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He`s in the Nic (Betting Preview)


The wife is a born complainer. Even this week`s little snowfall failed to improve her mood; I overheard her on the phone to her mother complaining that 'it`s only a couple of inches`. It kept the kids quiet though.

I try to convey a rosier outlook, but even the great Monty Panesar would struggle to put a positive spin on the shambles that is the England football team.

A recent poll showed that 67% believe that Steve McClaren is the wrong man for the job; the other 33% are either having the question reread to them or are Scottish, and there`s a fair chance that it`s both.

The manager`s original squad selection for the match against Israel was a joke. There are only two people in this world who believe that Phil Neville is a better full-back than Gareth Barry. Steve McClaren is one; the other is hanging out with Bashful, Sneezy, Doc, Happy, Sleepy and the wife.

It`s easy to blame the hapless McClaren, but it`s his employers who are the real culprits. The suits at the FA are so clueless; it wouldn`t surprise me if their plans for the new Wembley include appointing Freddie Flintoff as a barman and Frank Lampard as the catering manager. The situation is a shambles; back Israel to beat England at 21/5, then back them again.

A recently discovered tribe of Congolese pygmies have admitted knowing absolutely nothing of western civilisation, other than the fact you can`t play Lampard and Gerrard in the same team.

In my opinion, big Frank should be the one to make way. There`s no doubting the fact that he`s worth his weight in gold to Chelsea, although Fort Knox would probably struggle with an order of such colossal magnitude.

A crazed supporter tried to punch a shirtless Frank Lampard earlier in the week, dispelling the myth that pot doesn`t lead to violence. Backing Benayoun to net the opening goal at 16/1 will lead to an abundance of riches.

I`m all for having a good laugh; you should see the wife. But as often is the case, some people can take things too far. Some 'comedian` has hacked into a number of websites to show Scotland sitting on top of a qualifying group that includes France and Italy. The 10/3 for a draw between the Sweaties and Georgia is a genuine reason to raise a little smile.

Stan Staunton`s left foot was so polished; it would often gleam like Andy Johnson`s noggin. But somewhat paradoxically, a great player rarely makes a good manager. Only a last minute strike saved the Irish from ridicule against San Marino last time out, I like the look of the Welsh at 43/10.

Northern Ireland travel to Liechtenstein for their qualifier and I fancy the footballing minnows to take a pasting. Admittedly, that doesn`t really narrow down the bet selection. It`s Northern Ireland at 4/9.

A stunning French lady has recently moved in next door. I do think it`s important to try and get on with your neighbours, so I`ve been trying to get on for the last few weeks. France look a sumptuous betting proposition at 1/2 against Lithuania.

Being a friendly soul, I`ve introduced Nicole to the local leisure centre. I`m not a great swimmer, but i try to get the occasional length in. The Greeks and the Turks do not share my literal 'love thy neighbour` philosophy; a draw between the old foes will keep everyone happy at 11/5.

The accer this week is so charming; I`m using it as a tool to woo the lovely Nicole. There are only three selections, but hopefully size isn`t important. Wales, France and Israel are the picks, the payout is a magnificent 37/1.

Weekend Betting:

Rep of Ireland v Wales
Saturday 24th March 15:00
Live on Sky

Rep of Ireland 4/5
Draw 12/5
Wales 43/10

Get on: Wales

Match Special:
Bale to score direct from a free kick 14/1

Scotland v Georgia
Saturday 24th March 15:00
Live on Sky

Scotland 9/20
Draw 10/3
Georgia 15/2

Get on: Draw

Match Special:
Arveladze to score at any time 3/1

Lithuania v France
Saturday 24th March 17:00
Live on Eurosport

Lithuania 8/1
Draw 3/1
France 1/2

Get on: France

Match Special:
Cisse to score a hat-trick 16/1

Israel v England
Saturday 24th March 18:30
Live on Sky

Israel 21/5
Draw 23/10
England 10/11

Get on: Israel

Match Special:
Benayoun to score two or more goals 25/1

Liechtenstein v Northern Ireland
Saturday 24th March 19:15
Live on BBC Interactive

Liechtenstein 8/1
Draw 3/1
Northern Ireland 4/9

Get on: Northern Ireland

Match Special:
Northern Ireland to win and keep a clean sheet 6/5

Greece v Turkey
Saturday 24th March 19:30

Greece 6/5
Draw 11/5
Turkey 5/2

Get on: Draw

Match Special:
No goalscorer in the game 13/2

By Gerry McDonnell




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The Journalist

Writer: Site Staff Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday March 22 2007

Time: 5:19PM

Your Comments

Thanks for the info, Northern Ireland to win and keep a clean sheet looks like a very good bet.
morky13villa
I'd like to see Sean Maloney play the full 90 for Scotland, improve his match fitness, perhaps score a couple, and then hopefully force his way into MON's thinking and start the game against Everton on Monday week. All three young Villans to play for the under 21's at Wembley, and give good performances, while other VP favourites do well and stay injury free as they perform for their respective countries across Europe. Not too much to ask for, but then again thats the type of guy I am.
glensider
McLaren needs the boot. He was a sh!!! te club manager to start and plays to many players out of position as he is to gutless to drop his favourites.
iomvilla
Uninspired appointment iomvilla, so we're getting exactly what we, (no not 'we', more the F.A.) deserve, namely uninspiring football. England needed change, big change after the Sven years, but all we ended up with was continuance. The same old complaints, including players played out of position, square pegs into round holes, and absolutely no balance or shape to the team.
glensider
 

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