Below is Gerry's Premiership football betting preview for the weekend Sat 8th October 2005.
The views expressed are solely those of the author.
I'm not one for jumping on band-wagons, or any wooden form of transport, but Sven has made mistakes in the last couple of games that need to be rectified.
The Quarter-back formation has been a disaster, and should be binned quicker than Michelle McManus. The system suited David Beckham down to the ground, but completely negated the world class talent of Gerrard and Lampard. With a change in formation a given, Sven's greatest dilemma is the centre back positions. Terry has been all gold this season, so his place in the starting 11 is assured. His partner will either be Rio Ferdinand or Sol Campbell, and for my money, Campbell should get the nod. Rio has a notoriously bad memory, his recent performances for club and country would indicate that the art of defending has now slipped his mind. On the other hand, Campbell looks hungrier than Wayne Rooney; Sol is definitely worth a nibble at 25/1 to net the opener.
England go into the match with their greatest goal threat suspended. (R.E.M. had the foresight to write a song about Sven's crisis, "If you believe, they put a ban on the Roon?") Early indications would suggest that Peter Crouch will be Rooney's replacement, which proves that Sven has a severe case of Benitezitis, an infliction that makes you believe a gangly forward is the answer to all problems. Even with Crouch playing, England should be backed at 1/5, if that's too skinny, get on England minus a goal at 8/15. Now i'm not Gordon Ramsay; but I can knock up a tart no problem.
Here's a recipe for Sven:
Bin the quarter-back. Bin Rio. Bin Crouch. Put these ingredients together, and in nine months, a World Cup challenge will be ready. You can back England for World Cup glory at 8/1.
Belgium v Spain is the tastiest looking match of the weekend; both teams are desperate for the win to remain in contention for qualification. The first meet between the two teams saw two Belgians see red; it's no surprise to see Van Damme in the squad for this one. The Spanish are famous big game chokers; I'll be on Belgium at 11/5.
Why is it all the great players end in 'O'? (Joseph Yobo is the exception that proves the rule.) Ronaldo, Robinho, Ze Roberto and Adriano will dazzle the Bolivians on Sunday night live on Bravo, back the breath-taking Brazilians at 4/6.
The following English team specials are all available at Super Soccer.
"On your Owen" - Owen to score the only goal of the game 16/1
"High and mighty" - Peter Crouch to score with a header 9/2
"The Real deal" - Beckham to score a penalty 6/1
"Magic Lamp" - Frank Lampard to score two or more goals 8/1
"Stevie Wonder" - Gerrard to score two or more goals 11/1
"Cole, mine" - Joe Cole to score two or more goals 14/1
"Close encounters of the Ferd kind" - Rio Ferdinand to be booked 4/1
"Terry, towel in" - John Terry to be sent off 50/1
"Sol destroying" - Campbell to score two or more goals 50/1
"Luke, warm" - Luke Young to score at any time 12/1
"Put your Scouse in order" - Jamie Carragher to be booked 5/2
Quote of the week:
"Fergie for England"
Wigan chairman Dave Whelan is obviously missing a marble or two.
Stat, you're a liberty:
Only Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, the Faroe's and San Marino have collected fewer points than the Welsh in European World Cup qualifying.
Bet of the week:
Wales, Belgium, Switzerland
The treble will pay almost 40/1.
Northern Ireland v Wales Saturday 8th October 14.00 Live on BBC2
Northern Ireland 5/4
Get on: Wales
The Welsh are a better team than their recent form suggests. At 7/4, they're the value bet of the week.
Match Special: Hartson to score the first goal 6/1
Scotland v Belarus Saturday 8th October 15.00 Live on Sky
Get on: Draw
Belarus are no mugs, they've scored four goals against Italy in this group; score draw.
Match Special: Match to finish 1-1 11/2
England v Austria Saturday 8th October 16.00 Live on BBC1
Get on: England
Sven's men must win to keep their chances of topping the group alive; they will.
Match Special: Gerrard and Lampard both to score 10/1
Cyprus v Ireland Saturday 8th October 18.00 Live on Sky
Get on: Ireland
The Cypriots haven't been outclassed in this group; they're yet to concede more than three goals in a game. A safe 2-0 win for the Irish.
Match Special: Ireland to win 2-0 11/2
Belgium v Spain Saturday 8th October 19.45 Live on Eurosport
Get on: Belgium
A must win game for both teams, with home advantage and 11/5 available; the value lies with the hosts.
Match Special: Spain to have a player sent off 7/1
Switzerland v France Saturday 8th October 19.45
Get on: Switzerland
It's eight matches unbeaten in one of the toughest groups for the Swiss; they're obviously on a roll. Apologies.
Match Special: Switzerland to win 1-0 7/1
Bolivia v Brazil Sunday 9th October 21.00 Live on Bravo
Get on: Brazil
The Bolivians are the whipping boys of the South American group, Brazil could well go nuts.
Match Special: Ronaldinho to score the first goal 5/1