Below is Gerry's Premiership football betting preview for the weekend Sat 10th to Mon 12th September 2005.
The views expressed are solely those of the author.
Some men dream of wealth, others cherish power. I however, have a thirst for knowledge. (And lager.) In order to complete my quest for a greater understanding of life's complexities, the following questions need to be asked.
To Sven Goran Eriksson, "You're Swedish, this is England, why a quarter-back?"
To David James, "Where were you last Saturday night?"
To Vince Vaughn, "What's it like stirring Brad Pitt's porridge?"
To Michael Owen, "Why did you sign for Newcastle?"
Michael's arrival at St James' Park was an incredible turn of events. His decision to leave Madrid was sound, but to sign for Newcastle instead of the European Champions was simply astonishing. The Geordies finished 14th in the league last season, and are sitting 19th in the table now, without a goal to their name. Amazingly, after conferring with Alan Shearer, Michael turned down Champions League football to join the previously sinking ship. Owen's decision making may be questionable, but his ability in front of goal is world-class. The Toon Army go from no-hopers to weekend nap material, get on at 8/13. The signing of Owen has completely shaken up the 'betting without the big 3' market. With Nobby Solano and Alberto Luque supplying Alan Shearer and Michael Owen, goals and a charge up the table are guaranteed. Where will Newcastle finish at the end of the season? I'll name that Toon in 4.
Sunderland are in real trouble as they head to the Bridge to face Chelsea. The Mackems recent form guide displays more L's than a Welsh atlas, while the Blues have a 100% record and are yet to concede a goal. Odds of 1/8 will not make us rich, but as Rio Ferdinand would testify, money isn't everything.
Backing the draw in a football match is the equivalent of ringing up a telephone survey to declare that you don't know the answer; but in the case of West Ham v Villa, the stats say it's the only option. Eight out of the last ten league matches have ended in a stalemate, get on at 11/5.
Andy Cole will play in his first Manchester derby as a blue, and his early season form makes him a real contender at 8/1 to net the opener. A word of warning though, 'Old King Cole' has never scored against United since leaving the Red Devils; so unlike Wayne Rooney at a barbecue, keep your stakes small.
Thierry Henry broke Irish hearts in midweek, and could well smash Arsenal's all time goal scoring record at the weekend. The French genius needs two goals against Boro to over-take Highbury legend/nutcase Ian Wright; get on at 4/1.
Here's a little inside information; you should back a sending off in the West Ham v Villa match at 4/1; the word on the street is that there could be claret all over the pitch.
Quote of the week:
"I never set targets; the ideal scenario would be for me to score 20 goals."
Juan Pablo Angel, referring to his ambitions for the season.
Outsider of the week:
William Gallas loves to play against Sunderland. The French defender has netted the opener in the last two matches against the Mackems at the Bridge, odds of 22/1 for a repeat could tempt.
Stat, you're a liberty:
The Premiership all-time 'Bad Boys' are not Blackburn; that dubious honour belongs to Everton.
Acc of the week:
Chelsea, Everton, Newcastle, Arsenal, West Ham to draw
The five fold pays over 14/1
Birmingham v Charlton Saturday 10th September 15.00
Get on: Charlton
Birmingham have played two and lost two at home this season, while Charlton have never been beaten at St Andrews in the Premiership. All the omens point to an away win, get your cash down.
Match Special: Charlton to score three or more goals 11/2
Chelsea v Sunderland Saturday 10th September 15.00
Get on: Chelsea
Sunderland haven't always been awful at football, they completed a double over Chelsea just four seasons ago. The Blues have scored the most goals in the Premiership this season, while conceding the least; it's another L for the Mackems.
Match Special: Chelsea to win 2-0 7/1
Everton v Portsmouth Saturday 10th September 15.00
Get on: Everton
It's been almost 50 years since Pompey beat Everton in the league; Duncan Ferguson probably remembers it. Everton are yet to score at home, but this is Portsmouth. Three points for the Scousers.
Match Special: Everton to win 1-0 6/1
Man Utd v Man City Saturday 10th September 15.00
Man Utd 2/5
Man City 13/2
Get on: Man Utd
With 'Van the Man' and 'Roon the Loon' in their current form, City's 30-year wait for a win at Old Trafford will be extended.
Match Special: Van Nistelrooy and Rooney both to score 7/2
Newcastle v Fulham Saturday 10th September 15.00
Get on: Newcastle
In the history of the Premiership, no team has ever gone through their first five matches without scoring. As this fixture averages 3.9 goals a game over the last 12 matches, and with a certain Michael Owen making his debut, that stat is safe for another year.
Match Special: Owen to score a hat-trick 12/1
Tottenham v Liverpool Saturday 10th September 15.00
Get on: Draw
Micky Owen and Nob Solano both turned down the European champions in favour of a move to Newcastle, the Pool may be goal-shy as a result.
Match Special: No Goalscorer in the match 15/2
West Brom v Wigan Saturday 10th September 15.00
West Brom 10/11
Get on: Draw
West Brom enjoy hosting Wigan, the Baggies score an average of 2.75 goals a game when the Latics travel to the Hawthorns. The Albion do have the leakiest defence in the Premiership though; score draw.
Match Special: Match to finish 2-2 14/1
Middlesbrough v Arsenal Saturday 10th September 17.15 Live on PPV
Get on: Arsenal
The Gunners have completed the double over Boro for the last four seasons, bagging 24 goals in the process. The Boro are yet to score at the Riverside, 3-0 to the Gunners.
Match Special: Arsenal to win 3-0 11/1
Bolton v Blackburn Sunday 11th September 16.00 Live on Sky
Get on: Home
A relatively low scoring affair, six of the last eight matches have seen two or less goals, five of those games were drawn. Mark Hughes has admitted that Blackburn have a disciplinary problem; Sherlock Holmes he ain't.
Match Special: Blackburn to have a player sent off 5/1
West Ham v Aston Villa Monday 12th September 20.00 Live on Sky
West Ham 6/4
Aston Villa 6/4
Get on: Draw
The Hammers have not beaten the Villa in 10 attempts in the league, but 8 of those were drawn. You can't argue with an 80% success rate, score draw.
Match Special: Match to finish 1/1 11/2