Betting Week in Review 16/8/21 – Switzerland’s Young Boys Feature
Betting Week in Review: The Champions League returned last week and produced some surprises, especially the game featuring Manchester United. There was also some shock results in the weekend’s Premier League fixtures.
Young Boys Ruin Ronaldo’s Second United European Debut
Manchester United could hardly have wished for an easier start to their Champions League campaign, a tie against the Swiss Champions Young Boys, who were expected to be the whipping boys in Group F, which also features Villarreal and Atlanta.
There was a feel-good factor pre-game surrounding Manchester United. New signing Christiano Ronaldo had scored two goals three days earlier on his Premier League return in his team’s 4-1 win against Newcastle United.
With the apparent gulf in class so severe, you struggled to get better odds than 5/1 for the 36-year-old to score a hattrick. But, ironically, the odds on Ronaldo scoring three goals were lower than the 699/100 on offer for the Swiss champions to win.
It didn’t take Ronaldo long to put his mark on the game, scoring in the 13th minute on his 177th appearance in the Champions League, a competition record. For those who had backed a treble for Ronaldo, it was starting to look like easy money.
However, United’s job was made much more difficult when Aaron Wan-Bissaka was sent off twenty minutes later. The 23-year-old was shown a straight red for a dangerous tackle on Christopher Martins. Solskjaer responded by swopping £73m midfielder Jadon Sancho with Diogo Dalot, who Jose Mourinho signed for £19m from Porto in 2018.
Even with ten men, you would have still expected Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men to prevail. United often make life difficult for themselves, but before the international break, the Red Devils set a new league record for games unbeaten away from their Old Trafford home. The 28-game unbeaten away run surpassed the 27 that Arsenal recorded in their historic ‘invincibles’ season. During these games (W18 D10), United often gifted the home team the lead, or they would equalise with seconds left on the clock.
However, Young Boys made the most of their numerical advantage and looked the livelier of the two sides. So it wasn’t a total surprise when they levelled things up thanks to a goal in the 66th minute that Cameroon winger Moumi Ngamaleu scored.
Solskjaer made two controversial substitutions in response to the equaliser, bringing off Ronaldo and replacing him with Jesse Lingard. United’s player of the year last year, Bruno Fernandes, was also replaced, veteran defender Nemanja Matic taking the influential player’s place.
It was a move that would backfire spectacularly as the game went into time added on for stoppages.
With United lacking the goal threat of Ronaldo, Young Boys attacked relentlessly and got their deserved reward by scoring a 95th-minute winner.
Jesse Lingard played an ill-judged backpass that perfectly found Jordan Siebatcheu in the United penalty box. The 25-year-old American calmly took his chance and gave David DeGea no chance with his effort, sending the Wankdorf Stadium into raptures.
It wouldn’t have been a surprise to hear Manchester bookmakers cheers as well, the 2-1 win creating a big win for operators as United are one of the best-backed teams in the world.
Chelsea, City and Liverpool All Win
There were, however, no such setbacks for the other English clubs. European champions Chelsea eased past Zenit St Petersburg 1-0 thanks to a Romelu Lukaku goal with twenty minutes to play. Manchester City scored six in a nine-goal thriller with RB RB Leipzig. City had six different scorers (Aké (16’), Mukiele (28’ og), Mahrez (45’+2 pen), Grealish (56’), Cancelo (75’), Gabriel Jesus (85’).
Liverpool had to come from behind in their 3-2 win against AC Milan. The home side took the lead thanks to a Fikayo Tomori own goal after 9 minutes, but the visitors led at halftime thanks to goals from Ante Rebic and Brahim Diaz. However, Jurgen Klopp’s team talk appears to have worked with the Reds enjoying almost total dominance in the second half. First, Mohamed Salah made up for his earlier penalty miss by scoring three minutes after the break. Then, Jordan Henderson scored his first-ever Champions League goal to secure the win, the captain scoring in the 69th minute after the Italian’s could only partially clear a Liverpool corner.
Brentford Win and City Draw Biggest Premier League Surprises
The Saturday early game slot is no stranger to surprises, and the pattern continued with newly-promoted Brentford winning their first game on the road, beating Wolves 2-0 at Molineux. Pre-game, Wolves were heavy favourites at 21/25, the draw 59/25 with a Brentford win priced at 21/5, just over 4/1.
All the goals came in the first half; the opener converted from the spot after 28 minutes by Ivan Toney. The striker, who was prolific in the Championship last year, was also involved in the second; his pass found Bryan Mbeumo at the back post. Mbeumo’s goal after 34 minutes was his first in the Premier League.
Although Wolves had many chances, especially from Raul Jimenez, Brentford hung on, even though they were reduced to ten men just after the hour mark. Shandon Baptiste was sent off needlessly for two yellow cards. Nevertheless, it is a result that sees them climb to 9th place. However, they face unbeaten Liverpool next.
The other big surprise of the weekend’s action was the goalless draw between the champions Manchester City and Southampton at the Etihad stadium.
With City having Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling, Jack Grealish and İlkay Gündoğan all in the starting line-up, a 0-0 draw was the last thing on most punter’s minds. A draw was thought to be such an unlikely prospect; it was priced 7/1 before kick-off.
City had an off day, not managing a shot on goal until injury time. They were fortunate to have eleven men on the pitch after Jonathan Moss had awarded a penalty and shown Kyle Walker the red card on 61 minutes. VAR came to the rescue and invited the referee to watch the incident on the pitch-side monitor. Moss overturned his initial decision, much to the relief of the defender.
Although Southampton felt aggrieved by that decision, they were grateful for VAR at the end of the game when Raheem Sterling thought he had scored in injury time. The England forward was the quickest to react when Phil Foden’s header was saved, but the linesman raised his flag. Although the VAR review took a long time, it didn’t overturn the on-field decision.
Bookmaker’s Disappointed With de Gea’s Penalty Save
Bookmakers nearly received another unexpected payday thanks to Manchester United in their game against high-flying West Ham on Sunday.
The game looked like it was heading towards a Manchester United win when a penalty was awarded to West Ham deep into extra time due to a handball decision against Luke Shaw. The West Ham manager David Moyes gambled by introducing Mark Noble into the game to take the kick, but David de Gea guessed right, saving the penalty and denying the Hammers a draw.
The Red Devils will feel they deserved the win. After going behind due to a Said Benrahma shot that deflected off Raphael Varane in the 30th minute, they upped their game and equalised five minutes later thanks to yet another Christiano Ronaldo goal. Jesse Lingard scored a beautiful goal with a minute left to play, the 28-year-old making amends for his costly mistake in Europe.
De Gea would have felt a degree of satisfaction saving the penalty; the Spanish international missed the vital penalty kick in the Europa League final last year.