Below is Gerry's Premier League football betting preview for the weekend Sat 23rd to Mon 25th February 2008.
The views expressed are solely those of the author.
In a week where Mohammed Al Fayed has pointed an accusing finger at Tony Blair, the Nazis, Dracula and a crocodile, it seems odd that Richard Scudamore has emerged as footballs leading figure of fun. When a friend told me that Scudamore planned to play a round of matches overseas, I thought it was the worst idea Id ever heard - and I used to work in a nursery. I say worked, but it went down as loitering on the charge sheet.
The Chief Executive of the Premier League appears to have been influenced by Gordon Gekkos Greed is good monologue from Wall Street. Id advise Scudamore against following in the footsteps of Michael Douglas, as he may have to fight off Welsh gold-diggers. Investing in the 8/11 for a Pompey win over Sunderland is a socially acceptable way of increasing your bankroll.
The idea of 10 matches being televised back-to-back genuinely worries me, as I ritualistically indulge in a couple of beers during a game. Theres no way Ill be able to drink 20 pints, unless i have to spend a night with Kelly Osbourne. I will happily indulge in a celebratory couple when Middlesbrough stun Liverpool at 17/2.
Sir Alex Ferguson condemned his players for showboating in last weeks FA Cup victory over Arsenal, but the unsavoury incident could have been a whole lot worse. Apparently, Wayne Rooney once kept it up with Nani for over two minutes. Ill definitely be paying for it if Manchester United fail to defeat the depleted Toon Army at 8/15.
When it comes to cool celebrity support, Everton are way behind the likes of Manchester City. The Toffeemen tried to persuade Sylvester Stallone to give soccer a try, but he couldnt pull it off, which is quite ironic. Ill happily play with the 9/4 for a draw between Manchester City and Everton.
Blackburn and Bolton have contested the mushy pea derby on 13 occasions in the Premier League, and the team playing at home has never emerged victorious. Im going to lay Blackburn at 10/11 like it was a legless woman in a nightclub. That Heather Mills certainly knows how to celebrate.
I find the political arena almost exclusively dull, but the revelation that the Home Secretary is an avid Aston Villa supporter genuinely attracted my interest. I have nothing but admiration for the way that Jacqui Smith can juggle her secretarial work with her homemaker duties. I hope she finds the time to back the Villa against Reading at a delightful 7/5.
Playing a home match against Derby is like going on a date with Paris Hilton, youre confident that theyll roll over without much of a fight. Wigan are the fortunate beneficiaries of three easy points at 8/13.
There is a direct correlation between a clubs support and the coolness of the teams nickname. Aston Villa are the evil Villans, Tottenham are the boiling Spuds and Manchester United are the Red Devils. Who in their right mind would choose to be a Cottager? Ashley Cole knows that West Ham are a great bet at 9/5 to beat Fulham.
The bigwigs at Chelsea are still understandably upset after a package containing white powder was delivered to their training ground. Theyve now ordered Frank Lampard to use sugar sachets like the rest of the squad. The last time Chelsea met Tottenham in a cup match, an irate Spud attacked Frank, which is the actual definition of irony. Chelsea came out on top on that occasion and I can only see a repeat at 11/10 in the Carling Cup final.
The more i consider the potential benefits of the globalisation of the Premier League, the more appealing the idea becomes. The Chinese would be able to relegate the ping-pong ball to a late night entertainment spot, Australians could embrace a sport that doesnt involve shearing, and the Yanks would learn that real footballers refuse to wrap up like a suicide bomber in winter. Ill be going off on one if Arsenal fail to beat Birmingham at 8/15.
Accer of the week:
There is currently an incredible amount of opposition to Scudamores thought-provoking proposal, but nothing is insurmountable; with the obvious exception of Ruby Wax.
Wigan, Manchester United, Chelsea and Aston Villa form an 11/1 accer that will hopefully remove that ghastly image from my recently tortured minds eye.
Birmingham v Arsenal Saturday 23rd February 12:45 Live on Sky
Get on: Arsenal
Match Special: Adebayor to score a hat-trick 22/1
Fulham v West Ham Saturday 23rd February 15:00
West Ham 9/5
Get on: West Ham
Match Special: Ljungberg to score in a 2-0 West Ham win 47/1
Liverpool v Middlesbrough Saturday 23rd February 15:00
Get on: Middlesbrough
Match Special: Aliadiere to score the only goal of the game 110/1
Portsmouth v Sunderland Saturday 23rd February 15:00
Get on: Portsmouth
Match Special: Defoe to score two or more goals 9/1
Wigan v Derby Saturday 23rd February 15:00
Get on: Wigan
Match Special: Wigan to win and keep a clean sheet 7/5
Newcastle v Man Utd Saturday 23rd February 17:15 Live on Setanta
Man Utd 8/15
Get on: Man Utd
Match Special: Man Utd to score four or more goals 11/2
Reading v Aston Villa Sunday 24th February 12:30 Live on Sky
Aston Villa 7/5
Get on: Aston Villa
Match Special: Harewood to score at any time 3/1
Blackburn v Bolton Sunday 24th February 15:00
Get on: Bolton
Match Special: Nolan to score the first goal 16/1
Man City v Everton Monday 25th February 20:00 Live on Setanta
Man City 7/5
Get on: Draw
Match Special: No goalscorer in the match 8/1
Chelsea v Tottenham Sunday 24th February 15:00 Live on Sky
Get on: Chelsea
Match Special: Lampard to score from outside of the penalty area 11/2