It didn’t really need saying, but this week Mike Phelan confirmed what the whole of the football world knew anyway – Manchester United are still smarting from that ridiculous, incredible finale to the last Premier League season.
It will no doubt be a recurring theme for United until they feel they have exorcised the demons of Sergio Aguero’s dramatic winner that handed Manchester City the title in the most unbelievable circumstances.
Phelan said that the result ‘still haunts’ the Red Devils and City snatching the league title from under the noses of United – who had an eight-point lead with just six games to go, it should be remembered – is being used as the driving force and motivation Sir Alex Ferguson needs as he plots his revenge in 2012/13.
United’s pre-season is impossible to see out of that context and it means that Ferguson’s men are keen to get their game faces on as quickly as possible.
Ferguson will shuffle his pack as all managers do in these games, but United’s quality will shine through and at the prices, it is worth looking at the 39/20 that United win handsomely and beat a three-goal handicap.
Knowing there is little room for dropping points – United finished on 89 points and still didn’t win the title last term – a fast start is vital and every hard yard run in the summer means points come August.
For the fourth time in their history and the first occasion since 2006, United are in South Africa for their pre-season jaunt and it is case of so far, so good. A 1-0 win over Amazulu set them up nicely for a match against Ajax Cape Town on Saturday.
You aren’t going to get rich from backing them to win, though. United are 11/100 to beat their hosts, who are 12/1 to claim a famous scalp, while the draw is 13/2.
If you have the 100 you don’t need the 11, so it is pointless backing United at those odds even if they are sure to win, despite the laboured 1-0 victory against Amazulu, who had the better of things and would have scored were it not for the excellence of Anders Lindegaard.
But United will be all the better for that run out and will be looking to hit their stride against a side who are mid-table fodder in the South African top tier, despite having the formidable obstacle of former Liverpool goalkeeper Sander Westerveld in their way (ahem).
So it is case of trying to find some value on United. Ferguson will shuffle his pack as all managers do in these games, but United’s quality will shine through and at the prices, it is worth looking at the 39/20 that United win handsomely and beat a three-goal handicap.
Punters using their free £20 bet for joining bwin.com on this tip stand to win £59 if United do indeed rack up a victory by four or more goals.
The gulf in class between the sides is obvious and with all the other prices too short, take the odds against and hope for a big scoreline.
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