MM’s weekend wager: Wigan to snatch point in desperate battle for survival as City and United seal narrow Manchester win double

By Jeremy Culley

Mystic Mancunian Matters foresaw Wigan’s high-scoring draw with Spurs last week and envisage another tense battle for relegation-haunted Latics.

Manchester City travel to Wales to face Swansea while United will look to underline their status as England’s top team by beating Europa League finalists Chelsea.

MM give punters the best tips for the packed weekend schedule once again, with Bolton also needing a win to secure a Championship play-off place.

West Bromwich Albion vs. WIGAN ATHLETIC, The Hawthorns, Saturday 3pm

West Bromwich Albion (29/20, BetVictor); Draw (11/5, StanJames); Wigan Athletic (5/2, Bet365)

Given Wigan’s penchant for leaving their best Premier League form for when the cricket season is in full swing, a price of 5/2 on them triumphing in the West Midlands against a team safely ensconced in mid-table is enticing.

Only a last-gasp own goal from Emmerson Boyce denied them a fine win over top-four chasing Spurs last week and few would back against Latics following up the 2-2 draw with more goals at the Hawthorns.

The bookies agree – Ladbrokes’ hardly pulse-racing price of 13/20 is therefore the best out there for the popular Both Teams to Score market.

A better price, when Wigan’s desperate need for points is considered, is 188Bet’s 20/19 on Roberto Martinez’s team to win either half.

Five points behind Aston Villa, Wigan will fight for the end but may also be wracked with tension; the turnaround market suddenly takes on more allure for these reasons.

Wigan half-time/draw full-time is 16/1 with BetVictor while Betfred offer the same price on West Brom half-time/draw full-time.

Alternatively, if you see more goals, Betfair will give you a generous 33/1 on a 3-2 Latics win, while Arouna Kone is 16/1 to score two or more goals with PaddyPower.

An interesting final punt is a couple of quid on a Peter Odemwingie anytime goal. The wantaway winger was labelled ‘t**t of the year’ by ITV host Adrian Chiles at Albion’s end-of-year awards, a joke which certainly did not leave manager Steve Clarke laughing.

Ladbrokes are offering 9/4 on the Dutchman silencing Chiles – surely pleasing Roy Keane in doing so – by netting in this one.

Tip: Draw (11/5, StanJames)

Swansea City vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Liberty Stadium, Saturday 3pm

Swansea City (9/2, Bet365); Draw (3/1, Bet365); Manchester City (4/5, William Hill)

Michael Laudrup’s Swans have discernibly dipped since winning the Capital One Cup, suggesting City should win this one as they look for top form to take into the FA Cup final with Wigan.

In beating West Ham last week, Roberto Mancini’s team were somewhat underwhelming and they will face a sterner test in South Wales.

The Italian will be keen to ensure City secure second spot, though, and Swansea are winless in six Premier League games, including home defeats to Arsenal and Spurs.

It will be probably be tight but City ought to be hopeful of keeping a clean sheet, with Swansea having struggled lately for goals.

Draw half-time/City full-time is tasty value at 4/1 with BetVictor, with the same bookie again whetting the appetite with a price of 9/1 on a 2-0 away win.

Scott Sinclair – who Mancini has hinted may leave City in the summer with former club Swansea a favourite to sign him – may get the chance to impress both and is 5/1 to score anytime with Coral.

Tip: City to win by one goal (14/5, Ladbrokes)

MANCHESTER UNITED vs. Chelsea, Old Trafford, Sunday 4pm

Manchester United (5/4, 888sport); Draw (13/5, BetVictor); Chelsea (5/2, William Hill)

Buoyant United fans will see this clash as a chance to line their pockets in a week the club announced a record turnover of £91m for the last quarter.

Very rarely will United be odds against at home – a generous compliment to visitors Chelsea, who made the Europa League final on Thursday in seeing off FC Basel.

Despite this, and Chelsea’s need for the points to secure Champions League football next year, United will win through.

Sir Alex Ferguson will stress to his players that they cannot allow their season to peter out – or their achievements risk losing some gloss.

 There are usually goals aplenty in these battles and SportingBet are risking a shortfall in offering 19/10 on over 3.5 goals.

Robin Van Persie, with four goals in his last two, is short at 9/2 to open the scoring, but a man in equally good form in front of goal, boasting a fine record against United, is David Luiz.

The Brazilian sealed Chelsea’s win over FC Basel with a thunderbolt on Thursday, and Bwin will give you 28/1 on him repeating those heroics by opening the scoring at Old Trafford.

For those of you wanting something safe to stake a large sum on, look no further than the draw no bet market.

United are 8/13 on this with 888sport – they are often far shorter than this on the outright market at home.

Tip: United to win by one goal (10/3, 888sport)

Lower league extra: Bolton to win promotion (4/1, StanJames)

With Nottingham Forest breathing down their necks, Bolton must beat Blackpool to secure a play-off spot, a feat they should comfortably accomplish having won their last eight at home.

Bolton winning on Saturday commands only 4/9 from the bookies, but there is decent money to be made by backing Wanderers to seal an immediate Premier League return.

With top-flight players, the best form and, possibly, a semi-final tie with whoever misses out on second place out of Hull and Watford, the omens for Bolton to cap off an incredible run of form with promotion look strong.

Image courtesy of BBC Sport, via YouTube, with thanks.

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