Ed Chamberlin: Super Sunday

Sky Sports' Ed Chamberlin reflects on the latest Premier League action and looks ahead to the weekend's racing at Cheltenham.

Last Updated: 14/11/13 at 09:11 Post Comment

Manchester United enjoyed a Super Sunday victory over Arsenal.

Manchester United enjoyed a Super Sunday victory over Arsenal.

Football

The Super Sunday hat-trick was a fascinating marathon of Premier League football. However, it ended up further muddying the waters of an already bizarre, unpredictable but utterly compelling season.

When was the last time at this stage of a campaign Sky Bet were betting 5/2 the field, with five teams quoted at 13/2 or less?

Tottenham are out to 28/1 after the 1-0 defeat at home to Newcastle kicked off our coverage.

Spurs fans are up in arms that £100m pounds worth of new talent has only produced nine goals.

However, it's important to take in to account they have had more shots on target (73) this season than any other Premier League side and Tim Krul used Sunday to produce the most incredible goalkeeping display we've seen in a long time, pulling off 14 saves - the most by a top-flight goalkeeper for eight years.

Tottenham's luck will surely change. I will also be keeping a close eye on Paulinho in Sky Bet's goalscorer markets . He continually gets himself in to some great positions in the box without producing the end product - yet.

Sunderland then pulled off a famous North-East double when they beat Manchester City at the Stadium of Light yet again.

City's away form is becoming a major concern, which the boys in the studio put down to a mental problem. In my mind, their display in the Manchester derby remains the stand-out performance of the domestic season. If they find their rhythm City remain the favourites to win the title. However, at present that is a big 'if' especially away from home.

The finale to the day was the classic Premier League fixture that is Manchester United v Arsenal.

The downside was the news that Michael Carrick will be out for six weeks, meaning he'll miss the crucial and busy Christmas period.

Carrick is such an important player for Moyes and United. Their central midfield resources will now be tested and they urgently need Marouane Fellaini and company to step up to the plate.

For me this week it's from the Super Sunday hat-trick to the clash of the hat-trick men, as I'm presenting both legs of Portgual v Sweden in the World Cup play-offs.

It's such a shame that one of Cristiano Ronaldo or Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be missing next year but fascinating to see who inspires their country to Brazil. The first leg is live on Sky Sports 1 at 7.30pm on Friday.

Horse racing

It's fantastic news that Sky Bet are the new sponsors of the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. What an exciting prospect.

The first of the Sky Bet sponsored trials for the Supreme is on Sunday, which could feature the eagerly anticipated hurdling debut of West Wizard. It sounds like he is a machine.

The card on Saturday looks as brilliant as ever and instantly takes the new season up a few notches.

By far the best novice chase of the campaign is set to be run at 1315 GMT. African Gold, who is Sky Bet's RSA second favourite at 14/1, looks set to take on the likes of White Line Star, Shutthefrontdoor and Black Thunder.

Others may be more fashionable but I'll be sticking with Shutthefrontdoor. This is the horse AP McCoy gave us as his one to follow for the season and he won well at Aintree on his chase bow. AP thinks he can go right to the top.

The Paddy Power Gold Cup looks a typically difficult puzzle and as with all big handicap chases round Cheltenham, the winner will need a lot of luck.

The picture will also become a lot clearer when Messrs Pipe and Henderson reveal their hand. The favourite looks set to be either Dynaste or Johns Spirit.

The latter will need more luck than most as he needs holding up and has a worrying tendency to wallop a fence. He can't do that in this company and the record of winners from the race he won at the Showcase meeting is awful.

No horse has done the double in that race and the Mackeson/Thomas Pink/Paddy Power since Shooting Light in 2001. Nadiya De La Vega won that October race, off only a 3lb lower mark than she races off on Saturday, before finishing third in the Paddy Power last year.

I'm pleased Nicky Henderson has gone straight for the big race this term as she tends to run her best race of the season first time up: she's won on her seasonal debut in all three seasons that she has been in this country.

I have backed Nadiya De La Vega at 16/1 with Sky Bet. If the weights go up, she could be the mount of the champion jockey.

My bet of the meeting is Thomas Edison in Sunday's Greatwood Hurdle.

He put up one of the performances of the season at Down Royal earlier this month. I backed him to win that race and was tearing up my ticket when he was badly impeded at the second flight and left well adrift of the field.

Despite all the top racing at Cheltenham, the clash of the week will come in the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown on Sunday.

Champion Hurdler Hurricane Fly takes on one of the numerous high-class young pretenders to his crown in Jezki, who is my fancy to win the 2014 Champion Hurdle so I'm hoping Sunday will signal the start of the changing of the guard.

Thousands of Ten to Follow lists will have been submitted this week and bubbles will be burst left right and centre this weekend.

Alex Hammond and the team have done some brilliant features from training centres round the country this week on Sky Sports News, which have thrown up plenty of clues and helped my whittle down the shortlist for my Ten to Follow list to about 137.The list I submitted last week took plenty of stick on Twitter for being boring, which it certainly is, but it was also picked to win competitions and that is done by including the obvious horses to win the big races.

Other horses that I will be following this season: The Neptune at the Cheltenham Festival looked a red-hot race and should produce winners galore. The New One could have a field day in Champion Hurdle trials in England but I will also keep an eye on the horse that followed him home. It was great to see Rule The World bounce back and win at Naas after suffering a serious injury at the Punchestown Festival. He's a completely different individual to The New One, who is a speed ball, as Rule The World is a big chasing type, who can win races over hurdles this season before going to the top over fences.

Chatterbox also ran an eye-catching race in the Neptune. His jumping let him down at a crucial stage in the race and he did well to finish fourth. Just like Bobs Worth for the same owners, I'm not sure they know just how good Chatterbox might be.

Chatterbox is a proper little professional, who is sure to win lots of races.

Merry King was one of my bets of the meeting in this column for the Cheltenham Festival as I thought Jonjo O'Neill was going to send him to the four mile National Hunt Chase. However, he decided to go for the ultra-competitive handicap on the opening day, where everything happened too quick.

The six-year-old made a very encouraging reappearance at Ascot but will be seen to best effect granted a thorough test of stamina. He has an entry in the Hennessy but I hope Jonjo waits and sends him to the Welsh National.

Cheltenham Selections: Shutthefrontdoor, Nadiya De La Vega, Thomas Edison.


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