Writer: J P Fear
Date:Thursday February 16 2006
Much like “Mike Riley waves away United's penalty appeal,” or “Robbie Savage saved him from being booked there,” the phrase “Good old Gary Neville” is rarer than a Peter Crouch screamer. But thanks to Gary's recent jig in front of the Scouse supporters, the match between Liverpool and Man U will now be tastier than a chicken madras after seven pints of lager.
Neville's lucky he's not Spanish, Barcelona fans once threw a pig's head at Luis Figo; Liverpool fans are unlikely to follow suit, Helen Chamberlain works on a Saturday morning. Will Neville react to the inevitable abuse? You can back him to receive a yellow at 12/5, a red at 33/1.
It's not just the fans that will be on Neville's back, Fowler, Carragher and Gerrard will be keeping one eye open, Stevie G is 11/4 to be booked and 16/1 to be carded for a challenge on Red Nev.
I try to avoid discussing men's hairstyles as a general rule, but I think Harry Kewell's decision to wear his hair in a bun was ill advised, Wayne Rooney will probably eat it. Rucker Rooney will be there or thereabouts if it all goes off, he's 7/4 to get his name in the book.
On a related note, there's also a game of football. Liverpool are 11/8 to follow up a convincing win over Arsenal, indulge.
All the romantics would like to see Alan Shearer bow out with a trophy at Newcastle. I am not a romantic; I did give the wife a card for Valentines Day though, a yellow. Any more liberties and she'll be elbowed quicker than a central defender in the vicinity of big Al. The Toon look to have too much for a woeful Southampton, play at 4/11.
Chelsea's ‘Baldrick like' plan to play on an awful surface to stifle Barcelona is somewhat flawed. Their recent form has been poor, and a slip up against Colchester is a distinct possibility. The Champions are without Terry and Gallas, their pitch is a beach and the big Champions League match is in the back of the player's minds. Only the rich and the foolish will back Chelsea at 1/10, the draw at 5/1 is the road for the enlightened.
David O'Leary is rarely a bundle of laughs, but when the Djemba brothers refused to return from the ANC in time to face Newcastle, he was positively apoplectic. O'Leary cheered up when his Villa team went on to murder the Geordies 1-2; a Coleless Man City can expect to be pommeled in a similar fashion, only with a result that justifies the play. Villa are a 6/5 steal.
It's been a magnificent seven wins on the bounce for West Ham, but eight is a mission impossible. Stelios helped Greece to a Euro 2004 victory, he can inspire Bolton to FA Cup glory. Back Sam's men at Even money.
Fair play to the Premier League, after Tottenham failed to beat Sunderland last week, they're making them play again, as a punishment for questioning the whole competition's integrity. Spurs v Wigan is the only Premiership match this weekend, get on Tottenham at 4/6 at fortress White Hart Lane.
Drinking is not big or clever, the weekend specials are:
“JD & Coke” - Defoe and Reo-Coker both to score 16/1
“Sutton comfort” - Chris Sutton to score at any time 11/8
“Half a Murphy's” - Danny Murphy to score and Tottenham to win 2-0 25/1
“Johnny walker” - John Terry to be sent off 50/1
“Blue, none” - Chelsea not to score 8/1
“A nice Claret” - West Ham and Aston Villa both to win 13/2
“Stout” – Wayne Rooney to score two or more goals 15/2
Quote of the week:
“No player is happy after they've been left out. We haven't left him out…”
Steve Bruce after Nicky Butt made way for little Alex.
Stat, you're a liberty:
Arsenal's demise has been grossly exaggerated. The Gunners top the stats table for successful passes and shot accuracy.
Acc of the week:
Liverpool, Newcastle, Aston Villa, Tottenham and a Preston draw all look to be either in the bag or hovering close to the edge, the accer pays out at 34/1.
Liverpool v Man Utd FA Cup Saturday 18th February 12.30 Live on BBC
Man Utd 7/4
Get on: Liverpool
The recent league match at Old Trafford would suggest that these two are evenly matched; home advantage will be the decisive factor. Liverpool haven't scored two goals in a home match since Boxing Day, 1-0 to the Pool.
Liverpool to win 1-0 6/1
Bolton v West Ham FA Cup Saturday 18th February 15.00
West Ham 9/4
Get on: Bolton
Bolton knocked the Hammers out of the League Cup this season and won their League meet at Upton Park. Big Sam has Al's number, home win.
Stelios to score at any time 9/4
Charlton v Brentford FA Cup Saturday 18th February 15.00
Get on: Charlton
They've met three times before in the FA Cup, the Addicks qualified every time. Charlton have kept a clean sheet at the Valley in their last four league games, they won't be stung by the Bees.
Darren Bent to score two or more goals 4/1
Newcastle v Southampton FA Cup Saturday 18th February 17.40 Live on BBC
Get on: Newcastle
The Saints have earned two points from their last six league matches; the Toon army have won two on the bounce. You've got to fancy the Geordies.
Emre to score direct from a free kick 10/1
Preston v Middlesbrough FA Cup Sunday 19th February 14.00
Get on: Draw
The once mighty Preston have a good record against Boro in the Cup, they've won three of the five meet ups. Preston are unbeaten since September, 25 matches in all competitions. You never know what you'll get with Boro, I'm backing the draw.
Match to finish 1-1 11/2
Stoke v Birmingham FA Cup Sunday 19th February 14.00
Get on: Draw
Stoke are in awful form in the Championship, they've drawn three of their last nine matches, and lost the other six; they're the Birmingham of the Championship. The last time Blues visited the Brittania, they won the match 7-0; I can foresee seven less goals in this one.
No goal scorer in the match 8/1
Chelsea v Colchester FA Cup Sunday 19th February 16.00 Live on Sky
Get on: Draw
Chelsea have only won two of their last six matches, Colchester have won 10 of their last 12. The Champions may well win, but you can't be on at 1/10.
Colchester to score one goal or more 9/4
Aston Villa v Man City FA Cup Sunday 19th February 18.30 Live on BBC
Aston Villa 6/5
Man City 15/8
Get on: Aston Villa
Villa have only lost 2 of their last 11 matches, and the Newcastle defeat can be disregarded. City have only won once on the road since August, the Villa are a ‘must bet'.
Aston Villa to score three or more goals 9/2
Tottenham v Wigan Premiership Sunday 19th February 13.15 Live on Sky
Get on: Tottenham
Tottenham have only lost once at the Lane all season, it's five without a win for the Latics. Spurs left the JJB with three points earlier this season, make mine a double.
Tottenham to keep a clean sheet 6/5
Date:Thursday February 16 2006
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|1.||Pride of Lions||695|
|Man Utd||3||-||1||Aston Villa|
|15. Aston Villa||33||8||8||17||-21||32|
|17. Hull City||32||6||10||16||-16||28|
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