Manchester United v Tottenham (Monday, 8pm)
Last Sunday afternoon represented a new low for Manchester United. Arguably the Red Devils worst performance since the David Moyes era, United’s feeble capitulation at Brighton drew criticism from all corners.
Jose Mourinho blamed basic defensive errors for the deserved defeat, while Paul Pogba suggested his team’s attitude wasn’t right at The Amex. Following a troubled summer at Old Trafford in which Mourinho also clashed with key players and his paymasters alike, the mood around the club is tetchy.
Nevertheless, United have had eight days to stew over the embarrassment in Sussex and should relish the opportunity to put those wrongs right, under the lights at Old Trafford on Monday night and I’m surprised to see the hosts chalked up at odds as big as 2.65 here.
That 2.66 offering is the third biggest price the Red Devils have been at home under Mourinho in the Premier League era.
To put it into perspective, United were 2.18 in this very fixture in 2016 and 2.10 against Spurs here in 2017 – that’s a big discrepancy with the line probably moving a bit too far.
United have won 16 of 20 Old Trafford encounters since the start of last season, including four of five against Big Six sides, with the exception against Man City.
Under Mourinho ‘s watch the Red Devils have W6-D2-L2 against the same opposition, scoring in all 10 tussles.
Mourinho’s men proved their bouncebackability last term when following a shocking 2-1 defeat at Huddersfield with a 1-0 home win over Spurs, whilst United defeated Chelsea here 2-1 immediately after a humbling 1-0 reverse at Newcastle in the game prior. There’s precedent.
Spurs have lost all four of their trips to Old Trafford ‘to nil’ under Mauricio Pochettino and the capital club’s away record at the Big Six leaves a lot to be desired under his watch (W2-D7-L11).
Tottenham have failed to record a clean sheet in those 20 encounters, scoring twice or more in six of those fixtures.
Spurs lost at both Manchester clubs and Arsenal last term and were a touch fortunate to escape with maximum points at Newcastle on the opening weekend. An improvement followed against Fulham but Pochettino’s group still gave up enough opportunities to concern supporters, especially considering the Cottagers are integrating a new-look side following a summer spending spree.
We rarely are given the chance to support Manchester United at these sorts of prices so I’ll keep the draw onside by backing the Red Devils off a scratch 0 start on the Asian Handicap line at 1.88.
I discussed this bet on the Matchbook Betting Podcast alongside Mike Holden and Ali Maxwell.
Borussia Dortmund v RB Leipzig (Sunday, 5pm)
The new Bundesliga season gets underway this weekend with Sunday evening’s encounter between Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig the week one highlight.
Dortmund are starting the season with a new coach for the second straight campaign. It was a rocky 2017/18 for the Ruhr giants as Peter Bosz’s great start disintegrated into chaos and Peter Stoger was called upon to steer the side into a top-four finish.
BVB finished a full 29 points off Bayern Munich and have opted to bring in experienced boss Lucien Favre in an attempt to bridge that gap. The astute coach played some beautiful counter-attacking football at Borussia Monchengladbach, and defied the odds with Nice in Ligue 1 and should bring plenty of entertainment to the Westfalenstadion.
Sunday’s hosts do look a little light in the central striking position but the arrivals of Abdou Diallo, Thomas Delaney and Axel Witsel should at least provide Dortmund with much-needed strength, steel and experience through the heart of their defence and midfield.
Games are still expected to enthral – last term BVB saw 21 matches surpass the Over 2.5 Goals line with 13 featuring Over 3.5 Goals. However, a better bet this weekend is to simply back Favre’s men to overcome their guests in the Match Odds market with 1.80 available.
Die Schwarzgelben were a disappointing W9-D4-L4 at home in 2017/18, but when they did win they tended to do so handsomely as six of those victories were by more than one goal. Seven of their triumphs as hosts came against top-10 teams and they should have enough to overcome RB Leipzig.
Leipzig struggled somewhat last term as they could only manage fifth having been second the season before, though they were just two points behind third-placed Hoffenheim. Repeating that runners-up finish was always going to be tough, with other clubs boasting bigger and stronger squads.
It was their defence that cost them as no other side outside the bottom six conceded more than their 53 goals. RBL were a decent W9-D4-L4 at home, despite keeping only three clean sheets, and on their travels they returned just W6-D4-L7 as they were often undone by slow starts.
Sporting director Ralf Rangnick returns as manager having last been in charge of the club in 2015/16 and he’ll have to make-do without Naby Keita who’s joined Liverpool. Without him, Leipzig won just six of the 16 games he failed to start in the last couple of seasons (38%) and it may take time to recover from his loss.
- Manchester United 0 Asian Handicap (1.88)
- Borussia Dortmund to win (1.80)