United will return to the top of the Premier League table by beating Rangers and Mark Hughes won’t be looking forward to returning to Old Trafford where he spent so many successful seasons as a player.
Meanwhile, high-flying West Brom travel to Sunderland hoping to remain in the top four and Norwich City will move into the top half of the table if they manage a win at Goodison Park. Stoke take their unbeaten home form into a match against Fulham, Wigan host Reading and Arsenal travel to Villa Park.
Sunderland v West Brom 12.45
Sunderland might be 15th in the table although it should be noted that Martin O’Neill’s team have played just four of their eleven matches on home soil and last Sunday’s 3-1 win at Craven Cottage could prove to be the catalyst required to boost their season.
We’ll know a lot more about the Black Cats after Saturday’s lunchtime encounter against a Baggies team who are bouncing after beating Chelsea last weekend and it was a result which started the wheels in motion that would see Roberto Di Matteo deposed at Stamford Bridge.
West Brom come into the match off the back of three straight wins and odds of 2/1 (Paddy Power free bets) about Steve Clarke’s side look a tasty proposition when you consider that Albion are full of confidence right now and aren’t conceding too many goals.
That away duck was broken recently when the Baggies won at Wigan and they have plenty of players who can put the ball into the net including Shane Long who’s a striker that Sunderland would like to have on their books.
Even so, Steven Fletcher would like nothing better as a former Wolves player than to dent any European aspirations of his team’s west Midlands opponents and the Scot was back on the scoresheet last weekend with the bookies going 5/1 about the striker breaking the deadlock. This could be a match where one goal settles matters.
Everton v Norwich City 15.00
You have to admire the way that Everton cope with some of their best players departing the club, with Mikel Arteta and Jack Rodwell two recent examples of those wanting to experience Champions League football and it looks as though Marouane Fellaini is ready to make the same move.
The Belgian recently gave his biggest hint yet that only a top four position for the Toffees would be enough if he is to remain on Merseyside in the summer although the midfielder won’t be around to help his team-mates against Norwich on Saturday after picking up his fifth booking of the season at Reading last weekend.
It will be interesting to see how Everton cope without Fellaini and some might find the 9/20 (BetVictor free bets) a touch short considering Newcastle and Liverpool have both taken a point at Goodison Park this season, while Norwich City arrive in a rich vein of form after beating Manchester United 1-0 last weekend.
At the beginning of the campaign, Chris Hughton’s Canaries looked like potential relegation fodder although they have picked up wins against Arsenal, Stoke and United at home to pull well clear of the drop zone and they won’t be a pushover on Saturday afternoon.
Norwich have actually only conceded one goal in their last five Premier League games and you can get 7/1 that they continue their momentum with a win on Merseyside, while the draw at 7/2 makes far more appeal than the home win at odds-on.
If Everton are to win this match, you would have to expect it to be a narrow scoreline and a 1-0 victory is a 15/2 chance with William Hill, while No Goalscorer looks overpriced at 16/1.
Manchester United v QPR 15.00
Mark Hughes will be reluctantly boarding the coach north on Friday knowing that the QPR chairman would prefer the Welshman to have stood down this week following Saturday’s 3-1 home reverse against Southampton.
It was a typically insipid performance from Rangers who are now odds-on to be relegated from the Premier League this term and it’s hard to see how they can turn things around, even if a new manager is installed and given a chance to make changes to the squad in January.
The bookies have no qualms in making the Hoops a big price to win at Old Trafford and we might get even bigger than 16/1 (Stan James) before the game kicks off although the visitors have little to lose from having a go at the Red Devils, with Ryan Nelsen demanding a reaction after last weekend’s horror show.
He won’t be the only one, with Sir Alex Ferguson looking for his team to get back on track after a surprise defeat at Carrow Road where United failed to carve out any meaningful chances and the Scot rested practically the entire first team for the midweek defeat against Galatasaray.
Coral offer odds of 2/9 that the home supporters see their team return to the top of the Premier League and that price might disappear before kick-off, with Wayne Rooney likely to be restored to the starting line-up.
The England forward is a 4/1 chance to break the deadlock and bet365 offer 11/4 that it’s Robin van Persie that has a field day against the bottom club in the top flight, although it might not be completely plain sailing for Manchester United considering that QPR really need to roll their sleeves up and make it difficult for their opponents.
