Blogs & Opinion


New Year cheer

Liverpool kick things off against Newcastle on Friday night

Ed Chamberlin - Ed Chamberlin Posted 29th December 2011 view comments

Sky Bet's title odds: 4/5 Man City, 5/4 Man Utd, 16/1 Tottenham, 33/1 Chelsea, 40/1 Arsenal, 200/1 Liverpool

Kauto was the star at Christmas and cost the bookies a fortune so Sky Bet must have been thankful for the seven draws in the last round of 10 Premier League matches.

Manchester United were the team celebrating on Boxing Day after expensive stalemates for Manchester City and Chelsea, followed by similar frustration for Arsenal 24 hours later. Tottenham then impressed again against Norwich and they now look like the only team who can gatecrash Manchester's party.

Dimitar Berbatov: Is priced at 20/1 for another hat-trick against Blackburn

Dimitar Berbatov: Is priced at 20/1 for another hat-trick against Blackburn

It all means Sky Bet have pushed out City to 4/5 from 4/7 shortened the champions to 5/4, Spurs to 16/1 and, according to the betting, we can forget the rest (33/1 bar the top three).

The Manchester clubs are flying and previously all four teams with as good a Premier League record as City and United (2.4-points-per-game or more) going into the New Year have gone on to win the title.

Much to Roberto Mancini's annoyance it is Manchester United who again get to make the first move, kicking off early on New Year's Eve with the chance to go in to 2012 three points clear at the top.

Five of the last seven teams on top of the Premier League on the start of New Year's Day have gone on to win the title - since 2004, only Arsenal in 2008 and Liverpool in 2009 have begun the year top and not won the League.

United (1/7) are up against Blackburn (16/1), whose spirits will have been lifted by their point at Anfield on Boxing Day.

Manchester United's first ever Football League game actually came against Rovers, losing 4-3 at Ewood Park in September 1892. United won 7-1 in this fixture last season, with Dimitar Berbatov scoring four times, and you'd expect him to start again after his hat-trick on Monday; Sky Bet make him a 10/3 shot to score the first goal and 20/1 for another hat-trick.

I'll be presenting Super Sunday from the Stadium of Light on New Year's Day to see how Manchester City (4/9) respond to whatever United have done the day before - City are up against Sunderland (11/2).

Rejuvenated

City have won 10 of the last 12 Premier League meetings between these two but are catching the Black Cats at just the wrong time as they seem to have been transformed by the arrival of Martin O'Neill. It promises to be another rough examination for Mancini's side.

Before all of that we have a brilliant game live on Sky Sports on Friday night as Liverpool (1/2) meet Newcastle (11/2). Liverpool drew for the sixth time at home this season on Boxing Day and their form at Anfield has to be a concern. However, they have a superb record against Newcastle.

Liverpool have won eight of the last 10 Premier League meetings, including five of the last six, and have scored 18 goals in last six games. Liverpool have also scored more league goals against Newcastle (70) than they have against any other side.

In contrast, it's been 508 minutes (eight hours and 28 minutes) since Newcastle last scored at Anfield, when Patrick Kluivert netted in a 3-1 defeat in December 2004.

Newcastle's only Premier League win at Anfield came 17 years ago - 2-0 in April 1994. Take That were No1 in the charts with Everything Changes and I remember well that same month a certain Matthew Le Tissier scoring a brilliant hat-trick in Southampton's 5-4 win against Norwich.

For my 'bet of the week' I'm going for Fulham to win at Norwich on Saturday. These two last met on the final day of the 2004/05 season, when Fulham won 6-0 at Craven Cottage to send Norwich down.

The Canaries don't look like going down this time but I do think life will get tougher for the three promoted sides in the New Year. Fulham have won on their last four visits to Carrow Road in all competitions and go there this time in good form having lost just one of their last five away, while Norwich have lost three of their last five at home.

Happy New Year!

Super 6 predictions:

Arsenal 2-0 QPR - Gunners should be too strong
Bolton 2-1 Wolves - Bolton have won seven of the last nine League meetings
Chelsea 1-0 Aston Villa - Chelsea to edge it
Norwich 0-2 Fulham - another tough one for Norwich
Stoke 3-0 Wigan - Stoke should be too powerful
Swansea 0-2 Tottenham - Spurs should be too good
Manchester City (4/9)Fulham to win at Norwich on Saturday

Comments (1)

  • Page 1 of 1
  • 1

James Whale says...

i'd be telling porkies if i thought my beloved sunderland could take a point against city let alone. i hope so but the head takes over the heart. MON will make sure it isn't a walkover but a battle and an interesting one. it's time to proud

Posted 19:37 29th December 2011

  • Page 1 of 1
  • 1

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Peter Beagrie

Beagrie: Vardy deserves cap

An England call-up would be rich reward for all of Jamie Vardy's hard work, says Peter Beagrie....

Martin Tyler

Tyler's stats and facts

When did Arsenal and Liverpool last field all-British sides? Martin Tyler has the answer......

Guillem Balague

Balague: Contenders not ready

Athletic, Sevilla and Valencia haven't yet got what it takes to crack the top three, says Guillem Balague....

Latest News RSS feeds

Champions League live!

Goals, video and analysis on all the games including Basel v Liverpool and Arsenal v Galatasaray.

Basel v Liverpool live

Follow our live commentary as Liverpool travel to Basel in the Champions League

Arsenal v Galatasaray live

Follow our live commentary as Arsenal host Galatasaray in the Champions League

Sturridge 'not fit for England'

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has told Roy Hodgson that Daniel Sturridge will not be fit to play for England next week.

Ljungberg: Arsene is a legend

Freddie Ljungberg believes Arsene Wenger has cemented his legend status by remaining in charge of Arsenal for 18 years.

Features

Midfield master

Midfield master

Match-winner Nemanja Matic is now an integral part of Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea team, says Roberto di Matteo.

Manuel Pellegrini is still struggling to bring the best out of Manchester City after Champions League draw with Roma

Manuel Pellegrini is still struggling to bring the best out of Manchester City after Champions League draw with Roma

"I am absolutely sure that Manchester City will eventually win the Champions League," said Manuel Pellegrini before City's 1-1 draw with Roma. The key word being 'eventually'. On this evidence, City's date with destiny still lies far in the future.

Champions League: Andre Villas Boas has made a strong start to his time in charge of Zenit St Petersburg

Champions League: Andre Villas Boas has made a strong start to his time in charge of Zenit St Petersburg

“If we win all nine matches, Zenit will be champions.” The words of Andre Villas Boas upon being named Zenit St Petersburg manager in March seemed wildly optimistic given the circumstances.