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Wrapped up: Manchester United Crowned Champions by Bookmakers
Two Bookmakers paid out on Manchester United winning the Premier League as the Red Devils moved 12 points clear with a 2-0 victory over Everton at Old Trafford. Paddy Power announced they were settling bets before the Everton victory and Manchester-based betting firm Betfred later joined them in backing the reds to win their 20th league title.
Despite the fact that there are still 36 points to play for after the match with the Toffees, Paddy Power have opted to pay punters who backed United to win a 20th championship their winnings. United Fan Fred Done, who owns Betfred, anointed the Red Devils as Champions last season when they were eight points in front with six matches remaining, only for Manchester City to overhaul their rivals on the final day of the campaign on goal difference.
Betfred also paid out early in 1998 when United were 12 points clear of Arsenal and went to lose the title by a single point. Paddy Power seemed to be absolute sure that this will not happen again, and appeared vindicated when United imperiously marched towards another victory and warmed up for their crunch Champions League tie against Real Madrid on Wednesday. First-half goals from Ryan Giggs and Robin van Persie saw United go to 1-25 to claim the championship back from Manchester City and bookmakers are in no doubt it will end up being a 20th title for the Red Devils.
United had been 13-5 before a ball was kicked this summer and the only real betting interest now concerning the leaders will come in just how far ahead of the pack Ferguson’s side can finish. Manchester City’s challenge continued to stumble on Saturday as they slumped to an error-strewn 3-1 defeat at Southampton. After the game, manager Roberto Mancini said his side still had a "10 per cent" chance of retaining their title. Instead Mancini is 13/8 with William Hill to be the next top-flight boss to depart, but it would be certainly a surprise if that happens considering City’s success in recent years.
Even with Jose Mourinho in the stands and watching on keenly, on renewing his rivalry with Sir Alex Ferguson, Wednesday night’s match seemed to be the last thing on United minds as Ryan Giggs and Robin Van Persie scored the first-half goals that were enough to see off a spirited Everton side. Giggs has now scored in a remarkable 23 successive league seasons. With netting his 23rd goal of the season, Van Persie is on course to a sensational debut campaign. Not only United seemed to nullify aerial threat of Marouane Fellaini, they also put a dent in Everton’s Champions League aspirations.
“Cristiano lays down the gauntlet to Manchester (United)” said Sunday’s edition of Spanish newspaper Marca in remarks to his hat-trick against Sevilla on Saturday. Both teams have warmed up by posting convincing victories in their respective league matches. For now, Manchester United can solely focus on Real Madrid without worrying about the league for at least another week and all eyes will be on Wednesday’s glamour tie which the world is waiting for, right Jose!