A Christmas cracker
Ed Chamberlin wonders if Arsenal's back four can handle Manchester City's flair on Super Sunday.
Last Updated: 16/12/11 9:59am
Sky Bet's Title odds: 4/5 Man City, 2/1 Man Utd, 8/1 Chelsea, 20/1 Tottenham, 25/1 Arsenal, 66/1 Liverpool, 200/1 Newcastle
Chelsea's win over Manchester City on the Monday Night Football didn't exactly blow the title race wide open but it certainly made it a lot more interesting. It also set up a Christmas cracker of a Super Sunday this weekend.
Sky Bet reacted to City's defeat by pushing them out to 4/5 from 8/13. Yet for 25 minutes on Monday night at Stamford Bridge, City were sensational again and Gary Neville and I thought we were in for a repeat of one of the destruction jobs we saw at White Hart Lane and Old Trafford.
The wheels came off on Monday but this is still a seriously good Manchester City side, who are going to be very hard to beat and a rightly still odds on.
United are unchanged at 2/1 to retain their crown, Chelsea in to 8/1 from 12s, while Tottenham are out to 20/1 from 16s. Spurs (4/7 to finish in the top four with Sky Bet) may have lost the thrilling match we did at Stoke on Super Sunday but I came away more convinced about their top four potential than I was before the game. I thought they were hugely impressive in the second half and desperately unlucky to come away from the Britannia with nothing.
That was one of the most entertaining games we've done this season but Super Sunday this week should be a bit special. I'll be heading up to Manchester to host Sunday's triple header of big games.
Tough test for United
We go on air at 11.30am on Sky Sports HD1 and the first game is QPR (13/2) against Manchester United (4/9), who meet for the first time in 15 years, since they drew 1-1 at Loftus Road in March 1996.
QPR's last win came almost 20 years ago - 4-1 in a top flight game at Old Trafford on New Year's Day 1992. Dennis Bailey scored a hat-trick for Gerry Francis' side, spoiling Sir Alex Ferguson 50th birthday which he had celebrated the day before.
I think this will be a lot tougher and closer than the odds suggest as QPR have impressed against the big guns at Loftus Road and Sir Alex is down to the bare bones, especially in central midfield.
Our second game of the day is Aston Villa (9/4) versus Liverpool (evens). Villa won 1-0 at Villa Park on the final day last season - their first win in 13 Premier League meetings with Liverpool at home. Under 2.5 goals at 4/6 could be the way to go on this one as the last three meetings at Villa have produced just two goals and Liverpool have not conceded more than one goal in their last 12 PL visits to Villa Park.
Arsenal gunning for City
Super Sunday climaxes with a massive game at the Etihad Stadium. This is the first time this season that Man City have faced any of the other top six Premier League teams at home and I can't see any way that Manchester City (4/7) v Arsenal (4/1) won't be a great game to watch.
Arsenal will have a go, as they always do, but it's hard to see even their much-improved back four holding out for 90 minutes against City's attacking flair.
Surely there will be goals. Man City need one more to reach 50 goals in the Premier League this season. The last top division team to reach a half century as early as their 16th game was Tottenham in 1962-63 (scored 50th goal in their 15th game).
One word of caution for City backers. Arsenal have won the most points (65) and scored the most goals (51) against City in Premier League history and have won on 10 of their 14 league visits to Man City, losing just twice.
It promises to be a great day of football and if Man City achieve a better result than Man Utd, they would guarantee themselves Premier League top spot on Christmas Day. In five of last seven seasons, the team top at Christmas has gone on to win the title.
I haven't had a 'bet of the week' for a couple of weeks but fancy Blackburn to beat West Brom this weekend. Rovers won both games last season - their first top flight double over Albion since 1962-63 and have lost just one of the 10 Premier League meetings, winning four.
They have never lost at home to Albion in the Premier League - five games, two wins - and look like they can score against any side at the moment. Blackburn are also overdue a change of luck and look a decent bet at 11/10.