Ed Chamberlin: Premier points

Sky Sports presenter Ed Chamberlin looks ahead to the return of the Premier League and the weekend's racing.

Last Updated: 28/11/13 at 10:33 Post Comment

Ed Chamberlin and the Monday Night Football team return.

Ed Chamberlin and the Monday Night Football team return.

Football

We are back in Cardiff for the Super Sunday action this weekend. Manchester United visit the Cardiff City Stadium for the first time and all eyes will be on local boy Ryan Giggs.

Despite approaching his 40th birthday and playing a record 951 times for United, Giggs has never played against his hometown club. Should he feature on Sunday, it will be the 117th different side he has played against in his career. Incredible.

Cardiff have won on both our visits so far this season, against Swansea and Manchester City, and created an incredible atmosphere on both occasions.

The place will be rocking again if they can pull off a 'Manchester double' in their debut Premier League season.

Sky Bet rate Cardiff as a 9/2 chance to win and have Manchester United at 4/7 to beat the newly-promoted side, having won 13 of the last 14 meetings against promoted teams.

Before the game in Wales we have a fascinating and crucial match at the Etihad Stadium.

Manchester City (4/6 to win with Sky Bet) play Tottenham (4/1) with both sides needing to bounce back from defeats on the Super Sunday hat-trick before the international break.

Defeat again could prove a fatal blow to either side's title hopes. The positive is that we see the League's best attack against the team to have kept the most clean sheets - City have scored 28 goals while Tottenham have kept seven clean sheets and conceded just six times (only Southampton have conceded fewer).

City have had their struggles on the road but at the Etihad they have been unstoppable and have the only 100 per cent home record left in English football.

Despite Tottenham's impressive defence they have had well-documented problems at the other end, scoring just nine goals and this remains a mystery.

The mystery comes from Tottenham having had the more shots, more shots on target and blocked shots of any other team in the Premier League this season.

To round off the Premier League weekend Monday Night Football returns with West Brom (evens) against Aston Villa (11/4).

Last season, Steve Clarke's Baggies finished seven places and eight points higher than Paul Lambert's Villa but this time around they are level on points and separated by only one goal in the table.

It's going to be tight but punters might be tempted by Villa at 11/4 as they seem to find it easier away from home.

They have only conceded three goals in their five Premier League away games this season - only Tottenham (one conceded) have a better defensive record on the road, while Southampton have also conceded three.

They are unbeaten in their last three away games without conceding a goal (W1, D2) since their only defeat at Chelsea. Villa last kept four successive League clean sheets away from home in 1985 under Graham Turner - a club record.

Horse racing

What a brilliant time of year this is. The Ashes is under way in Australia, which will mean lots of late nights and early mornings plus plenty of checking Twitter during the night for score updates.

Saturday night also sees the Carl Froch v George Groves fight on Sky Box Office, for which Froch is a warm 2/7 favourite with Sky Bet.

There was some brilliant action in the autumn rugby union internationals .

My annual annoyance is that none of the home nations play 'series' against the Southern Hemisphere nations. What a shame England don't get another crack at New Zealand this weekend. I'd prefer to see England's autumn be a three match series against the All Blacks, likewise Wales against Australia, Ireland against South Africa etc. Then rotate for next year.

It's also my favourite time of year for racing with big races and meetings every weekend before Christmas. Hot on the heels of three brilliant days at Cheltenham is the Betfair Chase at Haydock and a top card at Ascot. Next week it's theHennessy, followed by the Tingle Creek and the show rolls on from there.

It's the best ever renewal of the Betfair Chase but it looks so tough for punters with so much guess work involved.

Will Gold Cup hero Bobs Worth be tuned up for his return? The same applies to Silviniaco Conti. Neither of their trainers are firing on all cylinders yet. David Pipe certainly is but will Dynaste be good enough at this level? Does Cue Card stay this trip? What will Tidal Bay do on the day?

Over at Ascot the Amlin Chase looks equally difficult, while if Annie Power is as good as they say she is, she should beat Zarkandar in receipt of 11lbs.

The horse I have backed for the weekend is Alan King's Two Rockers at 15/2 with Sky Bet to win the Fixed Brush Hurdle at Haydock .

Two Rockers was an impressive winner at the track in February before disappointing in the Neptune. But as my regular reader will know, I think that race at the Cheltenham Festival was red hot.


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