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Nic Ladds 12th May 2009 - 19:12

Manchester United should punish goal-shy Wigan

With the Premier League crown within touching distance thanks to a barnstorming run of six consecutive league wins there won't be many betting against Manchester United for their away game against fading Wigan Athletic.

Ha. And throw into the mix those conspiracy theorists who reckon Wigan boss Steve Bruce would be delighted to gift his beloved former club with three of the four points United now need to guarantee league title number 18.

The rumours usually make for some lively bar room banter but the reality is that a fired-up Wigan side, available at a massive 7/1, playing at the very peak of their abilities wouldn't be good enough to get anything from this game anyway.

That's backed up in the results from the eight fixtures played between these two since they first met in 2005.

Eight matches have yielded eight wins for the Red Devils, so even the draw at 3/1 looks like an unlikely outcome.

Most banks currently pay 0.5% interest, at United's match odds of 1/3 the heavy hitters who see this as an away banker will no doubt be availing themselves of the 33.3% return available with bookies William Hill.

I wouldn't put them off because all the form in the lead up to this game points to a comprehensive United win, correct score of 3-0 could be tempting at 7/1.

As the season ticks down Sir Alex Ferguson's side seem to be improving.

Carlos Tevez, a 4/1 shot for the first goal, with a "for sale" sign on his back was magnificent in the derby win on Sunday against Manchester City and Cristiano Ronaldo (3/1 first goal) and Ryan Giggs (8/1) are in typical rampaging form at the business end of the season.

Their form is in stark contrast to Wigan's who currently sit third from bottom of the last six matches form table.

A beleaguered Bruce conceded that his charges were poor in losing 3-1 at West Brom at the weekend and, despite securing another season of Premier League football, with games to spare, is irked at his club's poor finish to the campaign.

Wigan have now only won two of their last 15 games and the summer holidays cannot come quickly enough for the limping Latics.

When it comes to unearthing a punt for Wednesday's game the bet that stands out most for me is the outstanding 5/6 with Hills that United win the game to nil.

Goals in 2009 have been a big problem for Wigan, with only eight notched in the league since the turn of the year. And when it comes to goals against the visitors, Boxing Day 2006 was the last time Athletic scored against United.

To make matters worse for the hosts, their greatest scoring threat (when he isn't going AWOL on Egypt international duty) Amir Zaki looks like missing the game after being carried off lame with a cruciate injury against West Brom. Should he start he's a huge 9/1 chance for the first of the game, also the same price for the last goal of the 90 minutes should he come on as a substitute.

Ferguson has only been beaten five times in 55 Premier League matches against clubs bossed by one of his former players.

Make that five from 56 after this one to give false fuel to the fires of those conspiracy theories about the Scotsman and his ex-United boys.

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Wigan v Man Utd - Wednesday 20:00

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