Manchester United caused a stir on Sunday as they collected three points from a 1-0 success away at Tottenham. That was the biggest test for interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer since having been brought in to revive the club’s fortunes. The former United striker arrived last December to replace Jose Mourinho.
After winning his first four Premier League games, the fog was lifted. But it was all in context because they were all victories against sides currently in the bottom half of the table. Throw in an expected win over Championship strugglers Reading in the FA Cup and Solskjaer had had a somewhat easy run of games. Then came the league trip to Spurs.
5/6 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
5/2 Mauricio Pochettino
7/1 Zinedine Zidane
10/1 Gareth Southgate
12/1 Massimiliano Allegri
16/1 Diego Simeone
* (betting odds was taken from Paddy Power on January 14th, 2019 at 2:07 pm)
Any questions that were there about Solskjaer in this test was answered. They relied on a positive counter attacking set up, not afraid to pump the ball long and use their pace. It worked for them as Marcus Rashford got the only goal of the game just before the half time break. Then it was all hands to the pump to defend.
Spurs had more than enough chances to get an equaliser and indeed win the game. They peppered the United goal in the second half, but keeper David de Gea was equal to everything. The Spaniard pulled off eleven saves in the match in total to help United secure a massive three points.
Bookmaker Paddy Power had apparently seen enough. On Sunday they paid out on bets having backed Solskjaer to be the next permanent Manchester United manager. Solskjaer was only brought into Old Trafford on a temporary basis until the end of the season. In the summer he is supposed to be going back to his other managerial job at his club Molde.
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has been touted as one of the key men to get the Old Trafford job on a permanent basis. He has drifted to 5/2 to be the next United boss leaving him as the second favourite in the market. Former Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane is a 7/1 option to be in the hot seat at the start of next season* (betting odds taken from Paddy Power on January 14th, 2019 at 2:07 pm).
Paddy Power has also produced a market for some Solskjaer Special, including guiding Manchester United to an unbeaten run for the rest of the Premier League season.
2/1 Man Utd to beat Liverpool in Old Trafford in the 2018/19 EPL
9/4 Man Utd to beat Man City in Old Trafford in the 2018/19 EPL
7/1 Man Utd to beat Liverpool & Man City in Old Trafford in the 2018/19 EPL
25/1 To go the rest of this season’s Premier League unbeaten
* (betting odds was taken from Paddy Power on January 14th, 2019 at 2:07 pm)
The three points earned at Wembley on Sunday left Manchester United in sixth place in the table, but level on points with Arsenal directly above them. The Red Devils have a six-point gap to make up to fourth-placed Chelsea. Paddy Power rate the chances of the Red Devils securing a top-four finish at 5/2* (betting odds taken from Paddy Power on January 14th, 2019 at 2:07 pm).
This should be some clash from the Premier League on Sunday afternoon. Tottenham have played their way into a title challenge again but as they are still chasing the top two of Liverpool and Man City, they can’t afford any slip-ups.
Will they be able to earn themselves three points at home against Manchester United on the weekend? The Red Devils are on the up under interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Man Utd 5/2
* (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on January 8th, 2019 at 9:42 p.m.)
This should be a great match up and it is very important one for Tottenham. They start the weekend in third place in the league and six points behind leaders Liverpool. So even though they are in the title race and have good form, there appears at the moment to be little margin for error by them if they want to keep in touch. This is going to heap a bit of extra pressure on them to perform.
But they have been performing though without question. They collected a 3-0 win at Cardiff on New Year’s Day to start the year on a positive note. Tottenham have earned six wins in their last seven league games and in that sequence of games they have taken four clean sheets. So overall things are going pretty well for them. Their only slip up in that run of seven games was a shock home loss against Wolves on December 29th last year.
But it is natural for a team, as good as they may be, to have a bad day at the office now and again. That’s to be expected but not planned for. Tottenham home form this season is W6 D3 from nine games and before that surprise defeat against Wolves, Spurs had been on a four-match winning streak at home in the top flight. The odds on Spurs to beat Manchester United are at even money* (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on January 8th, 2019 at 9:42 p.m.).
