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by Ben, last updated 2007-12-13 02:17:40

 Bow Down To Happy Gilmore

 by Gerry McDonnell

I'm all for good-natured banter at a football match, but supporters are beginning to overstep the line. Harry Redknapp commands respect from all the major players in the game, such as Frank Lampard and Jamie Redknapp, yet the colourful manager endured a torrent of vitriolic abuse when Portsmouth travelled to Aston Villa.

As the match slipped away from the Villans, the Holte End outrageously suggested that Harry had bunged the referee. That accusation is entirely without foundation: Harry prefers goods inwards to despatch.

The Villa fans went on to intimate that Harry enjoys the occasional stroke of the pink puppy. I wouldn't criticise Redknapp even if this was true, as it's an understandable reaction after Jamie.

A minority of supporters then disgracefully claimed that Harry would soon be behind bars, partaking in certain activities in the shower area. Not only does this slur completely contradict their earlier insinuation; it's also downright offensive, and Harry will not be taking this lying down. We'll all have red cheeks if we miss the 5/2 for a Tottenham win over Pompey.

The travelling Villa supporters will hopefully show a little more restraint when around Roy Keane, as his preferred method of conflict resolution does not involve complaining to selected media outlets. I'm spreading the word that 9/4 for a draw between Sunderland and the Villa looks pretty tasty.

When it comes to speaking to the BBC, Sam Allardyce is also a total blanker. The Beeb fought back on last week's Match of the Day; they comically photoshopped a ridiculous woolly hat on his oversized head. I can't wait to get my hands on the mammoth 6/4 for a Fulham win over Newcastle.

Team news is probably the single most important factor in betting, after recent form or a nod from Kieren Fallon, so I'll wait for updates on Hleb, Flamini and Fabregas before taking an interest in the Arsenal v Chelsea match. Four of the last six Premier League meetings between the two giants have finished all square, so I'll tentatively look towards the 9/4 for a draw at this early stage.

Birmingham City will definitely have to strengthen their squad in January, and with Alex McLeish at the helm, I expect there to be a strong Scottish connection. Two names that immediately spring to mind are Miller and Becks. There is a player nicknamed 'Woodpecker' who McLeish would love to sign, but he's tied up at Chelsea. I'm definitely attached to the 5/4 for a Birmingham win over Reading.

Middlesbrough are a riddle, wrapped up in an enigma, shrouded in mystery, situated in a hole. I'm praying the Boro will produce their A-game against the outclassed Derby at a larger than expected 7/5.

Lee Bowyer is on the verge of a return to action after recovering from Gilmore's groin. It was a genuine surprise to me; I thought he just had a tear of the adductor muscles. People should be falling over themselves to get on 15/8 for an Everton win over West Ham.

Dressing-room dissent is on the rise at Wigan. One senior player is already on Steve Bruce's back, and that's not a position I would like to see anyone in. The player, who wishes to remain anonymous, has suggested that Bruce is a long-ball merchant. Paul Scharner continued, "If we don't change to playing football, then it will be very difficult." The only thing attractive at the JJB this weekend is the 11/8 for a Blackburn win.

I watched in horror last weekend as Stephen Ireland committed what can only be described as a heinous crime: he appeared to be wearing a wig. Call me old fashioned, but toupees are only acceptable for the bald and the ginger.

Let's be honest, if Ireland is using a piece, and it remains conjecture at this stage, it doesn't make him any less of a man. Only wearing a pink jumper on a night out will result in any long-term loss of man-points. Bolton have won their last three at Manchester City, winning them all 'to nil'. I refuse to cover up my interest in Megson's men at 4/1.

Life is full of little coincidences. As Steven Gerrard was throwing himself to the ground in Marseille, his wife was getting turned over at home. There was also a burglary. I'm helping myself to the 13/8 for a Liverpool win over Manchester United.

I hope Stevie can recover from the trauma, as I need the influential Scouser to win the 'battle of the inner-ear infections' against Ronaldo to land the weekend accer. Birmingham, Middlesbrough, Tottenham and Liverpool are the selections, the payout is an increasingly plummeting 45/1.




