Rooney and RVP 10-3 to bag three or more again

ONE way of looking at the Christmas football schedule is that managers don't want to be anywhere near the bottom of the Premier League on the 25th and Coral have decided to spread the festive joy by going about 4-1 that any top-flight manager leaves their post prior to Christmas Day.

Reading's Brian McDermott is currently the 2-1 favourite to be the next manager to leave their post, closely followed by 5-1 Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill. Both sides will be aware of their packed Christmas schedule and with the games coming thick and fast, the pressure to improve their results heats up.

O'Neill's boys face Manchester United and Southampton while Reading, who lost to Sunderland on Tuesday night, are up against Arsenal and Manchester City before Christmas day.

The pressure isn't unique to the lower reaches of the Premier League though as Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini are both 8-1 to go next with Ladbrokes and BetVictor respectively while Chelsea's Rafa Benitez, who continues his struggle in winning over Chelsea's discontent support, is as short as 12-1.

QPR are two points adrift of second-bottom Reading and Harry Redknapp will want to bring a bit of festive cheer to Loftus Road by leapfrogging their relegation rivals by Christmas Day but they have three home games to look forward to until the new year.

The R's host Fulham on Saturday before West Brom and Liverpool travel to West London after christmas while they also face a tough trip to the north-east to meet Newcastle next weekend.

Coral go 5-2 that Redknapp's men fail to win in any of those matches before the new year while it's 7-5 that their first victory comes against Fulham or 6-1 that it comes at Newcastle.

In addition, it's also evens with Coral that both Reading and QPR are relegated at the end of the season.

Bet365 chalk up 10-11 that both under-pressure gaffers in Saturday's lunchtime live game at St James' Park - Roberto Mancini and Alan Pardew - are still at their respective helms on the last day of the season. They go evens that one is and 9-1 that neither are.

On the injury front, Darren Bent is set to miss all of Aston Villa's festive fixtures because of the hamstring injury picked up in their midweek Capital One Cup win against Norwich.

And a similar injury rules Jonny Evans out of Manchester United's match with Sunderland. However, Nemanja Vidic returns to the Red Devils squad after a two months out following knee surgery.

Winger Adam Johnson (dead leg) and defender Danny Rose (ankle) may miss out for the Black Cats though.

Bet365 go 6-1 that United win after falling behind and offer 10-3 that Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, who netted the three goals in last weekend's derby success, score three or more goals in combination in this game.

Manchester United are 11-4 favourites with bet365 to score most Premier League goals this weekend while last week's top-notchers Norwich are 16-1.

 

 

Match in Focus

16:00 Su 24Aug SS1

Sunderland v Man Utd

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Sunderland won just five home games last season
Expert verdict
Sunderland knocked Manchester United out of the League Cup last season and won at Old Trafford in May, but the Red Devils are unlikely to be such a soft touch under Louis van Gaal. Van Gaal will call on his team to bounce back from their defeat to Swansea and United’s attackers can trouble an unconvincing Sunderland back line.

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