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Weekend Football

by Ben, last updated 2006-08-19 00:44:32

 Gerry's Picks

 by Gerry McDonnell

A Drog with two ricks


Occasionally, a person can become so synonymous with a certain action that the English language will evolve as a result. For example, if the sight of anything Portuguese sends you into a psychotic rage, you're ‘doing a Rooney', if your alcoholic wife beats you up due to unresolved rage issues, she's ‘knocked out a Gerry', and if you pay six times over the correct market value for a mediocre footballer, you've ‘pulled a Fergie'.

We've all been had in the net on the odd occasion, but Fergie has bought more turkeys than Sainsbury's in recent years. Michael Carrick is the latest addition to a list that includes Kleberson, Forlan, Veron and my personal favourite, the Djemba brothers. After blowing an incredible £18.6m on the talented but ultimately limited midfielder, Sir Alex has once again been tucked up like a sleeping baby.

Fulham can continue the theme of stitching up the purple-nosed one. Rooney's a fitness doubt for the Old Trafford opener; after reading his autobiography, it comes as no surprise that he's struggling with a groin injury. Fulham scored twice against Man U in both of their meetings last season, 12/1 about a shock is just too big.

If Martin Jol has finished laughing, he'll take his Tottenham team to a tricky match at the Reebok. Jol has bought and sold exceptionally well in the summer, with Berbatov and Zokora being standout additions to the squad. Zokora believes he can be the ‘Vieira of the Lane'; expect him to be completely outplayed by Fabregas when they meet Arsenal. Tottenham are a decent team, but they always struggle against Bolton (they've lost six of their last seven league matches); I can't see past the draw at 9/4.

The Liverpool players will be pleased to hear that Neil Warnock is banned from the touchline when they visit Bramall Lane, although this may not stop Warnock from launching threatening paper aeroplanes from the stand. Liverpool's reserves saw off a full strength Chelsea last week, their first team receive the nap of the week award at a healthy 4/7.

Wigan manager Paul Jewell is a jovial character, but something tells me he won't be smiling after his team take a mullering at St James' Park. Wigan faced Newcastle on three occasions last season, the team playing at home won every match. Dull, but true. Wigan have Heskey, Newcastle have the points in the bag at 8/11.

Everton must be backed at 8/13 at home to new boys Watford. The partnership of Beattie and Johnson looks promising; Beattie can win the flick-ons to allow AJ to go down to ‘earn' the penalty. Watford have visited Goodison Park on nine previous occasions, they've lost every time.

Gareth Southgate has been busy in the transfer market, the signing of Julio Arca for less than £2m looks an inspired piece of business. Reading are nicknamed the Royals, and like their German counterparts in Buckingham Palace, they'll remain pointless on Saturday night. I do like the Boro at 9/5.

The Villa fans are a lot like me, happiness can be gained from just one little Yank. The Villa have lost at Highbury for the last eight years, it's a good job this one is being played at the Emirates, they're unbeaten there. There's a momentum behind the Villa thanks to the takeover (I was a Randy Lerner once) and the arrival of Martin ‘The Saviour' O'Neill; it would be folly to invest in the Gunners at 3/10. A red card in the match is on offer at 7/2; Graeme Poll is ‘officiating', so you're 50% less likely to collect.

Michael Ballack was substituted after 25 minutes in the Community Shield, I know what it's like to finish prematurely, it's no picnic. Four of the previous six matches between Chelsea and Man City have finished 1-0, with Drogba almost certain to squander a couple of chances; a repeat of the 1-0 scoreline at 6/1 looks a decent wager. If Ballack and Shevchenko both start, I'd rather be on a 2-0 stroll for the Champions at a healthy 11/2.

Last week's accer hit both posts and the bar before being cleared off the line, this week's will fly straight in the top corner. Liverpool, Everton, Newcastle, Middlesbrough and Chelsea are the chosen ones, the accer will pay out at 14/1 when successful.

The weekend specials:

"Tim'll fix it" - Cahill to score with a header 11/2
"Young a tart" - Luke Young to be booked for diving 16/1
"A bitter Lehmann" - Aston Villa to score a goal Evs
"Duff'll bag" - Damien Duff to score two or more goals 9/1

The quote of the week:

"What I'm looking for is flexibility."
Steve McClaren knows the score.

The probably misheard quote of the week:

"I'm internally grateful to Steve McClaren."
Dean Ashton desperately wanted that cap.

The lay man:

You've got to love the betting exchanges. People are lining up to back Arsenal at 1/3; if you ‘lay' that bet, you're effectively backing either the draw or a Villa win at 3/1. Happy, happy days.


