There may be no such thing as a sure thing but when reigning champions Manchester United take on rock bottom Blackburn it might as well be. It’s as plain as the nose on your face that in this match the question isn’t “who will win?” it’s “how much will Manchester United win by?”
As foregone soccer betting conclusions go, this is the safest (and most boring) of bets. Sportsbooks have a home win at 1/7 and a win for Blackburn at an unlikely 20/1! Even a draw, which would keep Steve Kean out of the dole office for a bit longer (and would likely be celebrated as heartily as a cup win by the Blackburn faithful) is at 13/2.
Expect Goliath to flatten David
Despite being the only cub outside the big four to have ever lifted the Premier League Trophy, (back in 1994–95 when they edged out Manchester United) Blackburn have hardly kept pace with the most prolific team in Premier League history. Rovers made a poor start to their 1998–99 campaign and relegation was confirmed with a scoreless draw at home to, who else but Manchester United in the penultimate game of the season. They returned to the Premier League in the 2000–01 season after a brief hiatus but have failed to bother the top of the table.
Nowadays Manchester United are second in the league, tied on points with Manchester City but a “mere” five goals worse off. Five is also the number of goals that Manchester United have scored (and won by) in their last two games. That score being replicated is worth a punt at 12/1. United have 14 league wins under their belt so far, Blackburn have just two in the league all season. United have only been beaten once all season, and that was the “anomaly” of the 6-1 trouncing by City. Blackburn have been acting like a benevolent Santa all season; losing 11 games and drawing five.
United have scored a whopping 47 goals this term (an average of 2.611r per game) and conceded just 14 (six of which were in “that” City Game) while Rovers have let in 39, that’s an average of over two per game. Blackburn are rock bottom of the league (and 4/9 to be relegated), five points away from safety. While for United there is just goal difference keeping them off the top spot and are 5/4 to make it 20 league titles. These teams are separated by 18 league positions and 34 points, in case that doesn’t resonate with you, consider that Rovers would need to play four times as many games as United (at the current rate) to even be within sight of their points tally.
I simply can’t find an excuse to back a Blackburn win, but if you must; back a narrow margin / freak show result; 1-0 to Blackburn is at 50/1, 2-1 is at 40/1 and a “wild” 3-2 is at 150/1. Some bookies have United winning 8-0 at 80/1, the same soccer odds as a 2-0 away win. Let’s not forget that Manchester City don’t play until New Year’s Day (a trip to the Stadium of Light) so United will end 2011 top of the league if they manage a draw (as if) or better against Blackburn. It’s almost superfluous to mention that Steve Kean is favourite to be the next manager sacked at 4/9. Oh, it’s also Fergie’s birthday on Saturday and he tends to get what he wants.
Can you find an excuse to back Blackburn?
United have already won by six goals at home (8-2 against arsenal) bot to mention their most recent 5-0 against Wigan (a score they have replicated twice before at Fulham and Bolton). An 8-2 home win is at 125/1, but you might want to have a punt on 7-0 at 40/1, 8-0 at 80/1 or even the game hitting double figures, at “just” 200/1 all worth investing any remaining Xmas stocking money on. The highest scoring match in Premier League history (back in March 1995) saw Manchester United beat Ipswich Town 9-0. United equalling that score is at 200/1 and certainly worth a loose change bet. United finished second that season, while Ipswich finished dead last and were relegated (read into that what you will). History does Blackburn no favours as Untied beat Blackburn in this fixture (in November last year) 7-1 that score is available at 66/1 not to mention that United have won their last three matches against Blackburn at Old Trafford. Pretty conclusive.
And now the good news for Steve Kean…
Baldness no longer carries the stigma that it once did.
Prediction: A rollicking good win for United, let’s say 4-1 (available at top odds of 14/1).