Robin van Persie finally ended his goal drought in a straightforward 2-0 victory at the Britannia Stadium that edged Manchester United closer to a 20th league title. Sir Alex Ferguson now needs just seven points from six remaining games and another three can come at West Ham United on Wednesday night.
There were just two bookings in United’s clash with Stoke and that is a trend seen when they have faced West Ham in recent seasons. Those playing the bookings market may have seen that there hasn’t been a dismissal in United’s previous ten meetings with the Hammers.
The highest bookings total is 30 points and there have been three occasions where only one card has been shown in that ten game run. Since the start of the 2008/09 campaign the average bookings total in West Ham v Man United games stands at 21 points.
This weekend’s standout FA Cup tie is Manchester United’s quarter-final clash with Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday. United will still be hurting from the 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid on Tuesday and Sir Alex Ferguson will demand a positive reaction to the controversial European result.
It’s already the third time these clubs have met this campaign and if the other games are anything to go by, then we should be in for a cracker. Nine goals were scored in the League Cup game at the Bridge, six of those arrived in normal time. There were five goals in United’s league win to take the tally to 38 from the past nine clashes, at an average of 4.2 per game.
All but one of those nine fixtures have seen at least three goals scored.
Fulham are in Manchester for the second occasion in seven days and this time they meet Sir Alex Ferguson’s side in the FA Cup fourth round. Last Saturday they were comfortably beaten 2-0 by City to continue their poor run of form. The Cottagers have picked up only one win in nine matches in all competitions and that streak includes four defeats.
Martin Jol’s side have won just twice away from home in the league all season and that includes a 3-2 defeat at Old Trafford earlier in the campaign. That took United’s total to 18 goals in their past six matches with Fulham, while they have conceded almost two goals per game in their past six league games.
Add that to United’s six straight home league victories in which they have scored 15 times and you can see why Fulham fans will be fearing the worst ahead of their trip north.
By the time Manchester City kick-off in North London on Sunday afternoon they could be ten points behind Sir Alex Ferguson’s men. Roberto Mancini has it all to do and he won’t want reminding that City have an awful record at Arsenal. City fans must trawl back to 1975 to find the side’s last win here and they have never beaten the Gunners in the Premier League era.
City have also failed to score in each of their previous five visits to Arsenal. Another problem for City on the road this campaign has been a lack of goals, where they average just 1.6 per game.
Sir Alex Ferguson was left bemoaning his side’s complacency in the second half of the 3-1 win against Sunderland that could have cost the league leaders dear. In the end it didn’t matter and Nemanja Vidic made a welcomed return to the pitch hoping to plug up some of the problems at the back. At least United have not conceded first in their past two league games and they head to the Liberty Stadium on Sunday lunch-time.
United’s past two opening strikes have arrived in the 16th minute for any spread punters looking at the time of the visitor’s first match goal. In contrast, the Swans have conceded first in their previous two outings and they did so in the 16th minute in their most recent home league game against Norwich.
Those looking at the time of Swansea’s first match goal might be interested to learn that they failed to find the back of the net in both league games against United last season. The average time of United’s first goal in both games arrived in the 20th minute.