Football: Premiership Punt

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID PRENTICE

Arsenal v Manchester United

Home: 13/10 Draw: 11/5 Away: 15/8

SKY will probably bill this Match of the Millennium, Showdown of the Century or Game of the Holocene (the epoch we're currently in, trivia fans. You might not win any money reading this column but you'll always learn something!)

For once, it promises to justify the build-up.

Arsenal and United are the two most successful clubs in Premier League history (United 1,258 points and nine titles; Arsenal 1,107 points and three titles), the Gunners have the longest current unbeaten run (17 games), while are on the longest current winning streak of eight.

It sets the strongest attack against the tightest defence; Arsenal have scored 22 goals in 10, Manchester United have conceded four in 11 - and neither has new injury worries.

The outcome? Another entertaining draw.

Prediction: 2-2

Kick-off: Today, 12.45pm (Sky Sports 1)

Aston Villa v Derby County

Home: 4/9 Draw: 11/4 Away: 6/1

EVEN odds on prices can't be ignored on Derby County in their current form and mental state.

Billy Davies as good as admitted last week they aren't good enough to compete in the Premier League - and today they go to a ground where Chelsea were turned over a month ago, with striker Kenny Miller facing a race against time to be fit.

Flu also swept through the Derby dressing room this week and while everyone has reportedly recovered, stand by for a post-match excuse of players still feeling the after effects.

"Everyone is at the top of their game and we are confident of doing well," said Gabby Agbonlahor, who is worth a first goalscorer dabble at 9/2.

Prediction: 2-0

Kick-off: Today, 3pm

Fulham v Reading

Home: 6/5 Draw: 11/5 Away: 2/1

FULHAM are the Premier League's draw specialists with six out of 11, and this could be another contender.

Fulham - top of the half-time Premier League table, but sadly games have always lasted 90 - have not won in eight. Reading are on a four-game losing run away from home, and have not won a Premier League match in London since November... last year.

Both sides will see the potential for victory here, but may have to settle for a draw.

The horses for courses form guide points to Reading. The Royals are aiming to maintain a 100 per cent Premier League record against Fulham with a third win out of three; Fulham are searching for a first goal at this level against the Royals.

They may get one today, but it may not be enough for three points.

Prediction: 1-1

Kick-off: Today, 3pm

Middlesbrough v Tottenham

Home: 8/5 Draw: 11/5 Away: 6/4

JUANDE RAMOS has had a full week to work with his Tottenham charges, and saw them at first hand on Wednesday against Blackpool. A trip to Teesside will give him a wonderful chance to show what he can do.

Middlesbrough, guite simply, don't have enough firepower to trouble even Spurs' porous defence.

Mido has been denied a chance to prove Spurs were wrong to allow him to leave in the transfer window after failing to shake off a groin problem, meaning Tuncay Sanli and Aliadiere will be charged with leading the line.

While Julio Area and Emanuel Pogatetz are still a few weeks away from a return.

Lee Dong-Gook has been banned from playing for South Korea for 12 months, Boro fans believe he has been banned from scoring for the same timescale. Spurs can take advantage.

Prediction: 1-2

Kick-off: Today, 3pm

Wigan Athletic v Chelsea

Home: 13/2 Draw: 3/1 Away: 2/5

WIGAN have been boosted by the return of striker Antoine Sibierski.

But this isn't the game where he can make the most impact.

Wigan host Chelsea looking to halt a five-game losing streak which has seen them slump to 16th, just two points above the relegation zone. …