Manchester United may have made hard work of victory over Cluj in the Champions League on Tuesday, but the Red Devils are in total command of their group and remain among the favourites to win the tournament.
United were once again trailing after just 15 minutes in Transylvania – the sixth time this season that they have been behind in a match – but a brace from Robin van Persie ensured what in the end was a comfortable enough 2-1 victory.
That win gives Sir Alex Ferguson’s men a 100% record in Group H after their Matchday 1 win over Galatasaray and United lead the group by three points from Sporting Braga, who they now meet in consecutive matches in the autumn.
United’s assured start is a far cry from last year, when they failed to even make the last 16 despite being drawn in what many people saw as an easy group alongside Benfica, Basel and another Romanian team, Otelul Galati.
The bookies at bwin don’t envisage a similar mistake this time around, making United such strong favourites at 1/50 there is little point in backing them. Braga are 16/1 to pip United to first place, and such is United’s position in the group you can’t even get a price on them to qualify.
So it is the 10/1 on Ferguson claiming a third Champions League crown that will be of interest to punters. That price makes the Red Devils the shortest of all the British teams involved in the tournament and places United as the fourth favourites behind Barcelona (47/20), Real Madrid (3/1) and Bayern Munich (7/1).
United were beaten by Barcelona at Wembley in the final in 2011 and you can get 5/1 on the Old Trafford side being in the final at the same venue in May.
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