GW 39 – Ones to Watch

Ally: With some pretty tasty looking Scottish Cup ties on offer, I’m staying on familar territory south of the border for my first tip this week. It may seem a bit of an obvious pick, but Manchester United are the form team of the Premier League right now, and Sunday’s visit of Burnley represents an ideal opportunity to keep their feint title hopes alive with champions-elect Manchester City otherwise engaged in FA Cup action as they maintain the hunt for an unprecedented quadruple. United have amassed 22 points and 24  goals from their last 10 league games, yet still trail their city rivals by a seemingly unassailable 11 points, though victory for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side over stuttering Burnley would cut that deficit to 8 points leaving both teams with 6 matches to play. They haven’t lost at Old Trafford since the shock 2-1 defeat by basement side Sheffield United in January, while only Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea have left there without conceding in the league. The Clarets have won 4 and lost 5 of their last 9 matches on the road, including a notable 1-0 victory at Anfield. You know Sean Dyche will set his team up with the intention of making life as difficult as possible and frustrating this United team, but The Red Devils are in a rich vein of form and I expect they will find a way past Burnley’s resolute defence. If they score early then they could score big, as Southampton can testify!

I’m staying in Greater Manchester for my next tip, but dropping down to the less glamorous surroundings of the National League where Stockport County entertain Maidenhead United. Stockport sit second in the form table over the last 10 games, recording 21 points and notching an impressive 21 goals. They are unbeaten in 9 matches, and head into Saturday’s game on the back of a superb week which has seen them win 3-0 at resurgent Wrexham, followed up four days later with a 4-0 win on home turf against King’s Lynn town. The Edgeley Park side currently sit in fourth place but can draw level on points with leaders Hartlepool should they win their two games in hand, so the visit of an inconsistent Maidenhead side with little to play for represents an ideal opportunity to strengthen their position at the top and put pressure on their rivals. The Berkshire side have won just one of their previous 8 away matches, and one clean sheet in that time so a visit to in-form Stockport is not what the players will want and hopefully The Hatters will oblige with some goals. Good luck with your selections.