Premier League preview and odds: Sunday 8 April

It is judgement day for Manchester City this coming Sunday, with Roberto Mancini’s team likely to be eight points behind Manchester United when they take on Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium

City were romping clear at the top of the Premier League a few months ago, although their title tilt could be all but over if they don’t land a maximum haul at the Emirates Stadium.

Manchester United v QPR 13:30 BST
This is the time of the season where Manchester United usually get into top gear, although a word of caution for anyone backing the Red Devils at short odds on Sunday, even if William Hill are offering a best price of 1/5 about Sir Alex Ferguson’s team.

United stuttered to a 1-0 win over Fulham a fortnight ago which could easily have been 1-1 if Michael Oliver had pointed to the penalty spot, while last Monday’s 2-0 win at Blackburn was achieved late in the game thanks to a moment of fortune from Antonio Valencia.

Perhaps they will prove too strong for QPR although it might take them a while to break down a team coming off the back of a 2-1 win over Arsenal and the 4/1 (Betfred free bets) about United drawing at half-time before claiming the win looks a big price.

Mark Hughes returns to Old Trafford as an opposition manager of yet another different club and the Welshman has previously been linked to the Manchester United hot seat, although his stock will be lowered if he fails to keep Rangers in the Premier League.

Indiscipline has cost the Hoops dear this season and much depends on whether Joey Barton can keep his cool in the face of mass provocation from the home supporters, although the visitors will very much look upon this fixture as a bonus match and potentially play with lots of freedom.

The draw can be backed at 13/2 (bet365 bookmaker) and we might see a cagey match based on United’s recent matches, while a surprise away win can be backed 18/1 (Bet Victor), something that would boost the west London club’s chances of staying in the top flight.

A few weeks ago, you might have said the man they need to keep quiet is Wayne Rooney, although Antonio Valencia is probably the big danger man for the champions and the Ecuadorian offers great value at 9/1 (Blue Square) to score the first goal.

Based on the fact that QPR will make life difficult for United along with the fact that the home side are barely conceding goals at the moment, it makes sense to have a bet on correct scorelines of 1-0 and 2-0.

Arsenal v Manchester City 16:00 BST
Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure, Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri have all switched from the Emirates to Eastlands in recent seasons, with Robin Van Persie the latest Arsenal player to have attracted interest from Manchester City.

Wouldn’t it be apt if Arsenal effectively ended City’s hopes of a first ever Premier League title by beating them on Sunday, something that would clearly give Arsene Wenger a good deal of pleasure?

The Gunners are warm favourites to claim all three points against Roberto Mancini’s men and the visitors have already started stuttering, with last weekend’s 3-3 draw against Sunderland seeing them claw a point from the match after trailing 3-1.

Arsenal are available at a best price of 6/4 (William Hill free bets) and there will be plenty of people backing the north London side to return to winning ways. There’s the small matter of a place in next season’s Champions League up for grabs and they were enjoying a run of six straight wins before last weekend’s defeat at Loftus Road.

No prizes for guessing who is favourite on the First Goalscorer market and Van Persie is looking for his first goal in four games, with a best price of 9/2 (Stan James bookmaker) about the Dutchman breaking the deadlock, although it looks like he will be up against City’s first choice pairing of Joleon Lescott and Vincent Kompany.

Meanwhile, there was much amusement when Mancini reported that Sergio Aguero had a mystery injury last week, although the Argentine has declared he is raring to go for this contest and is available at 6/1 to score first, while Carlos Tevez might be preferred to Mario Balotelli.

This match is must-win for Manchester City irrespective of what happens at Old Trafford earlier in the afternoon and they have already won at the Emirates this season in the Carling Cup. The visitors can be backed at 2/1 (William Hill free bets) to claim a valuable three points which keeps them in the hunt, especially with Manchester United still to visit Eastlands this term.

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