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by Ben, last updated 2008-01-17 19:07:23

 Rings that go bump in the night

 by Gerry McDonnell

My heart goes out to the clinically depressed and the morbidly obese, but I have a genuine illness; I suffer from sleep deprivation. I believe my condition is a result of an incident that occurred many years ago, when I was naïve enough to believe that physical attractiveness was not an essential requirement in the process of potential mate selection.

It was a Saturday night, and I found myself frequenting a nightclub with a group of friends, such was the custom at that time. As 2am arrived and a sense of desperation filled the air, I approached a lady who I thought looked quite hot. It turned out she was just very sweaty. As she made her intentions clear, I made the cardinal error of not topping up my alcohol level before exiting the building. On the taxi ride home, sobriety kicked in like a tortured mule.

Within two minutes of entering my humble abode, she was parading shamelessly in her birthday suit. It was at this stage that I fully appreciated the gravity of the situation. Unfortunately, my plea to go directly to the cigarette fell upon deaf ears. Without going into too much detail of what followed, I can confirm that I didn't get a wink of sleep all night, and I've struggled to get my head down ever since.

As the dawn approached like a guardian angel, I plucked up the courage to ask her to leave by the back door, which was somewhat ironic. I made a conscious decision that morning to never return to the club, as the experience left me close to a breakdown. Kevin Keegan has been far less pragmatic. I do expect a significant short-term improvement for the Toon Army; I'll be getting on the Geordies at 5/6 at home to Bolton.

I was quite surprised that Steve Bruce was never approached by Mike Ashley. Bruce has been in charge of Wigan for about seven weeks, so he is definitely due a move. I expect to see a massive move on Everton to beat Wigan at an exceedingly pleasant 11/8.

Fulham FC share a trait of mine: they start off quickly, but lack stamina. The Cottagers have lost a lead in 10 of their 22 Premier League matches this season, blowing 25 points in the process. I can only put Fulham's lack or resolve down to poor conditioning; I'll buy them a case of 'Wash & Go' after Arsenal turn them over at 8/15.

Blackburn are still struggling to find a replacement for Robbie Savage. They came close last week, but Sun Hill refused to release Gillian Taylforth. I'm diving on the 4/5 for a Blackburn win over Middlesbrough.

With matches at White Hart Lane producing an average of 5.1 goals, Juande Ramos has been forced to tighten up at the back; so he's dropped Paul Robinson like an opinionated girlfriend. Spurs are on an upward curve as a result, they're a confident selection at 4/9 against Sunderland.

Manchester City are a Jekyll and Hyde club. When they play at home, they're an object of unquestionable beauty, yet when they leave Eastlands, they're as useful as a military recruitment centre in Paris. West Ham are making the now familiar trip to the City of Manchester Stadium, you have to like the even money for another home win.

I was genuinely surprised by the amount of appearances made by a relatively young Jamie Carragher. I haven't seen 500 clocked up so quickly since the wife last stood on the scales. A Liverpool win over Villa will be a weight off my mind; I'm playing heavily at 4/6.

Ronaldo is on course to be the first wide man since George Best to receive the Golden Boot. There are many similarities between the two players. Best was a Manchester United hero, as is Ronaldo. Best was a phenomenal dribbler, as is the Portuguese step-over expert. Best loved his women. I'll be trying to get on Manchester United at 4/9 to beat Reading.

John Terry has been outed as a Manchester United supporter, further perpetrating the myth that most of United's support originates in London. That's an insult to the Chinese. I'll take it as a personal insult if Chelsea slip up against Birmingham at 4/6.

After starting the season on fire, Benjani has reverted to type. If missed chances were pints of lager, he'd have a liver like George Best. I'm taking a chance on the draw between Portsmouth and Derby at 10/3.

I can't think of George Best without remembering the time that I had a badly damaged organ. That night still haunts me, and I can't sleep without the aid of sedatives. Luckily, I've been carrying them around with me for a number of years, as you never know when opportunity will knock. Chelsea, Tottenham, Newcastle, Everton and Liverpool form a fantastic 15/1 betting opportunity that only comes along once every seven days.



