Below is Gerry's Premiership football betting preview for the weekend Sat 26th to Mon 28th August 2006.
The views expressed are solely those of the author.
Theres only one thing in life thats more enjoyable than an evening with the wife and kids, and thats an evening without the wife and kids. Whenever Im lucky enough to be rid of the evil one and her two clones, I like to relax in front of the box with a couple of lagers watching quality television programming.
As the free-view doesnt kick off until 11:00pm, my programme of choice is ideally football related and entertaining, thus immediately ruling Soccer AM out of the equation. With the exception of the imperious Jeff Stelling show on a Saturday afternoon, other programmes struggle to match my demanding criteria, so you can imagine my unconfined joy when news broke that Rio Ferdinand was set to enter the world of light entertainment. His wind-up show was a disappointment, the sketch where he murked the drug testers by forgetting to turn up was left out, as was the one where he murked the Man U board by refusing to sign a contract until their wage offer rose from £100,000 to £110,000 a week. I imagine the sketch where he was going to murk Martin Jol by pretending to bid £18m for Michael Carrick was pulled for being too unrealistic. Rio has been offered another bite at the TV cherry, the premise being that Ferd and his crew will pimp up the pads of .fellow millionaire professional footballers. I literally can wait.
Talking of pimping, Wayne Rooney misses Uniteds match against Watford due to the FA upholding a ridiculous ban for a red card in a friendly. Rooneys agent hit back by threatening to withhold Waynes image rights; I can only guess that Rooney suggested upping the ante and Stretford misunderstood. United have won their last six against Watford, the Mancs are the weekend nap at 2/5. With Rooney banned, best pal Cristiano more dives than Glasgow Ronaldo should be backed to net the opener. Ronnies been priced up at 15/2, a price so big I almost fell over.
Watford were absolutely robbed by the ref at Goodison Park, theyre now playing Man U, theyll be lucky if theyre awarded a throw in. Watford wont score, take 21/20 about a United win coupled with a clean sheet.
Arsenal have treated Man City in recent years like Ben Thatcher treats Pedro Mendes, theyve pounded on them unmercifully. (Mendes is not the first person to be unable to work thanks to Thatcher.) Arsenal have left Manchester with all three points on their last eight visits, youve got to fancy the Gunners at 8/11 to reach number nine. Someones going to take a pommeling at the hands of the Wenger boys soon, theres a decent chance itll be Thatchers mob.
Blackburn players do enjoy a challenge. The wild Rovers had two players sent off on the opening day, thats virtually a friendly for Savage & co. Chelsea were turned over at Ewood Park last season, a repeat is out of the question. A wounded Chelsea are a great bet at 4/7 to make amends for their Boro bashing.
I had my fingers burnt by Liverpool last week, but the Reds can make amends at home to West Ham. Liverpools attacking options were limited when Stevie G snatched the FA Cup from the Hammers grasp in May, but now they have three quality marksmen and Peter Crouch competing for a start. The Pool should be backed at a healthy 1/2.
Fulham look a promising investment at home to Sheff U at 10/11. Chris Colemans battlers won the same amount of home matches as Manchester United last season, only a disastrous campaign on the road ensured a 12th place finish. Im a little worried about the Malbranque situation, Chris Coleman appears to be cutting off his nose to spite his face; thats only a good idea if youre Iain Dowie. If the Cottagers come anywhere near replicating last seasons home form, were venturing towards decent stake territory.
David OLearys lackadaisical attitude ensured the Villa team rolled over and died away at Arsenal in a 5-0 defeat just four months ago, yet under Martin ONeill, the same group of players were able to fight like the wife when the decorators visit to nick a commendable draw. The Villa are worth a bet at 7/5 at home to Newcastle, simply because of the ONeill factor.
Im a great believer in positive thinking. Theres an old saying that I hold dear, If at first you dont succeed, then Paul Jewell will probably buy you. You shouldnt kick a dead dog, but I cant help but feel that the signing of Heskey will prove disastrous for Wigan. Reading have started the season well, theyre worth a second look at 3/1 to leave the JJB with three points.
The acc of the week:
The accer this week is so certain, that even under extreme torture it would refuse to budge.
Liverpool, Fulham, Tottenham, Arsenal and Aston Villa are the good things, youre looking at a payout of 17/1.
The weekend specials:
A little Camp? - Ivan Campo to score with a header 20/1
A professional Fowl - Robbie Fowler to score a penalty 6/1
Bull's high - Jimmy Bullard to score with a header 14/1
A very dirty Vid - Mark Viduka to be sent off 20/1
The quote of the week:
Hes not intelligent.
Jose all tact Mourinho, when asked about Michael Essien.
The lay man:
Sheff Utd are begging to be laid at 10/3 for their trip to the Cottage, this is possibly how the expression easy money originated. Help yourself at Betfair, Backandlay or Betdaq.
Liverpool v West Ham Saturday 26th August 12.45 Live on Premiership Plus
West Ham 15/2
Get on: Liverpool
Match Special: Bellamy to score two or more goals 5/1
Charlton v Bolton Saturday 26th August 15.00
Get on: Draw
Match Special: Match to finish 1-1 11/2
Fulham v Sheff Utd Saturday 26th August 15.00
Sheff Utd 3/1
Get on: Fulham
Match Special: Papa Bouba Diop to score with a header 10/1
Tottenham v Everton Saturday 26th August 15.00
Get on: Tottenham
Match Special: Berbatov and Keane both to score 13/2
Watford v Man Utd Saturday 26th August 15.00
Man Utd 2/5
Get on: Man Utd
Match Special: Ronaldo to score direct from a free-kick 8/1
Wigan v Reading Saturday 26th August 15.00
Get on: Reading
Match Special: Lita to score the only goal of the game 50/1
Man City v Arsenal Saturday 26th August 17.15 Live on Premiership Plus
Man City 9/2
Get on: Arsenal
Match Special: Henry to score a hat-trick 25/1
Aston Villa v Newcastle Sunday 27th August 14.00 Live on Sky
Aston Villa 7/5
Get on: Aston Villa
Match Special: Angel to score with a header 6/1
Blackburn v Chelsea Sunday 27th August 16.00 Live on Sky
Get on: Chelsea
Match Special: John Terry to score at any time 5/1
Middlesbrough v Portsmouth Monday 28th August 20.00 Live on Sky
Get on: Draw
Match Special: oateng to be booked 6/4