Blogs & Opinion


One-horse race?

There looks to be only one winner from here, says Ed

Ed Chamberlin - Ed Chamberlin Posted 5th April 2012 view comments

Sky Bet's odds suggest last weekend was the decisive one in the Premier League title race.

Manchester City drifted after their first dropped points at home since February, then Manchester United took advantage on the Monday Night Football to go five points clear at the top and and are now red hot 1/8 favourites.

Fergie's United seem to have worn down Mancini's City

Fergie's United seem to have worn down Mancini's City

Super Sunday is last chance saloon for City with both sides in action, but psychologically it's going to be very hard for them if they are eight points behind by kick-off time at the Emirates. That's because United (1/6) play first on Sunday's show against QPR (11/1).

QPR's big guns will have no trouble finding the motivation to perform at Old Trafford and I can see them causing United a few problems.

Ed Chamberlin
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On paper, Mark Hughes' side have little chance having lost 2-0 at home in December and not beaten Man Utd since New Year's Day in 1992. Dennis Bailey scored a hat-trick for Gerry Francis' side after Sir Alex Ferguson had celebrated his 50th birthday the day before.

Sir Alex's first win as United manager (his third game) was against QPR in November 1986 - that was also his first game in charge at Old Trafford. What a journey they have been on since then setting records left right and centre.

United just have to score on Sunday to equal Arsenal's Premier League record of scoring in 46 consecutive home games set between April 2001 and November 2003. Man Utd have scored in their last 45 PL home games since 1-0 defeat v Aston Villa in December 2009.

Sky Bet Title odds: 1/8 Manchester United, 5/1 Manchester City

Bargain

QPR are massively up against it but I think they have a better chance than their odds of 11/1 with Sky Bet. They are a team of talented individuals who have struggled to gel but the better the opposition they are up against the better they seem to play.

By far their best performances of late have been against Liverpool and Arsenal. QPR's big guns will have no trouble finding the motivation to perform at Old Trafford and I can see them causing United a few problems.

I'll be at The Emirates to present that game at Old Trafford and then 7/5 Arsenal against 13/8 Manchester City, which is a crucial match for both sides. Arsenal may have been overtaken by Tottenham at this stage and have Chelsea and Newcastle breathing down their neck. City have to win to stay alive in the title race.

This is their third meeting of the season. City won 1-0 in a Carling Cup fifth-round tie at the Emirates on November 29th (Sergio Aguero with an 83rd-minute winner) and 1-0 in the Premier League at Eastlands on December 18th - David Silva got the winner in what was a brilliant game to watch.

Arsenal have taken the most points off City in the Premier League (65) and are unbeaten in the last 26 League meetings at home (won 18), spanning 37 years. City's last League win at Arsenal was 3-2 in October 1975 - Asa Hartford, Joe Royle and Rodney Marsh with the goals for Tony Book's side.

Relegation odds: 1/50 Wolves, 4/9 Wigan, 4/9 QPR, 5/4 Blackburn, 11/4 Bolton, 10/1 Aston Villa.

Crunch time

It's turning into a thrilling battle to avoid relegation. QPR, Wigan and Bolton all winning last weekend really put the cat amongst the pigeons and if Blackburn play like they did for 80 minutes against Manchester United, they also have a great chance to escape.

Bolton have not scored against Fulham for 415 minutes but I think they have a great chance at 8/5. QPR and Wigan have tough tasks at Man Utd and Chelsea, while Blackburn will fancy their chances of picking up something at West Brom.

Few will give Wolves (4/1 with Sky Bet) any chance at Stoke, but the long season looked to be taking its toll on Stoke last weekend and I think Wolves could pull off a surprise.

The Masters

There is no doubt what I will be doing after Super Sunday and that is persuading my producer, director and Gary Neville to watch the final round of The Masters. This is one of my favourite sporting events of the year and the Sky team do a superb job at Augusta.

If Tiger Woods (11/2 with Sky Bet) can finish fourth for the last two years when short on form and fitness, surely he's going to be very hard to beat now he's fit and firing? Mind you so many of the world's best players have arrived at Augusta in great form. The betting is going to be fascinating and we could be set for one of THE great Majors.

My two each-way fancies are the former champion Trevor Immelman at 110/1 and Geoff Ogilvy at 90/1. Immelman is one of those players who seems to come alive at Augusta and has featured near the top of the leaderboard since he won the green jacket. Ogilvy is a class act whose game is well suited to Augusta. He'll have great memories of his storming finish on the back nine on Sunday last year and his game looks in decent shape this year.

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