Blogs & Opinion


Yellow fever

Norwich should defeat Sunderland on home turf, says Ed

Ed Chamberlin - Ed Chamberlin Posted 29th November 2012 view comments

It's been a week that's seen Manchester's grip on the Premier League title race tighten.

Wins against QPR and West Ham has resulted in United shortening up to even money; City's draw at Chelsea and win at Wigan has seen the Champions consolidate their position as second favourites, while two blanks for Chelsea has resulted in them being pushed out to 7/1.

Hughton: Ed reckons his Norwich team can beat Sunderland

Hughton: Ed reckons his Norwich team can beat Sunderland

It's looking more and more like a two-horse race.

Sky Bet's Premier League Title odds: Evens Man Utd, 11/8 Man City, 7/1 Chelsea, 50/1 Arsenal, 125/1 Tottenham, 200/1 Liverpool, 200/1 Everton

Sky Bet must have loved Super Sunday. Two goalless draws at Swansea and Chelsea had the bookies smiling, while the headlines at Stamford Bridge were all made off the field. I have never experienced an atmosphere like it.

LIVE ON SKY SPORTS
West Ham v Chelsea
12.30pm, Sat, Sky Sports 2 HD
Norwich v Sunderland
3..30pm, Sun, Sky Sports 1 HD
Newcastle v Wigan
7pm, Mon, Sky Sports 1 HD
Watch on the move with Sky Go
How to remote record

Free £10 bet
New to Sky Bet? We're offering all new customers a free £10 bet. Claim now

The Sky Sports studio is in the corner of the stadium by the Matthew Harding Stand and it was extraordinary to hear the chorus of boos and see the mass of derogatory signs when their new manager was introduced to the crowd.

As if Rafael Benitez didn't have enough on his plate; he has to win over the fans, stop conceding goals and satisfy the owner's demands for attractive football, whilst juggling his squad during a brutal set of fixtures which include a trip to Japan for the Club World Cup.

As Roberto Mancini said on Sunday, there's only one way to do it - win, win, win, win, win and win. Wednesday's goal-less draw with Fulham won't have helped and now Chelsea (10/11 to win with Sky Bet) go to West Ham (3/1), which will be another tough test.

I'll be heading to East Anglia this weekend for Super Sunday. Norwich (23/20) are up against Sunderland (12/5). The Canaries are so tough to beat at the moment and the home side have dominated this fixture of late, winning each of the last seven League meetings and conceding just one goal.

Sunderland's last League win at Norwich came 27 years ago - 3-1 in a top flight game in March 1985. Eight days later, Norwich beat Sunderland in the League Cup Final.

After the show the Sky team will be heading back to London as Newcastle (20/21) meet Wigan (14/5) on the Monday Night Football. Newcastle have never lost at home to Wigan but are going through a very difficult patch at the moment.

I like the look of Tottenham (11/8) at Fulham on Saturday; Spurs have won the last five Premier League meetings with Fulham and are unbeaten in seven.

Everton, meanwhile, have an excellent recent record against Man City, winning eight of the last ten Premier League meetings and on four of their last five visits to the Etihad.

Finally, Stoke have a 100% winning record at The Hawthorns in the Premier League - three wins out of three, without conceding.

Horse racing

Hennessy Day at my local track is usually one of my favourite racedays of the year. However, this year feels a bit different as all the rain and heavy ground is threatening to spoil the card and the big race itself lacks its usual smattering of potential stars.

We've been spoilt in the last few years with Denman targeting this race for his seasonal reappearance, plus top-class winners like Trabolgan and Diamond Harry but the only potential Gold Cup contenders entered this year look like Bobs Worth and Flight Lieutenant, neither of whom are guaranteed to take their chance.

Bobs Worth is a horse I love after he did this column a big favour in the RSA chance last season but he makes little betting appeal on Saturday. He's been a short price favourite with Sky Bet to win the Hennessy for a while but because it's not a top-class renewal of the race, Bobs Worth is set to carry a big weight.

That will be a tough task as will jumping out of the heavy ground. He's not the biggest and not a natural over the big fences so will have his work cut out. However, Bobs Worth is such a tough customer that I'm sure he'll be in the mix in the home straight.

I'd rather back an outsider off a low weight in the horrible ground and Magnanimity fits the bill. He was one of the top novices in Ireland two seasons ago, which culminated in an excellent fourth in the RSA Chase. However, not much went right for him last season, notably when blundering when looking like getting placed in the Irish Grand National.

He's come back looking much better this term with two second places. He ran really well and looked much more like his old self on his reappearance and then caught the eye behind Sizing Europe over an inadequate trip last time.

Magnanimity never stood a chance against that great horse over two miles, four furlongs and was the first beaten in the race but stayed on really well to chase home the former champion chaser. That showed to me that like his name, Magnanimity is currently great in heart and mind and has dropped to an attractive mark these days.

Back over a suitable trip and with ground that he relishes, I can see Magnanimity running a big race and will be backing him each-way at 12/1 with Sky Bet.

I'll be at Newbury on Thursday afternoon hoping to get off to a flying start in the Sky Bet Hennessy Meeting Tipping Competition. My two aims are to raise some money for the charity Cure For Dylan and to beat the esteemed Sporting Life Editor Dave Ord and tipping guru Graham Cunningham.

You'll be able to follow the contest on Twitter @skysports_ed and @Skybet; I'm a 10/1 chance to win the competition which I find amazing. I should be 33/1 at least!

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Martin Tyler

Tyler - One final blow?

Martin Tyler blogs on Brazil's match of shame and the chances of Argentina adding to the humiliation....

Matt Le Tissier

Who's to blame for Brazil?

No leaders? No strikers? Poor tactics? Matt Le Tissier looks at who's to blame for Brazil's humiliation....

Alan Smith

Smith hails super Sanchez

Alan Smith says Alexis Sanchez would be a superb signing for Arsenal and complete their striking force....

Latest News RSS feeds

Dutch stars refused penalty

Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal claims none of his players wanted to take the first penalty against Argentina.

Live transfer updates

Papers report Man Utd moving for Wesley Sneijder, Chelsea sign Croatian Mario Pasalic as Juventus close on Patrice Evra.

World Cup Today

Live updates and breaking news from Brazil, plus your reactions to Argentina's semi-final win over Holland.

Lloris commits to Tottenham

Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has signed a new five-year contract with the Premier League club.

Sabella: Germany favourites

​Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella thinks a well-rested Germany will have the advantage in Sunday's World Cup final.

Features

2014 World Cup: Is this the best tournament ever?

2014 World Cup: Is this the best tournament ever?

What’s the best World Cup in living memory?

World Cup: Lionel Messi has date with history after Argentina see off the Netherlands to secure Germany final

World Cup: Lionel Messi has date with history after Argentina see off the Netherlands to secure Germany final

Throughout this World Cup, nay throughout his career, Lionel Messi has been forced to deal with comparisons to Diego Maradona. On Sunday, just like his famous forefather, Messi will captain Argentina in a World Cup final against Germany. 1986. 1990. 2014. It's all just a case of history repeating.

Ill-feeling reignited by Mineirazo massacre as fans vent their frustrations

Ill-feeling reignited by Mineirazo massacre as fans vent their frustrations

The place was awash with yellow and green. Even without a nation's darling, the Selecao's fervent following believed they could do it. Avenging the painful Maracanazo of 1950 was achievable.