Tottenham took a 3-0 victory at Old Trafford back at the end of August last season. It was a really dominant display from the Lilywhites and it was the prime example of what they are capable of. They showed their might and power when they hosted Chelsea back at the end of November. They totalled tore apart their London rivals in a big show of strength at Wembley putting three goals past the Blues.
Tottenham have scored at least two goals in seven of their last nine Premier League games. Will that kind of scoring threat be able to nudge them past the challenge of Manchester United who have been leaky at the back this season? Spurs have scored ten goals in their last four Premier League home fixtures and they have Harry Kane who is on a four-match scoring streak in the top flight.
Last season in this corresponding league fixture, Spurs ran out comfortable 2-0 winners over Manchester United. That is a three-match home winning streak that they have going against the Red Devils at the moment. Two of the three wins in that sequence have been with a clean sheet for the Lilywhites as well.
Spurs are actually undefeated in their last six home games against Manchester United in the league (W4 D2). Tottenham have conceded just the one goal in their last four home games against Manchester United. That is a trend which they will be hoping to keep going as well as they look to keep themselves as close as possible as they can to the top two.
The Red Devils arguably have been having a better time of things since the managerial change. Interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has overseen four Premier League wins from four. But that all needs to be put into context. The first two were against Cardiff and Huddersfield, two of the bottom four currently. The next was against Bournemouth who are badly out of form.
Their most recent win on January 2nd was a 2-0 success at Newcastle, but they struggled to break down the Magpies and were largely second best for the fixture. It means that the four wins have all been against sides currently 12th or lower in the Premier League table. They will bring a scoring threat as they have averaged two goals per away game. But their victory at St James’ Park at the start of the new year snapped a run of no clean sheets in eight away games.
Tottenham look the stronger and the more settled of the two sides. It is hard to really get a feel for where Manchester United’s revival is at as they haven’t faced a serious test since Mourinho left. They were poor against Newcastle and with them having no form out at Spurs recently, it all points to some value in those odds on Tottenham to beat Manchester United at even money* (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on January 8th, 2019 at 9:42 p.m.).
One of the most anticipated fixtures on the English football calendar is Liverpool v Manchester United. The two bitter rivals will meet up on Sunday at Anfield and the fortunes of the two giants couldn’t be more contrasting than it is at the moment.
Liverpool are on a serious Premier League title hunt, whereas Manchester United have a huge job ahead of them just to try and get themselves into the top five. The odds on Liverpool to beat Manchester United are short at 4/7* (betting odds taken on December 14th, 2018 at 2:30 pm)
Man Utd 5/1
* (betting odds taken on December 14th, 2018 at 2:30 pm)
There has been a big gulf between the two sides this season. Last weekend Liverpool moved to the top of the Premier League table. That was after a comfortable win against Bournemouth, while Chelsea did the Reds a huge favour in beating Manchester City. It left Liverpool as the only unbeaten side in the English top flight this season after sixteen games played. Can they extend it a step further in this big test?
Manchester, in contrast, are starting the weekend in sixth place but that is only part of the story. They are starting a massive eight points adrift of fifth-placed Arsenal and 18 behind leaders Liverpool. That is a gulf that they are not going to be making up over the course of the season and it is easy to see why there has been so much pressure on boss Jose Mourinho.
The Reds have every reason to be confident. They are clearly the more confident of the two sides. They have a settled side, they have a manager who believes in his players and they are delivering the quality. Their home form is W6 D1 L0 for the season and they have averaged over two goals per game. Given that Manchester United have managed only two clean sheets all season, indicates that the Red Devils are going to struggle at Anfield.
The 4/7 odds on Liverpool to beat Manchester United* (betting odds taken on December 14th, 2018 at 2:30 pm) look even stronger when you size up the fact that the Reds have conceded just the one goal this season on home soil in the Premier League. The Reds are fluent in attack and have been so difficult to break down at the back. They are a clearly a team who are working for each other.
