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Weekend Football

by Ben, last updated 2006-02-26 20:33:07

 Gerry's Picks

 By Gerry McDonnell

Smudge not, lest ye be Smudged


Throughout history, if a cause is powerful enough, people will unite to make the World a better place. Thousands shared Woodstock's vision of peace and love, and even more answered a hairy Irishman's call, when he arranged for average middle of the road pop acts to perform across four continents, in a half-assed attempt to reduce global poverty. When Middlesbrough play Birmingham on Saturday 4th March, we too can make a stand against a new evil, incorrectly priced football teams. Let's come together to back the Boro at 10/11.

McClaren's men are standing strong in Europe and they've hit a purple patch in the league, while Birmingham hover just two places from the foot of the table. Admittedly it's not risk free, but you're taking a chance when you eat a late night kebab or when you sleep with loose women. Obviously I wouldn't behave in such a manner myself, I don't like chilli sauce. The Boro won 3-0 at St Andrew's when they weren't playing well, imagine what will happen at the Riverside now they are. At 10/11, this is the value bet of the season, spread the word.

Sam Allardyce asks a valid question. What does Kevin Nolan have to do to receive International recognition? Apart from growing another two and a half foot and signing for Liverpool, the answer is I just don't know. Sven is not alone in underestimating Bolton, bookmakers have been slow to appreciate that they're now a top 6 side.

A trip to St James' Park won't be easy though, Newcastle have collected 10 points out of a possible 12 recently, even the most optimistic/inebriated Geordie would have been surprised by that tally. This one has ‘draw' written all over it, take advantage at 9/4.

If Liverpool had Darren Bent they'd be challenging Chelsea for the Title; they've got Peter Crouch, they're not. Bent's theatrics earned the Addicks three points against the Reds at the Valley just three weeks ago; revenge is a dish best served cold, like my dinner. The Pool will win; they're available at 4/9.

I liked Psycho's reaction to Joey Barton's red card last week, "I'll tell him that Stuart Pearce was sent off five times in 1,000 matches." Although he makes an excellent point, Gerry McDonnell is not a fan of speaking in the third person. City improved when Barton left the pitch that day, a similar performance against Sunderland will see them romp home. Football is a funny old game, although I won't be laughing if Sunderland win or draw, i'm on City at 2/5.

The Gunners form on the road is the most perplexing mystery since i found an extra large pair of boxer shorts under the bed. There's no logical reason why Arsenal can win easily at the Bernabeu, yet take a beating at Ewood Park and the Hawthorns. The Gunners have a quality squad and could well leave the Cottage with three points, but after being bitten twice, you've got to stop stroking the dog. I'm backing Fulham at 7/4.

Fergie's ruck with Van Nistelrooy has been headline news all week, but the real story to come out of United's Carling Cup stroll should be the victory t-shirts. Alan Smith has been labelled ‘Smudge'; it's perhaps the worst nickname in the history of football. The FA should launch an immediate enquiry into why ‘short stuff', ‘nutjob' and ‘meedy' were cruelly overlooked. The art of nicknaming has joined rugby in England's ‘We're not good at doing it anymore' column, a crying shame. This tips for you Smudger; get on Man Utd to beat Wigan at 8/13.

The weekend specials:

"The Gud book" - Gudjohnsen to be booked 4/1
"Brown knows" - Wes Brown to score at any time 12/1
"Agger, do do do" - Daniel Agger to be booked 5/2
"You can Ron, but you can't Eid" - Ronaldo to score, Gudjohnsen not to score 10/3

Quote of the week:

"We're not going to Cardiff for a nice day out."
Paul Jewell pounded the nail on the head.

Stat, you're a liberty:

The league table would have a slightly different look if matches ended at the 45 minute mark. Man Utd would be six points clear at the top of the table, while Everton would have consolidated their Champions League position. The bottom 3 would be Sunderland, Portsmouth and Birmingham; statisticians can not perform miracles.

