Pile into United at 5/2

  • By: Andy Schooler and Chris Hammer
  • Last Updated: April 26 2013, 13:36 BST

Manchester United look a huge price to win at Arsenal on Sunday - we've previewed the day's three games.

Van Persie (r) heads back to the Emirates on Sunday
Van Persie (r) heads back to the Emirates on Sunday

While United head to the Emirates, there's also action at Chelsea, who need three points in their top-four bid, and Reading where it's must-win time for the hosts and QPR.

Our Andy Schooler and Chris Hammer bring you their thoughts on the action:

Reading v QPR (1330 BST)

The loser of this game is officially relegated. If it's a draw then both sides will trail fourth-bottom Aston Villa, who play on Monday, by nine points with three games remaining. Therefore it's pretty much win or bust but realistically even victory will surely prove futile in the battle to beat the drop. It would quite simply be the greatest of all escapes should either side survive from here so we should really view this clash purely as a wooden spoon contest rather than a 'relegation six pointer'. It's fair to say QPR's gamble to sack Mark Hughes in favour of Harry Redknapp back in November has failed to inspire a genuine survival push while the impact made by big-money January signings Chris Samba and Loic Remy hasn't been strong enough to even make it close. Reading on the other hand were all but down when they got rid of Brian McDermott in one last throw of the dice and they'll already be planning for a promotion push next season under Nigel Adkins. As far as Sunday's clash is concerned, I'm going to side with a home win at 17/10 with BetVictor. If Redknapp was motivating his players as much as the club's supporters and chairman Tony Fernandes initially hoped, then the Hoops would have taken more than one point from their last five games. The 2-0 home defeat last Saturday against a Stoke side woefully short of confidence was particularly soul-destroying for the Loftus Road club and it's almost as if they gave up the ghost weeks ago. Reading's form hasn't been any better but they at least showed some heart in the goalless draw with Liverpool in their previous home game while, after pushing Norwich close last week, they'll be confident of finding the net against a Hoops side who have conceded eight goals in their last three away outings.

Verdict: Reading 2 QPR 0 (CH)

Chelsea v Swansea (1500)

Swansea may have beaten Chelsea at Stamford Bridge en route to Capital One Cup glory, but the bookies don't rate their chances of a repeat. Their form since lifting the trophy has been ropey and they've won just once in six post-Wembley games. A lack of goals has been a particular concern - just five scored in that period. It's also interesting to note that they average less than one per game away from the Liberty Stadium. With this in mind, a Chelsea win to nil comes into play, something which can be backed at 8/5 with Coral. They've won four of their last five domestic home games without conceding and also have Gary Cahill, arguably their best defender these days, fit again following injury. Chelsea also have Juan Mata to come back in after he was benched for Thursday's Euorpa League win in Basel, while Demba Ba is eligible for this competition. Another way of getting with the hosts could be to back them to win by a one-goal margin. With plenty of football in their legs and yet another game to come on Thursday, they'll be keen to win by doing the bare minimum. The 29/10 is worth considering but this is not game I'm getting involved with.

Verdict: Chelsea 2 Swansea 0 (AS)

Arsenal v Manchester United (1600)

While Robin van Persie (6/4 to score at any time) will attract plenty of attention and cash as he returns to the Emirates, the Dutchman is not the bet here. United are though - they are simply a massive price at 5/2 to win this game. I don't care that they supposedly have nothing to play for now that title is in the bag; neither am I concerned that they may have spent some time in the last few days celebrating. They are the champions, having won the league by some distance, and even if they rest a few they are capable of defeating an Arsenal side which simply isn't as good, one which is also shorn of their attack leader, Olivier Giroud, due to suspension. Reviews on Giroud have been mixed in his first Premier League season but he's been a near constant in their side in recent months and the Gunners will need to adapt without him. There's no doubt his absence will be felt as they look to nail down a top-four spot. Yes, of course Arsenal's need is greater but this bet is all about the price. Had this game been played three weeks ago both sides would have been around 13/8 for the win. Do the circumstances really dictate such a swing? I think not and am more than happy to pile into United, who have won 12 of their 17 away games so far, including those at Manchester City and Chelsea. Sir Alex Ferguson is a hard taskmaster and has been talking about Chelsea's points record for a few weeks now. He won't tolerate a let-up, so the visitors simply have to be backed at what is their biggest Premier League price since they went to the Etihad in early December.

Verdict: Arsenal 1 Manchester United 2 (AS)

  • The Reading and Arsenal matches are both being televised live in the UK by Sky Sports.
  • Preview posted at 1335 BST on 26/04/2013.