Sport

MM’s weekend wager: Manchester United to thrash Reading as Wigan Athletic upset travelling Toon

By Jeremy Culley

After forecasting Manchester City winning to nil against Barnsley in the FA Cup last week, MM hope to help you beat the bookies once more ahead of a crucial weekend in the Premier League.

Manchester United should continue their inexorable march to the title against Reading, Manchester City will fancy their chances of seeing off an Everton team wounded by last week’s loss to Wigan, while the Latics themselves must beat Newcastle to reignite their survival push.

Everton vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Goodison Park, Saturday 12.45pm

Everton (29/10, Bet365); Draw (45/17, Pinnacle); Manchester City (11/10, William Hill)

David Moyes will have been so disappointed with Everton’s capitulation last week to Wigan. His future at Goodison Park remains unclear and a first trophy would have been a fitting reward for the Scot, who has consistently inspired the Toffees to punch above their weight.

They must do so again if they are to prevail against City, with Roberto Mancini surely delighted at facing Everton in the wake of their disastrous reverse last week.

With City fresh – out of Europe and barely asked to leave second gear against Barnsley last week – an early goal may be on the cards if Everton start nervously.

A goal in the first ten minutes is 3/1 with SkyBet while Coral are offering 13/2 on City to strike in the same period.

11/10, available with several bookies, is decent value on City although, despite their recent woes, Everton are tough to beat at home – they’ve lost just one of 14 at Goodison this term.

To compound this, after leaking three goals to Wigan, Moyes will also strive to make Everton difficult to score against so perhaps 7/1 for 1-1 with BetVictor or Boylesport’s 12/1 price on 0-0 represent the most sensible bets.

Mancini also has a wretched record at Everton – losing all three previous visits with City – so BetVictor’s 25/1 for a 2-0 home win is a very generous price.

All runs come to an end, however, and the timing seems perfect for Mancini to end his Goodison hoodoo.

Tip: Away clean sheet, 2/1 with Bet365.

 MANCHESTER UNITED vs. Reading, Old Trafford, Saturday 5.30pm

Manchester United (2/11, William Hill); Draw (8/1, Bet365); Reading (20/1, BetVictor)

United – who are now as short as 1/25 to win the title with the bookies still offering the market – are similarly poor value to beat managerless Reading.

The price on the Reading win is astronomical – but still not enough to be tempting. The Royals parted company with Brian McDermott after falling four points away from safety by losing to relegation rivals Aston Villa.

Following their desperate recent performances – they lost 3-0 at home to Wigan last month – Reading may only be saved by the passionate Paulo Di Canio, although the bookies now rate the Italian and ex-Southampton boss Nigel Adkins as roughly joint favourites for the job.

Either way, United will breeze past them and allow a 12-point lead (possibly more) to comfort them as they continue to recover from exiting the Champions League at the hands of Real Madrid.

Goals are on the cards – 33/1 (BetVictor) is the best price you can get on a 6-0 United win, while StanJames will give you 28/1 on 5-1 United.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s side will hope to get the job done quickly, allowing them to take their foot off the gas if they establish a strong early lead, ensuring players remain fresh ahead of the international break.

Coral will give you a decent price of 14/5 on United to score in the first ten minutes while they will also give you 6/1 on Reading to win either half, not inconceivable if United lead 3-0 at half-time, for example.

For a cheeky bet, Rio Ferdinand is 20/1 with Coral to cap the week of his recall to the England squad by scoring at anytime.

Tip: Robin Van Persie to score two goals or more, 11/4 Betfred.

 WIGAN ATHLETIC vs. Newcastle United, DW Stadium, Sunday, 4pm

Wigan Athletic (11/8, StanJames); Draw (12/5 Pinnacle); Newcastle United (38/15, Pinnacle)

It’s that time of year again – when Wigan start out on a glorious route to safety having under-achieved for much of the season.

Stuffed by Liverpool in their last league outing, Wigan’s win at Everton will have given Roberto Martinez a timely fillip if no crucial league points.

The Latics will scoop points here, however, against a Newcastle outfit basking in the glory of Europa League progression on Thursday.

They also have a poor record at Wigan, winning on just one of their last seven visits, and benefitted from the 12th minute dismissal of Maynor Figueroa to see off the Latics in the North East in December.

It will be close, but full of goals, with Wigan’s defence as unreliable as their attacking play can be incisive.

3-2 Wigan is huge value at 28/1 with StanJames while a 2-1 home win is 19/2 with BetVictor.

They may fall behind en route to victory, though, and Papiss Cisse, hero of the Toon against Anzhi Makhachkala on Thursday, is 7/1 with Betway to open the scoring.   

Tip: Wigan to win by one goal, 13/4 with Ladbrokes.

 Accumulator: Bolton to win, Rochdale to lose, Bury and Oldham to draw (63/1 with SkyBet)

Bolton have won five on the spin and are good value to see off an Ipswich team in indifferent form, while Rochdale face a tough trip to Bristol Rovers, who beat promotion-chasing Port Vale in the week.

In League One, financially-stricken Bury face a dull stalemate with fellow-strugglers Colchester while Oldham should have enough to hold Bournemouth, who have won only one in six. 

Image courtesy of Yahoo UK video, with thanks.

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