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Ed talks Man United, Arsenal, Bayern and Sprinter Sacre

Ed Chamberlin - Ed Chamberlin Posted 25th April 2013 view comments

Last season Manchester City won the Barclays Premier League title with four minutes to spare.

This time, though, United have been crowned Champions with four games remaining, which equals an emphatic response from Sir Alex Ferguson's side.

It's always an honour to present the show when the title is won and even though it had none of the drama of that extraordinary day at the Etihad last season, Monday Night Football was still pretty special as United won it in brilliant style.

Four thoughts: Arsene Wenger is looking for his team to snare a Champions League berth

Four thoughts: Arsene Wenger is looking for his team to snare a Champions League berth

It was only the third of the 13 Premier League titles United, Sir Alex Ferguson and Ryan Giggs have clinched in front of their own fans at Old Trafford.

I particularly enjoyed hearing Gary Neville explain over the jubilant scenes how much it means to the players, the mentality required to win a league title and the night on the town that follows!

Arsenal are in the thick of the compelling race for Champions League football but have an awful recent record against top sides.

Ed Chamberlin
Quotes of the week

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Sky Bet's 2013-14 Premier League title odds: Man Utd 6/4, Man City are 15/8 to regain it, Chelsea 5/1, Arsenal 14/1, 18/1 bar.

This weekend I'll be at the Emirates to present Super Sunday as Arsenal welcome the new Champions and welcome back Robin van Persie.

For United now it's all about records. Four wins from their final four games will see Man United break Chelsea's English top division record of 95 points, set in Jose Mourinho's first season at Stamford Bridge in 2004-05 (W29 D8 L1).

The Premier League title has only been won by 12 points or more on two previous occasions - by United in 2000 (by 18 points) and by Chelsea in 2005 (by 12 points).

Cost

Arsenal are in the thick of the compelling race for Champions League football. They are 1/3 with Sky Bet to finish in the top four but have work to do and an awful recent record against top sides.

Arsenal have taken just six points from a possible 27 in their nine games against their top six rivals this season. Manchester United also have the sign over the Gunners, having won three meetings in a row, scoring 12, conceding four. Arsenal will hope the champions have their eye off the ball on Sunday.

We start on air at 1pm and what a contrast in our first live game of the day as Reading host Queens Park Rangers. Whoever loses this game will be relegated from the Premier League, something accountancy firm Deloitte estimate will cost each club between £40m and £50m.

If this game is drawn, then both teams will be relegated if Aston Villa avoid defeat against Sunderland on Monday Night Football. The winner of this game could still be relegated on Monday if Aston Villa win.

Tuesday night in the Champions League felt like the end of an era, tinged with joy and sadness. Sadness seeing this great Barcelona side humiliated but also joy in a magnificent Bayern Munich performance.

Almost five years to the day Bayern were blown away in the Nou Camp by the same 4-0 scoreline. "The worst football in Bayern's history," is how Franz Beckenbauer described it. "It was a demonstration, almost a humiliation. They gave us a lesson". Tuesday night was the ultimate revenge.

Cruised

After that destruction in the Camp Nou, Bayern Munich learnt their lesson and re-built, while Barca still fielded the same core of the side that went on to win the Champions League trophy in 2009.

Bayern's 2012-2013 model had cruised to the last four and swept aside all before them in the Bundesliga. However, the semi-final against Barcelona was always going to be the ultimate test to see if this side was the real deal. The answer was emphatic.

Bayern are now on the brink and some argue that even before the Champions League Final at Wembley, they have grabbed the baton off Barcelona and are already European football's new superpower; as powerful on the field as they are off it.

On the day of the first leg, they made another major statement for the future by announcing the signature of Mario Goetze.

In Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez, Bayern already have the best central midfield partnership in Europe and now they have acquired one of the game's finest young talents to add guile and link the play between the lines. An awesome prospect plus more recruits are promised to join Pep's revolution.

What a week for German football. Borussia Dortmund were equally impressive against Real Madrid last night. An all-German final at Wembley is firmly on the cards with Sky Bet going 8/13 Bayern Munich, 15/8 Borussia Dortmund.

Horse racing

It's been another brutal week with the Godolphin drugs scandal rocking the sport. Mahmood Al Zarooni will stand before a disciplinary panel of the British Horseracing Authority after samples taken from 11 of his horses were found to have contained traces of anabolic steroids. This is a story with massive implications.

What a shame that it dominated the back pages on the day Sprinter Sacre made it 10 out of 10 over fences at the Punchestown Festival. Hot on the heels of Frankel, racing has another true superstar.

Connections must be applauded for a brave, sporting and inspired derision to take Sprinter Sacre to Ireland and let this horse-mad country see the sport's new icon. It was a magnificent occasion and the reception and appreciation Sprinter Sacre received was very special.

The precarious nature of jump racing again in evidence earlier that afternoon when Rule The World suffered a nasty injury. A real shame as I thought Rule The World was a future star and would go right to the top over fences.

On a brighter note there are only 10 days to go until the first Classics of the season. Toronado's win in the Craven added much-needed life to the 2,000 Guineas. He impressed those shrewd Sky Bet odds compilers, who shortened Toronado to 11/4 behind the 5/4 favourite Dawn Approach.

I've never been sold on Dawn Approach and think the value in the race still lies with Garswood, who remains a 20/1 shot. The Free Handicap doesn't seem to be a fashionable trial but I loved the way he won the race and don't think he's been given the credit he deserves. The way he travels through a race means I'm sure we'll get a great run for our money and Richard Fahey's yard remains in sparkling form.

Before that we still have a couple more days to enjoy at the Punchestown Festival and the jumps season finale at Sandown. In the big race there I'm going to give my Grand National fancy, Balthazar King, another chance. He wasn't a natural over those big fences but will love the ground on Saturday and remains on a decent mark.

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