Weekend Betting:


Birmingham v Chelsea Saturday 19th January 15:00

Birmingham 11/2
Draw 27/10
Chelsea 4/6

Get on: Chelsea

Match Special:
Anelka to score the only goal of the game 22/1

Blackburn v Middlesbrough Saturday 19th January 15:00

Blackburn 4/5
Draw 13/5
Middlesbrough 4/1

Get on: Blackburn

Match Special:
Bentley to score from outside of the penalty area 13/2

Fulham v Arsenal Saturday 19th January 15:00

Fulham 7/1
Draw 3/1
Arsenal 8/15

Get on: Arsenal

Match Special:
Eduardo and Adebayor both to score 11/2

Portsmouth v Derby Saturday 19th January 15:00

Portsmouth 4/9
Draw 10/3
Derby 8/1

Get on: Draw

Match Special:
No goalscorer in the match 12/1

Reading v Man Utd Saturday 19th January 15:00

Reading 8/1
Draw 7/2
Man Utd 4/9

Get on: Man Utd

Match Special:
Ronaldo to score direct from a free kick 6/1

Tottenham v Sunderland Saturday 19th January 15:00

Tottenham 4/9
Draw 16/5
Sunderland 7/1

Get on: Tottenham
Robbie Keane to score two or more goals 5/1

Match Special:

Newcastle v Bolton Saturday 19th January 17:15 Live on Setanta

Newcastle 5/6
Draw 12/5
Bolton 10/3

Get on: Newcastle

Match Special:
Owen to score a hat-trick 33/1

Wigan v Everton Sunday 20th January 13:30 Live on Sky

Wigan 11/5
Draw 23/10
Everton 11/8

Get on: Everton

Match Special:
Arteta to score at any time 5/1

Man City v West Ham Sunday 20th January 16:00 Live on Sky

Man City Evs
Draw 12/5
West Ham 3/1

Get on: Man City

Match Special:
Petrov to score the first goal 9/1

Liverpool v Aston Villa Monday 21st January 20:00 Live on Setanta

Liverpool 4/6
Draw 14/5
Aston Villa 11/2

Get on: Liverpool

Match Special:
Liverpool to win and keep a clean sheet 17/10



 Premiership Betting - Matchday 23 Preview (Jan 19-21)


The biggest Premiership story of the week is without doubt the re-appointment of Kevin Keegan as Newcastle United’s manager. Keegan, who was a legend as a player at the club and went on to manage the Magpies from 1992-97, is a shock replacement for Sam Allardyce, who recently became the league’s eighth managerial casualty. Saturday’s match at St.James Park will now be the focus of intense media attention, but if you fancy a bet on the game, take advantage of 60% better Premiership betting odds at PinnacleSports.com.


United & Reading Likely to Serve Up Goals

Saturday’s game at the Madejski Stadium between Reading and Manchester United looks as close as you can get for a banker for goals. The Royals have the worst defensive record in the Premiership (joint with Derby) while no club has scored more goals than the visitors. The Red Devils gave their goal-scoring tally a healthy boost last weekend, smashing six second half goals past hapless Newcastle, with Cristiano Ronaldo – the division’s top scorer – bagging his first hat-trick for the club.

United crept past Arsenal last weekend to top the Premiership, courtesy of their excellent goal difference, and Alex Ferguson will want to keep them their with three points in Berkshire. Steve Coppell’s side were beaten 1-0 at home by Spurs in their midweek FA Cup replay, but he has made no secret of his indifference to that competition. Survival in a difficult second season is his priority, which could prove a challenge on recent form. The Royals have lost three straight in the league conceding eleven, and transfer rumours hang over several of their key players. PinnacleSports.com price Reading underdogs 2.110 (+1 & +1.5) with Manchester United 1.826 (-1 & -1.5). Bettors should note however, that in five recent meetings of the clubs, Reading have drawn three, and lost the other two games by an identical 3-2 score.


Keegan Returns to Call the Toon on Tyneside

Kevin Keegan’s shock return to Newcastle United on Wednesday, elevates the weekend’s game against Bolton – an otherwise fairly unappealing fixture – to top billing on the Premiership fixture list. During his previous stint at the club, Keegan famously saw his side relinquish a 12 point in the title race, handing the title to United. That is the closest Geordies have come to heaven in the club’s recent history, and it appears that owner, Mike Ashley, has faith in Keegan’s personality and charisma, which he hopes will be translated onto the pitch.

Keegan moved from Newcastle to Fulham, England and then Man City, after which he stated that nothing would tempt him back into football management. Some see as his appointment of the ex-European Player of the Year as the heart ruling the head at Newcastle, but Keegan’s presence on Wednesday night inspired the Magpies to a 4-1 FA Cup win over Stoke. Staurday evening’s game against Bolton now assumes greater significance, which is probably bad news for the Trotters. They have lost four of their last five games, are without an away win all season and their star striker – Nicolas Anelka – has gone to Chelsea, so the heightened atmosphere at an expectant St.James Park will make it difficult for Wanderers to end that poor run. PinnacleSports.com make Newcastle favourites 1.980 (-0.5) with Bolton 1.943 (+0.5).


Best Premiership Betting Odds at PinnacleSports.com

1.96/1.96 style Asian Handicap pricing (c.102%) on the major European Football Leagues gives gamblers up to 60% better Premiership betting odds. PinnacleSports.com offers commission-free fixed odds betting with exchange style pricing, as well as the web’s highest guaranteed liquidity and fastest payouts.






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