Sporting Insights on the Premier League by Sportingindex.com
Manchester United are now nine points clear at the top of the Premier League after local rivals Manchester City failed to beat Liverpool.
London, UK -- Sir Alex Ferguson’s side had stretched their title lead to ten points on Saturday evening with a hard fought win at Fulham – Wayne Rooney’s goal after 79 minutes was enough to take the three points – and the United manager will be pleased to have seen bitter adversaries Liverpool take a point at the Etihad on Sunday.
Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City were lucky to even get a draw but Pepe Reina’s late misjudgement led to Sergio Aguero somehow finding the net from a very acute angle and that goal has probably kept City in the hunt for back-to-back titles.
United have made a habit of grinding out results even when they are not playing very well and, having played all their big rivals away, must be confident of lifting their 20th title crown.
City, having lost the enigmatic Mario Balotelli to AC Milan, look predictable up front and, although both Aguero and Edin Dzeko scored in the 2-2 draw with Liverpool, Mancini will be looking at Ferguson’s prolific front line of Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck with envy.
There’s still a long way to go but should the table toppers beat Real Madrid in their Champions League last-sixteen clash later this month then the dream of an incredible second treble – Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League – may not seem so far out of reach.
United have Everton on Sunday in a fixture that has proved difficult for them in recent years. It could be argued that the incredible 4-4 draw at the end of last season, in which the Toffees came back from two goals down, ultimately cost the Red Devils the title.
David Moyes’ men inflicted the first of United’s three league defeats this season on the opening day of the new campaign back in August, with Marouane Fellaini hitting the only goal.
However, Everton haven’t won at Old Trafford since March 1991 and have lost five of the last six there.
Four of the last seven games at any ground have had over 2.5 goals. The other three games have all finished 1-0.
Javier Hernandez has scored the only goal in two of those 1-0 wins.
Man United and Everton are the two form teams in the league with the former unbeaten in their last ten games and Everton only suffering one reverse in that time. The Merseyside club have drawn 12 of their 25 league games, though.
Mancini maintains City are still in the title race but they face a tough test down at Southampton.
Since taking over as Saints’ boss, Mauricio Pottechino has taken only two points from three games but will be happy with the way his new team have acquitted themselves. They let Wigan score a last-minute equaliser on Saturday but are still three points clear of the drop zone.
The teams have only met twice in the last six years with City scoring three goals in each game, both victories.
Arsenal have been hit and miss this season and they have a tricky tie away to Sunderland. Five of the last ten fixtures have been draws and only two of those ten have been won by more than one goal.
Both teams have scored in the same game only four times in that period.
Chelsea are in the midst of a poor run but will be confident of taking the three points when they host Wigan.
The Latics have been on the wrong end of a 6-0 and 8-0 thumping by the Blues in recent years and have won just one of the last ten meetings between the clubs.
However, that 8-0 win at Stamford Bridge is the only time in the last five meetings in London that Chelsea have won by more than one goal.
At the bottom of the table, Queens Park Rangers bid for only a third win of the season when they visit Swansea.
The Swans smashed QPR 5-0 on the opening day of the season. That carried on a recent trend that has seen both teams not score in the same game in four of the last five meetings.
Three of the last four meetings have seen the winning team victorious by a margin of at least three goals.
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