Today sees a lot of clubs face others of a similar stature and league postion- the prices back this up. There aren’t many clear favourites and even when there is, many of those had midweek exploits in Europe. Will they be tired from travelling or will they be deflated from having been knocked out of the competition? These are questions I don’t want to answer and have instead picked a treble – a predictable treble at that. I am fairly confident in backing these teams and it keeps my interest in the big games today.
Manchester United vs Arsenal
The biggest game of today. While Arsenal may not be the force they once were, this is still seen as a terrific battle and one in which I’m looking forward to. The traders have United as clear favourites priced at 1.50 while Arsenal are a massive 7.0. Yes, Arsenal have problems in terms of injuries and suspensions, but they will not be rolled over today. Let’s not forget United have their own injury problems with Ferdinand and Vidic likely to miss the tie. Smalling and Jones played well against Spurs last Monday, but they will be up against the trickery of one of the Premierships top strikers, Van Persie. De Gea continues to look nervy and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Van Persie try some long shots with that powerful left foot of his. Games between the two have always been tight over recent years. In various competitons, six out of the last ten games have been won by a solitary goal. Man Utd to win by one goal is 3.4. The game is at Old Trafford where United have a terrific record and for them to win today is a reasonable 1.50.
Spurs vs Man City
City are scoring goals for fun, putting four past Swansea and three past Bolton. When they traveled to Bolton, they piled forward in their droves and perhaps showed a change in tactics from Mancini. Last year, City were a little cautious but Mancini is clearly pushing for the title this season and realises the shackles must come of his players on away games. Spurs have had a stuttering start to their campaign having their first game cancelled and losing 3-0 to City’s rivals. Against United, they showed very little except for long range efforts. They might have Modric back in the line up with a few others, but City look to strong not to take all three points back to Manchester. City to win are 2.37 which I think is too big. With their impressive away display at Bolton, they will not want to let up now. De Jong is expected to miss the game. A blow to City as he allows the attacking players to wreak havoc while he sits back. Spurs are still weak at the back with Kaboul looking to maintain his place in the heart of the defence. His poor marking makes him a liability and with the movement City have at their disposal, that price to win looks too big and goes into the treble.
Real Zaragoza vs Real Marid
Zaragoza caused an upset last season by winning 3-2 against Jose’s men at the Bernabeu. They will be aware of this as they look to make a flying start to what will be an exciting battle for La Liga. Jose has had long enough to instill his beliefs and it’s time for him to show why he is the special one by taking Barcelona off their perch over the course of the season. The Spanish Super Cup against Barcelona showed me that Real Madrid are equipped with enough attacking talent to score against any team. Real Madrid enjoyed a wonderful succession of away wins last year towards the end of the campaign – scoring 23 goals in six games. To make this stat more impressive, the -1 would have come in five out of six games. The opponents were not basement dwellers either. Victories against Villareal, Sevilla and Valencia show they have what it takes to win away.They are a short price to win at 1.28 but it’s justified and bumps the treble price just a little bit more. The -1 for extra value is 1.70.