The Tevez twist
Could Carlos Tevez turn the title race in Man City's favour? Ed Chamberlin looks at the drama ahead...
Last Updated: 16/02/12 3:29pm
After a mad week came another crazy Premier League weekend.
Hot on the heels of Harry being cleared and Fabio quitting, came all the drama at Old Trafford, Mick McCarthy's departure and the possible return of Carlos Tevez.
What a twist to the title race the return of the Argentinian to Manchester City's strike force would be. He has a lot of bridges to build before that can happen but the odds on him playing for City again this season have shortened dramatically.
And as Gary Neville said on Super Sunday, there is no better PR for him than scoring goals. I'm sure a couple in the Manchester derby in April would win a few fans over!
I was at Villa Park on Super Sunday to see the leaders overcome a tame Aston Villa performance. For 89 minutes it was the easiest 1-0 you will ever see, yet Sky Bet still pushed out City on the final whistle to 8/13 from 8/15 to win the Premier League title.
That's because of what happened at Old Trafford 24 hours earlier. Away from the Luis Suarez story that grabbed all the headlines, that was a massive three points for Manchester United and a familiar pattern seems to be emerging: United look set to come good at the business end of a Premier League season.
As Dwight Yorke explained on Sunday's show, the champions are finally finding their form and rhythm at just the right time. Add to that their experience and 'know-how' when it comes to a title run-in plus Sir Alex Ferguson's legendary mind games, and Roberto Mancini and his City team are in for a real test. It's no wonder Sky Bet shortened Manchester United from 17/10 to 11/8 to retain their title.
We can take a breather over the FA Cup weekend but we're in for a thrilling few weeks ahead.
Another bad weekend for Chelsea: beaten at Everton and their owner and manager are all over the back pages for the wrong reasons.
The pressure continues to be cranked up and they are now out to 5/6 with Sky Bet to qualify for the Champions League next season. Chelsea have never finished outside the top three in the Roman Abramovich era and the thought of missing out on Champions League football must be unthinkable.
To compound their misery Thierry Henry signed off by securing three points for Arsenal at Sunderland. That lifted Arsenal in to the top four and at 5/4 they are the shortest price they have been for a long time to finish in that position.
However, this is Arsenal and it's a brave punter that backs them at that price as this team makes nothing look simple or does anything the easy way.
You also worry about how much damage the humbling in Milan on Wednesday will have done. This weekend's FA Cup tie is now massive for Arsenal as their fans must be fearing a repeat of last season's collapse.
The third Premier League 'race' could be the most exciting of the lot. I'd be amazed if the battle to avoid relegation doesn't go down to the final day of the season and another 'Survival Sunday'.
We were at Molineux on Sunday to see Wolves get thumped in the Black Country derby and they shortened to 2/3 for the drop. However, a new man will be in charge shortly and they are well capable of getting out of trouble.
On paper it looks like three from five to go down, with Aston Villa next in at 16/1, but all five are capable of pulling off unexpected wins and quite literally anything could happen.
Well done to all involved in getting Newbury's brilliant card rescheduled for Friday.
I hope top prospect Cedre Bleu runs in the novice chase (3pm) and one of my Cheltenham ante-post fancies, Montbazon, takes his chance in the novice hurdle at 1.55pm. I'll be snapping up a bit of Sky Bet's 16/1 on Montbazon for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle before he goes to post on Friday.
My main fancy for the Cheltenham Festival is still Noble Prince (5/1) in the Ryanair Chase. He was beaten again in Ireland the other day but has been running well over the wrong trip on the wrong ground.
He will be a different horse when back round a track he loves, over a trip that suits and on better ground, possibly with AP McCoy back in the saddle too.
A huge honour
I was very pleased to hear this week that I am on the shortlist of six for the SJA Sports Broadcaster of the Year.
It's a huge honour to be named alongside the likes of Michael Atherton but this really should be a nomination for the brilliant team I work with on Super Sunday and Monday Night Football.