Friendly form counts for little in the real world of competitive football, but David Moyes’ detractors have not been shy in illuminating Manchester United’s pre-season struggles against an array of vastly sub-par opponents.
However, expect the Scot to quieten these rumblings when the Red Devils obliterate Wigan at Wembley in the Community Shield. They’re available to back at a seemingly generous 1/4 to win a match against their 11/1-rated Lancastrian rivals, with the draw plated up as a 9/2 alternative.
Obviously, only those with the extensively padded bank accounts will be piling in with a bet on United capable of yielding a worthwhile return so, if you’re not lucky enough to be one of them, the handicap markets must appeal here.
Ladbrokes have attributed the favourites a price of 13/8 to add a 20th shield of the community to their collection inside normal time, with a two-goal handicap applied to their final total and this must be entertained.
Neighbourhood feuds are commonplace in the north west, but United and Wigan remain pretty amicable, though this might have something to do with the Latics allowing their far flashier adversaries from down the road to do as they will without ever registering their grievances.
Of the 17 tussles they’ve had in history, the Red Devils have prevailed on 16 occasions.
Nine of these defeats have been either by a 4-0 or 5-0 scoreline, with Wigan more accustomed to taking a pounding in this fixture and focussing on picking up points against foes of similar stature.
Now they’re in different divisions that attitude is likely to be intensified and, with the Latics already one game into their competitive calendar, it would come as something of a surprise if they turned in anything close to 100 per cent effort to win what is little more than a glorified friendly.
Bearing all of this in mind, a handicap victory for Moyes’ men is the only way to go as he looks to lay down a marker ahead of the coming campaign.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date