Weekend Review: Title race heats up as a manic weekend of action sees bookies slightly edge punters

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Super Sunday lives up to its name with 22 goals across five games as just three points separate the top five  

It was a thrilling weekend of sporting action as the Premier League title race continues to heat up as we head into the final international break of the year. 

The 12:30pm kick-off was an early coupon buster as Spurs (5/4) lost late on away at Wolves (2/1). Tottenham took an early lead through Brennan Johnson, but late goals from Pablo Sarabia and Mario Lemina piled on the misery for the injury-hit Spurs. 

Betway’s Chad Yeomans noted the game ruined a number of bets for punters but saw the early tide favour the bookies.

He said: “It was a strong start for us in the Premier League as Tottenham crumbled to a 2-1 defeat at Molineux and busted many weekend accas right from the get-go.” 

There were also wins on Saturday for Arsenal (1/5), Bournemouth (3/1), Everton (19/10) and Manchester United (1/4).

However, Sunday was a different story for the bookies, with 22 goals across the day’s five matches. 

Aston Villa (3/5) made it a record-equalling 13 consecutive home wins with its 3-1 victory over Fulham. West Ham United (4/5) relied on a late Tomáš Souček header to defeat Nottingham Forest (7/2) 3-2. Liverpool (9/25) and Mo Salah continued their fine form with a 3-0 win over Brentford (7/1). 

The only reprieve for bookies came on the South Coast as Sheffield United (1/4) held 10-men Brighton (9/1) 1-1. 

Bet365’s Steve Freeth said: “We did head into Sunday in front thanks to Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Luton and Newcastle’s defeat on the South Coast, but 22 goals in the remaining five games gave our customers plenty to smile about going into the latest international break thanks to West Ham’s 3-2 win over Forest with warm favourites Liverpool and Aston Villa also bagging three.

“We were grateful once again to Sheffield United as they managed to hold Brighton, but the Seagulls were hardly backed off the boards; such is the form they’re in right now.”

In Sunday’s crunch match, Chelsea (7/2) scored a late equaliser to draw 4-4 with Manchester City (3/4), with City old boy Cole Palmer netting against his former employers to split the points. 

Erling Haaland opened the scoring from the spot before the Blues quickly turned things around through Thiago Silva and another former City man, Raheem Sterling. Manuel Akanji equalised on the stroke of half-time.

Haaland then made it 3-2 just after the break, but Nicolas Jackson, fresh from his hat-trick against Spurs, levelled things up once again.

Rodri thought he won it for City in the 86th minute, but Palmer had the final say in the game with his 95th-minute spot kick.

Betfred’s Alan Firkins tried to summarise the craziness we saw at Stamford Bridge. He said: “It was fitting that a stunning week of Premier League football wound up at Stamford Bridge on Sunday for a frenetic, error-strewn goal-fest, as Chelsea and Manchester City shared the small matter of eight goals. Wonderful entertainment and a fantastic advertisement for the game.

“We’re all immediately punished for having such fun with another dreaded international break, but events at the Bridge showed both the strides being made under Pochettino and that City can be rattled if you’re brave enough.

“And good enough. Almost inevitable that old boys Sterling and Palmer would score, as City’s rearguard had a day to forget.”

After the manic weekend of action, Francisco Cano, head of trading at LiveScore Group, explained its two days of betting activity. He said: “With several big football matches across Europe, we saw a very strong weekend of activity and turnover, with the biggest game of the weekend, Chelsea vs Man City, creating over double the turnover of any other game. 

“This was a great result, given that high-scoring games and goals in each half generally favour the punters and lead to a negative margin.

“With a Man City victory on many people’s accas, the last-minute Chelsea penalty helped secure a strong weekend for us.”

Firkins also gave an update on how the title race is shaping up in the run-up to the festive period: “Latest title odds; Man City 2/5, Arsenal 5/1, Liverpool 13/2, Tottenham 25/1, and it’s 66/1 bar.”

Meanwhile, the continent provided a mixed bag of results for both bookies and punters. In Italy, Napoli (1/4) lost 1-0 at home to Empoli (9/1), while the Rome derby between Roma (7/4) and Lazio (9/5) ended 0-0. 

Spain gave punters the best result away from England as Real Madrid (3/10) thumped Valencia (8/1) 5-1. Girona (13/10) continued their impressive start to the season with a 2-1 victory away at Rayo Vallecano (2/1). 

The Lisbon Derby also provided a late twist, as Sporting Lisbon (9/5) were 1-0 up heading into the final minutes, but two quickfire goals from Joao Neves and Casper Tengstedt gave Benfica (3/2) the bragging rights.

Bet365’s Freeth remarked: “Differing fortunes in Europe with Serie A giving us a couple of cracking results as Napoli lost late on at home to Empoli and the Rome derby between Lazio and Roma ended in a stalemate.

Our worst result of the weekend away from the English top flight was in La Liga, thanks to Real Madrid’s 5-1 hammering of Valencia, and the Girona success story is starting to catch on because their 2-1 win at Rayo also found itself on our list of top five worst results of the weekend.

The Lisbon Derby also featured prominently, with the visitors heading into injury time 1-0 up thanks to another goal from former Coventry striker Viktor Gyokeres, only for the game to be turned on its head thanks to goals from Neves and Tengstedt.”

Elsewhere, away from football, the Cricket World Cup heads into the final stages, with the tournament now reaching the semi-final stage with India taking on New Zealand and South Africa facing Australia.

Kindred Group’s Sam Farley commented: “The Cricket World Cup continued to be very popular with punters, with games featuring prominently among our 10 best across all sports. A mixed bag for us, but Australia’s win over Afghanistan was one that certainly didn’t go in our favour.”

In tennis, Novak Djokovic defeated Holger Rune in the group stages at the ATP Finals in Turin. 

Betway’s Yeomans said: “In tennis, Novak Djokovic ensured he will end the year as world number one for a record eighth time after overcoming Holger Rune at the ATP Finals in Turin, Italy.

“Off the back of that victory, the Serb has now shortened into 11/10 to take the title, with his main competition coming from Jannik Sinner (3/1) and Carlos Alcaraz (4/1).”


​EGR Intel

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