Writer: J P Fear
Date:Wednesday July 26 2006
I`m no stranger to police attention. I was once driving along with the wife when the boys in blue pulled me over. The copper asked me if I`d been drinking.
"Not a drop" I replied, "Was I speeding?"
"No Sir, it`s the state of the bint in the passenger seat that aroused my suspicion."
My run in with the Old Bill pigeon-holes me alongside young Wayne Rooney. The Scouse nutcase had his possessions lifted from his parent`s house recently; imagine that, a robbery in Liverpool. If anyone offers you a half-eaten Big Mac wrapped in losing betting slips, you should contact the filth immediately.
For Rooney, it`s been a summer to forget. The big lad`s temperament was called in to question at the World Cup, when after a couple of niggling challenges from the opposition players, Rooney decided to jump on Ricardo Carvalho`s testicles like they were a couple of hairy chicken nuggets.
Ricky 'The Soprano` Carvalho will have a thirst for vengeance as a result of his severe case of the 'numb plum` at the hands of the Roonatic. They say that revenge is a dish best served with two veg, depriving Wayne Rooney of a champion`s medal will be a little payback. Chelsea are 1/2 to retain their title; that`s a plum betting opportunity.
Luckily, there is a betting without Chelsea market, and I`m favouring Arsenal to pip Man U to the runners-up spot. It looks like Real Madrid have failed in their attempt to lure Fabregas from the Emirates (paying for Cesc is quite an appealing prospect), while United are set to lose Ronnie and the Ruud boy. 2/1 about the Gunners in a two horse race seems more than fair.
Ricardo Carvalho is not the first man to end up with an angry pair of plums, Neville Neville set the trend 30 years ago. Phil Neville`s Everton teammates look a decent bet at 14/1 to come out on top in the betting 'without the big 4`.
One of the results of Chelsea`s 'buy every good player in the world` policy, is that the relegation battle has evolved into a 'dolphin` market; it`s more interesting than the title race for betting porpoises. Wigan performed miracles last season, but they`ve lost Chimbonda and bought Heskey, which is like swapping a Porsche for a wheelbarrow. Take 4/1 about Wigan dropping a division.
Paul Jewell managed to keep Bradford in the Premier League for a season a few years ago; before being relegated the following term, finishing rock bottom. Jewell may be a real character, but so is Homer Simpson, and you wouldn`t want him in charge of your football team. (Unless it was a straight choice between Simpson and Souness, then you`d have to seriously reconsider your position.) Wigan are worth a small nibble at 20/1 to finish bottom of the heap.
Thierry Henry believes that his appearance in the Champions League and World Cup finals prove that he is a winner, although technically, that makes him a double loser. It`s rare for an 11/4 shot to represent value in a 120 runner race, but you can`t look beyond the great man for the Golden Boot. Henry has topped the charts in four of the last five campaigns (he narrowly lost out to Van the man by a single goal four seasons ago); only a serious injury to the world`s greatest player will prevent you from collecting.
The following guide covers everything you need to know for the upcoming Premiership season, and in all likelihood, plenty more that you didn`t.
Where they`ll finish - 2nd
Coming second is rarely enjoyable, but will represent a successful season for the Gunners.
Season Special - Arsenal to finish above Liverpool 10/11
Where they`ll finish - 12th
The Villa squad is one of the smallest in the Premiership, and as my wife always says, you can`t compose a symphony with a small organ. They could do with a billionaire to take over, I`m feeling Randy.
Season Special - Aston Villa to finish 15th or higher 4/7
Where they`ll finish - 9th
Robbie Savage is on his way to Europe. God help those poor continentals.
Season Special - Blackburn to finish 7th or lower 4/11
Where they`ll finish - 7th
While England are lumbered with Steve McClaren, Bolton get to keep hold of the miracle man Sam Allardyce. The best result of the summer.
Season Special - Bolton to finish above Blackburn 6/5
Where they`ll finish - 17th
Darren Bent misses the start of the season as he hasn`t mastered the art of sandwich making. They`ll miss the Curb.
Season Special - Darren Bent to be Charlton`s top scorer Evs
Where they`ll finish - 1st
The Lamp failed to shine in Germany, but always burns brightly in the Premiership. Ballack and Shevchenko can both play, Paddy Power will probably pay out at the end of August.
Season Special - Shevchenko to score 17 league goals or fewer 5/6
Where they`ll finish - 5th
Andy Johnson is a quality striker, Tim Cahill is a quality midfielder and Phil Neville is a defender. I like their chances.
Season Special - Everton to win 'without the big 4` 14/1
Where they`ll finish - 16th
The antics of Jimmy Bullard should entertain the Cottagers. Somewhere, there`s a psychiatric unit missing a patient.
Season Special - Fulham to finish above Wigan 10/11
Where they`ll finish - 4th
I read that Craig Bellamy remains polemical, I`m not bilingual, I assume polemical is Welsh for a tool.
Season Special - Gerrard to score more league goals than Bellamy 7/4
Where they`ll finish - 15th
City have signed Hamann from Liverpool via Bolton in the strangest transfer tale since David Unsworth`s wife told him he couldn`t stay in the Midlands. It won`t help.
Season Special - Samaras to score more league goals than Vassell 8/11
Where they`ll finish - 3rd
Fergie may end up needing a taxi out of Old Trafford by the end of the season. He should have kept his Van.
Season Special - Man U to earn 75 league points or less 11/8
Where they`ll finish - 10th
Even a novice manager such as Gareth 'paint-dryingly dull` Southgate inspires more confidence than Steve 'what`s he ever done` McClaren; they`ll improve on last year.
Season Special - Boro to finish above Newcastle 6/4
Where they`ll finish - 11th
Roeder was given the job although he lacks the necessary coaching qualifications. Luckily, Duff-man will prevent a relegation battle. Oh yeah.
Season Special - Duff to be Newcastle`s top scorer 8/1
Where they`ll finish - 13th
Harry Redknapp is no stranger to a little punt, if he backs Pompey to stay up he`ll have landed another touch.
Season Special - Pompey to stay up 1/7
Where they`ll finish - 14th
Steve Coppell once walked out of Manchester after 33 days, what took him so long? Reading can be last season`s Wigan.
Season Special - Reading to finish above Sheff Utd and Watford 5/4
Where they`ll finish - 18th
Neil Warnock will be an exciting addition to the Premiership, there`s a severe shortage of managers who want to break opponent`s legs.
Season Special - Sheff U to finish 18th 7/2
Where they`ll finish - 6th
In Defoe and Berbatov, they have a pair of quality strikers. I like a nice pair.
Season Special - Tottenham to finish 6th or lower 8/11
Where they`ll finish - 19th
Watford are like Big Brother`s Imogen, they`re not very attractive, they may go down at Christmas.
Season Special - Watford to finish in the bottom two Evs
Where they`ll finish - 8th
Lee Bowyer should be a good signing; now that`s what I call an attacking midfielder.
Season Special - Dean Ashton to be the top English goal scorer 20/1
Where they`ll finish - 20th
Bought Heskey to score goals, I`ll predict three.
Season Special - Wigan to finish bottom of the league 20/1
Date:Wednesday July 26 2006
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|1.||Pride of Lions||644|
|Aston Villa||2||-||1||Leicester City|
|Crystal Palace||0||-||1||Aston Villa|
|West Ham||0||-||0||Aston Villa|
|13. Aston Villa||16||5||4||7||-10||19|
|16. Crystal Palace||16||3||6||7||-5||15|
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