Stoke City v Fulham 15.00
Stoke have been largely Jekyll and Hyde this season when it has come to home and away performances, with the Potters claiming nine of their thirteen points at the Britannia Stadium where they have played two games less than away from home.
Tony Pulis knows that home wins in their next two matches will elevate City into the top half of the Premier League table and Stoke are warm favourites to claim three points on Saturday against a Fulham side that are scoring and conceding a lot of goals away from Craven Cottage.
Paddy Power offer a best price 6/5 about the Staffordshire side claiming a third home win of the season and they have been defensively watertight in front of their own supporters, with the team having conceded just once in five games. Asmir Begovic is proving a safe pair of hands and they will be confident after claiming a recent 1-1 draw at West Ham.
Even so, scoring goals is clearly a problem for Stoke and Jonathan Walters provided the magic touch at the Boleyn Ground with the forward available at 8/1 (bwin) to score the first goal of this game against a team that are missing the suspended Brede Hangeland.
Fulham have been pretty entertaining so far this term despite losing Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele in the summer, with Coral going 11/4 about an away win at the Brit and they certainly have a talent in Dimitar Berbatov although perhaps this is a tough match for the Bulgarian to produce his best football.
Coral’s 14/5 about Stoke winning to nil looks a tasty price if Ryan Shawcross and Robert Huth can continue to keep things sealed at the back, with Crouch and Walters providing enough menace in attack.
Wigan Athletic v Reading 15.00
It’s not too often you see Wigan at odds-on to win a Premier League match and it’s hard to put too much faith in a Latics side that have won just one of their six games at the DW Stadium. They were soundly beaten at Anfield last weekend and face a Reading team who come into this match full of confidence.
It was a long time coming for the Royals but they finally broke their duck against Everton on Saturday and it wasn’t the first time that Brian McDermott’s team recovered from a losing position to get something out a match this season. Sky Bet offer 16/5 about Reading claiming back-to-back wins and that looks a big price.
The question is whether McDermott will continue with Adam Le Fondre in attack after the former Rotherham man struck twice against the Toffees and Alfie is 9/1 with Blue Square to find the net first in this contest, while former Latic Jason Roberts is looking the part and he’s the same price to break the deadlock.
As for Wigan, they’re a 10/11 chance to claim victory although there is nothing predictable about Roberto Martinez’s team who are capable of beating and losing to anyone. Wins against West Ham and Spurs were followed by defeats against West Brom and Liverpool, although Arouna Kone should prove a handful for the Reading defence.
Aston Villa v Arsenal 17.30
Alex McLeish might have left by popular decree although results haven’t improved at Villa Park this season – in fact they have got worse and the Midlands side now occupy a place in the relegation zone after twelve games played.
Paul Lambert won’t be panicking just yet, especially as the Villans have played just five of their twelve games at home and they were unfortunate in their last match against Manchester United after racing into a 2-0 lead only to lose the match 3-2.
However, they do need a confidence booster at home and Saturday night would be the perfect time to land three precious points against a team that were in Champions League action during the week. You can get meaty odds of 17/4 (Boylesports free bets) that the Villa get things right on Saturday night.
Arsenal certainly haven’t been consistent in the Premier League this season, having won drawn and lost on two occasions and one of those defeats came at Norwich where the Canaries really stopped them playing.
However, the bookies feel as though they need to wary of the Gunners with an 8/11 quote (Ladbrokes) and it’s always a little precarious backing a team that have played in Europe during the week. The 5-2 win over Tottenham last weekend was impressive enough although it was achieved against ten men and demonstrated that the defence was there to be penetrated.
Christian Benteke could prove to be Villa’s saviour this season and the Belgian’s physical might should cause a few problems for his international team-mate Thomas Vermaelen, with the forward 9/1 to break the deadlock and Andreas Weimann on offer at 11/1 – let’s not forget he was the man that scored two past United.
Arsenal games have featured plenty of goals recently and the bookies go 8/13 about Over 2.5 Goals happening in this match which steers us towards some tasty correct score bets such as a 4-2 away win at odds of 50/1.