Manchester United’s odds of gaining automatic qualification for next year’s Champions League have been sliced yet again by market makers on Betfair to 7/5 as news emerged of further injury woes for Tottenham Hotspur this afternoon.
Spurs midfielder and key play-maker Dele Alli had picked up a hamstring injury in last Sunday’s narrow 2-1 victory away to Fulham. And it has now been confirmed that Alli will be out until early March at the earliest, adding yet another blow to the North London side’s chances of achieving a Premier League top four finish after key striker Harry Kane had sustained a ligament injury in Spurs’ shock home defeat against United on January 13th.
Kane is also expected to remain out until early March as Mauricio Pochettino’s outfit head into a condensed February fixture list that involves Champions League, FA Cup and League commitments along with a possible League Cup final.
As a result of Manchester United’s resurgence under Ole Gunnar Solksjaer – the Norwegian has won all seven games since he took over the crisis-ridden club in mid-December – the Reds have seen their odds for a top four finish fall by more than two thirds in less than one calendar month.
On Boxing Day, most bookmakers were pricing Utd’s odds at 6/1 [implied probability of 14.2%] on the outcome. Today, however, prices as low as 17/12 [implied probability of 41.4%] are being quoted by some lay bettors on Betfair.
By contrast, Spurs’ own odds on the same platform have fallen from 1/9 to to 3/8 over the same period.
United are currently sitting in sixth place on 44 points, just behind Arsenal who are ahead on goal difference only, and three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, with Spurs sitting on 51 points.