After three wins from three on Easter Saturday for the Manchester clubs – as forecasted by MM – focus switches to United’s huge FA Cup quarter-final clash at Chelsea.
MM gives you the insight into all the midweek betting, with Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport and Hyde in crucial league action.
Chelsea vs MANCHESTER UNITED, Stamford Bridge, Monday, 12.30pm
Chelsea (6/4, Ladbrokes); Draw (13/5, Bet365); Manchester United (19/10, William Hill)
Defeat to Manchester United spelt the end for Martin O’Neill at Sunderland on Saturday and Sir Alex Ferguson’s team do battle with another besieged boss on Monday in Rafa Benitez.
Any hope the Spaniard has of rescuing something positive from his strained tenure in West London rests on beating United here and going on to win the FA Cup.
After defeat at Southampton on Saturday – the Blues’ third straight away reverse – Chelsea’s hopes of retaining Champions League status next year are hanging by a thread.
But they will find solace by inflicting a rare defeat on United, a result which, with home advantage, is decent value at 6/4.
This bold shout is no April fool. United’s mood is far better than Chelsea’s currently, but they will have half-an-eye on next week’s derby with City, in which they could effectively clinch the title.
Ferguson has not tasted FA Cup success since 2004 – a poor return for a club of United’s stature – while Chelsea find their best form in the competition, winning it three times in the last four years.
It would be foolish to write off United – victory could send another manager to the gallows, ending Benitez’s unhappy interim period at Chelsea – and evens on the champions-elect to qualify, even if extra time and penalties are needed, is a fantastic price.
Wayne Rooney – rested for the 1-0 win at Sunderland – should return and is 13/2 with StanJames to open the scoring, as he has done twice before for United at Chelsea.
A repeat of United’s winning margin at the Stadium of Light is a tasty 13/1, but Chelsea will complete a cup double over Ferguson’s side, having knocked them out of the Capital One Cup in October.
David Luiz, who has scored three times against United at Stamford Bridge in the last three seasons, is a good bet at 8/1 with Coral to net anytime.
BetVictor are offering 19/2 on the Blues winning 2-1 which is not to be sniffed at, while the ever-popular turnaround market provides great value – United half-time/Chelsea full-time is an astonishing 28/1 with SportingBet.
Tip: Chelsea to win by one goal (7/2, 888sport)
BOLTON WANDERERS vs. Huddersfield Town, Reebok Stadium, Tuesday 8pm
Bolton Wanderers (4/5, William Hill); Draw (11/4, Ladbrokes); Huddersfield Town (9/2 SkyBet)
Bolton’s play-off hopes faded as quickly as their two-goal lead at Charlton on Saturday, but they will gain comfort from a fifth successive home win against struggling Huddersfield.
13/2 from BetVictor on 1-0 Bolton should quite simply be a licence to print money – Huddersfield have lost two of their last three by the score, while the Whites’ last three home games have ended 1-0.
January signing Medo Kamara is 18/1 to open the scoring with the consistently generous BetVictor, after the Sierra Leonean netted his first Wanderers goal at the Valley.
Tip: Both teams to score, no (evens, PaddyPower)
Fivefold: Oldham to win, Stockport and Hyde to draw, Bury and Rochdale to lose (86/1, Ladbrokes)
Latics must beat fellow-strugglers Colchester to enhance their survival hopes, but their success will not be matched by Bury, who should struggle at in-form Leyton Orient.
Rochdale face a tough trip to Exeter, Hyde will follow their terrific win over Wrexham with a point at Barrow while Stockport – in need of a win – will be held by Grimsby at Edgeley Park.
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Picture courtesy of Sport Review, with thanks.