Below is Gerry's Premiership football betting preview for the weekend Fri 14th to Sun 16th April 2006.
The views expressed are solely those of the author.
The press boys have had a field day reporting on Wayne Rooneys gambling losses this week, its easy for them to pontificate about betting responsibly, but I refuse to condemn the big lad, I too have wasted money on an old dog or two. Rooneys problems are insignificant compared to mine though, the wife is on the warpath after she overheard a private telephone conversation where I was discussing the importance of Fabregas to the future of Arsenal, she thinks i have a problem with Cesc chat lines. Thats only partly true.
Jose Mourinho is also a worried man, he was right to voice his concerns about bird flu; there could well be a foul related epidemic at the Reebok. Bolton are having a disappointing end to the season; after four successive defeats, big Sam will have his boys fired up for this one. The Champions are a confident call at 4/7, an in form Drogba is worth a small tinkle at 11/2 to bag a brace.
An excellent betting opportunity has presented itself in the Blackburn v Liverpool match. The deadline has now passed for accumulated bookings to lead to a suspension; as a result, Robbie Savages nine previous yellows can be disregarded. The blonde bombshell has been given a license to roam free in front of the TV cameras; the 7/4 on offer for a Savage booking is worth snapping up. Both Blackburn and Liverpool head into the game in great form, the draws the call at 11/5.
When the Villa won at Birmingham earlier in the season, the home supporters were far from enamoured with David OLeary as he ran across the pitch to gesticulate towards a pensioner. This fixture is always tasty, but with Birminghams Premiership status and OLearys managerial career on the line, more fireworks are expected. The draws a good call at 2/1, a goalless draw is a great call at 13/2, but a sending off at 5/2 is the piece de resistance.
Man City dont enjoy their trips to Upton Park, and not because of the supposed jellied eel eating, market stall trading, non washing machine owning locals that the BBC believe inhabit the area, but because theyve never won there in the Premiership, and on four of the five trips, theyve been absolutely shoed.
The footballer of the year awards have been dominated by the usual suspects, poor old Yossi Benayoun didnt even get a look in. The Israeli playmaker has a lot in common with Paolo Di Canio; hes not a referee pushing, scissor kicking, fascist sympathising Italian, but they can both change a game with a moment of brilliance. Yossi holds the key to a Hammers victory, get on at 11/10.
Pompey are the weekend nap at home to Middlesbrough. Their recent form has been superb and Boro have one eye on the UEFA Cup and the other on the FA Cup, the 10/11 on the table should be snapped up. The back flipping, goal scoring, non Toon performing phenomenon that is Lua Lua looks the man to do the damage; hes 5/1 to open the scoring.
The weekend specials:
Gud, old boy Eidur Gudjohnsen to score at any time 7/4
Luke warm - Luke Moore to score two or more goals 8/1
Good Friday - Sunderland to score one goal or more 11/10
Good pie day - Wayne Rooney to score two or more goals 7/2
The steaks are high - Wayne Rooney to score with a header 7/2
Quote of the week:
The only people we've not laid are Roger de Courcy and Nookie Bear, and by the time Freddie Shepherd makes up his mind we'll probably have seen some money for them too.
Ladbrokes spokesman Robin Hutchison edges out Jose Mourinhos bird flu quip.
Stat, youre a liberty:
The most successful team in the tackle this season is Sunderland. The Mackem players have won 74% of their challenges.
Acc of the week:
If you put Fulham, Newcastle, Portsmouth and West Ham together in an accer, you end up with a Channel 4 game show; only this 15/1 appeals.
Man Utd v Sunderland Friday 14th April 19.45 Live on Premiership Plus
Man Utd 1/10
Get on: Man Utd
Man U have won their previous nine league matches; Sunderland are truly diabolical.
Match Special: Rooney to score a hat-trick 14/1
Bolton v Chelsea Saturday 15th April 12.45 Live on Premiership Plus
Get on: Chelsea
Bolton have lost their last four; Chelsea have earned seven points out of nine. Frank Lampard has scored four goals in his last two appearances against big Sams battlers.
Match Special: Lampard to score at any time 6/4
Arsenal v West Brom Saturday 15th April 15.00
West Brom 9/1
Get on: Arsenal
Arsenal have won their last four at Highbury; the Baggies have took 2 points out of a possible 24.
Match Special: Arsenal to score a penalty 6/1
Everton v Tottenham Saturday 15th April 15.00
Get on: Draw
Everton have only lost one in six; its three wins out of four for the Spurs.
Match Special: Match to finish 1-1 11/2
Fulham v Charlton Saturday 15th April 15.00
Get on: Fulham
Fulham have won five of their last seven at the Cottage; Charlton have drew a blank in four of their last five on the road.
Match Special: McBride to score with a header 6/1
Newcastle v Wigan Saturday 15th April 15.00
Get on: Newcastle
Newcastle have won their last two; Wigan are winless in three. The Latics have beaten the Geordies twice this season, a third is unlikely.
Match Special: Solano to score direct from a free kick 14/1
Portsmouth v Middlesbrough Saturday 15th April 15.00
Get on: Portsmouth
Pompey are unbeaten in five; Boro have lost four of their last six on the road. Middlesbrough have never beaten Portsmouth in the Premiership and their focus is on the Cups. Nap bet material.
Match Special: Portsmouth to score three or more goals 7/2
West Ham v Man City Saturday 15th April 15.00
West Ham 11/10
Man City 2/1
Get on: West Ham
The Hammers have hosted City on five previous occasions in the Premiership; theyve scored 14 goals and took 13 of the 15 points. Chelsea and an on fire Pompey are the only visitors to leave Upton Park with three points this year; City have lost five on the bounce.
Match Special: Benayoun to score at any time 3/1
Aston Villa v Birmingham Sunday 16th April 12.00 Live on Sky
Aston Villa 5/4
Get on: Draw
Villa have drew two of their last three matches, Birmingham have also drawn two out of three. Defeat is unacceptable for both teams; its rare to find such an obvious contender for a goalless draw.
Match Special: No goal scorer in the match 13/2
Blackburn v Liverpool Sunday 16th April 14.30 Live on Sky
Get on: Draw
Blackburn are unbeaten at home this year and that run includes wins against Man U and Arsenal. The Pool are also in top form, theyve won their last six, impressively. There have been four goals or more in this fixture on the last four occasions that Liverpool have travelled; a high scoring draw appeals.
Match Special: Match to finish 2-2 14/1