Manchester United could have hardly imagined having a better day in the Premier League than they did after beating Arsenal 2-1.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s side failed to match their 8-2 humiliation of the Gunners in this fixture last season, but their dominant home victory slashes their odds for the title to 11/10.
And United couldn’t have asked for other fixtures to go as well as they did during the rest of the afternoon, as all their close rivals dropped points in the league.
Chelsea failed to retain their grasp on top spot after a late equaliser earned Swansea a draw at the Liberty Stadium, and with it increasing the Blues’ odds for a fourth Premier League trophy to 3/1.
Champions Manchester City couldn’t find a way through a tough West Ham defence at Upton Park, with their 0-0 draw dropping the Citizens to 15/8 second favourites to defend their title.
United are now a point ahead of Chelsea in England’s top flight, with a two-point advantage over their sworn Manchester enemies.
And with Fergie’s squad searching for vengeance after losing control of last season’s league title in stoppage time of the 38th game, you can be sure the motivation is there to succeed this time.
Inevitably it was £24m summer signing Robin Van Persie that sent the hosts on their way to victory over Arsenal, as the Dutchman scored against the first former club he had ever faced.
Gunners fans might not take much consolation from their team’s performance, or indeed Van Persie’s muted celebration after opening the scoring, as he epitomises exactly what the North London club are missing at the moment.
The prolific 29-year-old striker now has eight league goals to his name for United this season and is priced at 7/4 to win back-to-back golden boots.
Such short odds so early in the campaign serve to reinforce how important Van Persie’s goalscoring credentials are, having edged Wayne Rooney by three in 2011/12 finishing the term with 30 strikes.
The ex-Feyenoord player has pushed Rooney back into a deeper, more creative role while Van Persie has enjoyed the lions share of the goals, tactics that have seemingly improved Man Utd as a team.
Luis Suárez and Fernando Torres are both 7/1 to overhaul the Red Devils marksman this season, and Carlos Tévez is worth keeping an eye on at 10/1.
Demba Ba is just a goal behind Van Persie currently, and odds of 12/1 are generous if he can sustain his early season form and fitness.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.