Sports Betting Weekly

Manchester United v Sunderland

When: Saturday, 28 February 2015 @ 21:00 (FINISHED)
Where: Old Trafford
While Louis van Gaal may have claimed that his side were unlucky to lose to Swansea last weekend, there can be no denying that despite the points they’ve accumulated recently, such a defeat has been in the post for some time. Quite simply, the performances have not matched the results.

Indeed, although Van Gaal has talked about imposing his “philosophy” on United, it was fitting that his 26th league game in charge mirrored the opposition and the scoreline of his first – and if the Red Devils boss is to prove that he’s actually made a real difference during his time at Old Trafford, his side will certainly need to bounce back with a convincing win over lowly Sunderland on Saturday.

Fortunately, the bookies are backing United to win the game at a canter, with Van Gaal’s men priced as massive 2/5 favourites for the tie and the visitors out at 19/2. For obvious reasons neither one of those prices is likely to drum up much interest, but given Sunderland are the Premier League’s draw specialist with 13 stalemates from their 26 games, the 4/1 on the game finishing all-square might.

True, United’s home record has been incredibly strong – with the 1-0 defeat to Southampton in January representing only the third time they’ve failed to win at Old Trafford all season – but with their confidence knocked by last weekend’s game and Gus Poyet’s men having recorded eight 0-0 draws this season, you can get a massive 13/1 on them frustrating the opposition by that scoreline once more.

Interestingly, with the exception of heavy defeats to Manchester City and Southampton, Sunderland have generally only lost their games by narrow margins, so backing them to beat United by virtue of a one goal headstart may be worth a look at 40/17, with Van Gaal’s men to draw -1 also tempting at 11/4. Nevertheless, we must remember that despite their short odds, United are favourites for good reason and with 2-0 the bookies’ favoured scoreline (11/2), they’ll get plenty of backers to win to nil in this one.

If the Red Devils are to concede against a Sunderland side who have failed to score in their last three domestic fixtures, there are only really two stand-out candidates to breach their rear-guard – Jermaine Defoe and Adam Johnson – but with United holding home advantage, both are better picked as anytime goalscorers at 4/1 and 17/2 respectively. For the hosts, meanwhile, Robin van Persie is an injury doubt, while Radamel Falcao did not feature in the last game against Swansea, making Wayne Rooney the best first scorer option at 9/2 and Ander Herrera – who has two goals in his last two games for United – also an interesting outside proposition at longer odds of 11/1.