United to end difficult week with vital victory


Sunday – 1.30pm Sky Sports 1

IT hasn’t been a dream start for Roy Hodgson on Merseyside and in truth, his side were fortunate to leave St Andrews with a point on Sunday. That said there probably isn’t a better time to be visiting Manchester United at Old Trafford after what has been a difficult period for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.

Firstly, the allegations against Wayne Rooney led to him not travelling to Goodison Park on Saturday and he could do nothing but watch his teammates throw away a two-goal lead in the dying seconds. Sir Alex then decided to field a weakened side against Rangers and the Scottish champions battled bravely to keep their opponents at bay. There was also the horrific injury to Antonio Valencia which means he probably is out for the season.

All in all it’s been a pretty terrible fortnight for United, but a game against their biggest rivals on Sunday should be enough to stoke some fire in their bellies. United absolutely bossed these encounters between 2004 and 2008, winning seven and drawing one of the eight league meetings. However, Liverpool have fought back in the past two seasons winning three and losing one.

We all know that United are incredibly strong on home turf – they won 16 of their 19 league games last season and have started off this campaign with two 3-0 victories. Liverpool will provide more of a test than West Ham and Newcastle, but I still think the 8/11 Paddy Power are offering about the home win is very big. Let’s not forget that Hodgson’s men have failed to score in both their away games so far this season and have only found the net twice in four league matches.

Although Man United have kept a clean sheet in 13 of their 21 home games since the start of last season, they have conceded in all four against Liverpool and also in each of their three hosting Big Four opponents. Both teams have also scored in 21 of the past 37 Big Four encounters but, with Liverpool struggling so badly in front of goal and United yet to concede at home this season, I’ll be swerving that market.

Spread punters might expect that, as the majority of those Big Four clashes have seen both teams score, a buy of goals would be the right option in this game. However, only five of those 37 games produced more than three goals, so the best option is to sell goals at 2.5 with Sporting Index. I also wouldn’t put anyone off backing the 2-0 home win at 7/1 on Betdaq.

Manchester United to win at 8/11 with Paddy Power
Manchester United to win 2-0 at 7/1 on Betdaq
Sell total match goals at 2.5 with Sporting Index


Tomorrow – 3.00pm
IT was a truly extraordinary game between Everton and Man United last weekend and their late salvage mission should have given the Toffees plenty of confidence. Everton have only picked up two points from their opening four games, but they are an excellent side and will surely be challenging for the fourth spot towards the end of the season.

Some might argue that they were lucky to draw against United, but they never gave up and that point could give them the boost they need to really kick-start their season. The Toffees are generally quite prolific at Goodison Park, they have scored at least two goals in 10 of their last 12 home matches and have won by two or more goals in six of those games. They also have a very strong record hosting promoted sides where they are unbeaten in six games since 2008/09, winning four by two clear goals.

Newcastle are two points above Everton in the table, but things have gone backwards since their 6-0 win against Aston Villa. A draw at Wolves wasn’t too bad, but they would have expected to have beaten Blackpool last weekend and it will be their results at St James’s Park which will determine how well they do this season.

Chris Hughton will have a job on his hands to rally his troops before tomorrow’s game and they were comprehensively beaten at Old Trafford on the opening weekend. The Magpies managed to take a point the last time they visited Everton two seasons ago, but their defence has looked quite weak recently and I can see David Moyes’ side finally notching their first win, and a comfortable one at that.

The home win is a best-priced 4/6 on Betdaq and that looks fair enough to me. I also wouldn’t put anyone off buying Everton’s supremacy at 1.1 with Sporting Index. They will give someone a hammering one of these days and this could be the day if the Magpies don’t pick themselves up quickly from last weekend’s disappointment.

Everton to win at 4/6 on Betdaq
Buy Everton supremacy at 1.1 with Sporting Index


STOKE were 10 minutes away from suffering a fourth straight Premier League defeat on Monday night against Aston Villa, but they took all three points with the last kick of the game.

That would have given them a huge boost and they would have been far more nervous against West Ham tomorrow if they were also stuck on no points.

Avram Grant has big problems at Upton Park and he will be desperate for his side to finally pick up their first points of the season at the Britannia Stadium. The manager won’t be in attendance tomorrow because he will be observing Yom Kippur, so he will have to rely on his players to show more than they have done so far.

The Hammers have conceded three goals in all four league games and have only managed to find the net twice. Stoke’s defence hasn’t been much better but they do look dangerous up front with Kenwyne Jones and Ricardo Fuller proving a handful for defenders. It has to be a worry that the Potters haven’t won successive home matches since August last year, but they will be going into this game in a far more positive frame of mind than their opponents.

West Ham are winless in 20 games on their travels and that’s enough for me to recommend backing the home win at EVS with Paddy Power. Both of these teams have conceded in all four games this season, so I’ll also have a few quid on the 2-1 home win at 8/1 with William Hill.

Stoke to win at EVS with Paddy Power
Stoke to win 2-1 at 8/1 with William Hill