This weekend’s friendly action saw all four of the favourites in bwin’s title betting market in action as they sought to attain peak fitness for the opening round of Premier League fixtures on 13th August.
With Manchester United’s first team squad away in the US, the defending champions’ reserve players took on Shrewsbury Town at Greenhous Meadow.
Despite being captained by Sunderland target Darron Gibson, the Man Utd XI went down 2-1 to the Shrews having been two goals behind at the half-time interval.
Staying in the UK, Portsmouth hosted second-favourites Chelsea, who have Premier League title odds of 12/5.
The Blues prevailed, although only by a 1-0 scoreline and thanks to an own goal by former Blues defender Tal Ben Haim.
Manchester City’s victory over Club America was more secure, with the Citizens running out 2-0 winners.
Defender Ryan McGivern and winger Shaun Wright-Phillips scored the goals, both of which came in the first half.
Meanwhile, Arsenal stuttered to a 1-1 draw with Hangzhou Greentown, with a nervy first-half defensive performance and a profligate attacking display after the interval ensuring the match ended in a stalemate.
Given the number of players used throughout the course of the matches, the players’ inevitable rustiness and the different combinations tried out by managers, it would be foolish to read too much into the weekend’s results and performances.
That said, the lack of fluency shown by Chelsea in their win over Portsmouth illustrates Andre Villas-Boas’ need for a creative midfielder in the mould of Luka Modric.
With Michael Essien out injured for the first half of the season, the Blues look light in midfield and failure to bring in someone of the Croatian’s calibre could put a dent Chelsea’s title chances.
As it is, a successful £25 free bet on Chelsea to win the Premier League, available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account, would return £85.
Other friendly results of note include Malaysia All-Stars XI 3-6 Liverpool; Linfield 1-4 Rangers; and Kaizer Chiefs 1-0 Tottenham.
New customers can register here to claim a £25 free bet.