Ahead of their showdown at the Stadium of Light, the term ‘club in crisis’ has been used to describe both Sunderland and Manchester United, who have both made unsatisfactory starts to the Premier League campaign.
The Black Cats currently prop up the rest having taken just one point from their opening six fixtures while the champions, perhaps more surprisingly, are in 12th following their three defeats in half a dozen outings and both teams are in desperate need of the boost that victory this weekend will provide.
Understandably, bookies expect United to be the team that kick-starts their season, William Hill installing them as 3/5 favourites, bet365 chalk the hosts up at 11/2 and it’s 3/1 (Skybet) to finish all-square on Wearside, a wager that might lure some given the failure of David Moyes’s men to beat West Brom last Saturday.
However, despite their inconsistency, the visitors should have too much for managerless Sunderland and Winner.com quote odds of 15/2 for United to finish on the right side of a 2-1 scoreline. Alternatively, BetVictor offer 13/5 about an away success by a one-goal margin, Stan James make Moyes’s faltering troops 7/2 to only rubber stamp their triumph in the second period, following a level first, and it’s a 3/1 shot at Stan James for fit-again Robin van Persie to put Manchester United 1-0 up.
Everton carded a third straight Premier League victory on Monday to retain their status as the only unbeaten team in the top flight but bookies expect that run to come to an end at Eastlands, where Manchester City are bet365’s 13/20 favourites for the points.
The buoyant Toffees are a 9/2 chance at betway and BetVictor make them 31/10 to snatch a share of the spoils, a result boss Roberto Martinez would settle for at this stage, however, City are strong on their own patch so they appeal at 27/10 (Ladbrokes) to edge a tight affair by one and also at 7/1 courtesy of BetVictor to grab the only goal.
West Brom silenced Old Trafford at the weekend, beating champions Manchester United 2-1 but they’re as high as 7/2 with betway to frank that form by dishing out similar treatment to league leaders Arsenal.
The Gunners, odds-on at 5/6 via Paddy Power, have carded five wins on the spin since losing on the opening day and they’re a generous 4/1 (Stan James) to shade this one after a level first period, just as they did at Swansea last time out.
At Carrow Road, Chelsea are just 3/5 with Winner.com to overcome Norwich, Tottenham are 2/5 at bet365 to triumph in the London derby against West Ham and high-flying Liverpool are home bankers at 2/9 (Ladbrokes) as they entertain struggling Crystal Palace. BetVictor combine that trio in a safe-looking treble at 17/10.
Finally, boosted by a late winner at Fulham, Cardiff (13/10, Stan James) get the nod as they host Newcastle, the Cottagers are an appealing 9/4 with Paddy Power to succumb to another home reverse, this time at the hands of Stoke while bet365 rate Southampton’s clash with Swansea at 12/5 to be inconclusive and it’s also 12/5, this time at Skybet, for Hull to divide the points with Aston Villa.
In Saturday’s Super League Grand Final, Warrington are slight favourites at 5/6 via Paddy Power to get the better of Wigan (6/5, Stan James) but bookmakers are certainly expecting a close encounter given that the Warriors only enjoy a two-point advantage in Winner.com’s handicaps.
The Wolves, who finished six points ahead of their opponents in the regular season standings should probably have the edge at Old Trafford and starting just two points behind they get the nod at even money (BetVictor).
Tony Smith’s team are also 13/8 courtesy of William Hill to be in front at both the interval and full-time while Warrington’s Australian wing-man Joel Monaghan is the bookies’ fancy in the first try-scorer market at 8/1 (Stan James) but the value may lie with Skybet’s 14/1 shot Ryan Atkins, who crossed the whitewash in the semi-final victory against Huddersfield.
The Formula One Drivers Championship has been all but wrapped up by Sebastian Vettel, whose seventh victory of the season (and third on the spin) leaves him 60 points ahead of nearest challenger Fernando Alonso.
The German is just 7/10 via betway to register a fourth successive victory as the teams move to Korea and the Red Bull man is also odds-on, this time at 4/5 with BetVictor, to claim pole position at the Korea International Circuit.
Finally in boxing, Wladimir Klitschko is just 1/5 at William Hill to retain his array of world heavyweight titles as he takes on Alexander Povetkin in Moscow and it’s hard to see him coming unstuck but it’s worth a modest flutter on Klitschko’s unbeaten Russian opponent at least taking it to the scorecards; Paddy Power pricing the giant Ukrainian at 11/4 to triumph on points.
Bet of the week: Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool treble – 17/10 (BetVictor).
Odds supplied by www.betrescue.com