Manchester United meanwhile look very short of confidence and have produced some abject displays. There are major problems when their record signing Paul Pogba can’t get a start. They look disjointed and struggling under some conservative tactics that clearly aren’t working for them. The Red Devils have conceded 26 goals in their 16 league games so far. Only five teams (four of them the current bottom four) have conceded more goals than Manchester United have done this season
Liverpool have not beaten Manchester United in any of their last eight league meetings. But the timing looks perfect at the moment for them to go and snap that run of winless form against the Red Devils. Their star striker Mo Salah has scored in five of Liverpool’s league home games this season and he has come back into terrific form, netting a hattrick last weekend against Bournemouth. An inspirational game from him could help the Reds topple Manchester United
Liverpool have not suffered a loss in any of their last 28 Premier League home games. They have earned a clean sheet in eleven of their last twelve league outings at Anfield. That is just how strong they have been defensively. They have also taken a clean sheet in each of their last three home games against the Red Devils in all competitions now. This is a big moment for the Reds. It is not the time to be slipping up after having gained a crucial lead in the title race last weekend.
Manchester City v Manchester United Preview – November 11th, 2018 – 4.30 pm
The first Manchester derby of the new Premier League season will kick off at 4.30 pm on Sunday, November 11th. While the old rivalry between the two clubs will be ramped up again, there is a big three points on offer.
The Citizens will be looking to consolidate their spot at the top of the table, while Manchester United need maximum points to try and haul themselves a bit closer to the top four.
Man City 2/5
Man Utd 8/1
* (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on November 8th, 2018 at 5:15 p.m.)
So can the Red Devils pull off a shock win at the Etihad? Well even though they haven’t been at their best this season, there have been some clear signs of resilience about them recently. In four of their last five league games, they have conceded the opening goal of a game. But they have managed to show character and togetherness to fight back to a W3 D1 record in their last four league outings. They seem to only be raising their game when their backs are against the wall and that’s usually in the second half of games.
They did it again in midweek as they looked to be on course for a defeat out at Juventus in the Champions League. But somehow they came up with two late goals from two free kicks to pull out a shock win. That pretty much sums them up. They aren’t playing great, they don’t really have anyone producing stand-out performances, but they are finding ways to get themselves back into games and get results. It is that grit which they will need an abundance of at the Etihad on the weekend.
You only have to look back at last season’s corresponding fixture to see what United are capable of. They produced a 3-2 win which was totally against the odds. That was after having been trailing 2-0 at the halftime break as well. They were heavily outclassed in the game, could barely get their foot on the ball but still produced the three points out of nowhere. Both teams to score is at 4/6 odds for this weekend’s top clash* (Betting Odds were taken from November 8th, 2018 at 5:15 p.m.). If they were to pull off a repeat win they would cut the gap to City to six points.
The Red Devils are actually W2 D1 in their last three trips to the Etihad in the Premier League. That is in spite of the power that Manchester City have been showing in the league the last few seasons. The Red Devils seem to find a way to rise to the occasion. Things are even between the two over the last six league meetings with two wins each and two drawn fixtures. So the Red Devils have given as good as they have gotten really.
The problem with them is that they have been conceding a lot of goals and do only have the one clean sheet this season in the league. But they have come up with at least two goals in each of their last four Premier League fixtures. They do have an injury doubt over Romelu Lukaku but they have managed without him fine in their last two league games. Anthony Martial has been in good scoring form and he is at 3/1 in the anytime goalscorer market* (Betting Odds were taken from November 8th, 2018 at 5:15 p.m.).
Will Manchester United be the ones to defy all of the odds and be the first to beat Manchester City this season? Yes, the Red Devils are facing a formidable side, but look at last season when City posted a W16 D2 L1 record at home in the Premier League. Who were the only visitors to win at the Etihad? Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United. They have to defy massive 8/1 odds-against* (Betting Odds were taken from November 8th, 2018 at 5:15 p.m.) to do it.
Chelsea will be putting their unbeaten record for the season on the line as they play host to Manchester United in Saturday’s big Premier League showdown. This is the Saturday lunchtime game which kicks off the next round of top-flight action. Will Chelsea be able to move to the top of the table by avoiding defeat? Or will Manchester United be able to come up with a big three away points to close the game on the Blues to four?
Manchester United 15/4
* (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on October 17th, 2018 at 7:52 p.m.)
