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Weekend Football tips

by Ben, last updated 2007-02-21 23:02:22

 Pinnacle Preview


Though the 2007 League Cup final has a heavyweight line-up, the competition has struggled to gain credibility in a congested fixture schedule dominated by the much more pressing priorities of the Champions League and Premiership title race. Regardless of whether Arsenal and Chelsea field their strongest XI's, the clash still provides an interesting betting contest, and www.pinnaclesports.com - offering up to 60% better odds than traditional bookies - have posted full prices.

Going into Sunday's showpiece in Cardiff, Jose Mourinho will be the happier of the two managers. Both Arsenal and Chelsea were involved in crucial midweek Champions League clashes, and whereas the Premiership Champions are in the box seat after their 1-1 draw in Porto, Arsenal are up against it after suffering a 1-0 defeat in a lacklustre display away to PSV.

The Special One will also have been heartened by the improved contribution of Andriy Shevchenko, who scored the crucial away goal. It wasn't however all good news as captain John Terry suffered an ankle injury after just seven minutes, which will keep him out of Sunday's final and beyond. Michael Essien deputised in Portugal alongside Chelsea's only fit central defender, Ricardo Carvalho, but the pair were breached within five minutes, as Terry watched from a stretcher. Chelsea's recent defensive crisis has been well documented with Terry's absence coinciding with a real dip in form, at least goalkeeper, Petr Cech, is back to his best, pulling off several world class saves at the Dragao Stadium.

Arsene Wenger has hinted that he will involve those youngsters that have been instrumental in reaching Cardiff, but the likes of Walcott, Hoyte and Denilson, will probably be bolstered by the more experienced Rosicky, Silva and Toure, though Thierry Henry is unlikely to start. The Gunners have experienced a number of near misses in this competition last winning it in 1993, but losing in four semi-finals since, while Chelsea have won the competition as recently as 2005. This game will however be less about the League Cup competition than the rivalry between these London sides. Chelsea have certainly stolen the Gunners mantle as the capital's top side, unbeaten in the last eight meetings, and winning three of the last four. www.pinnaclesports.com have priced Chelsea slight favourites 1.971 (0/scratch & -0.5), with Arsenal 1.952 (0/scratch & +0.5).

While Chelsea prepares to emulate Manchester United's success in last season's Carling Cup, the Red Devils will be at Craven Cottage looking to take a major step toward stealing the Blues' Premiership crown. United escaped unscathed from a heated Champions League encounter in France, and must now re-focus on the title race, attempting to extend their six point lead.

The Cottagers need to pick themselves up from a 4-0 FA Cup thumping by Tottenham. Coach, Chris Coleman, will have stripped the paint off the dressing room after that defeat, and with influential midfielder, Michael Brown, back in the side, Fulham should be a tougher proposition. Only three teams have taken maximum points at Craven Cottage this season, and United have won just two of their last five away league fixtures. www.pinnaclesports.com have Fulham 2.04 (+1) on their Asian Handicap with Alex Ferguson's side 1.893 (-1).

The opportunities for Charlton and West Ham to climb out of the relegation mire are starting to run out, with the sides locked together on twenty points, six away from safety. The struggling Londoners meet for a crucial Derby at the Valley on Saturday, where respective managers will be desperate to get one over their ex-employers, adding even more spice. The Hammers are arguably in worse shape, yet to win away from home and having lost a similarly critical relegation scrap last week, squandering a penalty in the 1-0 defeat at home to Watford. Still looking vulnerable at the back, the Irons will be without expensive January signing, defender Lucas Neill, whereas the Addicks should welcome back Darren Bent and Luke Young, two of their most influential players. PinnacleSport.com make Charlton slight favourites at 1.758 off a level handicap (0/scratch), with West Ham 2.22 (0/scratch).



 Gerry's Picks

 by Gerry McDonnell

Swing When You're Tinning

Mark Twain once said that golf is a good walk spoiled; it is if a driver has been wrapped around your kneecaps.

The always controversial Craig Bellamy allegedly thrust his wood in the direction of John Arne Riise after a heavy night on the ale. Personally, i blame Jermaine Pennant; he started all this drinking and driving.

What most surprised me about the incident was the silence of the new American owners. As Bellamy swung the club, I'd have expected a shout of ‘You da man' or ‘Get in the hole'.

Incredibly, the blaze of publicity has improved team morale. Bellamy and Riise both found the net in midweek; I'm definitely putting my wedge on Liverpool sinking Sheffield United at 4/11.

The row over a karaoke machine was so ridiculous; it reminded me of when the wife attacked me over something minor. In my defence, she told me she was 21. I'm piling into the 21/10 about Reading beating up Middlesbrough.

