Another weekend that shook the outright markets to their foundations was beheld in the Premier League, with pacesetters Chelsea particularly pleased after a 2-0 win over Newcastle saw them edge ahead in the title reckoning once more.
Liverpool and Arsenal will also be enjoying their Monday mornings after securing full points-quotas, but a number of top-flight movers and shakers continue to show their ugly sides:
QPR are in trouble
After going down 2-1 at Burnley, QPR’s horrible away record now reads played 11, lost 11 in all competitions since promotion through the playoffs in May.
Man Utd, Southampton, Spurs, Arsenal, Everton, Chelsea, West Ham and Newcastle visit Loftus Road in that order between now and the end of term, so Harry Redknapp’s relegation favourites better shape up on the road if they are to defy 7/10 odds about them going down.
Neither Aston Villa nor Hull are safe
Paul Lambert’s men aren’t exactly a fancy price for relegation at 10/3, but Villa last scored in the Premier League over a month ago and are potentially a loss away from 19th place.
The Tigers would have overtaken the Villans with any kind of win over West Brom, having claimed six points from the past nine available, but going down 1-0 at the Hawthorns means Steve Bruce’s side remain mired in the bottom three.
Hull are 7/4 to go down and won’t get much bigger over the next while, with Newcastle and West Ham to come away, and Man City at home, before their KC Stadium six-pointer against Lambert and co in mid-February.
Manchester City will probably throw away the title
Joe Hart showed admirable chutzpah when speaking up on Match of the Day regarding Everton’s equaliser in the champions’ 1-1 draw at Goodison Park, but the England keeper really ought to pick his battles better.
Leighton Baines fooled Hart with a flat delivery, leaving the City stopper grasping oxygen as Steven Naismith, who is no Jan Koller or even Tim Cahill in the air, connected with the cross.
It seems no amount of money can fix City’s frailty in defence, with Eliaquim Mangala yet to prove world class. Manuel Pellegrini needs a fully fit Vincent Kompany back quickly
Manchester United are far from the finished article
Louis van Gaal was gracious enough to admit that his side were lucky not to lose at St Mary’s five weeks ago, when Robin van Persie was the difference in a 2-1 win, so the ‘Iron Tulip’ can’t complain about compatriot Ronald Koeman snaffling all three points from Old Trafford.
It has already been widely reported that United failed to muster a shot on target in the match, suggesting Van Gaal’s decision to drop Radamel Falcao from the squad was as bad as it first seemed.
Something isn’t quite right at Old Trafford yet. If anything, 40/1 about United making it 14 Premier League titles this term seems short.
Following up a cracking victory over league leaders Chelsea with defeat away to one of the bottom six, having been ahead with 25 minutes to go, doesn’t bode well for the north Londoners’ 6/1-rated top-four aspirations.
The Eagles may have had reason to soar, with new boss Alan Pardew in the home dugout for the first time in the top flight, but Crystal Palace took just five points in six home matches since September prior to this fixture.
Mauricio Pochettino clearly needs January additions in attack, with each of the five Premier League sides in front of his, plus seventh-placed West Ham, ahead in the scoring ranks.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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