Manchester City’s loss at Liverpool saw betting slips scrawled with ludicrously short odds about Pep Guardiola’s team going through the entire league season unbeaten consigned to the dustbin.
The question now is should those holding ante-post punts on City winning the title fear their prediction could end up similarly being cast aside.
The short answer is no, and the bookmakers agree, with the current top-flight leaders – who are still 12 points clear at the summit of the standings don’t forget – trading at 1/100 to lift the Premier League trophy.
Dan Roebuck, Premier League betting expert, sums this one up…
It would take a wobble akin to the one suffered by Bitcoin investors this week to see those odds significantly change, but City are made of more tangible stuff than cryptocurrencies and, given their run of fixtures over the next month, should steady the ship before January is out.
Still, the gap could be cut at the top of the table before the leaders play next, as Saturday’s top division action sees both Chelsea (80/1 for the title) and Manchester United (50/1) play before City kick-off.
Champions Lacking in Forward Thinking
I never thought a modern Chelsea team would turn to Andy Carroll to solve their goalscoring issues, but that is seemingly what Antonio Conte is going to do if newspaper reports are to be believed.
The West Ham striker was close to a deal to move across the capital at the time of writing and, while he might not be the most cultured forward seen down the Fulham Road in recent years, it’s true Chelsea need an alternative in attack to the misfiring Alvaro Morata and the untrusted Michy Batshuayi.
Three goalless draws on the spin for the first time in Blues history have exacerbated the problem (another 0-0 is priced at 8/1), but Conte’s insistence of playing Eden Hazard in behind Morata, so all of the creative play has to go through the Belgian, also seems short-sighted.
Brighton have failed to score in eight of their last 12 top division games, while Conte has had a happy knack of almost always beating promoted teams in his time at Chelsea (his record reads eight wins from nine). This could be tight, with a 1-0 away win, at 22/5, the best correct score option, and under 2.5 goals, at 7/10, the call for a less speculative bet.
Clarets Culled as United Hope for Nolstagic Run
On the day of Manchester United’s visit to Burnley, it will be 22 years since the Red Devils were 12 points behind Newcastle United after 23 games but went on to overhaul the Magpies to win the title.
I’m not suggesting Jose Mourinho’s side can replicate what Sir Alex Ferguson did in 1996, but they should win at Turf Moor (with or without Alexis Sanchez) to spoil Sean Dyche’s 100th Premier League match in charge of the Lancashire club.
United are 11/20 to pick up the victory that would see them cut Manchester City’s lead to nine points ahead of their cross-town rivals’ game getting underway, and while I couldn’t put anyone off including them in weekend accumulators, the best individual bet in the fixture has to be to back Paul Pogba to score the first goal, at 13/2, and to back him to net at any time, at 29/10.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 17, 2018
The Frenchman was outstanding against Stoke on Monday and has been involved in 14 goals in his last 14 top flight games (4 goals, 10 assists).
Super Sergio to Spur Sky Blues
Will the pressure be on Manchester City by the time the league leaders start their game against Newcastle at the Etihad? I doubt it.
Even if Chelsea and Manchester United both win, the fact remains Pep Guardiola’s team will still be in complete control of their own destiny.
The Sky Blues, who are unbeaten in 20 Premier League games versus the Magpies, are 1/10 to pick up a 21st top division success this season (to put that into context Leicester managed 23 in their entire title-winning term).
Again, the value here lies with the goalscorer markets. Sergio Aguero can boast 11 goals in 11 games against Newcastle, including eight in five appearances at home.
How can we ignore the Argentine at 23/10, for the first goal of the game, and 21/50, to notch at any time. They may seem cramped odds, but his numbers are sensational (he’s scored more times against the north-east club than any other in his career) and any investment should swell the coffers of backers, as City aim to finish the day at least a dozen points clear of their closest title challengers.