MANCHESTER UNITED v/s TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
Saturday – 12.45pm, Sky Sports
IF Sir Alex Ferguson goes on to make history by becoming the first ever manager to win four straight top flight titles, he will forever be indebted to Paul Scholes after his injury time header won the Manchester derby. It’s highly doubtful that he will follow Gary Neville’s example by giving him a kiss on the lips, but that goal could prove absolutely crucial.
United face Tottenham tomorrow before Sunderland and Stoke in their final two games, who both have little to play for, so it could be argued that this is their last true test. Spurs pulled off two fantastic results last week by beating both Arsenal and Chelsea at White Hart Lane and their game at Eastlands the week after next will surely decide who claims the final Champions League spot.
In fairness to United, they deserved all three points against City last weekend and their record at home – they have won 16 of their last 20 – speaks for itself. They did lose their last league game here against Chelsea, but Harry Redknapp’s side have an absolutely terrible record at the Big Four and United will be confident they can keep the pressure on Chelsea.
Maggie Thatcher was in power the last time Spurs won at Old Trafford in 1989 and their last win at any of the Big Four was in 1993. Since 2006/07, they have lost 12 and drawn three of 15 trips to Anfield, Stamford Bridge, Old Trafford and Highbury/Emirates Stadium, and have lost all three to nil and by two or more goals this season.
There have been at least three goals in 14 of United’s last 20 home games, but part of the reason for that is surely down to Wayne Rooney’s prolific form. His fitness has to be a worry and United haven’t looked anywhere near as dangerous in recent weeks, failing to score at Blackburn and only finding late goals against Chelsea and City.
This looks like being a nervous contest and I’m sure Harry Redknapp would be absolutely delighted with a point, especially as Man City have a difficult trip to the Emirates tomorrow. Spurs may therefore try to keep it tight and I fancy a low scoring United win. The Red Devils have kept a clean sheet in nine of their last 10 home league wins and both the 1-0 and 2-0 correct scorelines are 13/2 with William Hill.
Man United to win 1-0 at 13/2 with William Hill
Man United to win 2-0 at 13/2 with William Hill
Sell total match goals at 3 with Sporting Index
Arsenal v/s Manchester City
Saturday – 5.30pm, ESPN
BOTH of these sides suffered massive disappointments last weekend, so this game is set to be as much of a psychological battle as a physical one. Arsenal’s title challenge now appears to have petered out, but Arsene Wenger will be keen for his side to end the season on a high. They have a tremendous home record this season, winning 14 of 17 games and only suffering defeats against Man United and Chelsea. It is strange, then, that the bookmakers have them priced up at even money against a Man City side who have won just six of 17 away this campaign.
It’s true that City have been stronger in recent weeks and they now haven’t been beaten on their travels since the defeat at Hull in early February. However, they were poor against United last weekend and it may just be that the pressure of chasing a Champions League place is starting to get to them. City fans will be in the unusual situation of supporting United in the lunchtime game against Spurs and if they can make any ground over the weekend they will be in a strong position.
The Gunners, although slightly disappointing in recent weeks, have won by two or more goals in 14 of their last 20 home games, while they’ve done the HT / FT double in 12 of those. They’ve also won all three they’ve played against City at the Emirates and haven’t lost against them in North London since 1975. To be fair to City, they have beaten Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, drawn at Anfield and only just went down to another last minute goal at Old Trafford this season, but they have lost 14 of their last 20 at the Big Four.
I normally like to back home teams in these big games if the price is right and even money for Arsenal at home against a nervous City side is a cracking price. The total goals market is a difficult one, so I’d prefer to buy Arsenal supremacy at 0.6 with Sporting Index.
Arsenal to win at EVS general
Buy Arsenal supremacy at 0.6 with Sporting Index
Wolves v/s Blackburn
Tomorrow – 3.00pm
THIS is by no means the most interesting game of the weekend, but there could be a very interesting bet to be had. Wolves are inching their way slowly towards safety, losing just one of their last seven games, and they probably now only need a couple of points to maintain their Premier League status. Their games have hardly been thrilling in recent weeks – only one goal has been scored in their past four, an injury time winner by Nicklas Bendtner at the Emirates.
Blackburn have made sure of a decent mid-table finish mainly thanks to their excellent form at Ewood Park. They have been poor on the road, but they have picked up four points from their last six away and it could be that this game is another bore draw. Rovers have been involved in two goalless draws in their past three games and seven in total in the league this season.
Mick McCarthy’s side have scored just 10 goals at Molineux this season – easily the lowest in the league – and 13 of their 17 home games have produced two or fewer goals. Rovers have struggled to find the net on their travels, scoring just 11 in 17 games, so all points to another low scoring affair.
Wolves haven’t been playing badly of late and they are definitely the more likely winners, but these two really struggle in front of goal and a bet on no goalscorer at 8/1, as well as selling total goals with Sporting Index look the correct call.
Match to be drawn at 23/10 on Betdaq
No goalscorer at 8/1 with Boylesports
Sell total goals at 2.2 with Sporting Index