Manchester United boss David Moyes expressed his dismay that the fixture computer had handed his side assignments against Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City in their first five outings.
But the former Everton manager’s complaint drew little sympathy from outside of Old Trafford and indeed it might actually act as a psychological boost to Jose Mourinho’s men as his Blues side prepare to lock horns with the champions on Monday.
Nevertheless, United are BetVictor’s 6/4 favourites for the points while Chelsea are priced at 11/5 by Skybet to strike the first blow in a potentially absorbing title race and it’s an enticing 5/2 (Stan James) to finish all square.
This early in the campaign, with the two sides still finding their feet and desperate not to slip-up, there’s a feeling that neither would be too disappointed if they were to emerge from this encounter with a share of the spoils, so both Winner.com’s 6/1, marked against a 1-1 scoreline and Ladbrokes’s offer of 14/1 about it finishing two-apiece, catch the eye.
Alternatively, Stan James mark 6/1 against scores being level at the end of each half and given the attacking prowess the teams possess, it certainly looks likely that both will find the net (8/13, bet365). Staying with goals, there are too many candidates to pick from in the first scorer betting but Robin van Persie certainly looks capable, at 11/8 (BetVictor), of notching at some point.
Manchester City started their season in impressive fashion, with an emphatic 4-0 triumph over Newcastle and they look set to follow that with a victory at newly promoted Cardiff, an outcome betway quote at 9/20. However, in front of a passionate and vociferous crowd in South Wales, another straightforward is a big ask, so a case can be made for both a City success by one at 5/2 (bet365) and BetVictor’s 15/2, chalked against Manuel Pellegrini’s charges bagging the only goal.
The knives are already out for Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal board following the shock defeat at home to Aston Villa last weekend and another defeat, at Fulham, will go down pretty badly amongst the Gunners faithful.
BetVictor have installed them as 6/5 favourites to appease the supporters with a victory at Craven Cottage but the hosts are in buoyant mood after their win at Sunderland and at 12/5 with Stan James, they can hold the edgy visitors to a draw.
Liverpool’s triumph against Stoke on Saturday was well deserved, but Aston Villa have already shown that they’re not the pushovers of last season and they look huge at 10/3 (Stan James) considering they enjoy home advantage against the Reds. Also set to prevail on their own patch meanwhile, are BetVictor’s 13/20 jollies Tottenham, who host Swansea.
Elsewhere, Paddy Power make Everton 8/13 to follow up their decent performance in the draw at Norwich, with a victory over West Brom in Roberto Martinez’s first home match in charge of the Toffees, bet365’s 8/11 chances Southampton should have too much for Sunderland and William Hill quote Stoke at 5/6 to see off Premier League new boys Crystal Palace.
Finally, at St James’s Park, it’s 12/5 with bet365 for Newcastle’s tussle with West Ham to prove inconclusive and also at 12/5, this time courtesy of BetVictor, is a draw as Hull welcome Norwich to the KC Stadium.
Despite currently holding two of the Grand Slams, including the Wimbledon crown, Andy Murray is only the third in the betting, at 11/4 courtesy of Ladbrokes, to defend his US Open title at Flushing Meadows next week.
Some firms however, consider the Scot to be second favourite, ahead of Rafa Nadal (11/4, betway) while Novak Djokovic is the market leader at 15/8 with BetVictor in what bookies appear to think is something of a three-horse race.
Nadal was as big as 7/1 for this event a few weeks ago, following his early exit at the All England Club but his Cincinnati Open triumph means he heads to the tournament as the second seed and he’s been popular amongst punters.
Nevertheless, Murray’s performance against Djokovic in the final at SW19 back in June and the confidence he will have gleaned from winning two Slams in the last 12 months, make him the value pick in New York.
Hull FC upset the odds at Huddersfield’s John Smiths Stadium to defeat well-fancied Warrington 16-12 in the Challenge Cup semi-final and having already beaten Wakefield and Catalans Dragons in previous rounds, the Black and Whites have certainly negotiated a tricky route to the final.
Peter Gentle’s troops will have to mastermind another shock too, if they are to lift the trophy at Wembley, where they will start as bet365’s 5/2 outsiders to see off Wigan.
The Warriors, despite a recent dip in form, are just 4/11 at Skybet but that doesn’t offer huge scope for profit so punters would be well advised to speculate on Shaun Wane’s men at 4/5 in Stan James’s handicaps, when starting eight points behind.
Bet of the week: Andy Murray to win the US Open – 11/4 (Ladbrokes).
Odds supplied by www.betrescue.com