To the surprise of many, the disruption over the summer at Chelsea hasn’t stopped the Blues coming out and impressing early on this season in the Premier League. With new boss Maurizio Sarri at the helm and installing his new work ethic and tactics on the Blues, they have produced a W6 D2 record so far. That has seen them keep pace alongside Manchester City and Liverpool. So Chelsea would move to the top of the table, even if it is just temporarily if they manage to avoid defeat in this one.
In stark contrast to last season, Chelsea look a vibrant, attacking powerhouse and they are dominating possession in their matches. It is that extra pep in their step, that extra touches of self-belief and positivity that could make them such a threat in this one. The odds on Chelsea to beat Manchester United are 7/10 and that will appeal to punters in this high-profile clash* (betting odds taken from bet365 on October 17th, 2018 at 6:00 pm).
Eden Hazard has been on fire for Chelsea this season, clearly enjoying the freedom with which he is playing with under the new system. He is the Premier League top scorer this season with seven goals in eight league games. Five of those seven goals have come on home soil as well. So he does make a pretty solid fit at 15/4 in the first goalscorer market* (betting odds taken on October 17th, 2018 at 6:00 pm) for Chelsea v Manchester United betting.
The club are leaning heavily on him and he is delivering. The Blues also have great home from going against Manchester United in the league. They are unbeaten in their last five fixtures at Stamford Bridge against the Red Devils, winning four of those (D1). Across all competitions, Four of Chelsea’s last five wins over Manchester United have been by a 1-0 scoreline. The Blues beat Manchester United twice but that scoreline last season, once in the league and once in the FA Cup Final.
Chelsea are undefeated in their last eight home games against Manchester United across all competitions. So the form is certainly there. A repeat of the Chelsea 1-0 correct score option is at 7/1 odds* (betting odds taken on October 17th, 2018 at 6:00 pm). Chelsea have produced a W3 D1 record in their four home matches in the top flight this season.
Former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho takes his struggling Manchester United to Stamford Bridge in search of a big threat points. They haven’t been at the races and defensively have had massive problems, especially in the centre-half area which could leave them exposed. Manchester United’s form this season is just W4 D1 L3 this season and they have lost two of their four road games as well, conceding three goals exactly in both of those away defeats.
Manchester United are seven points worse off than they were at this stage of last season’s campaign, and only Fulham Huddersfield and Cardiff, three of the current bottom four have conceded more goals than the Red Devils have done this season. There are clear problems there which could be exposed in this difficult away game. This will be their first away game this season against one of the other of the league’s Big Six.
The positive momentum is clearly with Chelsea at the moment. They have both current league form and head to head league form at home over the Red Devils. They certainly look a lot more dynamic than the Red Devils do. The likelihood is that Manchester United are going to turn up and try and not get beaten more than pushing to try and win the match. Home win and the 1-0 correct score for the Blues appeals.
William Hill cut the odds on a Manchester United relegation this season in half. That was after they had reported that they had received a big bet on the Red Devils to slip down to the Championship. The last time United were outside of the top division in England was in the 1974/75 season.
The Red Devils were at 500/1 with the bookmaker, but those odds were slashed in half to 250/1 by Hills. The bet may have been initiated after what appears to have been another difficult week at the club including a training round disagreement between Paul Pogba and boss Jose Mourinho plus a Carabao Cup exit against Championship side Derby.
William Hill reported a “sizeable” bet on United to suffer relegation this term. United tallied 10 points from their first six games of the new season, in that sequence suffering back to back losses against Brighton and Spurs and dropping points at home against the newly promoted Wolves.
The relegation of course for Manchester United is remote, to say the least. This is the shortest price United has been for Premier League relegation since David Moyes was in charge.
“Life has been anything but rosy for Mourinho this season and things appear to be going from bad to worse following his latest row with Paul Pogba, We have had to cut their odds of going down as we have seen quite the sizeable punt over the last 24 hours,” said William Hill spokesman Joe Crilly.
During a midweek training session, Paul Pogba, who won the World Cup with France in the summer was filmed in what appeared to be a heated exchange with Mourinho. In Friday’s press conference, Mourinho played down the issue saying that nothing had happened.
Jose Mourinho is the 9/4 favourite at William Hill to be the Next Premier League manager out of a job still.