I’m no stranger to pain; I once watched all of Soccer AM. The feeling of hopelessness I experienced that day is similar to the distress that Manchester United supporters now feel, as they face a future without Roy Keane.
Sir Alex believes that Alan Smith may be a long term replacement for the influential head-case, but Smithy is not a midfielder; he’s like the wife on our first date, a little forward.
Even with Smithy and Fletcher in the team, United are good things at home to Portsmouth. Unfortunately, the 1/5 on offer won’t make you rich, unless you’re Roman Abramovic or Rio Ferdinand.
Rio has admitted taking ballet lessons when he was younger; my wife was shocked by the irony of it all, as she used to be a quality centre back. Rio can be backed at 10/1 to break his goal scoring duck against Pompey, but beware; as an experienced ballet dancer, his celebration may involve two pirouettes and a leap. Not that I know what a pirouette is.
Paul Scholes is also overdue a goal, he hasn’t found the net in 19 games this season, a somewhat disappointing return for a goal scoring midfielder. The ginger lad is far more likely to find the back of the net, 9/4 is on the table.
Nobby Solano was Aston Villa’s most impressive player last season, but quickly left the Midlands to rejoin the Toon Army. The advert may say ‘Nobby’s nuts’, but leaving Villa looks to be a sensible decision. Nobby wisely re-signed, something O’Leary is probably considering.
The last time Villa travelled to St James’ Park, Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer had their hand-bags out and both received a red card as a result. The way Villa are playing on the road, they’ll need at least three Geordies to be sent off to have a chance of a draw. Newcastle are the nap of the week, let’s play at 4/5.
Everton were 1-0 winners on nine occasions last season, and have chalked up another four this term. James Beattie will probably start the match against Blackburn, so two or more Everton goals can be safely ruled out. Another 1-0 win is on the cards for the blue half of Liverpool; take a piece of the 8’s.
It wasn’t so long ago that David Moyes was courting Robbie Savage, that blonde hair can be confusing after a few beers. Robbie was a naughty boy last week; when the little finger of Jose Reyes flicked his nose, his reaction was to hold his face in his hands as if he’d just been outbid for a new caravan on EBay. Savage somehow avoided a booking for his shameful play-acting, he’s a 5/4 shot to see yellow against Everton.
The weekend specials are in honour of the wife; they’re related to headers.
“Big Brother” – Rio Ferdinand to score with a header 33/1
“Stretch Mark” – Viduka to score with a header 10/1
“The Beat Route” – James Beattie to score with a header 7/1
“Nob Head” – Solano to score with a header 12/1
“Bad Roon Rising” – Wayne Rooney to score with a header 4/1
Quote of the week:
“For the last 20 minutes, it was an embarrassment and a gutless performance.”
Mick McCarthy tells it like it is.
Stat, you’re a liberty:
Fulham have scored the first goal of the game in 9 of their 14 matches, only Chelsea have a better record.
Acc of the week:
Liverpool, Everton, Chelsea , Newcastle and Tottenham.
The 5 fold pays out at over 14/1.
Liverpool v Wigan Saturday 3rd December 12.45 Live on Sky
Get on: Liverpool
Liverpool have kept 7 clean sheets in a row; Wigan have the best defensive record on the road, it’s a narrow home win.
Liverpool to win 1-0 6/1
Blackburn v Everton Saturday 3rd December 15.00
Get on: Everton
Everton have won three of their last four, all by a goal to nil. The worm has turned.
Cahill to score the only goal of the game 55/1
Bolton v Arsenal Saturday 3rd December 15.00
Get on: Draw
Bolton have only conceded one goal at home in the league all season, the lowest in the Premiership. Arsenal have won the same amount of games away from home as Sunderland; score draw.
Match to finish 2-2 14/1
Chelsea v Middlesbrough Saturday 3rd December 15.00
Get on: Chelsea
Chelsea won both matches against ‘Boro ‘to nil’ last season, Didier Drogba scored every goal. Will Mourinho let the Drog off his leash? As Crespo has scored in Chelsea’s last three matches, probably not.
Chelsea to win 3-0 13/2
Newcastle v Aston Villa Saturday 3rd December 15.00
Aston Villa 3/1
Get on: Newcastle
Man U are the only team to win at St James’ Park this season, file this one under ‘home banker’.
Newcastle to keep a clean sheet 11/10
Tottenham v Sunderland Saturday 3rd December 15.00
Get on: Tottenham
Sunderland have traveled to White Hart Lane in the Premiership five times, they’ve lost all five. Chelsea are the only team to have won at the Lane, Sunderland aren’t Chelsea.
Tottenham to win 2-0 11/2
West Brom v Fulham Saturday 3rd December 15.00
West Brom 5/4
Get on: Draw
The Baggies have turned on the style recently, scoring six goals in their last two league matches. Fulham’s wait for an away win looks set to continue.
Malbranque to score the last goal 11/1
Man Utd v Portsmouth Saturday 3rd December 17.15 Live on Premiership Plus
Man Utd 1/5
Get on: Man Utd
It’s three defeats in a row for Pompey with no goals scored, it’s not the best time to be heading to Old Trafford. Rooney has ran the show in the last few matches, if he adds goals to his sparkling performances, he’ll be handy.
Wayne Rooney to score two or more goals 4/1
Charlton v Man City Sunday 4th December 16.00 Live on Sky
Man City 13/8
Get on: Charlton
When Charlton host Man City in the Premiership, there are always goals. With both teams out of form, the value lies with the home team at 11/8.
Charlton to win 2-1 8/1
Birmingham v West Ham Monday 5th December 20.00 Live on Sky
West Ham 7/4
Get on: West Ham
Three of the last four league matches at St Andrew’s have been won 1-0 by the away team. A pleasing stat.
West Ham to win 1-0 7/1