Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has vowed to let his Manchester United players "be the kids that love to play football" as he prepares to take on Cardiff in his first game as the club’s caretaker manager.
The best bookmakers go odds-on (4/7) for the Norwegian to make a winning start, while Paddy Power go as short as 7/2 on Solskjaer to win his first four Premier League games in charge as the honeymoon period commences.
Paul Pogba, who was coached by Solskjaer when the former striker was in charge of the reserves, is likely to return to the starting line-up and may even be made captain, which is available to bet on at 2/1 with Paddy Power.
However, with Cardiff looking for their fourth home win in succession, the Bluebirds should not be taken lightly – they’re available to back at a best price of 11/2 with Betfair should any punters fancy them to spoil United’s party, while even a draw (16/5) would be a disappointment.
"At Manchester United you play without fear, you play with courage,” says Solskjaer. “You go out and express yourselves. I've had the best (Sir Alex Ferguson), and he said to go out and express yourselves, to take risks.”
With that in mind, punters can expect United to approach this game all guns blazing, and there are plenty of betting markets to capitalise upon that presumption.
Cardiff and United have both won nine points from losing positions this season, so if one team falls behind, consider backing the other team for a win – you’ll get great in-play odds on that should it materialise.
There are other ways to prepare for that situation though, with Ladbrokes offering a generous pre-game price of 17/2 on United falling behind but ultimately winning the game. Cardiff will really be up against it if they fall behind, though, so much so that it’s 25/1 for another come-from-behind win for Neil Warnock.
Speaking of Warnock, United backers will be enthused by his poor record against the Red Devils – he has failed in each of his seven attempts to beat them in the Premier League with various clubs, six of which he’s lost.
That doesn’t bode well for Cardiff, but the case for backing the hosts is strengthened by the fact United have lost their last three Premier League away games against promoted sides.
Betting on both teams to score may not appeal to value seekers, but there are better ways of making money off this game if you size up the sub markets.
Those odds may seem a little short for a midfielder who hasn’t scored since October 28, but if United really are to be on the offense as promised, they will find themselves in the opposition penalty area – and that could lead to a penalty claim or two.
Pogba is United’s penalty taker of course and it’s just 9/4 (Bet365) for a penalty to be awarded at any stage.
Indeed, Pogba is likely to be key to much of United’s play and the Frenchman will surely be out to prove he should never have been left out of the side by Jose Mourinho.
Bet365 offer 11/4 on him assisting at least one goal and I reckon that’s even better value than the price on him to score, both of which are my primary selections on this game.
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