Red alert: shortage of fire power to give Dalglish a headache
MANCHESTER UNITED vs LIVERPOOL
Tomorrow – 12.45pm Sky Sports 1
EXTRA motivation isn’t normally required in this north west derby, but the additional carrot for Manchester United tomorrow is that victory will take them top of the Premier League, until Sunday evening at least.
However, Old Trafford hasn’t been the fortress it was last season when United dropped just two points at home en route to lifting their record 19th title. They’ve suffered embarrassing defeats to Manchester City and Blackburn, while Newcastle left with a share of the points, meaning their record in front of their own fans is only third best in the division, behind City and Tottenham.
Liverpool will take hope from the fact that they beat United 2-1 at Anfield just two weeks ago, in the FA Cup, and from their six away victories this term. Impressive wins have been picked up at the Emirates, Goodison Park and Stamford Bridge, but it must be remembered they were hammered 4-0 at White Hart Lane and lost 3-0 at the Etihad Stadium.
In the previous eight meetings in Manchester, the hosts have lost just once and taken the spoils on seven occasions, with United securing league and cup triumphs in 2010/11. There’s no doubt who the bookies are siding with, and I can’t disagree, so take Coral’s 4/5 about Sir Alex Ferguson’s men.
While United’s 3-3 draw at Chelsea demonstrated their defensive fallibilities, it was every bit as good a marker of their spirit and determination. And watching Liverpool in their goalless encounter against Spurs at Anfield summed up their trouble in breaking teams down and finding the back of the net. Tellingly, after 24 games, United have scored more than double the amount their guests have, with 59 goals to Liverpool’s 28.
During four of their five defeats, Kenny Dalglish has witnessed his side fail to hit the target, and they only managed one in their 3-1 defeat at Bolton Wanderers. The Red Devils, meanwhile, have kept clean sheets in six of nine home wins. United to win to nil interests at 2/1 with Coral, but I’m more tempted to back the 2-0 correct score at 17/2 with the same firm. They are best priced and offer a handy bit of insurance.
The game should mark Luis Suarez’s return to the starting XI and he’s the man most likely to strike for Liverpool. Coral will refund losing first/last scorer, correct scores and scorecast bets if the Uruguayan gets the final goal. The advice for spread bettors is to sell goals at 2.65 with Sporting Index.
Man United at 4/5 with Coral
Man United to win 2-0 at 17/2 with Coral
Sell total goals at 2.65 with Sporting Index
ASTON VILLA vs MANCHESTER CITY
Sunday – 4.00pm Sky Sports 1
THERE can be no denying this has been a very disappointing season for Aston Villa. They’ve won just a quarter of their fixtures and a club of their size and history really shouldn’t find itself stuck in lower mid-table.
As you would expect from an Alex McLeish outfit, they haven’t lost a silly amount of games, but aside from a low win count, the draws have stacked up – their 10 stalemates is more than any other side.
Results at Villa Park have been a real let down, where they’ve beaten only Blackburn, Wigan and Norwich, and given supporters little to get excited about with four stalemates and five defeats.
Sunday’s visitors Man City have had a bit of a wobble in recent weeks and one win from six road games offers promise for the hosts, especially as City don’t have a great record at Villa Park of late.
That said, they cruised to a 4-1 victory in the reverse fixture and look to have the beating of a mediocre Villa side again, meaning they should be backed. City are odds on across the board, at around 8/11, so utilise betting concierge service Bet Butler to get the best price available, and they will also include a free bet up to £25 with the opening of a new account.
City’s campaign has been anything but dull and they have the tools to undo Villa, who will look to keep it tight. At 71 percent, a very high proportion of City’s games have seen over 2.5 goals. Sporting Index’s spread of 2.7-2.9 match goals should be bought.
Man City at around 8/11 with Bet Butler
Buy goals at 2.9 with Sporting Index
SUNDERLAND vs ARSENAL
Tomorrow – 3.00pm
FEW doubted Martin O’Neill’s managerial prowess, but after nearly a year and a half in the wilderness, the Northern Irishman is serving a timely reminder on Wearside.
His reign at Sunderland has been almost an unmitigated success since replacing Steve Bruce in early December. The Mackems have taken a whopping 22 points from his 10 games in the hot seat to treble the total he inherited. No side can match that form over the same period.
A visit to the Stadium of Light will, then, fill Arsenal with dread. The Gunners might have romped to a 7-1 victory over Blackburn last time out, but that only papers over the cracks that have developed this season.
Arsenal have taken just one point from their three away days in 2012. That came in a lacklustre 0-0 draw at Bolton after defeats at Fulham and Swansea and their success or otherwise seems to be inextricably tied to Robin van Persie’s performances. But for his monster haul of 22 goals, the Gunners would be in a far stickier situation than they already find themselves in.
Having already lost six times on their travels, defeat number seven could be coming tomorrow. Sunderland were only beaten at the Emirates thanks to a late van Persie strike – his second of the game in a 2-1 win – and they are great value at 12/5 with Blue Square. Selling Arsenal’s supremacy at 0.3 with Sporting Index could be an even better option.
Sunderland at 12/5 with Blue Square
Sell Arsenal supremacy at 0.3 with Sporting Index