenciennes. Nice was one of French Ligue Un’s surprise packages last season, climbing from 13th in the previous campaign to fourth. Nice made a dreadful start to this term, losing 0-4 away to Lyonnais in the first round of French Ligue Un and crashing out of the UEFA Europa League by virtue of a 1-2 aggregate loss to Apollon. But Nice has bounced back to form in recent weeks and last weekend it defeated Lille 2-0 on the road. Valenciennes is in the French Ligue Un bottom three after five rounds having lost four matches on the spin since beating fellow relegation candidate Toulouse 3-0. Valenciennes has won only one of its last 16 away games in all competitions, losing nine times.
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