I found it outrageous that Gary Neville was struck by a missile in Manchester United’s win over Lille. I remember Robbie Fowler was involved in a similar incident a few years ago, but the Scouser's throw ended up well short of the target. I'm throwing my dough on United to beat Fulham at 1/2.

Defeat for either side in the Charlton v West Ham match spells almost certain relegation and an estimated £50m loss. The stakes are so high; Pete Doherty is taking an interest.

On recent form and with home advantage, you have to fancy Charlton at 13/10. The Egg man will have to sell a shed-load of biscuits to recoup that amount of cash; he's looking at two hours of trading after a Babyshambles gig.

Somewhat embarrassingly, I used to be an altar boy in my youth. I initially decided that a lifetime of celibacy was not for me; but after sleeping with the wife for six years, I'm reconsidering my position. Everton can leave the Vicarage with three points at 11/8.

Sam Allardyce has spoken of his fears for the future of English football, as the youth of today are ‘fat and lazy'. Frank Lampard is in consultation with his brief. Spurs must be backed at a chunky 11/10 to devour Bolton.

Emre has allegedly pleaded with Galatasaray to rescue him from his Newcastle nightmare. The sight of those shivering, shirtless Frank Lampard look-alikes in the crowd has finally broken the poor man's spirit. I'm putting my shirt on a Wigan win over Newcastle at 8/5.

Let's hope that Benjani is not relying on a goal scoring bonus to pay off his mortgage, or he'll soon be knocking on the door of Robbie Savage's caravan. I'm travelling to the bookies to get on Blackburn at 13/10 to see off Pompey.

The Arsenal team were delighted to receive the honour of an audience with the Queen. Jens Lehmann was particularly excited, but that's understandable as he's a compatriot.

The Queen looked more than happy to meet up with Freddie Ljungberg. For some strange reason, I can't imagine Liz as a normal passionate woman. My reticence may be born out of respect for her position as the head of state, or it could be the fact that she's a double-bagger.

Nothing would please me more than seeing the young Gunners lift the Carling Cup (except for the wife leaving), but from a punting perspective, the value lies with Chelsea at 6/5 to win the match in 90 minutes.

For the more conservative bettors, Chelsea should be backed at 8/13 to get their hands on the first silverware of the season; if we choose to disregard Craig Bellamy's handcuffs.

The accer this week is so conciliatory, Liverpool FC have announced a long overdue golf club amnesty. Wigan, Blackburn, Tottenham and Chelsea are the selections, the payout is an amicable 25/1.



Weekend Betting:


Fulham v Man Utd Saturday 24th February 12:45 Live on Sky

Fulham 13/2
Draw 10/3
Man Utd 1/2

Get on: Man Utd

Match Special:
Rooney to score two or more goals 5/1

Charlton v West Ham Saturday 24th February 15:00

Charlton 13/10
Draw 9/4
West Ham 2/1

Get on: Charlton

Match Special:
Rommedahl to score at any time 4/1

Liverpool v Sheff Utd Saturday 24th February 15:00

Liverpool 4/11
Draw 4/1
Sheff Utd 10/1

Get on: Liverpool

Match Special:
Gerrard to score from outside the penalty area 9/2

Middlesbrough v Reading Saturday 24th February 15:00

Middlesbrough 13/10
Draw 9/4
Reading 21/10

Get on: Reading

Match Special:
Reading to score three or more goals 13/2

Watford v Everton Saturday 24th February 17:15 Live on Premiership Plus

Watford 21/10
Draw 9/4
Everton 11/8

Get on: Everton

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

Wigan v Newcastle Sunday 25th February 13:00

Wigan 8/5
Draw 9/4
Newcastle 17/10

Get on: Wigan

Match Special:
Aghahowa to score the first goal 7/1

Blackburn v Portsmouth Sunday 25th February 15:00

Blackburn 13/10
Draw 9/4
Portsmouth 11/5

Get on: Blackburn

Match Special:
Blackburn to win and keep a clean sheet 5/2

Tottenham v Bolton Sunday 25th February 15:00

Tottenham 11/10
Draw 9/4
Bolton 12/5

Get on: Tottenham

Match Special:
Berbatov to score with a header 9/2

Chelsea v Arsenal Carling Cup Final Sunday 25th February 15:00 Live on Sky

Chelsea 6/5
Draw 9/4
Arsenal 12/5

Get on: Chelsea

Match Special:
Drogba to score in a 2-0 Chelsea win 16/1

Bet with bet365 | betdirect | bluesquare






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