This weekend could prove pivotal in the race for the Premier League title. Leaders Manchester City entertain Bolton on Saturday, and on Sunday, 2nd place faces 3rd when Tottenham clash with Manchester United. The White Hart Lane fixture has polarised opinion, but is there any betting value?
Manchester United Win (6/4 @ Ladbrokes)
This is a mouth watering clash, and everyone seems to have an opinion. With some key team news still to be confirmed (Gareth Bale and Wayne Rooney being the most notable), forming any ideas at this stage is tough.
What is known for certain is that Scott Parker will be suspended. That is an obvious blow for Spurs, and some analysis of the games he has missed provides some useful information in what looks a tight game to call.
With Scott Parker in the team (in all competitions), Tottenham win 63% of their games, without him it drops to 50%. Similarly, the loss rate rises from 13% with him, to 29% without. Those figures may not be hugely alarming for the home fans, until we notice that of the 7 wins Spurs registered without Parker, two came against Shamrock Rovers and one versus Cheltenham.
Surprisingly, the defensive numbers for the North Londoners do not suffer unduly when Parker is absent – so the 8/11 about Over 2.5 goals is not as appealing as it may appear at first glance.
United pinched a late win at Norwich last weekend, and they have now picked up 9 away wins this term, including the scalp of Arsenal, and draws at Liverpool and Chelsea. They have yet to travel to the Etihad Stadium in the League, but have won there in the FA Cup as well. They are strong on the road and have that familiar United talent for getting the job done.
The absence of skipper Scott Parker swings the tie in favour of United in a way which makes the 6/4 about them offer some value (Ladbrokes). With Nani and Ashley Young able to get at Tottenham more readily, take the Champions to maintain their formidable record against Spurs.