Date: 30th March 2006 at 11:03am
Written by:

I often panic over nothing. When the wife trapped me into producing little gambling gurus, i did worry that they may end up with my intelligence and the wife’s looks, which would have narrowed down their future career prospects to ‘circus attraction’. Luckily, they’ve ended up with the wife’s brain, and curiously, the milkman’s looks. I say curious, as the wife and I are lactose intolerant; we have absolutely no time for lactose, and we’re not shy in speaking of our displeasure.

I bring this to your attention because little Goliath is quite bright; he’s trying to remember animals by associating them with football. Whenever Ruud Van Nistelrooy comes off the bench for Man U, he shouts ‘horsey’, as Peter Crouch heads wide he cries ‘donkey’ and when Chelsea are playing, he shakes his head and murmurs ‘cheetahs’. It seems that everyone has cottoned on to Chelsea’s lack of sportsmanship, referees will be next. Any Chelsea player to be booked for diving / simulation against Birmingham is an 11/2 shot.

Amongst all the theatrics, there will also be a game of football. You’ve got to fancy Chelsea to take three points home from St Andrew’s, but 1/3 does not represent value. Playing the correct scores can solve this conundrum; Chelsea to win either 1-0, 2-0 or 3-0 is a 5/4 shot; now we’re cooking.

Phil Neville scored a beauty last week, unfortunately, it was an own goal, against Liverpool. His brother must have been literally seething. Everton are the lucky beneficiaries of a home fixture against Sunderland; they’re 3/10, certainties doesn’t really cover it.

You can’t get rich backing Everton, so taking an interest in a bookings market may prove to be a profitable play. Duncan Ferguson is a fearsome character, like Jason Donovan, he’s done a little bird in the past. Big Dunc took only nine minutes to find his name in the book last week in the Merseyside derby; he’s a 7/2 shot to have his name taken again.

Bolton’s Reebok stadium is a genuine fortress, but Manchester United have a tasty army. Wayne Rooney missed a couple of golden chances against Birmingham last week (If they were chicken legs, he would have put them away), but remains a class act. A rested Van Nistelrooy is back in favour and the talented wobbly-legged Ronaldo has already helped himself to a pair against Bolton earlier in the season. United are available at 10/11, its time to go to war.

Unfortunately for Villa fans, Milan Baros has a get-out clause in his contract that can be triggered if a bid is received for £7 million pound or more, virtually ruling out a potential transfer. The poster declaring ‘We’re not fickle, we just don’t like you’ sums up the supporters’ frustration towards O’Leary’s inability to motivate; an Aston Villa divided amongst itself can not possibly survive at Highbury. Arsenal may rest a couple of players with one eye on Wednesday’s 2nd leg against Juventus, but in all honesty, I’d back Arsenal’s reserves at 2/7 at home to the Villa.

Jermaine Jenas didn’t enjoy his time at Newcastle, he compared his time there to living in a goldfish bowl. On a related note, it’s a fallacy that goldfish only have a memory span of a few seconds, Rio Ferdinand may have, but that’s a different kettle of fish. JJ is set for another disappointing trip to the North East, Spurs will have to settle for a draw, an 11/5 shot.

It’s been said that Middlesbrough’s Emanuel Pogatetz could start a ruck in an empty room, and still finish runner up; but don’t tell him who said it. The Austrian defender has either been booked or saw red in 14 matches this season, it’s 6/4 that he sees another card when he faces Joey Barton and Co. Man City have been depleted by injuries and suspensions, the Boro are the weekend nap at 11/4.

The weekend specials:

“Two halves at the Rovers” – Blackburn to score in both halves 2/1
“Come in handy” – Drogba to score two or more goals 4/1
“Cruising” – Stelios to score at any time 5/2
“April, Pool’s day” – Liverpool to win with a clean sheet 6/5
“April, Mule’s day” – Van Nistelrooy to score two or more goals 5/1

Quote of the week:

“Sometimes I dive, sometimes I stand.”
Drogba’s half right.

