Belfast Telegraph

The Punter: Leeds nudge Fergie closer to calling it a day

Manchester United are 6-5 to end the season potless following their FA Cup demise at the hands of Leeds United.

Next on Sir Alex Ferguson’s agenda was to have been the visit to Eastlands tonight for the first leg of the Carling Cup semi-final against a Manchester City team that has not conceded a goal since Roberto Mancini took over.

Fergie said he would ring in the changes for that but the fixture has now been postponed and that picture could change dramatically before the game is rearranged.

Interestingly, Paddy Power were offering evens that five or less of the losers who were part of the Sunday defeat will be on the team sheet against City and 8-11 that six or more would start.

If the game had taken place this evening, evens would have been tempting but that is now likely to be off the table.

United’s defeat saved bookmakers massive payouts, especially in-running as punters waited for the comeback that never came.

A ‘big-four’ FA Cup win has now drifted out to evens but with Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool still there, it’s still not a bad shout.

Arsenal are a standout bet at |6-1, despite a tricky fourth round trip to Stoke City while Fulham look overpriced at 22-1.

If United do end up without silverware this season, talk will focus once more on the date of Fergie’s retirement, now that he has reached 68.

He has said that he will stand down before his 70th birthday and PP go 5-2 that he will stand down by the end of 2011 and 100-30 for this year. Take the 5-2.

Those who believe he will go on until 2014 or beyond, can help themselves to 7-2.

As for his successor, Jose Mourinho is the 2-1 ‘jolly’, with Aston Villa’s Martin O’Neill next at 6-1 followed by David Moyes and Fabio Capello at 12-1.

Paddy Power: When will Alex Ferguson retire as Man United manager?: 2010 100-30; 2011: 5-2; 2012: 100-30; 2013: 7-2; 2014 or later 7-2.

FA Cup: 3-1 Chelsea; 6-1 Liverpool, Arsenal; 13-2 Man City; 7-1 Tottenham; 9-1 Aston Villa; 18-1 Everton; 22-1 Fulham; 25-1 Sunderland; 50-1 bar.

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