Writer: J P Fear
Date:Thursday March 23 2006
Sometimes, it’s not easy being a football fan. A friend of mine was recently asked which team he supported, “I’ve never been to a football match.” he replied, “I rarely leave my house for longer than 20 minutes, as I can’t use public toilets due to my minuscule equipment. I can’t watch football at home either, because excessive solo lovemaking has led to serious vision problems. As a result, I have no affiliation with football, or any particular team.”
He just couldn’t admit to being a Birmingham City fan, it would have been too embarrassing.
After a seven goal thumping on their own patch, the Blues must be dreading a trip to Old Trafford. United are the good things of the weekend at 2/9, and the 6/1 on offer for United finding the net six times or more is worth a 2nd look.
There must be something in the water in Birmingham, Aston Villa are also going through a poor spell. Like their neighbours, Villa have been unlucky with injuries. Berger has rarely played, Mellberg has been in and out of the first 11 and perhaps most cruelly of all, Ridgewell has been continuously available for selection. No wonder O’Leary’s always moaning.
It’s a good job the Villa have a few points in the bag from earlier in the season, as you can’t foresee a Villa win under any circumstances. Fulham have steadfastly refused to win away from home, at Villa Park, they have no choice. Fulham are a great bet at 2/1.
In a week where Robbie Savage received a 2nd yellow card and Liverpool strikers were scoring for fun, it was refreshing to see Chelsea players surround the ref in an aggressive fashion and a John Terry challenge in the penalty area go unpunished, ensuring a swift return to normality.
Man City are the next visitors to the Bridge; a bad week for Stuart Pearce is about to take a turn for the worse. The Psycho must regret resting his star players and Darius Vassell in a defeat to Wigan last week, as the Hammers knocked them out of the Cup two days later. City have two chances at Stamford Bridge, slim and none; and slim has just gone on the Atkins. Chelsea are available at 2/7, it’s your duty to be on.
Blackburn are a great looking bet at 8/13 to leave the Stadium of Light with three points. Craig Bellamy has scored in his last three matches and netted twice against the Mackems in the reverse fixture earlier in the season. It’s 9/2 that the Welshman bags another pair, help yourself to a double Bells.
Everton haven’t enjoyed their trips across the park in recent years, they haven’t won at Anfield since 1999; pop midget ‘Prince’ was so impressed he wrote a song about it. The Reds currently look unplayable; the 8/13 on the table is more than fair.
Liverpool scoring 15 goals in 3 games was surprising, but the fact that all four of their much maligned strikers found the net left me genuinely stunned. Move over the Beatles, Liverpool have a new ‘Fab 4’. Cisse is Ringo (mediocre), Morientes is George (superfluous), Crouch is Paul (over-rated), and Fowler is John (shot). A tough but fair comparison. I’m still not convinced by Crouchy, if you’re a believer, he’s an 11/8 shot to find the net in the derby.
The weekend specials:
“Rovers return” - Blackburn to win from behind 7/1
“Ed first” - Edgar Davids to score the first goal 14/1
“A fair Kop” - No bookings in the Liverpool v Everton match 7/1
“Mersey Beat” - James Beattie to score two or more goals 9/1
“Duncan doughnut” - Ferguson to be sent off 40/1
“Bruce almighty” – Man U to win 7-1 80/1
Quote of the week:
“Realistically, a club like ours is not going to be able to compete for the title, so you look at the domestic cups - and they're possible. In your career, you don't get too many opportunities to have a real crack at it, and we're in the quarter-finals, at home, so why not?”
Why not, Mr Bruce
Stat, you’re a liberty:
Man City are the only team in the Premiership yet to record a 1-0 victory this season. It’s a dull stat, but a good stat.
Acc of the week:
Liverpool, Fulham, Blackburn, Arsenal and Middlesbrough are all worth a punt, put the five together; you’ve got an accer that pays out at 30/1.
Liverpool v Everton Saturday 25th March 12.45 Live on Premiership Plus
Get on: Liverpool
Liverpool are the hottest team in the Country; it’s four away matches without a win for Everton.
Gerrard to score at any time 7/4
Aston Villa v Fulham Saturday 25th March 15.00
Aston Villa 11/10
Get on: Fulham
The Villa have only won one of their last seven, the last three all being defeats. Fulham are still on a high from seeing off the Champions, away all the way.
Fulham to keep a clean sheet 2/1
Chelsea v Man City Saturday 25th March 15.00
Man City 8/1
Get on: Chelsea
A surprising stat, there has been one goal or less in this fixture on the last five occasions they have met. The Champions have won 14 of their 15 home matches; City have managed only one win away from home since August.
HT Draw FT Chelsea 7/2
Sunderland v Blackburn Saturday 25th March 15.00
Get on: Blackburn
Sunderland have lost five on the bounce; Blackburn have won four from five.
Craig Bellamy to score a hat-trick 20/1
Wigan v West Ham Saturday 25th March 15.00
West Ham 9/4
Get on: West Ham
Wigan haven’t won a league match at the JJB this year; the Hammers have scored 18 goals in their last nine league matches.
Dean Ashton to score with a header 6/1
Portsmouth v Arsenal Saturday 25th March 17.15 Live on Premiership Plus
Get on: Arsenal
Pompey’s win over poor travellers Man City is their only home win this year; the Gunners have won their last three in the league with breathtaking ease.
Thierry Henry to score direct from a free kick 8/1
Middlesbrough v Bolton Sunday 26th March 13.30 Live on Sky
Get on: Middlesbrough
Boro have won their last two in front of their own fans; Bolton have lost their last three on the road.
Viduka to score at any time 6/4
Charlton v Newcastle Sunday 26th March 14.00
Get on: Draw
Charlton have drew a blank four times in recent weeks; after successive league defeats for the Toon army, a scoreless draw will be classed as a good result. The last three matches between these two have resulted in a draw.
No goal scorer in the match 8/1
Man Utd v Birmingham Sunday 26th March 16.00 Live on Sky
Man Utd 2/9
Get on: Man Utd
Every time Birmingham have travelled to Old Trafford in the Premiership, they’ve been beaten by two goals or more. It’s five straight league victories for United; Birmingham have only managed away day victories at Sunderland and West Brom.
Saha and Rooney both to score 9/2
Tottenham v West Brom Monday 27th March 20.00 Live on Sky
West Brom 13/2
Get on: Tottenham
It’s 7 months since a visiting team left White Hart Lane with three points. As the Baggies have took 1 point out of a possible 15, that record is not in danger.
Aaron Lennon to score at any time 4/1
By Rob The Bookie
Date:Thursday March 23 2006
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