Date: 2nd February 2006 at 1:10pm
Written by:

Beating the bookies is an enjoyable pastime, but is there more to life? Recently, I’ve felt an urge to discover a deeper meaning to my existence, leading me to conduct a little research in the field of religion and spirituality, in search of enlightenment, in search of God.

As always, the first stop for any serious researcher is Sky Sports News. Within 15 minutes, I’d discovered that the Holy One is a Scouse scally by the name of Robbie Fowler.

In football, as in life, sometimes you have to go back to move forward, and the signing of Fowler is a step in the right direction for the Reds. The Pool’s midfield is as creative as any in the league, yet a misfiring Cisse, an overrated Morientes and a game but ultimately limited Crouch have failed to take chances in the big matches. The Pool have flopped against Chelsea on three occasions this season, with God on their side, that’s about to change. Kop a load of the Reds at 7/2.

I don’t dislike Robbie Savage, to be honest I can take him or leave him; and I could definitely take him. Mark Hughes believes that the blonde nause is unfairly criticised at times, claiming that Robbie is more sinned against than sinner. The jury’s out on that one; they’re back, he’s guilty.

Rob’s mob are a tasty looking punt at 6/4 away at West Brom. The Baggies lack a quality striker up front; I suggest that they sign Rob Earnshaw in the summer.

It was always going to happen; after Gary Neville’s crotch-shaking badge-kissing Scouse-baiting goal celebration, Man U were destined to be drawn away at Anfield in the next round of the Cup.

It’s tough to pick a winner in that one, but at home to Fulham in the League, United are a confident call at 1/4. No visiting team has left Old Trafford with a clean sheet this season; the zero in Fulham’s away win column can breathe easily.

Arsene Wenger has (once again) bought extremely well in the transfer window. In Diaby, they finally have a replacement for Vieira, while Walcott is a young Henry. The future’s bright, the future’s raspberry. Arsene sends his young guns to an improving Birmingham, 9/4 is on the table about the draw; help yourself to seconds.

Poor old Paul Scharner, he’s been in the Country for nearly a month, and his team-mates haven’t filled him in on ‘Rule 1’; he had to learn the hard way that the laying of hands on Duncan Ferguson is strictly prohibited. Without Jason Roberts, Wigan will be taught another lesson at the Reebok. Bolton are the bet of the week at 10/11.

Joey Barton’s decision to hand in a transfer request was a strange one. The City board overlooked his awful interpretation of Hamlet at a Christmas party, and were lenient after a pre-season brawl with a teenage Everton fan. Barton will start against an Everton side without madman Duncan Ferguson; be like Joey, mark the coupon with an X. The draw is available at 9/4.

The weekend specials:

“Kop idol” – Robbie Fowler to score and Liverpool to win 1-0 55/1
“Duncan disorderly” – Everton to have a player sent off 10/1
“Ash, bang wallop” – Dean Ashton to score a hat-trick 16/1
“Sutton for the weekend” – Chris Sutton to score and Birmingham to win 1-0 50/1
“Barton, think” – Joey Barton to be booked 7/4

Quote of the week:

“I feel like a kid waking up on Christmas morning.”

Robbie Fowler: Racehorse owner, property magnate and excitable 30 year old.

Revelation of the week:

Robbie Savage’s middle name is…Willy

Stat, you’re a liberty:

It’s a brave man that criticises Stuart Pearce; I am not a brave man. Man City have only won once away from home since August, it must be an anomaly.

Acc of the week:

Bolton, Blackburn, West Ham, Man Utd and Tottenham are the five good things on the coupon, the accer will pay out at 14/1.

Weekend Betting:

Birmingham v Arsenal Saturday 4th February 15.00

Birmingham 11/4
Draw 9/4
Arsenal 5/6

Get on: Draw

Liverpool and Man U had to settle for a point at St Andrews. After three consecutive 1-0 defeats on the road, the Gunners will be reasonably happy with a point.
Match Special:
Match to finish 1-1 or 2-2 4/1

Bolton v Wigan Saturday 4th February 15.00

Bolton 10/11
Draw 9/4
Wigan 5/2

Get on: Bolton

It’s been five months since a visiting team left the Reebok with three points. Wigan have only won two of their last nine matches away from home; chalk this one up to Big Sam.
Match Special:
Stelios to score at any time 2/1

Everton v Man City Saturday 4th February 15.00

Everton Evs
Draw 9/4
Man City 9/4

Get on: Draw

It’s eight matches undefeated for the Toffeemen; City have only one won match on the road in five months. It’s been 14 years since City left Goodison with three points, a tough match to call.
Match Special:
Match to finish 0-0 or 1-1 3/1

Middlesbrough v Aston Villa Saturday 4th February 15.00

Middlesbrough 11/8
Draw 2/1
Aston Villa 7/4

Get on: Aston Villa

Boro haven’t won a league match at the Riverside since last November, the Villa are unbeaten in six on their travels.
Match Special:
Milan Baros to score two or more goals 7/1

Newcastle v Portsmouth Saturday 4th February 15.00

Newcastle 4/6
Draw 12/5
Portsmouth 7/2

Get on: Draw

Pompey have lost their last six on the road against Premiership opposition; the Geordies look an average outfit without Michael Owen. The last four matches between these two have been drawn, I spy another.
Match Special:
Alan Shearer not to score 4/6

West Brom v Blackburn Saturday 4th February 15.00

West Brom 6/4
Draw 11/5
Blackburn 6/4

Get on: Blackburn

Sunderland and Villa were the last two visitors to the Hawthorns, they both left with the points. Blackburn have won their last three on the road in the league, you can see that run continuing.
Match Special:
Pedersen to score the only goal of the game 45/1

West Ham v Sunderland Saturday 4th February 15.00

West Ham 4/7
Draw 12/5
Sunderland 9/2

Get on: West Ham

The Hammers have won five on the bounce, scoring two goals or more in each match. Sunderland are the worst team in the history of the Premiership.
Match Special:
Dean Ashton to score two or more goals 5/1

Man Utd v Fulham Saturday 4th February 17.15 Live on PPV

Man Utd 1/4
Draw 7/2
Fulham 10/1

Get on: Man Utd

Fulham will win away from home this season, but it won’t be today. It’s been over four months since a team left Old Trafford with more than a point, banker home win.
Match Special:
Van Nistelrooy to score a hat-trick 14/1

Tottenham v Charlton Sunday 5th February 13.30 Live on Sky

Tottenham 8/13
Draw 12/5
Charlton 4/1

Get on: Tottenham

Spurs are defending an impressive home record; the Champions are the only team to leave the Lane victorious. It’s been three months since the Addicks won a league match away from home.
Match Special:
Danny Murphy to score from outside the penalty area 9/1

Chelsea v Liverpool Sunday 5th February 16.00 Live on Sky

Chelsea 8/11
Draw 11/5
Liverpool 7/2

Get on: Liverpool

It’s now three matches without a win for the Champions, and six matches without a clean sheet. Seven of the last nine meetings between these two have produced one goal or less; the Pool can score, and one goal will be enough to take the points.
Match Special:
Liverpool to win 1-0 9/1