Smudge not, lest ye be Smudged
Throughout history, if a cause is powerful enough, people will unite to make the World a better place. Thousands shared Woodstock's vision of peace and love, and even more answered a hairy Irishman's call, when he arranged for average middle of the road pop acts to perform across four continents, in a half-assed attempt to reduce global poverty. When Middlesbrough play Birmingham on Saturday 4th March, we too can make a stand against a new evil, incorrectly priced football teams. Let's come together to back the Boro at 10/11.
McClaren's men are standing strong in Europe and they've hit a purple patch in the league, while Birmingham hover just two places from the foot of the table. Admittedly it's not risk free, but you're taking a chance when you eat a late night kebab or when you sleep with loose women. Obviously I wouldn't behave in such a manner myself, I don't like chilli sauce. The Boro won 3-0 at St Andrew's when they weren't playing well, imagine what will happen at the Riverside now they are. At 10/11, this is the value bet of the season, spread the word.
Sam Allardyce asks a valid question. What does Kevin Nolan have to do to receive International recognition? Apart from growing another two and a half foot and signing for Liverpool, the answer is I just don't know. Sven is not alone in underestimating Bolton, bookmakers have been slow to appreciate that they're now a top 6 side.
A trip to St James' Park won't be easy though, Newcastle have collected 10 points out of a possible 12 recently, even the most optimistic/inebriated Geordie would have been surprised by that tally. This one has ‘draw' written all over it, take advantage at 9/4.
If Liverpool had Darren Bent they'd be challenging Chelsea for the Title; they've got Peter Crouch, they're not. Bent's theatrics earned the Addicks three points against the Reds at the Valley just three weeks ago; revenge is a dish best served cold, like my dinner. The Pool will win; they're available at 4/9.
I liked Psycho's reaction to Joey Barton's red card last week, “I'll tell him that Stuart Pearce was sent off five times in 1,000 matches.” Although he makes an excellent point, Gerry McDonnell is not a fan of speaking in the third person. City improved when Barton left the pitch that day, a similar performance against Sunderland will see them romp home. Football is a funny old game, although I won't be laughing if Sunderland win or draw, i'm on City at 2/5.
The Gunners form on the road is the most perplexing mystery since i found an extra large pair of boxer shorts under the bed. There's no logical reason why Arsenal can win easily at the Bernabeu, yet take a beating at Ewood Park and the Hawthorns. The Gunners have a quality squad and could well leave the Cottage with three points, but after being bitten twice, you've got to stop stroking the dog. I'm backing Fulham at 7/4.
Fergie's ruck with Van Nistelrooy has been headline news all week, but the real story to come out of United's Carling Cup stroll should be the victory t-shirts. Alan Smith has been labelled ‘Smudge'; it's perhaps the worst nickname in the history of football. The FA should launch an immediate enquiry into why ‘short stuff', ‘nutjob' and ‘meedy' were cruelly overlooked. The art of nicknaming has joined rugby in England's ‘We're not good at doing it anymore' column, a crying shame. This tips for you Smudger; get on Man Utd to beat Wigan at 8/13.
The weekend specials:
“The Gud book” - Gudjohnsen to be booked 4/1
“Brown knows” - Wes Brown to score at any time 12/1
“Agger, do do do” - Daniel Agger to be booked 5/2
“You can Ron, but you can't Eid” - Ronaldo to score, Gudjohnsen not to score 10/3
Quote of the week:
“We're not going to Cardiff for a nice day out.”
Paul Jewell pounded the nail on the head.
Stat, you're a liberty:
The league table would have a slightly different look if matches ended at the 45 minute mark. Man Utd would be six points clear at the top of the table, while Everton would have consolidated their Champions League position. The bottom 3 would be Sunderland, Portsmouth and Birmingham; statisticians can not perform miracles.
Acc of the week:
Aston Villa, Middlesbrough, West Ham, Liverpool and Man Utd form a delightful little weekend accer; it'll pay 14/1.
West Brom v Chelsea Saturday 4th March 12.45 Live on Premiership Plus
West Brom 11/2
Get on: Chelsea
The Baggies have met Chelsea on five occasions in the Premiership, Chelsea have won every time. The Albion have been walloped in their last two matches, 2/5 looks generous.
Chelsea to win 2-0 11/2
Aston Villa v Portsmouth Saturday 4th March 15.00
Aston Villa 8/11
Get on: Aston Villa
Pompey struggle at Villa Park, they've took a beating on their last eight visits. They've also lost on their last eight road trips in the league, there's literally no hope for them.
Villa to keep a clean sheet 6/5
Fulham v Arsenal Saturday 4th March 15.00
Get on: Fulham
Fulham have won eight of their last nine league matches at the Cottage, they drew the other. Arsenal have only won three times away from home in the league all season.
Fulham to win 1-0 7/1
Middlesbrough v Birmingham Saturday 4th March 15.00
Get on: Middlesbrough
The Boro have won five of their last six matches, while a 1-0 win over Sunderland hardly represents a return to form for Birmingham.
Hasselbaink and Yakubu both to score 13/2
Newcastle v Bolton Saturday 4th March 15.00
Get on: Draw
It's four wins and a draw from the Toon's last five games. Bolton are a tough nut to crack though, as their 1-1 draw at Highbury underlines.
No goal scorer in the match 8/1
West Ham v Everton Saturday 4th March 15.00
West Ham Evs
Get on: West Ham
The Hammers have won seven of their last eight matches; the other was drawn at the Reebok. Everton have lost their last two away from home, it all adds up to a home win.
Ashton to score the first goal 9/2
Liverpool v Charlton Saturday 4th March 17.15 Live on Premiership Plus
Get on: Liverpool
Liverpool have won five of their last six at Anfield by a goal to nil. It would have been six from six but for an Alonso own goal. Charlton haven't won a league match away from home since October.
Liverpool to win 1-0 6/1
Man City v Sunderland Sunday 5th March 13.30 Live on Sky
Man City 2/5
Get on: Man City
City have won their last five in front of their own fans; Sunderland are atrocious.
City to score four or more goals 4/1
Tottenham v Blackburn Sunday 5th March 16.00 Live on Sky
Get on: Blackburn
A surprisingly quiet fixture recently, the last five games has produced a total of three goals. Spurs are feeling the pressure recently; it's only one win in seven. Blackburn have won their last two, it could be a shock.
Bellamy to score the only goal of the game 50/1
Wigan v Man Utd Monday 6th March 20.00 Live on Sky
Man Utd 8/13
Get on: Man Utd
It's now seven without a win for Wigan. United won 4-0 in the league and matched that scoreline in a one-sided Cup final. Home advantage will make all the difference for the Latics; United will only win by three.
Man United to win 3-0 10/1