Sometimes the work of Sky Sports’ marketing department is done for them, and all the hyperbole and bombastic bravado of a ‘Super Sunday’ is inherent in the fixtures of the day.
This week is one such occasion, with table toppers Manchester City welcoming a red-hot Southampton to the City of Manchester Stadium, and later ‘The Return’ (okay, so Sky tried their best to Hollywood the occasion) of Jose Mourinho to Stamford Bridge as Manchester United take on Chelsea.
Here are the pick of Sunday’s Premier League betting tips:
Manchester City vs Southampton (1:30pm)
Everyone has got an opinion about the beautiful game, and often these are just thoughts and theories based on pretty much nothing. But when an opinion can be backed by stats then it becomes fact; such as, ‘Manchester City can’t defend.’ That’s an opinion, but when you remember that they have conceded in 7/8 Premier League matches this term it kinda becomes a fact.
Of course, they can outscore anybody on the planet on their day so it’s not all doom and gloom, but as Tottenham and Everton have proved in the past few weeks if you can stop them from scoring two or more goals then you stand an excellent chance of taking a positive result away from the game.
So can Southampton do the business on Sunday lunchtime? They are certainly capable: they have scored in five of their last six games, have the best Shots on Target ratio (SOT for/against) in the division and have conceded one in their last four outings.
This fixture is badly timed for City too on the back of their trip to Barcelona in midweek, and those fancying the Saints to do a job of sorts are encouraged to get stuck in. We’ll be taking the +1 Asian Handicap in their favour at 11/10 with BetVictor – even if they lose by a single goal our stake will be refunded.
Our research led us to Both Teams to Score, and while it is a very tempting proposition quotes of 8/11 are a fraction too short to be of interest. So let’s try something slightly riskier: Southampton have netted eight of their ten goals in the second half of matches, so we’ll take the lofty 9/4 with bet365 on Both Teams to Score (Second Half).
Chelsea vs Manchester United
Jose Mourinho parked the bus at Anfield on Monday night, so let’s hope he has another vehicle on its way as he masterminds another smash-and-grab raid on his former employers on Sunday evening.
The Blues have recovered very nicely since their mini-slump, and a switch to a 3-4-3 formation has certainly helped them in both defence (two clean sheets) and attack (five scored). With Willian back in the fray, they will be bolstered yet further.
Manchester United’s strategy against Liverpool left a little to be desired, but Mourinho has never been known for his entertaining brand of football and he certainly isn’t going to start now. He will employ the same tactics as Monday: flood the midfield with bodies and defend in numbers when without the ball. The fact that Liverpool’s best effort came from a 25-yard shot from Philippe Coutinho suggests that the Special One’s strategy worked.
All of which leads punters to another dour, conservative 90 minutes – particularly from the red side. Mourinho’s ego is such that he won’t want to lose against the players that betrayed him so badly in 2015/16, even if it is to the detriment of his own team. As such, Under 2.5 Goals (10/11, Betfred) has to be our first port of call.
That 0-0 stalemate with Liverpool was United’s first clean sheet in five attempts, and that would have been welcomed very warmly. The consequence of focusing on defending is that your offensive play suffers, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s missed header was the only time that the Red Devils troubled their opponents. With Chelsea coming into this one with back-to-back clean sheets, Both Teams to Score – No has to be a play at 23/20 with BetVictor.
Much of the spotlight in Liverpool-United was on Anthony Taylor, and he did well to keep the card count to four in a sensible display of officiating. With less media intensity prior to this one, less pressure will be on Martin Atkinson and for two teams that like to put their foot in, Over 4.5 Cards at 4/5 with bet365 is not out of the