English Premiership Betting

Thirteen matches into the English Premiership season, Chelsea and Manchester United appear to be in a category by themselves.

The two heavyweights have a total 21 victories so far, more than the third-, fourth- and fifth-placed clubs combined (18). Portsmouth, Arsenal and Aston Villa already trail Man Utd by at least 11 points.

Man Utd are undefeated in their last eight EPL matches, with seven victories and one draw, while Chelsea have won six, drawn one and lost one game. In that period Man Utd have outscored their opposition by a whopping 18 to 3 goal margin. Nearly as impressive, Chelsea have buried their opponents 14 to 4 over that period.

The odds of any other club threatening the two Premiership leaders are becoming increasingly slim. Arsenal might still have a chance, but after a good win over Liverpool last weekend, they stumbled at home to Newcastle on Saturday and were lucky to salvage a single point. The Gunners are 16/1 bet odds in the outright wagering market to win the Premiership (at VCBet bookmakers).

The two top clubs face each other next Sunday, in a match that may as well be worth 6 points.

If the English Premier League has in fact become a two-way race, which club has the edge as we near the midpoint of the season?

Attack will be the vital for both teams. Ruud Van Nistelrooy's exit has not posed too many problems for Man Utd. Wayne Rooney, Louis Saha and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have created plenty of goals and terrorized opposing goalkeepers. The steadiness that Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes offer in midfield, plus the exhilarating style of Cristiano Ronaldo, make a strike force that simply cannot be stopped.

But beware of the most in-form striker in the world at the moment: Didier Drogba. The Ivorian is simply unbelievable, and watching him score a league-leading eight goals has left many Premiership fans in awe. Andriy Shevchenko is also starting to find his form and fitting in at Stamford Bridge. With the depth of first-class internationals in midfield, Chelsea have the most talented offence in the Premiership.

Chelsea defender Geremi is aware of how crucial their strike force has been.

"The fact we've been scoring lots of goals is good for the team and good for the strikers to have confidence, because we had been creating lots of chances and we think we were unfortunate not to score many more," he said. "But now we have luck on our side and we are scoring.

"We have got the target; we must put Man United under pressure."

The early betting odds on next week's football match has Manchester United priced as slight favourites (2.50 at Bet365 bookmakers). On balance, at this juncture in the year organization is more important than talent. But if Chelsea continue to get more cohesive they could be relentless in the second half of the season. At this point, however, the edge goes to Manchester United. They could very well get past Chelsea 2-1 in one of the more memorable soccer matches of the season.