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USA tours see Keane and Berbatov stake Golden Boot claim

| 26.07.2010

Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov have both made cases to start in their sides’ opening games of the new campaign after impressing in pre-season friendlies.

Manchester United (2/1 to win the Premier League), Tottenham Hotspur (11/4 to reach the top four) and Manchester City (5/1 to claim the title) were all in action on American soil on Sunday but none of them recorded a win.

United crashed 2-1 to 10-man Kansas City Wizards, while City were defeated 2-1 by Thierry Henry’s New York Red Bulls and Spurs drew 2-2 with Sporting Lisbon.

Such ropey pre-season form is usually forgotten as soon as the opening competetive fixtures are completed but individual players can certainly show a sign of things to come.

Robbie Keane scored and assisted another in Spurs’ match, to follow up his goal in the 2-1 win over New York.

The 30-year-old Irishman went on loan to Celtic for the second part of last season and is the subject of transfer interest, but now seems to have persuaded Harry Redknapp to keep him.

“He looked sharp and bright and he is still very much in the plans,” said Redknapp. “There is every chance he could start [in Spurs’ first game against City].”

Tottenham are 7/1 to beat City 2-1.

Redknapp’s statement could signal the end for Roman Pavlyuchenko, despite his agent yesterday saying the Russian wants to stay at White Hart Lane. It looks highly improbable he will get the chance to repeat his fine scoring form from April and win the Golden Boot (80/1).

Dimitar Berbatov, however, could make an unlikely charge for that particular accolade after showing a ruthless streak in America. He converted a penalty with stylish applomb against Kansas and also scored a smart volley against Celtic.

With assists coming as well, the 29-year-old Bulgarian could have secured a starting place against Newcastle United, which the Red Devils are 6/1 to win 3-0.

Berbatov scored 12 league goals last year from just 24 starts and should he play 90-minutes more regularly could be an excellent bet for Premier League top scorer, at 33/1.

City have now lost two out of two on their tour of the USA, will that affect their Premier League campaign? They are 9/5 to beat Spurs at White Hart Lane and 1/2 to finish in the Champions League places. See the full Premier League betting market.



Richard Anderson