Manchester United v. Stoke City
United are a fairly short order to beat Stoke at Old Trafford tonight even though their price has drifted to a best price of 4/11. It doesn’t look as poor value a price as the 2/5 Liverpool were to beat the Potters at Anfield a few weeks ago. The difference being is that United have at least a handful of potential goalscorers in form at present. In my opinion Antonio Valencia is possibly the most effective right sided attacker operating in the league at present. Welbeck, Scholes, Giggs and Carrick are all playing close to their potential also. United dominated the possession statistics for long spells of play at Anfield on Saturday and there is the potential this evening for them to record unearthly numbers in that department. Stoke have earned a reputation for solidity but their defence is far from impenetrable. It is most usual that they allow the opposition at least 6 opportunities to shoot at goal from inside the box over the ninety minutes. Granted that United are threatening to display defensive frailties but should Etherington be absent for Stoke, some of the threat will subside. Despite the numerous absentees from United’s panel, they are still able to field the better players this evening.
Recommended bet: Man. Utd to beat Stoke, 4/11.
Tottenham v. Wigan Athletic
Tottenham probably got away with one last Friday night at Watford. They were unusually quiet offensively, probably due to the absence of their excellent wide players, and they allowed Watford close to a dozen decent sights at their goal. Had Watford had genuine Premier League quality in their front line they would have had enough chances to win the game comfortably. It remains to be seen if Wigan will be able to capitalise on any similar generosity from Spurs. Absences will shape people’s thinking on how this match will play out. It is likely that Defoe and Lennon, two of Tottenham’s more mobile players, will not play. Rodellega of Wigan has been the subject of much transfer speculation over the past days and may have played his last game for the club. Diame is still away on African Cup of Nations duty and his tackling will be missed. The view of the bookmakers is that goal chances will be plentiful. Allowing for 26 efforts at goal and a conversion rate of just over 12 %, over 3.5 goals should be priced at close to 6-4. Most quotes are below this and some are as short as 6-5. An over 2.5 goals quote of 4-7 is more in line with the actual probablities. Even so, with the ever increasing variables associated with this fixture, a wager can not be confidently recommended.