Old Trafford’s fear factor left with Alex Ferguson, and David Moyes has an appalling record in big games so back Liverpool to defeat Manchester United at what used to be the Theatre of Dreams but what now is the Theatre of Nightmares.
The English Premier League champion has not finished outside the top three since English football’s restructuring in 1992 but Manchester United needs a miracle to end up inside the top four by the end of its first season under Moyes and that is because of its shocking statistics against the top teams.
One should be sitting down before reading this next piece of information: Manchester United has won just two of its 12 English Premier League matches versus sides on the top half of the ladder and only relegation-threatened Crystal Palace has scored fewer goals against top-half teams. That tells one everything that one needs to know about Manchester United’s problems under Moyes, whose numbers in the most vital games throughout his managerial career are poor.
Manchester United has won only five of its 13 matches across all competitions since the turn of the year, with the Red Devils having beaten Cardiff, Crystal Palace, Sunderland Swansea and West Bromwich but having lost to Chelsea, Olympiacos, Stoke, Sunderland, Swansea and Tottenham.
Liverpool is the English Premier League’s highest scorer – yes, Manchester City has played two fewer games than the Reds but the gap is four goals – and the one thing above all others that Manchester United looks incapable of doing is keeping a clean sheet versus a quality side. Liverpool, which is mounting its strongest championship push in the English Premier League, belongs in that exalted category.
BetVictor is offering odds of 2.90 that Liverpool wins at Old Trafford for just the second time in 10 years. That looks like the best bet of the English Premier League’s weekend program. Also, one could make a decent case for betting on over two and a half goals. A draw will not be much use to either Manchester United or Liverpool in their respective campaigns so one should expect the match to open up after the first goal, if not before then. Liverpool’s 28 English Premier League games are averaging a division-high 3.86 goals, with 21 of them going over two and a half goals. Manchester United’s 28 English Premier League matches have a mean of 2.75 goals and 16 of them have gone over two and a half goals. BetVictor is quoting odds of 1.78 about overs.
Swansea beat West Bromwich 2-0 at The Hawthorns and odds of 2.00 with Paddy Power and Stan James appear over the top for the English Premier League clash between the teams at the Liberty Stadium. Swansea has not won any of its last six games across all competitions and West Bromwich’s winless run stretches to nine matches but, having seen most of those fixtures, there is no doubt that the Swans are playing much better football than the Baggies and another pressure-relieving win is not far away for Garry Monk.
Both Swansea and West Bromwich sacked its manager during the English Premier League season. While the jury is out as to whether Swansea would have been better served sticking with Michael Laudrup, the jury has returned its verdict about Steve Clarke. Quite simply, West Bromwich would have been better off sticking with Clarke and not hiring, after much deliberation, Pepe Mel. The Hawthorns does not look like a happy place and that spells heartache for West Bromwich.
Finally, Stoke is overpriced at odds of 2.25 to beat West Ham at the Britannia Stadium. Stoke won the reverse English Premier League fixture 1-0 courtesy of Jermaine Pennant’s 82nd-minute goal and the Potters have an excellent home record. Stoke has lost only two of its 14 English Premier League home games, which is fewer than all bar the top four sides and seventh-placed Everton. Stoke’s home form is the reason that it is six points above the English Premier League relegation zone and not stuck in the bottom three.
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