Date: 12th January 2006 at 10:39am
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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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