Something for the weekend

  • By: Matt Briggs
  • Last Updated: September 20 2013, 9:08 BST

Matt Briggs thinks it's worth backing United to beat City in the first Manchester derby of the Premier League season.

United are worth backing to beat City
United are worth backing to beat City

Premier League

Manchester United were friendless in the Premier League ante-post market - and in fact I can only think of Gary Neville who tipped the champions to retain their title, but there have been some ominous signs from David Moyes' men already.

Their 2-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday was far from spectacular but they got the job done without being anywhere near their best and the 12/5 about them winning at Manchester City next Sunday looks a generous offer.

Neither team has set the league on fire with both collecting just seven points from their opening four games, but City - my ante-post title fancies - have been very disappointing.

Their goalless draw at Stoke was fortunate and without the injured Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Sergio Aguero they looked ordinary. And if Kompany is missing next weekend then Robin van Persie could have a field day.

Javi Garcia and Matija Nastasic have struggled at the heart of City's rearguard and Manuel Pellegrini's men have looked short of a leader.

Much has been said about United's midfield lacking in quality, but City's engine room was well short of any craft against Stoke and the addition of Marouane Fellaini in United's holding role could give them the platform to go and play at The Etihad.

It's not often there's a 12/5 quote about the champions and it's definitely worth an interest.

Newcastle are also worth supporting at home to Hull.

The media panic surrounding the Magpies few weeks ago was well and truly an overreaction, because in their last home game they put in a decent display to sink Fulham. And much to my dismay, after tipping Aston Villa last week, they followed that up with a victory at Villa Park.

Alan Pardew was as short as 6/4 in August to be the first Premier League manager to go, but judging by the XI he put out at Villa last weekend he'll be safe for a while yet and the Magpies could well be top 10 material.

A side containing Yohan Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa, Papiss Cisse and Loic Remy will cause some of the best some serious problems and the 5/6 quote about them sinking the Tigers might just shorten in the week and is worth taking now.

Sky Bet Championship

Next weekend's Championship clash between Yeovil and QPR pits the richest second-tier side against the poorest. These two teams might as well by a division apart when you consider their playing budgets and so far it's the west Londoners' money that is doing the talking.

Harry Redknapp brought in Niko Kranjcar and Tom Carroll on transfer deadline day, while Yeovil have been forced to look for recruits in the emergency loan market.

It's a David and Goliath match-up and as much as I'd like to put a case forward for the Glovers, I simply cannot fathom out a way they can upset the apple cart.

Rangers have only conceded once away from home and they have looked rock-solid en route to two away-day victories already. Meanwhile Yeovil, who will deserve medals if they can stay up this season, have lost all three home games without scoring.

The Championship is a notoriously difficult division to predict but we got it right with Leeds (9/4) last week and although it's a dangerous game backing teams that are odds-on away from home this looks about as safe as they come and the Rs might well be 8/13 come kick-off.

Sky Bet League 1

The alarm bells are ringing at Bramall Lane after losing five of their seven games in League One and Preston are up next for the not-so-sharp Blades.

David Weir looks like he's on borrowed time in South Yorkshire and his damning verdict of Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Carlisle will do little to appease new owner Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia.

Weir said: "We aren't getting the end results. We are not creating enough chances or scoring enough goals and conceding too many."

Preston are 2/1 to leave Yorkshire with all three points and with three successive wins to their name they look decent value to make it four.

Simon Grayson's men have been going about their business in an efficient manner and have been defensively solid on their travels. The four goals they have conceded away from Deepdale were all in the 4-4 draw with Coventry and another cleansheet is likely with the Blades struggling to score goals.

Sky Bet League 2

Last season's League Two play-off finalists Northampton have had a torrid start to life this season and have collected just four points from their opening seven games, but the 14/5 quote about them winning at newly-promoted Mansfield is too big.

The Cobblers were beaten 2-1 by Exeter last week but boss Aidy Boothroyd wasn't too downbeat and believed his side should have won.

"We had five or six more opportunities than Exeter but you have to put those chances away and we didn't. Matt Duke has touched the ball twice, to pick the ball out of the net on both occasions," said Boothroyd.

Mansfield have adjusted well to life in the league, but have won just one of their three home games and might well struggle against Boothroyd's opposing team.

  • Preview posted at 0945 BST on 16/09/2013.