It seems pretty certain that the two Premier League matches involving the Manchester giants will go a long, long way to deciding who will be this year's champions. Ahead of the first of those two meetings (Sky Sports 1 HD, 1330), Sky Bet's Premier League title betting reads 5/6 United and 13/10 City, with Chelsea distant third favourites at 14/1. As for Sunday's match odds, home advantage means City get the nod at 5/4 while United are 2/1 and the draw 5/2. Although Vincent Company's goal decided a hugely tense battle at the end of last season, the other three games between this pair last year produced 16 goals. And when you look at this year's table, one of the startling figures is the number next to United in the away goals column. Sir Alex's men, who won 3-2 in the FA Cup at the Etihad last year, have banged in 18 on the road - six more than anyone else - and have to be fancied to add more against a less than watertight City defence. United have netted 3 or more goals in 7 of their 12 away games but let plenty in too so go for a United win and both teams to score at 4/1. Wayne Rooney's goals tend to come in bursts so after his brace against Reading last week, back him to score two or more goals again at a juicy 14/1. Rooney, who will be on penalty duty, has netted in only five games this season but in three of those he scored twice. Forget his limp performance against Cluj as he'll be right up for this.
Having beaten Chelsea to extend their home record to four wins, three draws and just a single loss, West Ham will surely fancy their chances of turning over Liverpool in Sunday's second live Sky helping. The big key here is that Luis Suarez is suspended, leaving the Reds without a single recognised striker of senior standing. Of Liverpool's 10 away league goals this season, Suarez has scored six, three have been own goals and just one has been scored by a Reds player other than the Uruguayan. Therefore, the chances of Brendan Rogers' men failing to find the scoresheet are pretty strong, especially as the Hammers don't let that many in anyway. The best way to cash in on the Hammers taking advantage of a Suarez-less Liverpool is to back West Ham to win to nil. It pays a very juicy 4/1.
So, no more European football for Manchester City this season and only Europa Cup action for Chelsea - not what their respective mega-bucks owners would have expected. However, despite the disappointment of crashing out of the main competition, I still think Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez will enjoy getting his teeth stuck into the Europa Cup. The Spanish boss loves the tactical dance of European competition and Chelsea look a very good bet at 9/1 with Sky Bet to lift the trophy. Get on now. Atletico Madrid are the 7/1 favourites while Zenit St Petersburg are third best at 10/1. But the Blues really don't have much to fear looking down the rest of the contenders and Benitez, who won the Champions League with Liverpool and the UEFA Cup with Valencia, can lead Chelsea to victory in the Amsterdam Arena on May 15.
We're approaching crunch time in this year's round of reality programmes and Sky Bet have a full set of odds on all the action. Firstly, the X Factor and this looks a hard final to call. James Arthur and Jahmene Douglas are locked together at 5/4 at the front of the market but could the much derided Christopher Maloney go all the way? It's 4/1 that he can. If you want to predict the correct order, Sky Bet also have straight forecast betting and Jahmene to win with James in second is the 9/4 favourite in that market. Strictly is regarded as pretty much a two-horse race with Louis Smith (4/5) expected to get the better of 2/1 Denise van Outen. It's then back to 8/1 Dani Harmer. Sports Personality is also on the horizon and Bradley Wiggins remains the clear 4/11 favourite to win the Beeb gong on December 16th. Mo Farah is 11/2 second favourite ahead of 6/1 Jessica Ennis.