It has been a season unlike any other with Manchester United performing so poorly. They are now heading towards finishing outside of the top 3 for the first time in the Premier League era and it is only now, at the tail end of the season, that the markets are beginning to realise that Man Utd are not quite the team they were a year ago.
Those who have looked at the odds ahead of the Manchester Derby will notice that Manchester United are underdogs in a home match which certainly does not happen very often. At this time of writing Man Utd are available @ 3.55 with Man City being 2.20 favourites.
In fact, I took a look back through the archives to find the last time Manchester United were underdogs at home in the Premier League and the last time was 6th November 2005 in a match against Jose Mourinho’s title winning Chelsea side. Whilst Manchester United were wobbling slightly in those days the market prices were more of a compliment to the strength of that particular Chelsea team rather then Man United being a team in decline at that point. Especially as Man Utd actually finished 2nd in that particular season and actually won that particular match 1-0.
A Year Ago..
It really is quite shocking to see how far Manchester United have declined within the space of a year. To put it into context, in the 2010-11 season Man Utd started as favourites in EVERY match apart from Chelsea away.
This same fixture against Man City took place on the 8th April 2013 which is just short of a year ago. That night, Man Utd were 2.20 favourites to win the match with City outsiders @ 3.50. It is not often you see the markets totally change their opinions like that within the space of a year and if they do it is usually because one of the teams has improved significantly or one of the teams has been weakened signigicantly, usually due to financial problems.
In the Champions League, Manchester United are set to start priced above 5-1 to beat Bayern Munich which is another unheard of sort of price on Man Utd at home even in the Champions League. I looked through my records and they have NEVER been priced so generously in the history of the Premier League and you might have to go back to the 1980s for a similar price in the domestic league.
When Manchester United played Juventus at Old Trafford in the 1996-97 season they were a similar price and, in those days, Man United were relative newbies to the Champions League compared to Juventus who were the reigning champions. In this case, they may be facing the reigning champions but they are far from being newbies.
To see these sorts of prices available on Manchester United at home pretty much confirms a significant demise within the space of a year and, unless there are drastic changes, this could be a sample of the type of prices Man Utd will be available at in the months to come which will make things very interesting.
How long before we see a Premier League team starting odds-on at Old Trafford? It’s never happened before but the way things are going it could happen very soon.