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With Sir Alex Ferguson's side boosted by the arrival of Robin van Persie, Adam Bate expects last season's runners-up to punish the notoriously slow-starting Toffees at Goodison

Manchester United fans have become increasingly agitated in recent seasons by the apparent unwillingness to sign true superstar footballers. And then they went and bought Robin van Persie.

The £24 million purchase of the current PFA Player of the Year and last season’s Golden Boot winner may have tilted the title race more in United’s favour as excitement grows about the Dutchman's potential partnership with Wayne Rooney.

Whether or not Sir Alex Ferguson feels able to start the pair against Everton is another matter but it’s had an impact on the odds – the Red Devils are now odds-on at 10/11 (1.91) with William Hill to beat the Toffees at Goodison Park.

Van Persie himself is 4/1 (5.0) to open the scoring but it may be wiser to select the Dutchman in the last goalscorer market if Ferguson elects to go with one striker and hold back his new acquisition.

After all, a trip to face David Moyes’ men is a tricky opener and it was Everton who were the opponents when United’s Old Trafford meltdown reinvigorated Manchester City’s title ambitions last season, especially as the visitors may be missing a number of their defensive options.

A repeat of that dramatic 4-4 scoreline is 200/1 (201.0) with William Hill. But in front of their own fans, Everton will hope to better that result and pick up all three points.

Although Jack Rodwell has left for Manchester City, the addition of Kevin Mirallas, to go with the signing of Steven Pienaar, means that Moyes has actually strengthened the squad.

Everton are 10/3 (4.33) to start with a win, while the draw is available at 23/10 (3.30) with William Hill.

In the goalscorer markets, if United do start with Rooney supported by Shinji Kagawa then the England international could make the price of 9/2 (5.5) against his former club look a very good one.

Nikica Jelavic is almost certain to perform that role for Everton and, having netted the opening goal in six of his 13 games for the club, the 7/1 (8.0) price for him looks chunky.

But Moyes’ men have an unwelcome habit of starting the season slowly and with United boosted by the mere presence of Van Persie, the smart money is on a Red Devils win at 10/11 (1.91) despite their defensive problems.

That’s the pick of the bets, but for the value option consider it likely that Ferguson elects to keep things tight before the interval only to introduce his forwards after the break.

Backing Draw/Manchester United in the half-time/full-time market looks a tempter at an industry-best 4/1 (5.0) with William Hill.

Manchester United to win at 10/11 (1.91) with William Hill
Draw/Manchester United at 4/1 (5.0) with William Hill

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Adam Bate is a professional freelance journalist who specialises in football and betting. He is editor of GhostGoal which can be found here - you can also follow Adam on

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