Below is Gerry's Premiership football betting preview for the weekend Sat 16th & Sun 17th April 2005.
The views expressed are solely those of the author.
Two weeks is a long time in football, it's at least 14 days. A fortnight ago, playing Newcastle in a cup semi final looked a trickier proposition than confronting Duncan Ferguson after he's knocked over your pint and questioned your girlfriend's sexual morality. But that was before the Loony Toon fist fight. Now on paper, the Newcastle team looks easier to beat than Kieron Dyer.
But before we ring up Super Soccer to pile into the 4/5 about Man U, we need to analyze the Missedelrooy factor.
Van the blank's return from injury should have inspired United to their customary end of season charge, but surprisingly; the equine-featured frontman has failed to find the back of the net in eight matches. The previously on fire Wayne Rooney has also been affected, England's next/already big thing has only scored in one match since the galloping Dutchman returned.
So how do you bet with confidence on the match. Do you back an under strength Newcastle, (The equivalent of pulling a good looking girl, but discovering she has a missing leg.) or do you place your hard-earned on a team that's not scoring. (The equal of copping off with a girl who used to be a looker, but has really let herself go.) I'm backing the draw, a 5/2 shot at BET 365. (Yes, my Mrs is very dull.)
While Van Naughtelrooy has found the net zero times in eight matches, Terry Henry has hit double figures. It would probably be unfair to say that Blackburn have no chance of beating Arsenal, but they have literally no chance of beating Arsenal. The Gunners are scoring for fun, play fantastic football and are hungry for a trophy; Blackburn have Robbie Savage and Paul Dickov. Get on Arsenal minus a goal, a 6/4 shot at Stan James.
Riddle me this, Arsenal are higher in the table than Man U; Arsenal are in better form than Man U; Terry Henry is in better nick than Rooney and Van Nistelrooy combined and Arsenal have the easier semi-final draw. Who should be favourites to lift the Cup outright?
Stan James believe the answer is Man U. I can only assume that liabilities on United are the reason why they go 11/10 Man U and 11/8 Arsenal, but whatever the reason, dive on the 11/8 like you're Ashley Cole.
Now I'm not a Sky TV executive, my only experience with television is turning off Soccer AM each week, but why would they decide to show Birmingham v Portsmouth? Liverpool play Tottenham in a scrap for European places, Palace play Norwich in a relegation dogfight, but Sky have decided to screen the televisual equivalent of a rottweiler chewing your testicles.
Luckily for the better bettor, the duller the game, the easier it is to show a profit. The game has nil nil spray-painted all over it, and a dull match that produces a 17/2 winner is always better than a great game that generates a loser, not that I've ever backed a loser.
Quote of the week:
"You collect shirts; what's all that about?"
'Sugary' Rob McCaffrey asks Maik Taylor all the difficult questions.
Cliché watch: (Inspired by Blackburn)
What they say: "They're a physical team."
What they mean: "They're all animals."
Q and A of the week:
"What else can Stuart Pearce do to get the job full time?"
'Sugary' Rob McCaffrey asks the question
"He could try improving his one win in three record."
Is the truthful answer
Straight to the Punt:
Crystal Palace: Norwich simply don't turn up away from home. Palace are odds on with BET 365, Skybet and Super Soccer; but you can get 11/10 with Stanleybet.
Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Liverpool, Birmingham to draw, Newcastle to draw
The five fold pays over 60/1 with Stan James
Arsenal v Blackburn Saturday 16th April 12.15 Live on Sky FA Cup Semi Final
Arsenal 4/7 Totesport
Draw 3/1 Sportingbet
Blackburn 7/1 Bet Direct
Get on: Arsenal
Arsenal have beaten Blackburn home and away for the last two seasons without conceding a goal. It's virtually a bye.
Match Special: Arsenal to win by two or more goals 6/4 @ Stan James
Charlton v Bolton Saturday 16th April 15.00
Charlton 6/4 Bet Direct
Draw 9/4 Super Soccer
Bolton 2/1 Paddy Power
Get on: Bolton
Bolton have already put four past Charlton this season; the way the Addicks are playing, there's every chance of a repeat.
Match Special: Bolton to score three or more goals 6/1 @ Betfred
Crystal Palace v Norwich Saturday 16th April 15.00
Crystal Palace 11/10 Stanleybet
Draw 5/2 Super Soccer
Norwich 11/4 Premier Bet
Get on: Crystal Palace
It's six away defeats on the bounce for the Canaries and A.J.'s due a goal. It'll be a Crystal ball.
Match Special: Andy Johnson to score the first goal 4/1 @ Super Soccer
Fulham v Man City Saturday 16th April 15.00
Fulham 11/8 Paddy Power
Draw 9/4 Super Soccer
Man City 2/1 Stan James
Get on: Draw
It's now seven matches unbeaten at home for Fulham; which is handy, because they're absolutely useless away.
Match Special: One goal or less to be scored in the match 5/2 @ Super Soccer
Liverpool v Tottenham Saturday 16th April 15.00
Liverpool 4/5 BET 365
Draw 12/5 Skybet
Tottenham 4/1 Boylesports
Get on: Liverpool
One point from four matches on the road says it all for Spurs; Pool need the win and they're gonna get it.
Match Special: Liverpool to keep a clean sheet Evs @ Betfred
Southampton v Aston Villa Saturday 16th April 15.00
Southampton 13/10 Paddy Power
Draw 23/10 BET 365
Aston Villa 12/5
Get on: Southampton
It's very rare to find an absolute weighed-in certainty, but here you go. Peter Crouch will score.
Match Special: Peter Crouch to score at any time 6/4 @ Super Soccer
Birmingham v Portsmouth Saturday 16th April 17.15 Live on P.P.V.
Birmingham 10/11 BET 365
Draw 23/10 Stanleybet
Get on: Draw
New manager syndrome will inspire Pompey to grab a point in a dull goal-less paint-drying boreathon.
Match Special: Match to finish 0-0 17/2 @ BET 365
Newcastle v Man Utd Sunday 17th April 14.00 Live on BBC FA Cup Semi Final
Newcastle 9/2 Sportingbet
Draw 5/2 BET 365
Man Utd 4/5 Super Soccer
Get on: Draw
An out of form United meet an under strength Newcastle; I like penalties. (I've had enough.)
Match Special: Extra-time and penalties to be required 5/1 @ Blue Square