Sports betting

Weekend Review: Chelsea and Man United’s low-scoring draw fills bookies’ satchels

Stanford Bridge encounter ends 1-1 while Kenny Alexander’s Honeysuckle cements her status as one of National Hunt racing’s greats

A combination of a lack of upsets and a trio of draws in the Premier League left the bookies ahead going into the busy Christmas period.

The weekend’s headline fixture saw Manchester United (11/2), under the stead of caretaker manager Michael Carrick, head to West London to take on Chelsea (11/20).

Thomas Tuchel’s men had only conceded four league goals all season but when Jorginho failed to control the ball on the halfway line, Jadon Sancho was able to nip in, stride forward and finish past Edouard Mendy to give United a shock lead.

With Cristiano Ronaldo left on the bench, Carrick’s decision was looking like a masterstroke until Aaron Wan-Bissaka caught Thiago Silva in the area, giving Jorginho the chance to redeem himself from the penalty spot.

The Italian finished with aplomb, courtesy of his trademark hop, skip and jump run-up, to earn his side a point on a Baltic evening in the capital.

Betway’s Chad Yeomans said: “There we no real shocks in the Premier League this weekend, however, Manchester United taking a point at Stamford Bridge was a fair result as plenty thought that Chelsea were going to be too good for Carrick’s men.”

Kindred Group’s Ali Gill added: “A good weekend overall for football traders in the Premier League as all in all results fell our way. Three draws across the nine games which survived the weather is always something we love to see, and even more so when that includes the big match of the weekend on Sunday afternoon, with Chelsea versus Manchester United doing us that honour.”

Elsewhere, Brighton (11/10) and Leeds (12/5) played out a drab 0-0 draw, while the Dean Smith-led revival of Norwich City (5/2) continued as the Canaries held Wolves (23/20) to a 0-0 stalemate at Carrow Road.

At a snow-laden Etihad stadium, Manchester City (1/4) eased past West Ham (10/1) 2-1 thanks to goals from İlkay Gündoğan and Fernandinho, with the Hammers’ Manuel Lanzini scoring a screamer with seconds to go.

Gill continued: “Brighton’s 0-0 draw with Leeds was another great result for us, and Norwich grabbing another draw was also a strong result for the book.”

Following City’s win and Chelsea’s draw, along with a 4-0 win for Liverpool (1/4) over Southampton (10/1), Betfred’s Alan Firkins laid out the outright title running for EGR.

He said: “Seasonal, snowy scenes at the Etihad, as a strong challenge from the resurgent West Ham was turned away, narrowly in the end. Manchester City are 8/11 to retain their Premier League crown, then it’s 11/4 Chelsea, 4/1 Liverpool, and almost any price the rest.

In horseracing, Honeysuckle – owned by former Entain CEO Kenny Alexander – was on top form once again as the mare stormed to victory in Ireland’s Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse.

Ridden by Rachael Blackmore, Honeysuckle (SP 2/5) extended her unbeaten run to 13 races, with trainer Henry de Bromhead noting: “I’m delighted with that, Rachael was brilliant on her and they are just a lethal combination, in fairness to them.”

Firkins said: “Over in Ireland, the great mare Honeysuckle dotted up in the Hatton’s Grace and is a prohibitive 8/11 to once again prevail in the Champion Hurdle at the Festival in March.”

Gil added: “Honeysuckle continued to hugely impress, making it 13 for 13 under rules on Sunday, with odds of 2/5 meaning punters took the win but not much damage was done.”

In Newcastle, a dead heat between pre-race favourite Epatante and Not So Sleepy in what was a nail-biting finish meant the bookies manage to get another one over the punters this weekend.

Firkins continued: “Betfred pushed Epatante up at Newcastle in the Fighting Fifth, but she was ultimately involved in a thrilling dead-heat with outsider Not So Sleepy.”

Gill concluded: “At Newcastle in the Fighting Fifth, Epatante looked for all the world the winner approaching the conclusion, but ended up sharing a Dead Heat with the ever unpredictable Not So Sleepy, that result going our way vs. the punters.”

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