Below is Gerry's Premiership football betting preview for the weekend Sat 21st to Mon 23rd January 2006.
The views expressed are solely those of the author.
Heres something for all you trivia buffs; Steven Spielbergs masterpiece The Colour Purple may well have been inspired by Sir Alex Ferguson. After last weeks derby shambles, Fergies face was the brightest shade of purple since Barney overdosed on grapes and Ribena, in an unusually depressing episode of Barney & Friends. Somebody will pay for Fergies bruised ego, that somebody is Liverpool.
The Scousers may be Champions of Europe, but theyre still not amongst the domestic elite. Their recent form looks impressive at first glance, but dig a little deeper and youll discover that their opposition were easier to beat than Joe Cole. Their record against the big 3 this season is dismal; played four, won zero. A wounded Man U are a dangerous animal and the Pool are easy prey. Get on at even money. Bookmakers were excited to hear of the training ground spat between Van Nistelrooy and Ronaldo. One leading odds compiler immediately offered 8/13 Van Nistelrooy in the ruck; explaining that a horse should always be favoured over a one trick pony. Van the man should be backed at 5/4 to score against the Reds.
Arsenal are what is known in the betting industry as a nailed on, in the bag, raging certainty. After hitting Boro for seven, they travel to Goodison to play a side they walloped 7-0 just last year; the Gunners are the weekend nap at 8/13. Alexander Hleb broke his goal scoring duck for Arsenal last weekend, the RSPCA have been informed. Goals are like buses, the Belarusian is 9/2 to repeat the feat against the Toffeemen.
Sam Allardyce was not a happy bunny after last weeks draw with Blackburn, he whipped out a set of stats that suggested Mike Riley favoured the team playing at home. Next week; Big Sam hints that the Earth may revolve around the Sun. Heres another obvious fact, get on Bolton at 6/5 to beat Man City. Trevor Sinclair believes that scoring a goal is better than sex, he must know my wife. Trevors boys will find goals hard to come by at the Reebok, back Bolton to keep a clean sheet at 7/4.
West Brom are odds on for relegation, their best player is away at the African Nations Cup and they blew a 2-0 lead against a Championship team before being booted out of the FA Cup in midweek. The better bettor knows the first rule in Premiership punting is to avoid Sunderland; at 4/1 against a depleted West Brom, meet the exception to the rule.
Its been a turbulent couple of weeks for Joe Cole, the future of English football. First, Jose threatened to drop him from the first team due to showboating; then a misunderstanding over a page 3 model led to Cole receiving two black eyes. Young Joe may have had his knockers, but hes worth an interest at 13/8 to score against Charlton, or at 7/1 to bag a nice pair.
A pensioner from Tyne & Wear passed on last week after Newcastle lost away at Fulham. I was shocked to hear that Graeme Souness team selection was a factor; the police said it was an assisted Souey side. Some doubt the existence of zombies; yet Souness is undoubtedly a dead man walking. Blackburn have this Toon nailed; get on at 9/5.
The always popular weekend specials return.
Big brother Gary Neville to score with a header 50/1
Celebrity big brother Rio Ferdinand to score with a header 22/1
Barry Moore Gareth Barry and Luke Moore both to score 20/1
Pool Balls Liverpool not to score 5/4
Quote of the week:
You f cheating b , youll need a police escort to get out of here.
Sir Alex Ferguson is quite amiable to Steve Bennett.
Gibberish of the week:
Theyve got injuries to come back, which theyll obviously be looking forward to and are desperate for.
Graeme Le Saux loses the plot.
Stat, youre a liberty:
The busiest goal keeper in the Premiership is Thomas Sorensen. The Villa keeper has made 72 saves in the Premiership, a whopping 10% clear of his nearest rival, Shay Given.
Acc of the week:
Arsenal, Birmingham, Man Utd and a Middlesbrough draw make the weekend accer; the 4 fold pays 19/1.
Everton v Arsenal Saturday 21st January 12.45 Live on Premiership Plus
Get on: Arsenal
Arsenal have won their last four matches against the Toffees, scoring 16 goals in the process. Theyve warmed up nicely for this one.
Match Special: Thierry Henry to score a hat-trick 14/1
Birmingham v Portsmouth Saturday 21st January 15.00
Get on: Birmingham
Birminghams last three matches at St Andrews were Fulham, Wigan and Man U, the Blues earned seven points. Its five consecutive defeats away from home in the league for Pompey.
Match Special: Birmingham to win 1-0 6/1
Bolton v Man City Saturday 21st January 15.00
Man City 15/8
Get on: Bolton
Its two clean sheets on the bounce for Bolton; City have taken one point out of a possible nine on the road in recent weeks. A home win is the answer.
Match Special: Stelios to score at any time 15/8
Middlesbrough v Wigan Saturday 21st January 15.00
Get on: Draw
Boro are without a league win since November, its three league defeats on the bounce for the Latics; a paint dryer awaits.
Match Special: No Goalscorer in the match 8/
Newcastle v Blackburn Saturday 21st January 15.00
Get on: Blackburn
Newcastles recent form is dire; theyve earned just 1 point out of 12. Its seven matches unbeaten in all competitions for Blackburn, you cant argue with those stats.
Match Special: Pedersen to score at any time 2/1
Tottenham v Aston Villa Saturday 21st January 15.00
Aston Villa 4/1
Get on: Aston Villa
Tottenham have lost their last two matches, including a capitulation to a mediocre Leicester side. Its only one defeat in six matches for the Villa; I smell value.
Match Special: Aston Villa to score two or more goals 10/3
West Brom v Sunderland Saturday 21st January 17.15 Live on Premiership Plus
West Brom 4/7
Get on: Sunderland
Sunderlands recent form is better than the bare stats suggest. Theyve lost three of the last four, but all by a single goal. The Baggies equalised in the 90th minute at the Stadium of Light, revenge will be sweet for the Mackems.
Match Special: Julio Arca to score at any time 9/2
Chelsea v Charlton Sunday 22nd January 13.30 Live on Sky
Get on: Chelsea
Its ten consecutive league victories for Chelsea; Charlton have lost their last four matches on their travels in the league. Its definitely not brain surgery.
Match Special: Chelsea to score a penalty 6/1
Man Utd v Liverpool Sunday 22nd January 16.00 Live on Sky
Man Utd Evs
Get on: Man Utd
United have won their last three league matches at Old Trafford by three or more goals. Arsenal and Chelsea have both seen great runs of form end at Old Trafford; a similar fate awaits Liverpool.
Match Special: Van Nistelrooy to score two or more goals 11/2
West Ham v Fulham Monday 23rd January 20.00 Live on Sky
West Ham Evs
Get on: Draw
The Hammers have won their last two on the road, but lost their last four at Upton Park. Fulham are magnificent at home but useless away. Somethings gotta give.
Match Special: Match to finish 2-2 14/1