Weekend Betting:


Birmingham v Reading Saturday 15th December 15:00

Birmingham 5/4
Draw 9/4
Reading 12/5

Get on: Birmingham

Match Special:
Jerome to score the only goal of the game 28/1

Derby v Middlesbrough Saturday 15th December 15:00

Derby 21/10
Draw 9/4
Middlesbrough 7/5

Get on: Middlesbrough

Match Special:
Downing to score at any time 9/2

Man City v Bolton Saturday 15th December 15:00

Man City 10/11
Draw 5/2
Bolton 4/1

Get on: Bolton

Match Special:
Bolton to win by 1 goal 6/1

Portsmouth v Tottenham Saturday 15th December 15:00

Portsmouth 6/5
Draw 9/4
Tottenham 5/2

Get on: Tottenham

Match Special:
Tottenham to score three or more goals 8/1

Sunderland v Aston Villa Saturday 15th December 15:00

Sunderland 9/4
Draw 9/4
Aston Villa 6/4

Get on: Draw

Match Special:
No goalscorer in the match 9/1

West Ham v Everton Saturday 15th December 15:00

West Ham 6/4
Draw 9/4
Everton 15/8

Get on: Everton

Match Special:
Cahill to score with a header 8/1

Wigan v Blackburn Saturday 15th December 15:00

Wigan 9/4
Draw 9/4
Blackburn 11/8

Get on: Blackburn

Match Special:
Bentley to score from outside of the penalty area 7/1

Fulham v Newcastle Saturday 15th December 17:15 Live on Setanta

Fulham 6/4
Draw 9/4
Newcastle 2/1

Get on: Fulham

Match Special:
Healy to score the last goal 7/1

Liverpool v Man Utd Sunday 16th December 13:30 Live on Sky

Liverpool 13/8
Draw 11/5
Man Utd 2/1

Get on: Liverpool

Match Special:
Torres to score two or more goals 8/1

Arsenal v Chelsea Sunday 16th December 16:00 Live on Sky

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

Get on: Draw

Match Special:
Gallas to score in a 1-1 draw 80/1


 Premiership Betting - Matchday 17 Preview


The Premiership’s weekend schedule is dominated by the mouth-watering double bill of action featuring the fantastic four at the top of the table. Current champions, Man Utd, could go top if they can repeat last season’s win at Anfield, though Liverpool are boosted by an emphatic midweek Champions League victory. Later on, league leaders, Arsenal, defend an unbeaten home record against a resurgent Chelsea side, minus Didier Drogba. Go to PinnacleSports.com for up to 60% better Premiership betting odds on this weekend Grand Slam.


Liverpool’s Title Credentials to be Tested by Champions

Though there have been rumblings of discontent at Anfield between Rafa Benitez and the club’s US owners, the football did the talking on Tuesday night as Liverpool crushed Marseille in France to make the last 16 of the Champions League. With the crucial Christmas period approaching, the Pool have the best opportunity for many years to mount a serious title Premiership challenge, and this game could be the litmus test of their credentials. Benitez will hope that last weekend’s shock 3-1 defeat at Reading was because his players were distracted by the Marseille game, and that the intensity of this game will raise performance levels.

Alex Ferguson has been to Anfield so many times that it will hold no fears for him. United did the double over Liverpool last season without conceding, and will be encouraged by the Reds home stats which show four draws from seven games, though United lost last time on the road – 1-0 at Bolton. Neither side have any fresh injury worries, but while United are likely to stick with the formation from last weekend’s 4-1 win over Derby, rotating Rafa is likely to mix things up. In left midfield Harry Kewell has been back in favour after injury, counter-balancing Yossi Benayoun on the right, but Benitez may opt for a more pragmatic line-up. PinnacleSports.com make Liverpool marginal favourites off a level handicap 1.893 (0/scratch) with Man Utd 2.040 (0/scratch).


London Derby Could Shake Up Title Race

For the first time in a number of seasons, Arsenal go into a London Derby with Chelsea, heading their London rivals in the Premiership table. The gap is currently only three points, having been narrowed by the Gunners’ shock defeat at the Riverside last weekend. Arsene Wenger made no excuses for a poor performance, though the absence of Cesc Fabregas, Alexander Hleb, Mathieu Flamini and Robin Van Persie weakened the Gunners. Wenger will expect a reaction this weekend at Emirates where his side are unbeaten.

Avram Grant has stepped out of the shadow of Jose Mourinho, tightening up Chelsea defensively, who are unbeaten in his 16 games in charge, keeping 13 clean sheets. The Israeli’s managerial skills will however be tested by the absence of Didier Drogba after knee surgery. He must motivate Andriy Shevchenko to finally fulfil his potential, and what better time than in this crucial Derby game. Though Drogba is out, Peter Cech, Florent Malouda, Ricardo Carvalho and Paulo Ferreira should be available for selection. Both meetings last season were 1-1 draws, but the Blues haven’t lost to the Gunners in eleven meetings. PinnacleSports.com price Arsenal 2.150 (0/scratch & -0.5) with Chelsea 1.800 (0/scratch & +0.5) – a market price to under 102%.

Best Premiership Odds at PinnacleSports.com






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