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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

A Very Merry Gerry

As long as man walks the earth, the battle between the old wrinkly master and the young brash pretender to the throne is as inevitable as tomato sauce on a sausage sandwich.

Stuart Pearce v Alex Ferguson fits perfectly in this category. He may be a considered a psycho, but you can’t argue with eight Premier League trophies. Pearce is the up and comer while Sir Alex has been there, done that and banned the t-shirt. Pearce’s time will come, but for now, the old guard retains the edge. United are 4/6 to master the Manchester melee; get on.

Now that Roy Keane has left the country, the Manchester derby just won’t be the same without a career threatening challenge or two. David Sommeil misses the match due to Essiening a Tottenham player, so we’ll have to rely on Alan Smith and Joey Barton to remain true to the memory of the departed Keano. A player to be sent off is a 5/2 shot.

Graeme Souness threw all his eggs in one basket when he signed Michael Owen, there’s a moral there somewhere; buy more baskets. Here’s another moral for you; back Newcastle without Owen? A fool and his money are Soun parted. Fulham receive the nod at 5/4.

What Alan Shearer lacks in pace, he makes up for in elbow piece. If we accept that Newcastle will lose the match, backing Shearer to be booked is a logical follow up. Big Al is more likely to connect with a jaw bone than a cross; he’s 4/1 to see yellow, 50/1 to see red.

The arrival of a Russian billionaire has allowed Harry Redknapp to buy himself a big Pole; Emmanuel Olisadebe. I saw Emmanuel on video a few years ago, a fantastic scoring record. Portsmouth v Everton is a relegation six pointer, back Pompey to take all six points at 11/10.

Clyde were 20/1 to beat Celtic, Leyton Orient were 8/1 to beat Fulham, both won easily. Sunderland are 11/1 rags at home to Chelsea; can they make it a treble of upsets? No. Conventional wisdom would suggest that you can’t back a Premier League team away to another at 1/5. I repeatedly slap the bald head of conventional wisdom; Chelsea have the points in the bag.

If Ian Wright was Thierry Henry, he’d have to consider leaving Arsenal. If I was Mr Henry, I wouldn’t have time to consider a move abroad; I’d be too busy getting Merry (**). Take 2/7 on the Gunners beating the Boro, it’s a step on the road to happiness.

(** Henry is married to a model named Nicole Merry. ed)

The weekend specials revolve around the Manchester derby.

“Cole industry” – Andy Cole to score at any time 15/8
“Rio, the Jan Hero” – Rio Ferdinand to score at any time 7/1
“Do the Bart man” – Joey Barton to be booked 7/4
“I, Van the terrible” – Van Nistelrooy not to score 8/11

Quote of the week:

“The pitch wasn’t the best, but I’m not gonna make excuses.”
Steve Bruce after Birmingham were outplayed by Torquay.

Stat, you’re a liberty:

Sunderland’s recent home record to Chelsea makes interesting reading: the last seven matches have produced a Chelsea win, a draw and five victories for the Mackems.

Acc of the week:

Man Utd, Aston Villa, Charlton, Fulham and Liverpool are the pick of the Premiership action; the accer pays 22/1.

Weekend Betting:

Man City v Man Utd Saturday 14th January 12.45 Live on Sky

Man City 7/2
Draw 12/5
Man Utd 4/6

Get on: Man Utd

It’s three league matches without scoring a goal for City, United are the Premiership’s top scorers on the road. A comfortable away win.
Match Special:
Van Nistelrooy to score two or more goals 4/1

Arsenal v Middlesbrough Saturday 14th January 15.00

Arsenal 2/7
Draw 7/2
Middlesbrough 8/1

Get on: Arsenal

Boro led 3-1 at Highbury last season, and still got spanked. McClaren’s men haven’t won a league match since November. Home banker.
Match Special:
Henry to score a hat-trick 12/1

Aston Villa v West Ham Saturday 14th January 15.00

Aston Villa 10/11
Draw 9/4
West Ham 5/2

Get on: Aston Villa

The Hammers last won at Villa Park in 1995. O’Leary’s men are finally finding their stride; they’ll avenge a 4-0 beating earlier in the season.
Match Special:
Mellberg to score with a header 20/1

Charlton v Birmingham Saturday 14th January 15.00

Charlton 10/11
Draw 11/5
Birmingham 13/5

Get on: Charlton

The Blues have only scored one goal away from home since November, a consolation in a 4-1 bashing at Manchester City. Darren Bent scored the only goal of the game at St Andrew’s earlier in the season, a repeat is a possibility.
Match Special:
Darren Bent to score the only goal of the game 25/1

Fulham v Newcastle Saturday 14th January 15.00

Fulham 5/4
Draw 9/4
Newcastle 7/4

Get on: Fulham

Fulham have been impressive at home in the league recently, five wins and a draw from their last six matches. The Toon Army have only scored in one of their last six matches away from home. Enough said.
Match Special:
Fulham to score three or more goals 9/2

Liverpool v Tottenham Saturday 14th January 15.00

Liverpool 8/11
Draw 9/4
Tottenham 10/3

Get on: Liverpool

Liverpool have won eight out of ten at home this season, only Chelsea and Man Utd left Anfield with more than a beating. Spurs have recently been beaten at the Hawthorns and the Walkers stadium. Home win.
Match Special:
A Liverpool player to score from inside their own half 200/1

Portsmouth v Everton Saturday 14th January 15.00

Portsmouth 11/10
Draw 9/4
Everton 2/1

Get on: Portsmouth

It’s seven points out of nine at Fratton Park for Portsmouth since the return of Mr Redknapp. Pompey have only scored eight goals at home this season though, a Premiership low. 1-0 to Harry’s mob.
Match Special:
Portsmouth to win 1-0 6/1

Blackburn v Bolton Saturday 14th January 17.15 Live on Premiership Plus

Blackburn 5/4
Draw 2/1
Bolton 2/1

Get on: Draw

A strange meet up on the Premiership, they’ve met nine times and the home team has never won. The last three meets between the two has produced a total of two goals. A goalless draw is the only conclusion.
Match Special:
No Goalscorer in the match 13/2

Wigan v West Brom Sunday 15th January 13.30 Live on Sky

Wigan 8/11
Draw 9/4
West Brom 10/3

Get on: Wigan

The Latics squad is down to the bare bones, but they still look a stronger team than the Albion. The Baggies have not won on the road all season and they haven’t scored away since November. It has to be a home win.
Match Special:
Jason Roberts to score the first goal 9/2

Sunderland v Chelsea Sunday 15th January 16.00 Live on Sky

Sunderland 11/1
Draw 4/1
Chelsea 1/5

Get on: Chelsea

The gulf in class could not be wider. Sunderland have only won once in the league this season, Chelsea have only lost once. The Mackems haven’t scored a home goal in the league for 360 minutes; only Man U have kept a visiting Chelsea team off the score-sheet. A virtually risk free away win.
Match Special:
Crespo to score a hat-trick 12/1




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Go on, get vitalled!

The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday January 12 2006

Time: 10:39AM

 

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