Weekend Betting:


Sheff Utd v Liverpool Saturday 19th August 12.45 Live on Sky

Sheff Utd 6/1
Draw 14/5
Liverpool 4/7

Arsenal v Aston Villa Saturday 19th August 15.00

Arsenal 3/10
Draw 7/2
Aston Villa 12/1

Everton v Watford Saturday 19th August 15.00

Everton 8/13
Draw 5/2
Watford 5/1

Newcastle v Wigan Saturday 19th August 15.00

Newcastle 8/11
Draw 5/2
Wigan 4/1

Portsmouth v Blackburn Saturday 19th August 15.00

Portsmouth 6/4
Draw 9/4
Blackburn 21/10

Reading v Middlesbrough Saturday 19th August 15.00

Reading 6/4
Draw 9/4
Middlesbrough 9/5

West Ham v Charlton Saturday 19th August 15.00

West Ham 11/10
Draw 9/4
Charlton 3/1

Bolton v Tottenham Saturday 19th August 17.15 Live on Premiership Plus

Bolton 17/10
Draw 9/4
Tottenham 17/10

Man Utd v Fulham Sunday 20th August 13.30 Live on Premiership Plus

Man Utd 3/10
Draw 9/2
Fulham 12/1

Chelsea v Man City Sunday 20th August 16.00 Live on Sky

Chelsea 1/4
Draw 9/2
Man City 12/1



 Pinnacle Pricing Perfect For Week One Premiership Picks

 by Pinacle sports

The fixture list for the opening week of the upcoming Premiership season is far from mouth-watering for football purists. With Chelsea, Man Utd, Arsenal and Liverpool all facing lesser opposition, www.PinnacleSports.com's 1.98/1.98 style Asian Handicap lines with markets priced to just 101.5%, will no doubt appeal to punters who aren't tempted to back the quartet to win at short odds. Parlaying the Premiership's elite with home advantage is also popular, and with PinnacleSports.com ultra-competitive pricing, there is no better sportsbook to pursue that strategy. PinnacleSports.com regularly offer the best soccer odds across all markets and provide the assurance of fixed odds betting with exchange like pricing but unlike an exchange, PinnacleSports.com has guaranteed liquidity and never charges commission on winning bets.

For those bettors looking for a little more value, Reading - who ended the Championship season on an eleven game unbeaten run - are a tasty price at 1.781 off scratch with PinnacleSports.com to break their Premiership duck, with the visit of Middlesbrough (2.18) to the Madejski Stadium. Though Boro made the UEFA Cup final last season, their corresponding league form was hopelessly erratic, and the Teessiders were prone to under-performing against the division's weaker teams. If that tendency prevails, the Royals' youthful side, eager to take an early scalp, could make Gareth Southgate's first game in charge of Middlesbrough a difficult one.

Everton 1.952 (-0.5 & -1), host Adrian Boothroyd's Watford 1.971 (+0.5 & +1), the surprise package of last season's Championship. The Hornets will need every ounce of their battling qualities against a physical Toffees side who lost just one of their last dozen home games last season. On Sunday West Ham 1.794 (0 and -0.5)will have to do without key striker, Dean Ashton, who broke his ankle on Tuesday training with England. Upton Park hosts a London derby with the visit of Charlton 2.160 (0 & +0.5), as the Hammers look to build on an excellent ninth place finish last term. The Addicks, under new manager, Iain Dowie, will look to start this season better than they finished last; the South Londoners lost five of their last six fixtures.

After a turbulent season, Newcastle's Glen Roeder steered the Magpies to a seventh place finish. The loss of Michael Owen to injury is a major blow, as with Alan Shearer now retired they lack a quality striker for ex-Chelsea winger, Damian Duff to provide crosses for. The Geordies face last season's surprise Premiership package, Wigan 1.877 (+0.5 & +1), who caught everyone off-guard last term with an excellent start to their first Premiership campaign. Despite their positive impact, the biggest name manager Paul Jewel has been able to draft in is ex-England striker, Emile Heskey who looks a poor replacement for Jason Roberts. Newcastle won this fixture 3-1 last season and are 2.05 (-0.5 & -1) with PinnacleSports.com to keep the Toon Army happy.

Fratton Park is the first port of call for Blackburn Rovers (2.150), looking to consolidate last term's excellent sixth place spot. Jason Roberts and South African, Benni McCarthy replace the outgoing strikers, Craig Bellamy and Paul Dickov. Both will certainly fit into Rovers physical style, which will be tested visiting Portsmouth (1.800). Pompey have been revitalized by the return of their prodigal son, Harry Redknapp. ‘Arry fought a successful relegation battle helped by the investment of new owner Alexandre Gaydamak. Further summer signings have strengthened the squad, so this game - along with the match at the Reebok Stadium - could be one of the hardest to call.

The honours were even between Bolton (2.03) and Tottenham (1.901) last season, both winning 1-0 in front of their own fans. The Trotters are very hard to beat at home with a tough uncompromising physical approach, which makes this game a likely candidate for the low goals backers. With total goals scored markets priced to 102.5% with PinnacleSports.com, the under 2 & 2.5 priced at 1.833 will almost certainly see a lot of play. Expectation is high at both clubs, excited at the prospect of UEFA Cup football, yet both are desperate to go one better and qualify for the lucrative Champions League.



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