Writer: J P Fear
Date:Thursday April 20 2006
Even a blind squirrel occasionally finds an acorn. I permed my five strongest fancies in doubles and upwards last week, in what proved to be the tastiest Canadian since Alanis Morissette. Speaking of the diminutive whiny artiste, she once wrote a song with the following lyrics, ‘It’s like 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife, isn’t it ironic? The answer is no. If you’re looking for a knife, the cutlery drawer should be the first port of call, searching in some sort of spoon factory was flawed from the very beginning.
There’s no doubting the irony surrounding Sunday’s FA Cup semi final between Boro and West Ham; two English managers will face off in England’s greatest competition, on St George’s Day, fighting to reach the Cathedral of English football; the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Both teams have been priced up at 6/4 to win the match, after securing victory in the warm up earlier in the week, the Boro are a tentative pick.
Chelsea are a far more confident selection when they meet Liverpool in the other semi. Liverpool may have had the rub of the green in European competition against Jose’s superstars, but the Champions have handed the Reds a couple of real spankings in the Premiership. At 11/10, Chelsea are a boot-filler.
Adding a virtual Champions League playoff to a North London derby is like pairing lager with a chicken madras; a mouth-watering prospect. Arsenal are finishing the season like a train; chalk up this battle to the Gunners at 4/5, as the war for four escalates.
Bolton’s demise has been grossly exaggerated, only Chelsea and Man U have won at the Reebok since August. Big Sam’s gang host a Charlton team that collected three points against Pompey on Monday, but the police are considering launching an investigation as it was such a blatant robbery. A home win looks attractive at 4/5.
The odds makers will occasionally price up a game where a team that needs a result will be a shorter price than their true probability should dictate. A poor West Brom side are only 3/1 to win at St James’ Park against an in form Newcastle due to the ‘need to win’ factor, resulting in the Toon Army being available at a relatively huge 8/11. The Geordies receive the coveted ‘nap of the week’ award.
After drawing away at Old Trafford, Sunderland will be hoping that lightning strikes twice (that’s one more than Jonathan Stead) as they travel to Fratton Park. Pompey destroyed the Mackems at the Stadium of Light when they weren’t playing well, they’re absolutely flying now. Portsmouth at 1/3 are the next best bet on the coupon.
Wigan’s season has been nothing short of a fairytale, and they’ll be hoping for a happy ending at the enchanted Cottage. As Fulham’s home form has been sensational, the even money about a home win is the call. Sometimes, the bears have to eat.
The weekend specials revolve around the North London derby:
“Coming to an Ed” - Edgar Davids to score at any time 6/1
“What a Lehmann” - Arsenal to keep a clean sheet 11/8
“Imagine” - Aaron Lennon to score at any time 9/2
“RSVP” - Reyes, Silva and Van Persie all to score 100/1
“Carri OK” - Michael Carrick to score at any time 8/1
Quote of the week:
“If you have a car and you win a race, you cannot just settle for that, you must try and make the car better. We're a good car, but you always want a bigger engine.”
Rafa Benitez tells a familiar tale.
Stat, you’re a liberty:
There is only one team in the Premiership who have not been involved in a goalless draw this season, it’s Wigan.
Acc of the week:
Chelsea, Arsenal, Newcastle, Portsmouth and Fulham are all standout wagers on their own, throw them together and you have ‘super wager’, an accer that pays out at a sweet 16/1.
Arsenal v Tottenham Saturday 22nd April 12.45 Live on Sky
Get on: Arsenal
The Gunners have won their last six at home; Spurs have only won two of their last eight on the road, losing five of the other six. Spurs have lost on their last seven visits to Highbury.
Thierry Henry to score two or more goals 9/2
Bolton v Charlton Saturday 22nd April 15.00
Get on: Bolton
Bolton have only lost 2 of their last 15 home matches; Charlton haven’t won on their travels in the league for six months.
Nolan to score at any time 2/1
Everton v Birmingham Saturday 22nd April 15.00
Get on: Everton
Tottenham are the only visitors to win at Goodison Park this year; Blues have only managed wins on the road at Sunderland and West Bromwich this season. Birmingham have not won at Goodison Park since the 50’s.
Beattie to score the only goal of the game 25/1
Newcastle v West Brom Saturday 22nd April 15.00
West Brom 3/1
Get on: Newcastle
Newcastle have won their last four; the Baggies haven’t won in ten. West Brom have never beaten the Geordies in the Premiership.
Newcastle to keep a clean sheet 6/5
Portsmouth v Sunderland Saturday 22nd April 15.00
Get on: Portsmouth
Pompey have only lost one of their last seven, scoring 14 goals along the way. Sunderland have kept one clean sheet in their last 13 matches.
Mendes to score at any time 7/2
Chelsea v Liverpool FA Cup semi final Saturday 22nd April 17.15 Live on BBC
Get on: Chelsea
Liverpool have won their last seven, but have not played anyone close to Chelsea’s class in that run. Chelsea have already completed a league double over the Reds, winning both games convincingly.
Chelsea to score three or more goals 4/1
Middlesbrough v West Ham FA Cup semi final Sunday 23rd April 16.00 Live on Sky
West Ham 6/4
Get on: Middlesbrough
With both teams resting players in the run up to this match, the value of recent form is questionable. At the available prices and with the Boro strikers looking sharp, McClaren’s men receive the nod.
Hasselbaink to score at any time 7/4
Fulham v Wigan Monday 24th April 20.00 Live on Sky
Get on: Fulham
Fulham have won 11 times at home this season, that’s only one less than the title challenging Man U. Wigan have only won one of their last five.
Fulham to win and keep a clean sheet 2/1
By Rob The Bookie
Date:Thursday April 20 2006
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