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UNITED CAN STRIKE TITLE BLOW WITHOUT ROONEY

MANCHESTER UNITED vs CHELSEA
SATURDAY, 12.45PM SKY SPORTS 1

THIS has been the closest Premier League title race for a number of years and a win for either of these sides would make them hot favourites to go on and land the crown. United comfortably saw off Bolton at the Reebok last weekend, while Chelsea’s second half performance against Aston Villa was astonishing. They ripped through the heart of both defences with consummate ease, but it’s unlikely that we will see a similar scoreline on Easter Saturday.

Sir Alex Ferguson was disappointed with his side’s performance in Munich on Tuesday night and Wayne Rooney’s injury is obviously a big blow. However, the manager can take solace from the fact his team have only dropped four points at home all season. They have won 11 of their last 12 at Old Trafford, as well as six of their last eight hosting Big Four teams. The Blues, on the other hand, have lost four of their last six away games at the Big Four and have lost three of their four visits to teams currently in the top eight this season.

Home advantage has been a crucial factor in games between these two rivals in recent campaigns. No away side has won in the last nine Premier League meetings and United have won three and drawn the other in their last four at Old Trafford against the West Londoners. Their 3-0 win here last season was the first time they had scored more than two goals against Chelsea since 2002 and generally these games have been low scoring of late.

An interesting feature of games between these clubs at the Theatre of Dreams has been the half-time scoreline. In the last four contests here the Champions have gone into the break 1-0 up and Chelsea have failed to find the net in all but one of the four second halves. A repeat of that score at the interval is a 7/2 shot with Boylesports, but beware that the last two games have seen the opening goal scored right on the stroke of half-time.

Nerves are certain to come into this game, as both sides will be desperate not to lose, while the last 14 contests between the two have produced an average of just two goals per game. A sell of goals at 2.2 with Sporting Index looks the correct call, but the stats suggest United will sneak it and 7/4 on Betdaq is a very good price for a side that have won 14 of their 16 home games this season.

POINTERS...
Man United to win at 7/4 on Betdaq
Sell total match goals at 2.2 with Sporting Index

BURNLEY vs MANCHESTER CITY
SATURDAY, 5.30pm ESPN

Brian Laws has reiterated his belief that Burnley can still stay up, but even he must accept now that it’s going to take a monumental effort to achieve that.

They are in terrible form and have picked up just one point from their last four home games against the giants of Blackburn, Wolves, Stoke and Portsmouth. In fact, they have now lost 11 of their last 13 league matches, including four of their last six at home and three of those four coming by the HT / FT loss.

Man City needed a late Carlos Tevez hat-trick to give them their 10th home win of the season against Wigan on Monday night. Their away form has been the problem so far this campaign, even though they still have a decent chance of claiming the last Champions League spot, but they have improved on the road recently and are unbeaten in four. They have picked up seven victories on their travels so far this campaign and six of those have come by the HT / FT double result.

The Clarets will hold some hope of halting the slide as the only point they have picked up on the road this season was at Eastlands. They have also enjoyed plenty of success at Turf Moor, although unfortunately not under Brian Laws. City haven’t been massively consistent away from home, but they have only lost one of their nine at bottom 11 sides (W4-D4-L1) and crucially all four wins have come with them leading at the break.

Since the start of November only one of City’s league games has produced less than two goals. Burnley have only conceded five in their last four games, but I can see that changing against a resurgent City side and would advise buying total match goals at 2.9 with Sporting Index.

POINTERS...
Man City to win at 8/11 with Paddy Power
Man City HT / FT at 9/5 with Blue Square
Buy total match goals at 2.9 with Sporting Index

EVERTON vs WEST HAM
SUNDAY, 4.00PM SKY SPORTS 1

IT HAS not been a happy time for Gianfranco Zola of late. He is determined to see out the season and ensure that the Hammers stay up, but their form is relegation standard and it now looks between them and Hull for the dreaded 18th spot. A trip to Goodison Park is never easy, particularly when Everton are playing with confidence. David Moyes’ side have been excellent in the past couple of months and have now won their last seven home matches in a row with two by at least a two goal margin.

As is the case with most of the relegation-threatened sides, West Ham are in their position due to poor away results. They have only won once on their travels this season, an opening day victory at Molineux, and it has to be very worrying for Zola that they have picked up just two points from their last nine trips to top-half sides, with six of those defeats coming by two or more goals.

The Toffees have beaten Man United, Chelsea and Man City on home turf this season, but their record against the lesser teams is also not to be sniffed at. Since 2007/08, they have won 19 of 24 home games against bottom-half sides with 15 of those coming by at least two goals. They have also had the edge over the Hammers recently, winning four and drawing the other of the last five league meetings. Both sides have scored in four of those five, so I’ll be having a sneaky correct score bet on 3-1 at 12/1 on Betdaq.

POINTERS...
Everton to win at 4/9 general
Everton to win 3-1 at 12/1 on Betdaq
Buy Everton supremacy at 1.4 with Sporting Index