Acc of the week:

Aston Villa, Middlesbrough, West Ham, Liverpool and Man Utd form a delightful little weekend accer; it'll pay 14/1.


Weekend Betting:


West Brom v Chelsea Saturday 4th March 12.45 Live on Premiership Plus

West Brom 11/2
Draw 3/1
Chelsea 2/5

Get on: Chelsea

The Baggies have met Chelsea on five occasions in the Premiership, Chelsea have won every time. The Albion have been walloped in their last two matches, 2/5 looks generous.
Match Special:
Chelsea to win 2-0 11/2

Aston Villa v Portsmouth Saturday 4th March 15.00

Aston Villa 8/11
Draw 9/4
Portsmouth 10/3

Get on: Aston Villa

Pompey struggle at Villa Park, they've took a beating on their last eight visits. They've also lost on their last eight road trips in the league, there's literally no hope for them.
Match Special:
Villa to keep a clean sheet 6/5

Fulham v Arsenal Saturday 4th March 15.00

Fulham 7/4
Draw 9/4
Arsenal 5/4

Get on: Fulham

Fulham have won eight of their last nine league matches at the Cottage, they drew the other. Arsenal have only won three times away from home in the league all season.
Match Special:
Fulham to win 1-0 7/1

Middlesbrough v Birmingham Saturday 4th March 15.00

Middlesbrough 10/11
Draw 9/4
Birmingham 5/2

Get on: Middlesbrough

The Boro have won five of their last six matches, while a 1-0 win over Sunderland hardly represents a return to form for Birmingham.
Match Special:
Hasselbaink and Yakubu both to score 13/2

Newcastle v Bolton Saturday 4th March 15.00

Newcastle 6/5
Draw 9/4
Bolton 9/5

Get on: Draw

It's four wins and a draw from the Toon's last five games. Bolton are a tough nut to crack though, as their 1-1 draw at Highbury underlines.
Match Special:
No goal scorer in the match 8/1

West Ham v Everton Saturday 4th March 15.00

West Ham Evs
Draw 9/4
Everton 9/4

Get on: West Ham

The Hammers have won seven of their last eight matches; the other was drawn at the Reebok. Everton have lost their last two away from home, it all adds up to a home win.
Match Special:
Ashton to score the first goal 9/2

Liverpool v Charlton Saturday 4th March 17.15 Live on Premiership Plus

Liverpool 4/9
Draw 13/5
Charlton 6/1

Get on: Liverpool

Liverpool have won five of their last six at Anfield by a goal to nil. It would have been six from six but for an Alonso own goal. Charlton haven't won a league match away from home since October.
Match Special:
Liverpool to win 1-0 6/1

Man City v Sunderland Sunday 5th March 13.30 Live on Sky

Man City 2/5
Draw 11/4
Sunderland 13/2

Get on: Man City

City have won their last five in front of their own fans; Sunderland are atrocious.
Match Special:
City to score four or more goals 4/1

Tottenham v Blackburn Sunday 5th March 16.00 Live on Sky

Tottenham 5/6
Draw 9/4
Blackburn 11/4

Get on: Blackburn

A surprisingly quiet fixture recently, the last five games has produced a total of three goals. Spurs are feeling the pressure recently; it's only one win in seven. Blackburn have won their last two, it could be a shock.
Match Special:
Bellamy to score the only goal of the game 50/1

Wigan v Man Utd Monday 6th March 20.00 Live on Sky

Wigan 7/2
Draw 13/5
Man Utd 8/13

Get on: Man Utd

It's now seven without a win for Wigan. United won 4-0 in the league and matched that scoreline in a one-sided Cup final. Home advantage will make all the difference for the Latics; United will only win by three.
Match Special:
Man United to win 3-0 10/1




 Nigels Picks

 by Nigel Ridgeway

FOOTBALL
*******


FULHAM ARE DERBY VALUE AT 11/5
This weekend, we'll be playing up our winnings from the Carling Cup (cleaned up on the outright, double result and first goal scorer markets!) by taking bet365's 11/5 on Fulham to beat Arsenal. Despite some indifferent away form this season, the layers still consistently over-estimate the Gunners, and there's no way they should be 11/10 here (11/5 the draw). Arsenal were fortunate to catch Real Madrid on a bad night when nicking the win, and Fulham won't be as complacent as the Spaniards. Besides, Fulham have won eight of their last nine Premiership home games, including a 6-1 thrashing of West Brom last weekend, so they are massive value for this derby.

