Weekend Review: Saturday a draw delight for bookies as Garnacho gets on his bike for punters
Premier League returns in classic form with high-scoring games and top of the table tussles as Arsenal lead the pack heading into December
Premier League football made its welcome return over the weekend as Saturday fell the way of the bookies.
In the early kick off, Manchester City (7/10) and Liverpool (4/1) faced off in a top-of-the-table clash in a game which has produced some classics in recent years.
City went into the lead thanks to Erling Haaland but failed to extend their lead at home before Trent Alexander-Arnold popped up 10 minutes from time to level the game.
A draw was lapped up by the bookies, as was Luton’s (16/5) first-ever Premier League home win against Crystal Palace.
Despite Arsenal (3/5) getting a late winner away to Brentford to return to the top of the table, a low-scoring affair with minimal intervention from the referee was also marked as a positive for the layers.
Bet365’s Steve Freeth said: “The first Premier League coupon back after the international break looked a competitive one and while draws were few and far between it was the opening game, Manchester City versus Liverpool, that gave us our highlight of the weekend with the match ending up 1-1. Our fightback continues thanks to Trent Alexander-Arnold.
“Arsenal winning was great for backers of the Gunners, but not so for bet builder fans in a game with just one goal and two cards,” he added.
Betfred’s Alan Firkins said: “Always a good result when the weekend’s standout Premier League clash ends in a draw, but Manchester City’s Erling Haaland is doing a fine Sergio Aguero impersonation in terms of expensively cornering the first goalscorer market.”
Elsewhere, Newcastle (11/10) brought Chelsea’s young side back down to earth with a thumping 4-1 win, in which Blues captain Reece James was sent off.
Other high-scoring highlights included Brighton’s 3-2 victory against Nottingham Forest while Bournemouth continued to put points on the board with a 3-1 win away to Sheffield United.
Sunday went the way of the punters as Aston Villa (3/1) came from behind to win 2-1 away at Spurs (3/4) thanks to goals from Pau Torres and Ollie Watkins.
Spurs, hampered by injuries and suspensions, fell to their third league defeat on the trot despite taking the lead through Gio Lo Celso.
Up on Merseyside, amid a fevered atmosphere following a 10-point deduction for Everton, Manchester United (29/10) went into a quick lead thanks to a bona fide goal of the season winner from Ale Garnacho’s stunning bicycle kick.
Further strikes from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial sealed a 3-0 win for Erik ten Hag’s side.
Francisco Cano, LiveScore Group head of trading, said: “Club football is back, and fans must be happy with an incredible weekend full of action.
“We have seen decent turnover figures despite favourable results for our customers. Surprisingly, the weekend’s most active event was the Everton versus United game. The result wasn’t great given the 3-0 scoreline and the betting popularity of the three scorers.”
Kindred Group’s Sam Farley echoed Cano’s comments. He added: “The biggest game of the weekend, for our punters at least, was surprisingly not the top two meeting but Everton versus United.
“A lot of people no doubt tuned in to see how the Everton faithful and the team would react. With United pulling off the result we took a bit of hit but fortunately other results went well for us over the weekend.”
Meanwhile, on the continent, Barcelona were held to a 1-1 draw away to Rayo Vallecano while Atletico Madrid could only edge past Mallorca 1-0 on Saturday.
Real Madrid, welcoming Jude Bellingham back into the fray, ran out 3-0 winners away to Cadiz, with the Englishman once again getting involved in the goals.
Freeth said: “We were starting to fall back in love with La Liga with Barcelona once again showing their inconsistencies with the 4/6 shots failing to see off Rayo, and while Antoine Griezmann may have got the winner for Atleti, we’ll take one goal and zero cards all day long.
“However, in strolls, a half-fit Jude Bellingham off the physio’s plinth to bag his 14th goal in his 15th game for Real Madrid to seal a 3-0 win for the title favourites.”
While Spanish football has a couple of positives for bet365, Freeth said action in Itay and Germany was less forgiving.
He said: “We did take some hits elsewhere in Europe, most notably in Serie A with 9/5 Napoli winning at Atalanta and the goal fest between Empoli and Sassuolo.
“Elsewhere, punters saw the benefit of our 2 Goals Ahead Early Payout offer in the Bundesliga with Monchengladbach going 2-0 up before falling to a 4-2 defeat at Dortmund.”
Betway’s Chad Yeomans added: “In Europe, Barcelona needed a late own goal to rescue a draw at Rayo Vallecano, while Real cruised to a 3-0 victory with Jude Bellingham on target yet again against Cadiz to the frustrations of our football traders. Better news came from Italy with Inter coming from behind to draw 1-1 with Juventus.”
Elsewhere in horseracing, Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden combined once again as Blueking D’Oroux landed the Coral Hurdle at Ascot over the weekend.
The four-year-old ended up winning by a length from second place Strong Leader in what was Cobden’s third win of the weekend.
Other victories atop Farnoge, Pic D’Orhy and Regent’s Stroll made for an awesome Ascot for the jockey.
Betfred’s Firkins remarked: “We got caned on Saturday – faves and second faves fared well in the ITV live racing output, and the popular duo of Nicholls and Cobden had a magnificent 240/1 four-timer at Ascot.
“Fred pushed three subsequent winners too, including the fantastically game Boothill, now 12/1 from 16/1 for the Tingle Creek at Sandown.”
Looking ahead, Firkins added: “Shishkin blotted his copybook by refusing to start in the Grade 2 chase in Berkshire, while impressive Punchestown scorer Gaelic Warrior is in to 10/3 from 6s for the Brown Advisory at The Festival. The National Hunt season is warming up beautifully.”