Just as it is in La Liga, where Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are vying for the Pichichi, only two players are in with a realistic chance of winning the Barclays Golden Boot for Premier League top scorer.
Robin van Persie’s relative goal drought in recent times – he has just two goals from his last eight league appearances having scored nine in his previous eight – has allowed Wayne Rooney to close to two goals behind his main rival with two games left to play.
The Manchester United striker was unable to add to his tally in his last match for the defending champions, although when your team fails to muster a single shot on goal Rooney should perhaps be forgiven for his failure to find the back of the net.
Anyone calling Ferguson’s tactics into question clearly didn’t watch United’s 6-1 drubbing by City at Old Trafford.
Much has been made of United’s performance in the Manchester derby on Monday, with manager Sir Alex Ferguson coming in for criticism for apparently betraying the traditions of the club by opting for a 4-5-1 formation.
His team selection was also called into question, particularly the inclusion of the ring-rusty Park Ji-Sung and the omission of in-form winger Antonio Valencia.
But anyone calling Ferguson’s tactics into question clearly didn’t watch last season’s Champions League final, nor United’s 6-1 drubbing by City at Old Trafford.
Indeed, there are numerous instances at home and abroad this season where United have set up to attack only to be punished.
It cost them a place in the knock-out stage of the Champions League – remember that home game against Basel? – and may even have cost them the title, for if City pip United to top spot it will have more to do with their over-adventurous approach in a recent 4-4 draw with Everton than the caution which led to their 1-0 defeat at the Etihad.
Nevertheless, Ferguson is likely to revert to a more attacking line-up for Sunday’s game against Swansea, meaning Rooney is sure to have more joy in front of goal than he enjoyed on Monday.
The England man is 11/4 favourite to open the scoring against the Swans, and this looks far more tempting than the 13/20 on Rooney to score at any time given he has bagged United’s first goal in each of the last three matches in which they have scored.
Alternatively, you can back Rooney to score two or more goals in the match at 9/4.
One other man who could benefit if Ferguson reverts to a more attacking approach is Javier Hernandez.
Danny Welbeck sustained an injury against City which has ruled him out of the Swansea game, meaning Hernandez will be Rooney’s likely partner should Ferguson go for two up front.
The Mexican is 17/20 to score at any time and 7/2 to score last – something he has done on two of the last three occasions he has found the back of the net for United.
But with United having conceded six goals in their last four appearances, Swansea could also enjoy some attacking success – particularly if the Red Devils thrown caution to the wind in a bid to improve their goal difference.
Gylfi Sigurdsson looks the man to back for the Swans – with six goals in Swansea’s last seven away games, he appears the Welsh side’s best bet for a goal and is attractively priced at 11/4.
Recommended bet: Rooney to score first @ 11/4
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