Just when the English Premier league was looking like a done deal Manchester United drop points at Wigan allowing Manchester City to close the gap at the top to just five points.
City's destiny is not quite in their hands (yet) but the next thing they have to do is beat Norwich on Saturday to keep the pressure on the reigning champions.
The title race is back on
After last weekend's excitement with Manchester City conceding defeat at Arsenal and Manchester United going eight points clear at the top table it looked like it was business as usual for the 19 times Champions and City seemed to have blown it. Before the midweek games kicked off City were 16/1 and United were 1/20 to win the league but now, after the shock defeat at Wigan, United are not quite the favourites they once were. They are still favourites though; 1/7 with City at 9/2.
Manchester City are five points behind United with five games left to play. It's elementary maths that five points is still five points and even if City win all of their remaining games United will still have to drop points, not only at the Etihad stadium, but somewhere else as well. I for one believe that the midweek action will not alter the course of the title but it will make the next round of Premier League games all the more exciting.
Mega City 1
City’s victory over West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday night gives them momentum and the fact that they can't afford to drop any more points should be all the motivation they need for the City players to bring their A game and flatten Norwich. It's hardly an inspiring bet but I suggest you back the Citizens to take both halves of this match which is available at soccer odds of 5/4, or if you're feeling somewhat reckless you can back not only a Norwich win (at 11/2) but Norwich to take both halves which is available at 17/2. Despite everything Norwich have achieved this season City will be like a steamroller on Saturday lunchtime and will squash whatever Norwich put in front of them. Manchester City are clear 8/15 favourites in this match.
Norwich have their own fish to fry
At present Norwich are 10th in the league on 43 points and are pretty much assured of Premier League survival. In fact relegation for Norwich is only just a mathematical possibility as they are 14 points outside the relegation zone with 15 left to play for. If you're the sort of gambler who likes to see small but certain returns you might want to put some money on Norwich avoiding relegation but don't expect to retire on your winnings as the current odds (if you can find them) have them at 949/1 to avoid the drop.
Incredible as it may sound Norwich are just three points behind Liverpool and could theoretically finish as high as seventh at the end of the season. However, applying my “rule of six” (which states that we should consider six-point swings at this stage of the season) they could also finish as low as 14th as between 14th place Swansea and seventh place Everton there are just eight points difference and Norwich are right in the middle of that bunch. What’s more, four teams, Fulham, Norwich, Sunderland and Stoke lie two abreast of the halfway point of the table, separated by just one point so Norwich cannot hang up their boots just yet with mid-table glory a real possibility. Norwich are a quite tasty 7/4 to record a top ten finish.
The Red Devils probably won’t need help from Canaries
I don't think that Norwich will cause an upset and bring an end to the title race this Saturday; I think this game will all be about Manchester City. When the two teams met earlier this season at the Etihad Stadium Manchester put five past Norwich and conceded just one, a re-run of that score is worth a little of your soccer betting bankroll at 50/1. City should pick up the free scoring style that they put down at the end of the West Bromwich Albion game on Wednesday when they put a comfortable four past the Baggies without reply. Another 4-0 to Manchester City is available with the bookies at 20/1 but the fact that Norwich scored in four of their last five games, and the City have conceded in four of their last five makes me think that Norwich will get on the board. Any goal for Norwich is likely to be just a consolation goal though.
You might want to put some money on City winning by three or more goals at 7/2 or by four or more goals at 15/2 and I would certainly recommend that you invest some cash in the game going over 2.5 goals and over 3.5 goal at 4/6 and 6/4 respectively.
Should Norwich cause an upset and beat Manchester City they would give Manchester United the chance to go eight points clear at the top table...again; should they win their Sunday clash with Aston Villa. With just 12 points left to play for after those two games I think that would realistically end City’s title hopes for another year. Manchester United are already1/4 favourites to win the game against Villa on Sunday, so I expect City to do all they can to keep the pressure on.
Prediction: City take the game 3-1 at 10/1 and keep the title race alive.