Fulham to beat Arsenal @ 11/5


DRAW IS BEAUTIFUL AT 11/5
Thankfully, Newcastle v Bolton is not on the box, as the football is unlikely to be pretty, and goals could be at a premium. Bolton have been struggling to win games (drawn five of their last six), and finding the net against Newcastle won't be easy. Like Bolton, Newcastle have become difficult to break down and this could be a match in which the defences hold the upper hand. Cash in by backing the stalemate and go ‘under' on the bet365 goals market too.

Newcastle v Bolton - Draw @ 11/5 / ‘Under' 2.5 Goals @ 4/6


BAGGIES COULD SHOCK AT 7/1
Bolton v Chelsea
Sa Mar 4 - 12.45 ko (Prem Plus)
Call it March Madness, but am I the only one who thinks West Brom have got more than a squeak of pulling off a massive upset on Saturday? At 7/1, bet365 clearly don't, but Chelsea have been badly underperforming since the turn of the year, and they cannot afford to be complacent at the Hawthorns. West Brom have won six matches at home this season, including four against sides in the top half of the table, and could be catching Chelsea at the right time. The game is live on Sky, so we'll get chance to hedge our bets via the bet365 ‘In-Play Console' (up to 14 dynamic markets), but the 7/1 pre-match price looks worth a small investment now. Arguably, our Asian Handicap is even better value (bet to 102%), where the Baggies are currently available at 2.02 with a goal start (if Chelsea win by a single goal your stake is refunded).

West Brom to beat Chelsea @ 7/1 (2.02 Asian Handicap)

We'll bottle the chance to get our Premiership acca off to a perfect start at the Hawthorns, but a £25 acca on Fulham (11/5), Middlesbrough (10/11), Man City (2/5) and Newcastle to draw (11/5) still pays out a healthy £718.43, which is inflated by a bet365 Premiership Acca Bonus of 5% (up to 60% more every weekend).

Premiership Acca

4-fold on Fulham, Middlesbrough, Man City and Newcastle (to draw) pays £718.43 (£25 stake) - which includes a bet365 bonus of 5%


INJURY WOE FOR 10/11 BLUES
The Baggies may (or may not) win the battle of the Hawthorns this weekend, but will they win the war against relegation? Three points against Chelsea would do very nicely, but even if things don't go their way at the weekend, they might still have enough breathing space to survive. Things change very quickly in the bet365 relegation market - the Baggies were odds-against before losing to in-form Boro - and Birmingham will go into their relegation six-pointers against Boro and West Brom (March 11th) with injuries to several key players. With Sunderland as good as down, and Portsmouth similarly doomed, it's a case of perming one from two, and my money is on the Blues at 10/11.

bet365 Premiership Relegation prices ... Portsmouth 1/10, West Brom 4/6, Birmingham 10/11, Middlesbrough 16/1, others on bet365 website.


BECKHAM 13/8 NOT TO BE AT MADRID NEXT SEASON
England aside, David Beckham's future at Real Madrid has been thrown into doubt after the resignation of President Florentino Perez, and bet365 are offering 13/8 on him not starting next season at the Bernabeu. The England captain, who is yet to win a trophy at Real Madrid, has only got one season left on his current contract, and any extension looks to be on hold now.

Will David Beckham Start 2006/7 La Liga Season At Madrid?

Yes 4/9
No 13/8




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