Stat, you’re a liberty:

If Bolton had held on to win all the matches where they had taken a lead, they would be 2nd in the Premiership.

Acc of the week:

Man Utd, Fulham, Liverpool and Middlesbrough tick all the right boxes, an acc on all four will pay 18/1.

Weekend Betting:

Birmingham v Chelsea Saturday 1st April 12.45 Live on Premiership Plus

Birmingham 8/1
Draw 3/1
Chelsea 1/3

Get on: Chelsea

Birmingham have lost their last three without scoring; Chelsea have won their last three without conceding. Historically, Birmingham haven’t beaten Chelsea since the 70’s. There is no argument for a home win.
Match Special:
Chelsea to win 2-0 11/2

Arsenal v Aston Villa Saturday 1st April 15.00

Arsenal 2/7
Draw 7/2
Aston Villa 8/1

Get on: Arsenal

The Gunners have won their last three in the league; the Villa have earned one point out of 12.
Match Special:
Arsenal to win with a clean sheet 4/5

Bolton v Man Utd Saturday 1st April 15.00

Bolton 5/2
Draw 9/4
Man Utd 10/11

Get on: Man Utd

Bolton have conceded 10 goals in 5 games; United have won six on the bounce.
Match Special:
Rooney to score two or more goals 11/2

Everton v Sunderland Saturday 1st April 15.00

Everton 3/10
Draw 10/3
Sunderland 8/1

Get on: Everton

Everton have won their last four at Goodison Park; Sunderland have lost their last six away from home. Everton have beaten Sunderland on the last five occasions they have met.
Match Special:
Beattie to score with a header 7/2

Fulham v Portsmouth Saturday 1st April 15.00

Fulham 4/5
Draw 12/5
Portsmouth 11/4

Get on: Fulham

In the Premiership, Fulham have won five of their last six at home, while Portsmouth have lost five of their last six away. Pompey have lost on their last four visits to the Cottage.
Match Special:
Malbranque to score at any time 3/1

Newcastle v Tottenham Saturday 1st April 15.00

Newcastle 11/8
Draw 11/5
Tottenham 13/8

Get on: Draw

Newcastle have lost their last four, but it’s two wins out of three at St James’ Park. Tottenham have won three of their last four, but it’s only one win in five on the road. An interesting stat, this fixture has always produced a positive result this century, the draw’s due.
Match Special:
HT Newcastle FT Draw 14/1

West Brom v Liverpool Saturday 1st April 17.15 Live on Premiership Plus

West Brom 9/2
Draw 5/2
Liverpool 8/15

Get on: Liverpool

It’s six games without a win for the Albion; Liverpool have won their last four, scoring 18 goals. The Pool have won their last nine matches against West Brom, including two 5-0’s and a 6-0. Ouch.
Match Special:
Liverpool to score four or more goals 6/1

Man City v Middlesbrough Sunday 2nd April 15.00

Man City 5/6
Draw 9/4
Middlesbrough 11/4

Get on: Middlesbrough

Man City have lost their last three; Boro have scored 13 goals in their last six league matches, winning four of them. City have never beaten the Boro at home in the Premiership.
Match Special:
Middlesbrough to score two or more goals 5/2

West Ham v Charlton Sunday 2nd April 16.00 Live on Sky

West Ham 10/11
Draw 9/4
Charlton 5/2

Get on: West Ham

The Hammers have scored two goals or more in their last seven matches at Upton Park; Charlton haven’t won a league match on their travels since October.
Match Special:
West Ham to score three or more goals 7/2

Blackburn v Wigan Monday 3rd April 20.00 Live on Sky

Blackburn 5/6
Draw 9/4
Wigan 11/4

Get on: Blackburn

Wigan have only won 2 of their last 11 matches, and they were against Sunderland and a weakened Man City. Blackburn have won their last three, they’re charging towards Europe.
Match Special:
Craig Bellamy to score at any time 5/4