United are at the summit and are seemingly scraping results out of bad performances and, whilst many will say that is the hallmark of a winning side, their defence this season has been leakier than a bottomless bucket. City, in second, have fared no better, failing to close out games and struggling to win away.
Arsenal have slumped so badly that they sit just two points above Liverpool and some sections of their fan base have started the calls for Wenger to stand down or be sacked. This is the same Arsene Wenger that transformed their club and, to a degree, English football to the level it is today.
And then there’s Chelsea. The "Rafa In, Rafa Out, Rafa shake it all about" brigade have been in full force since Benitez’s appointment.
I mean, it’s perfectly normal to question the results of a man who’s been in a job for just 3 weeks, right?
All jokes aside, Roman Abramovich may have tinkered with things a bit too much this season and they are in real danger of falling away from being realistic title challengers.
The trouble is, for all the problems that these four clubs are having, there’s not one other club out there that’s making a genuine claim to take them on.
Everton and West Brom looked to have the best chance to break things up based on early season form, but both clubs have stuttered and stalled over the last couple of games. Spurs are currently occupying fourth place and have been getting much better results than at the start of the season, but title winners? I think not.
You may wonder where this semi-rant is going, but with most clubs showing inconsistent form, it’s getting harder to find a bet worth taking, especially when it comes to accumulators. In the Champions League this week, how many multiples would have been sunk by Barcelona not winning at home to Benfica? My guess is plenty.
Both Teams to Score double: Southampton v Reading and Everton v Tottenham
Therefore, I’m going to continue down the goals market route and in particular the both teams to score markets. My first bet of the weekend is a both teams to score double and involves Southampton vs Reading and Everton vs Spurs. It’s currently priced at 9/5 (2.8) with Paddy Power and I will be having £20 of my bankroll on this.
In the last six head-to-heads between Southampton and Reading, both teams have managed to score in four of them. The exact same statistics applies to Everton and Spurs too.
At home Southampton’s games have seen both teams score 75 per cent of the time, whilst Reading’s away goals have seen both teams score just under 60% of the time.
More interesting though is that those games were all against similar grade sides to Southampton – Wigan, QPR, Swansea – and against Chelsea.
Everton at home have seen both teams score 86% of the time – the one time it didn’t occur was against Manchester United, as the Blues ran out 1-0 surprise winners. Tottenham, when playing away have also seen both teams score 86% of the time, with the one anomaly being when they played a lacklustre Fulham side and ran out 3-0 winners. With just three points separating them, both sides will be going all out for the win.
Javier Hernandez to score anytime (Manchester City v Manchester United)
My second bet for the weekend is in the Manchester derby and I’m eyeing up a last scorer bet. Mexico international Javier Hernandez is a tasty 8/1 (9.0) with Paddy Power to score the last goal and I will have £10 on this.
He’s scored five league goals so far this term and nine goals in total. Of the five league goals, three of these were the last goals in the game (and another of the five occurred when he scored twice against Villa), whilst of his nine goals in all competitions, he’s scored the last goal five times.
Considering that he will most likely start on the bench in what should be a tight, scrappy affair, the likelihood of him coming on as a substitute and making an impact is high.
It gets even better though as Paddy Power are also offering a money back special on the game, where all losing first scorer, last scorer, correct score and scorecast bets will be refunded if Robin van Persie scores at any time during the match. This is an unbelievable offer and in theory, by the time Hernandez comes on, we may already be guaranteed our money back.
Win a £20 free bet
Once again, we didn’t have a winner of the Paddy Power free £20 bet this week, however, we've got another £20 free bet to give away this week. To win just email firstname.lastname@example.org with your best tip for the weekend, the price from Paddy Power and the word "Power20" in the subject line.
It could be a well-priced single, an ambitious multiple or any other bet available in all of Paddy Power's football markets around the world for games taking place from 8th - 9th December.
Surely you can find a winning tip. Just send in your selection (one entry per reader), the price available at Paddy Power, and include "Power20" in the subject line before midday on Saturday to enter. Good luck and enjoy you’re football this weekend!
Balance at the start of the week: £431.30
Profit on the season: -£59.70
|Both Teams to Score Double: £20 at 9/5 (2.80) with Paddy Power
|Javier Hernandez to score last: £10 at 8/1 (9.00) with Paddy Power|
|Total staked this week: £30|
Sign up with Paddy Power for up to £250 in free bets
Simon Pilkington is a sports writer, an avid supporter of Liverpool and has been betting on sports for the past 13 years. Follow Simon on
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