A thoroughly underwhelming fourth round FA Cup draw and I’ve switched my attentions to the only Premier League game taking place this weekend.
Despite dominating for much of the match at Eastlands on Wednesday in the Carling Cup semi-final first leg Manchester United were on the wrong end of a 2-1 score line. However, there were plenty of positives to take from their performance and I’m happy to side with Fergie’s men once again. >
United let me down against their bitter rivals in midweek, when I thought they’d be good enough for at least a share of the spoils, but there is no way they should have lost that fixture and I expect the Red Devils to take their frustrations out on a struggling Hull City side.
Carlos Tevez’s desire ultimately proved the difference between the two Manchester clubs in knockout football but Hull do not possess anybody of the calibre of the Argentine to trouble the defending champions and I expect them to triumph in style.
Nobody will get rich backing United in the match odds market, the hosts are around a 1.18 chance, but a place at the top of the Premier League is up for grabs and I expect them to take it.
Followers will be aware of my fondness for siding with long odds-on favourites in the Asian handicap markets but with Edwin van der Sar back between the sticks I think United can be backed in the correct score market to prevail by quite a margin and suggest you follow suite.
While Wayne Rooney was kept quiet for the majority of the opening exchanges on Wednesday his second half display was outstanding in taking the fight to Roberto Mancini’s men and I’m sure he’ll be eager to find the net once more. Rooney got one of the goals in United’s 3-0 win over Burnley last time out in the top flight and will have his eyes on Golden Boot honours this season.
United’s opponents on Saturday staged somewhat of a mini revival under Phil Brown a month or so ago, when the Hull chief looked destined for the chop, but they have slipped back into the relegation zone since the turn of the year and things now look bleak. Brown will have a hard time persuading any potential new signings to join the club in January and may well have to make do with what he has currently at disposal until the end of the season.
No away wins and just seven goals in 11 matches for Hull this season away from home tells its own story and while both Sunderland and Aston Villa, the latter claiming a victory, left Old Trafford having added to their points tally all other visitors have left well beaten and that trend looks set to continue.
With Jimmy Bullard absent again Hull will look to Boaz Myhill for inspiration in goal but his incredible performance at White Hart Lane last time out, when Hull earned a goalless draw, is unlikely to be repeated and United can take full advantage. The Premier League is still very much the prize Ferguson wants most and three points on Saturday will send his troops back to the summit.