Smart money could be on the draw in Premier League summit meeting

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There was a time that Manchester City vs Tottenham would be an optional aperitif to a 4pm 'Grand Slam Sunday' serving of Arsenal vs Manchester United, but not this year.

This time around the fixture is arguably even more relevant to the title race than the showdown at the Emirates, as Tottenham look to move within two points of Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City. The league leaders will be hoping their mini wobble ended with their win at Wigan on Monday, but with William Hill having Spurs at 3/1, the bookies clearly feel Spurs have an opportunity to become the first side to win away at City since Everton in December 2010.

City’s possession of Europe’s only remaining 100% home record makes them outright favourites at 10/11, so the value may be on a sharing of the spoils at 12/5, especially as Nigel De Jong, City’s destroyer-in-chief, is likely to come into a side that would probably accept a draw out of one of their trickiest remaining assignments.

Spurs will be without top-scorer Emmanuel Adebayor due to the terms of his loan deal, with Jermaine Defoe likely to take his place and Rafael van der Vaart providing support - they’re both rated at 8/1 to open the scoring. Sergio Aguero, Mario Balotelli, Edin Dzeko and David Silva are all shorter odds to score first, so brave punters could do worse than to lump on for a Defoe or Van der Vaart-inspired 1-0 away win.

The day’s other game is similarly accumulator-unfriendly, given both team’s recent patchy form. Arsenal, buoyed by the return of their all-time record goalscorer Thierry Henry (7/4 to score at anytime), have only been beaten once at home in the league but still come into the match as slight underdogs.

One reason for this is Manchester United’s impressive away form, which seen them lose only once on the road, conceding just six goals in the process. Their 8/5 odds are difficult to argue against - less see a huge return on - but United have their own returning hero in Paul Scholes, who got off the mark against Bolton last week. Scholes probably won’t start the match but romantics might like the sound of 11/1 for United’s evergreen midfielder to score the last goal of the game.

Elsewhere, there’s plenty of tempting encounters for punters looking to string together a lucrative accumulator. Bolton play host to a Liverpool team struggling for goals without the talismanic Luis Suarez and may spring a surprise at the Reebok. Bolton are at fours to pull off a shock, while a 0-0 stalemate is 11/1 – not a bad shout considering the two teams have only managed 49 goals between them this season.

At 9/2, some may be tempted to give Norwich City a fighting chance at upsetting Chelsea at Carrow Road, but with Fernando Torres looking something like his old self against Sunderland last weekend, it might be worth backing El Niño to bag a demon-exorcizing hat-trick at 25/1.

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