1) City climb to second after cruising to victory over Palace
What a title race this is turning out to be. Manchester City’s 4-0 win over Crystal Palace at the Etihad ensured four teams ended the weekend separated by just three points. Defender John Stones scored twice which was 250/1 prior to kick-off.
Pep Guardiola’s side currently occupy second place, just two points behind their neighbours Manchester United after another dramatic weekend of action. It was an emphatic statement to their title rivals that they deserve to be mentioned just as much as Liverpool and United in terms of winning the title.
City play before United on Wednesday and if the Citizens can beat Aston Villa at the Etihad, they will knock United off their perch even if it is only for an hour or two.
Guardiola’s men have a game in hand on their title rivals which boosts their chances of being crowned champions for the fifth time in 10 seasons. They can be backed at 1.645/8 to end the season as champions.
2) Point at Anfield keeps United top of the table
On November 1, Liverpool’s advantage over Manchester United was nine points. In the following two-and-a-half months, United have turned that deficit into a three-point cushion over the champions. It would have been six had they converted one of their two glorious second half chances at Anfield.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer secretly would have taken a point before kick-off, but he knows with Liverpool’s makeshift defence, it was a missed opportunity for his rejuvenated squad. After City picked up three points at home to Crystal Palace, United lead the league by two points and they can be backed at 8.615/2 to win the title.
Not everyone is convinced this United team can go on and win their first title since 2013 and layers will be watching their performances closely; they are currently 8.88/1 to lay.
As for Liverpool, the clean sheet with skipper Jordan Henderson deployed as an emergency centre-half was the only notable highlight as they failed to score in a third successive league game for the first time since March 2005.
The champions are currently doing things the hard way but their title odds are better than United’s. Jurgen Klopp’s side can be backed at 5.39/2 to retain their title.
3) Wolves’ season is losing direction fast
Prior to the season beginning, Wolves were expected to improve on their seventh place finish and reaching the quarter-finals of last season’s Europa League.
They missed out on qualifying for European football this season which was seen as a blessing in disguise as it meant they could concentrate on the league and look to break the top four for the first time in the Premier League era.
However, this season has been a major disappointment with one big loss following another on and off the pitch. First they lost Diogo Jota who joined Liverpool. Then they lost leading scorer Raul Jimenez who sustained a fractured skull at the end of November. And Saturday’s home defeat to West Brom was their ninth loss of the campaign.
Manager Nuno Espirito Santo is in danger of undoing all the good work he has done since taking the job in May 2017 and a trip to Chelsea in their next league game takes on greater importance. Defeat and the heat could intensify as will talk about his future as Wolves boss.
Right now, the Portuguese can be backed at 11.5 to be the next manager to leave his post. Santo will have confidence in his ability to lead this team back to the good times. A top 10 finish can be backed at 4.84/1.
4) Chelsea end their away drought, but fail to impress
Chelsea’s 1-0 win at Fulham may have ended the Blues’ run of three successive defeats away from home, but it was a less than impressive display against a Fulham side that played the entire second half with 10 men.
It was a performance that will leave manager Frank Lampard scratching his head wondering what his best starting XI really is. Nearing the midway point of the season, Lampard seems no nearer to knowing that than he did when he welcomed over £230m of new signings to the squad in the off-season.
A trip to Leicester tomorrow night will either rekindle Chelsea’s title hopes or effectively end them for another season. It wasn’t that long ago, the knives were out for Lampard who can be backed at 4.57/2 to be the next manager to leave his position.
Victory at the King Power Stadium will buy Lampard some extra time and keep alive their hopes of a top four finish which can be backed at 2.427/5. But Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich will hope he doesn’t have to sack a club legend.
5) Baggies’ survival hopes boosted by derby win
Just when it looked West Brom looked destined for relegation, they pulled out their biggest win of the season at neighbours Wolves. It may only have been the Baggies’ second league win of the campaign, but the manner in which they claimed bragging rights in the Black Country derby will have renewed hopes of staying up.
After losing their previous two league games by a combined score of 9-0, few gave Sam Allardyce’s side a chance at Molineux despite taking an early lead with an eighth minute penalty. West Brom went in at half-time trailing 2-1, but turned the game on its head with a solid second half display to win 3-2.
Things got better for Big Sam when Burnley and Fulham both lost to leave the Baggies five points from safety. There is still plenty of work for Allardyce to do before he can celebrate another successful survival mission, but another away win at West Ham tomorrow would help their cause and perhaps persuade layers to challenge the Baggies for relegation; they are currently 1.364/11 to lay.
Saturday’s win was a timely one for Allardyce who was beginning to feel the heat after heavy losses at home to Leeds and Arsenal. The pressure was eased with their derby win, but the boss knows the pressure will soon return if more big defeats come his way. Allardyce can be backed at 12.011/1 to be the next manager to leave his post.