Weblog: The football punter

Manchester blah blah blah...

IF Sky’s Merseyside-Manchester double-header last weekend told us anything, it’s that the Premier League title is heading for London this season.

United were all but written off earlier in the season when Jose Mourinho was winding up all and sundry at Old Trafford. He’s better behaved now but it’s far too late.

City’s fate was sealed when Claudio Bravo was signed and a decent centre-back wasn’t, but it’s only over the last few weeks that the full horror of those errors have been magnified.

If you want any more proof that United and City are out of contention it comes this weekend when both have seriously tricky assignments.

The big TV game on the Saturday is City against Spurs and the opportunity for Pochettino’s lads to complete the double-double over Pep’s boys having also done it last term.

Before that, however, United are at Stoke, who have improved no end since earlier in the season. United at long odds-on? Not for me, while Spurs also have the tools (and more importantly, City don’t) to be able to triumph at the Etihad.

Sunday’s got a bit of a gloomy look to it.

The warm-up act is Southampton versus Leicester though that could actually be more entertaining than the Arsenal and Chelsea games, which look like home bankers.

Saints are going through a tricky time at the moment and, barely noticed, have slipped into the bottom half where Leicester, guided by the world manager of the year, have been all season.

Soton haven’t won any of their last seven against the Foxes and I’m not taking a short price they beat them this weekend. It was 0-0 when they last met and one or both teams not to score will do for me.

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Match in Focus

19:45 Tu 24Jan SS1

Napoli v Fiorentina

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Napoli are unbeaten in their last nine home fixtures
Expert verdict
Napoli are the top scorers in Serie A with 47 goals and should possess too much firepower for Fiorentina in their Coppa Italia quarter-final. Maurizio Sarri's side have won eight of their last nine games in all competitions and are just four points behind Serie A leaders Juventus. They are superior to the Viola, who have lost three of their last four domestic away games.