Manchester United to end 2011 top of the table
The New Year weekend will most likely see Manchester United end 2011 at the top of the table (albeit having played a game more than City), although City will be away to Sunderland on Sunday and it should be business as usual at the top of the table for them come Monday morning.
Here’s a look at the top games this weekend and the best football bets on offer:
Manchester United v Blackburn
Manchester United are 1.14 shots to round of their fantastic festive period by beating Blackburn at Old Trafford, and it’s hard to envisage anything but a wide margin win for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.
The Red Devils come into this having registered back-to-back 5-0 wins over Fulham and Wigan and the Premiership whipping boys should be easy fodder for them.
The stats are also good as United are unbeaten in their last 10 Premier League games against Blackburn (winning seven) and have won all of their last seven games against Steve Kean’s men in all competitions.
The visitors have also kept just one clean sheet in their last 28 Premier League away games and currently sit bottom of the table after some truly shocking performances.
United registered a 7-1 victory over them in this fixture last season and it really should be a case of how far they win by.
Dimitar Berbatov, who scored five goals in that emphatic victory, will surely be relishing the chance to shine again following his hat-trick against Wigan and makes plenty of appeal in the first goalscorer market at 4.5 with bet365, Betfred and Paddy Power.
He is also 1.91 chance to score anytime with Paddy Power and that also looks solid value for a striker in form.
It will also be a major surprise if they do not win both halves in this game, and at 1.44 with Paddy Power in the double result market that looks an extremely attractive punt compared to the 1.14 on offer in the outright market.
I fancy United to win 4-0 or 5-0, and those scores can be backed at 9 with Boylesports and 13 generally.
Arsenal v QPR
Arsenal are 1.29 shots to end the year with a bang and win their derby game against QPR at the Emirates and they really should prove too strong for the Hoops.
The Gunners come into the game on the back of a disappointing 1-1 draw against Wolves but they have still picked up 26 points from their last 12 games and that ratio, over the course of an entire campaign, would have been enough to win them the title last season.
By stark contrast their opponents have mustered just 10 points from a possible 39, and that’s clear relegation form given that they have also taken just two pints from their last six games.
It really should be a comfortable win for Arsenal on paper, but Arsene Wenger must decide whether to rest Robin van Persie, who is two shy of equalling the Premier League record for goals, as his fitness is the key to them keeping up their challenge for a top four place,
However it will be a surprise to me if Wenger does not give van Persie a start and a chance to equal or beat Alan Shearer’s record, and at 3.25 with bet365 and Betfred to net the opener he looks a terrific price.
Chelsea v Aston Villa
Chelsea are a top priced 1.3 with Paddy Power to round off the year with a win over Aston villa at Stamford Bridge, and anything but three points will be utter disaster for the Blues.
AVB’s boys looked to be back to their best when beating Man City 2-1, but since then they have failed to go and have registered three 1-1 draws on the bounce.
However Villa have won none of their last nine visits to The Bridge in the Premier League and have also failed to score in five of their last 7 games.
They are a negative side who seem to find bagging three points as hard as opening a letter, and it will be a major surprise if Chelsea do not take advantage and register a comfortable success.
So that brings us to the matter of who is going to score the first goal and fire them to the expected victory.
For those who like to play in the correct score market I am going to suggest that Chelsea will win this either 2-0 or 3-0, and those scorelines can be backed at 6.5 with Paddy Power and 8 with Betfred.
Split stakes on both should hopefully net us a nice bit of profit.
Stoke v Wigan
Stoke have rediscovered their form of late and look cracking value at 1.67 to beat Wigan at the Britannia.
Tony Pulis’s men spent most of November in the bottom half of the table but they have put together a good run of results which have seen them climb back up the table to a very respectable 8th.
They have beaten Spurs, Blackburn, Wolves and Everton in recent weeks, and a repeat performance of any of those wins would see them easily dispose of a woeful Wigan outfit.
The Latics are already odds-on for the drop, and it’s hard to see how a side that lacks any fight is going to be able to cope with a Potters side who like to get stuck in.
I can see Peter Crouch causing the Wigan defence all sorts of problems, and the frontman makes plenty of appeal at 6 with Paddy Power to score the opener.
Stoke to win 2-0 is my idea of the outcome and is an 8 shot with bet365.