Below is Gerry's Premier League football betting preview for the weekend Sat 15th to Sun 16th December 2007.
The views expressed are solely those of the author.
Im all for good-natured banter at a football match, but supporters are beginning to overstep the line. Harry Redknapp commands respect from all the major players in the game, such as Frank Lampard and Jamie Redknapp, yet the colourful manager endured a torrent of vitriolic abuse when Portsmouth travelled to Aston Villa. As the match slipped away from the Villans, the Holte End outrageously suggested that Harry had bunged the referee. That accusation is entirely without foundation: Harry prefers goods inwards to despatch. The Villa fans went on to intimate that Harry enjoys the occasional stroke of the pink puppy. I wouldnt criticise Redknapp even if this was true, as its an understandable reaction after Jamie. A minority of supporters then disgracefully claimed that Harry would soon be behind bars, partaking in certain activities in the shower area. Not only does this slur completely contradict their earlier insinuation; its also downright offensive, and Harry will not be taking this lying down. Well all have red cheeks if we miss the 5/2 for a Tottenham win over Pompey.
The travelling Villa supporters will hopefully show a little more restraint when around Roy Keane, as his preferred method of conflict resolution does not involve complaining to selected media outlets. Im spreading the word that 9/4 for a draw between Sunderland and the Villa looks pretty tasty.
When it comes to speaking to the BBC, Sam Allardyce is also a total blanker. The Beeb fought back on last weeks Match of the Day; they comically photoshopped a ridiculous woolly hat on his oversized head. I cant wait to get my hands on the mammoth 6/4 for a Fulham win over Newcastle.
Team news is probably the single most important factor in betting, after recent form or a nod from Kieren Fallon, so Ill wait for updates on Hleb, Flamini and Fabregas before taking an interest in the Arsenal v Chelsea match. Four of the last six Premier League meetings between the two giants have finished all square, so Ill tentatively look towards the 9/4 for a draw at this early stage.
Birmingham City will definitely have to strengthen their squad in January, and with Alex McLeish at the helm, I expect there to be a strong Scottish connection. Two names that immediately spring to mind are Miller and Becks. There is a player nicknamed Woodpecker who McLeish would love to sign, but hes tied up at Chelsea. Im definitely attached to the 5/4 for a Birmingham win over Reading.
Middlesbrough are a riddle, wrapped up in an enigma, shrouded in mystery, situated in a hole. Im praying the Boro will produce their A-game against the outclassed Derby at a larger than expected 7/5.
Lee Bowyer is on the verge of a return to action after recovering from Gilmores groin. It was a genuine surprise to me; I thought he just had a tear of the adductor muscles. People should be falling over themselves to get on 15/8 for an Everton win over West Ham.
Dressing-room dissent is on the rise at Wigan. One senior player is already on Steve Bruces back, and thats not a position I would like to see anyone in. The player, who wishes to remain anonymous, has suggested that Bruce is a long-ball merchant. Paul Scharner continued, If we don't change to playing football, then it will be very difficult. The only thing attractive at the JJB this weekend is the 11/8 for a Blackburn win.
I watched in horror last weekend as Stephen Ireland committed what can only be described as a heinous crime: he appeared to be wearing a wig. Call me old fashioned, but toupees are only acceptable for the bald and the ginger. Lets be honest, if Ireland is using a piece, and it remains conjecture at this stage, it doesnt make him any less of a man. Only wearing a pink jumper on a night out will result in any long-term loss of man-points. Bolton have won their last three at Manchester City, winning them all to nil. I refuse to cover up my interest in Megsons men at 4/1.
Life is full of little coincidences. As Steven Gerrard was throwing himself to the ground in Marseille, his wife was getting turned over at home. There was also a burglary. Im helping myself to the 13/8 for a Liverpool win over Manchester United.
Accer of the week:
I hope Stevie can recover from the trauma, as I need the influential Scouser to win the battle of the inner-ear infections against Ronaldo to land the weekend accer.
Birmingham, Middlesbrough, Tottenham and Liverpool are the selections, the payout is an increasingly plummeting 45/1.
Birmingham v Reading Saturday 15th December 15:00
Get on: Birmingham
Match Special: Jerome to score the only goal of the game 28/1
Derby v Middlesbrough Saturday 15th December 15:00
Get on: Middlesbrough
Match Special: Downing to score at any time 9/2
Man City v Bolton Saturday 15th December 15:00
Man City 10/11
Get on: Bolton
Match Special: Bolton to win by 1 goal 6/1
Portsmouth v Tottenham Saturday 15th December 15:00
Get on: Tottenham
Match Special: Tottenham to score three or more goals 8/1
Sunderland v Aston Villa Saturday 15th December 15:00
Aston Villa 6/4
Get on: Draw
Match Special: No goalscorer in the match 9/1
West Ham v Everton Saturday 15th December 15:00
West Ham 6/4
Get on: Everton
Match Special: Cahill to score with a header 8/1
Wigan v Blackburn Saturday 15th December 15:00
Get on: Blackburn
Match Special: Bentley to score from outside of the penalty area 7/1
Fulham v Newcastle Saturday 15th December 17:15 Live on Setanta
Get on: Fulham
Match Special: Healy to score the last goal 7/1
Liverpool v Man Utd Sunday 16th December 13:30 Live on Sky
Man Utd 2/1
Get on: Liverpool
Match Special: Torres to score two or more goals 8/1
Arsenal v Chelsea Sunday 16th December 16:00 Live on Sky
Get on: Draw
Match Special: Gallas to score in a 1-1 draw 80/1