Date: 27th April 2006 at 10:32am
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Looking back on it, marriage was probably a mistake. It’s not the compulsory reduction in alcohol consumption that I object to, or the fact that I have to endure television programmes with the word ‘vampire’ in the title, it’s the awful inane football related comments that plague my very existence. “He should be wearing gloves, it looks a bit chilly,” is a classic example, “Why is he getting so excited, it’s only a game,” is equally as annoying and the often repeated “You don’t have to bet to enjoy the football,” led me to invest in a shovel.

As Liverpool edged out Chelsea last week, a sense of dread enveloped me as i saw her forehead wrinkle, indicating that a comment was imminent; “The Chelsea players shouldn’t be so upset, they’re going to win the league,” was the end result of her pondering, and incredibly, I had to concur. Jose’s collection of superstars just need a point against Man U to become only the 2nd team in the history of the Premiership to retain their title, but Jose will demand all three. The 11/10 on offer about a Chelsea victory should be hoovered up; their FA Cup heartache will soon be a distant memory.

The formbook would suggest that Tottenham have the beating of Bolton on Saturday, but I’m not so sure. Bolton have had the Indian sign over Spurs in recent seasons and go in to the match on a high after destroying Charlton last weekend. Even Martin Jol can see that Bolton look a little bit of value at 5/1.

If Spurs slip up, Arsenal will take full advantage at the Stadium of Light. Sunderland have been awful on the road, and strangely, even worse in front of their own supporters. Arsene has taken a few liberties with team selection in recent weeks, but he could play the under 11’s against Sunderland and still snatch a draw. Arsenal are short at 1/4, but good things come in small packages.

Like Jay Jay Okocha, Lua Lua is so good they named him twice. However, this isn’t a hard and fast rule, as anyone who’s seen Eric Djemba Djemba play will testify. A fit again Lua Lua holds the key to a Pompey victory at Wigan, he’s 13/2 to open the scoring. Portsmouth are a confident call at 8/5 to move a step closer to safety.

As West Ham have already qualified for the UEFA Cup, there’s a high probability that Alan Pardew may shuffle his pack away at West Brom; let’s hope it’s more pleasing to the eye than the previous Pardew shuffle, that was just wrong. There’s a 75% chance that the Baggies will already be relegated before the Mayday kick-off; if already down, the Albion are worth a small nibble at 6/5; if other results go their way, take a huge bite.

Interestingly, there’s never been a draw in five years of Premiership fixtures between Charlton and Blackburn; i use the word ‘interestingly’ in its loosest possible sense. As Charlton never win a match towards the end of a season and Blackburn are crawling to the Premiership finishing line, the long overdue draw looks a little bit big at 12/5.

Liverpool are the nap of the week at 4/9 at home to the Villa. The Pool are finishing the season like a train while Villa’s derby day victory is masking the worst run since Jade Goody’s marathon attempt. Peter Crouch, like me, should be ashamed of his misses over the last few months, but there is an unwritten law that ex Villa players always score against their former employers, Crouchy is 11/10 to prove the rule.

The weekend specials follow a TV theme; surprisingly, there’s not one mention of Watchdog:

“Up Pompey” – Birmingham and West Brom both to lose 6/1
“Terry springer” – John Terry to score with a header 10/1
“Stalti towers” – Paul Stalteri to score with a header 40/1
“Drop the Red donkey” – Peter Crouch not to score 4/6
“Stirred ruck from the Sun” – Jihai to be sent off 25/1

Quote of the week:

“A manager picks players who he thinks are going to win the game for him, otherwise he’s an idiot.” Jimmy Hill adds to the debate surrounding Mourinho’s FA Cup team selection.

Stat, you’re a liberty:

Chelsea, Man U and Liverpool have all been pulverised at least once this season, there are only three teams who haven’t been on the end of a beating by three or more goals: Arsenal, Man City and Tottenham.

Acc of the week:

Chelsea, Liverpool, Portsmouth, Arsenal and West Brom form the weekend accer, this little corker pays out at 20/1.

Weekend Betting:

Chelsea v Man Utd Saturday 29th April 12.30 Live on Sky

Chelsea 11/10
Draw 9/4
Man Utd 2/1

Get on: Chelsea

Chelsea have won their last three in the league and are unbeaten at home under Jose Mourinho. United haven’t scored at the Bridge on their last three visits and their goalless draw with Sunderland remains fresh in the memory.
Match Special:
Chelsea to score three or more goals 4/1

Birmingham v Newcastle Saturday 29th April 15.00

Birmingham 11/8
Draw 12/5
Newcastle 6/4

Get on: Draw

Birmingham have earned seven points out of a possible nine at home in recent weeks; Newcastle have won their last five and are fighting for a European spot.
Match Special:
Match to finish 1-1 6/1

Liverpool v Aston Villa Saturday 29th April 15.00

Liverpool 4/9
Draw 13/5
Aston Villa 6/1

Get on: Liverpool

It’s nine consecutive wins for Liverpool; Villa’s record of one win in nine won’t be giving anyone in red a sleepless night.
Match Special:
Liverpool to win and keep a clean sheet 10/11

Man City v Fulham Saturday 29th April 15.00

Man City 10/11
Draw 9/4
Fulham 5/2

Get on: Draw

Man City have only won one of their last seven; Fulham can not win away from home. Four of the last five matches between Man City and Fulham have ended up deadlocked.
Match Special:
Match to finish 2-2 14/1

Middlesbrough v Everton Saturday 29th April 15.00

Middlesbrough 6/5
Draw 9/4
Everton 9/5

Get on: Draw

This fixture has a history of being tight, there have been two goals or less in the last eight matches between them. Everton haven’t scored in four, this will not be a goalfest.
Match Special:
No Goalscorer in the match 8/1

Wigan v Portsmouth Saturday 29th April 15.00

Wigan 5/4
Draw 5/2
Portsmouth 8/5

Get on: Portsmouth

Wigan have only won one of their last six; Pompey have taken all three points in five of their last eight.
Match Special:
Lua Lua to score at any time 7/4

Charlton v Blackburn Saturday 29th April 17.15 Live on Premiership Plus

Charlton 6/4
Draw 12/5
Blackburn 11/8

Get on: Draw

It’s just one win from their last six games for the Addicks; Blackburn are winless in four.
Match Special:
Bellamy to score in a 1-1 draw 14/1

Tottenham v Bolton Sunday 30th April 16.00 Live on Sky

Tottenham 8/15
Draw 12/5
Bolton 5/1

Get on: Bolton

Spurs have dropped five points from their last two games; Bolton look to be back to their best after destroying Charlton last time out. Bolton have won their last six league meetings against Tottenham.
Match Special:
Borgetti to score at any time 5/2

Sunderland v Arsenal Monday 1st May 17.15 Live on Sky

Sunderland 8/1
Draw 4/1
Arsenal 1/4

Get on: Arsenal

No home wins all season says it all for Sunderland; Arsenal are simply in a different class. The Gunners have scored three goals or more in their last four league meetings with Sunderland.
Match Special:
Arsenal to win 3-0 13/2

West Brom v West Ham Monday 1st May 20.00 Live on Sky

West Brom 6/5
Draw 12/5
West Ham 7/4

Get on: West Brom

The FA Cup chasing Hammers have only won one of their last six in the league; the Baggies can go out with a bang.
Match Special:
Gera to score at any time 3/1


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