Gerry McDonnell returns with his irreverent Premiership preview. As always, the easily offended should steer clear....
My old man has forgotten more about betting than I`ll ever know; he has Alzheimer`s. It`s bad news for the old fellow, but it`s a result for me at Christmas.
He always used to say, "Never overestimate the importance of recent form." He hasn`t said this since his condition deteriorated though; the poor sod thinks he`s still fighting in the war. The last coherent statement he made was, "We must invade Poland."
Liverpool`s recent form on the road may be abysmal, but the cream will rise to the top like a Scouse salmon. Even the old man is backing the Reds at 11/10 to see off Wigan; if he remembers the location of the betting shop.
Jamie Carragher had said that he wouldn`t swap Stevie Gerrard for Ronaldinho, which coincidentally, is a view shared by Barcelona. The in form Gerrard can inspire the Pool to a 2-0 win at 6/1.
Gareth Southgate is a rich man`s Steve McClaren, which places him one rung off the bottom of the English managerial ladder. A Manchester United romp at 8/13 will be about as surprising as the Sunday newspaper headline: 'Rooney KO`s reporter, sleeps with an old dear`.
If Wayne Rooney were so inclined, he could visit 'the canny granny` twice a week (at £65 a pop) for the next 44 years, and it would cost him less than 1% of the £30m deal he`s just agreed. Unlike the old lady in question, that`s not too shabby. The 4/1 on offer for Rooney to open the scoring is a genuine looker.
West Ham`s new owner made his fortune in biscuits, so it could be argued that Frank Lampard part-financed the deal. A draw between Everton and West Ham looks a great investment at 9/4.
Alan Pardew is worried about a gambling culture at the club. Apparently, the players enjoy the card game 'roaster`; it`s a variation of poker, played with more hands. Get your hands on the 8/1 about 'no goalscorer` in the match.
As a result of recent defeats to Fulham and Bolton, Arsenal are available at a huge 8/13 to see off Tottenham. Henry missed the Reebok shoeing due to a pain in the neck; Robbie Savage let his tyres down. Spurs will not be so fortunate.
Robbie Savage is like a box of tissues; girly, but useful. Blackburn have only lost one of the last twelve games in which the blonde bombshell has been involved; Fulham will succumb to girl-power at 10/11.
In a climate where footballers and managers 'see no evil`, 'hear no evil` and 'roast no evil`, it was refreshing to hear El Hadji Diouf admit to taking the occasional dive. He`s also an expert in domestic conflict resolution; the lad`s really growing on me. Diouf`s honesty will be rewarded with a win at the Madejski at 15/8.
Les Reed has also embraced the concept of truth. His quote of "Andy Reid`s body shape makes him look worse than he is," is a polite way of saying "the fat lad done well." Charlton can leave Bramall Lane with a point at a pleasantly plump 9/4.
I keep hearing how Watford have been unlucky this season; but what about me? The house caught fire last year and the wife wasn`t even in. I`ll say what I said to her mother when we moved in for a few weeks shortly after; I`ve got a huge tip for you. Get on Man City at 8/11.
Andy Cole and Kanu should both be involved when Pompey face the Villa, and surprisingly, they`re not being wheeled out for a pre-match presentation. The Villa are in play at 9/4.
I`m feeling genuine remorse for criticising David James. Judging by his new haircut, it`s quite clear that the poor sod is living with his mother, and she`s still living in the 1940`s. I`ll have to introduce her to my old man.
This week`s accer is so inevitable, Doctor Who, Austin Powers, 'Bill and Ted` and Shakin` Michael J Fox have all declared themselves powerless in the fight to prevent it from obliging. Arsenal, Blackburn, Liverpool, Man Utd and Man City are the selections, the payout is a Billie Piper pleasing 15/1.
Arsenal v Tottenham
Saturday 2nd December 12:45
Live on Premiership Plus
Get on: Arsenal
Henry to score direct from a free kick 6/1
Blackburn v Fulham Saturday 2nd December 15:00
Get on: Blackburn
Blackburn to score three or more goals 7/2
Portsmouth v Aston Villa Saturday 2nd December 15:00
Aston Villa 9/4
Get on: Aston Villa
Gareth Barry to score with his left foot 5/1
Reading v Bolton
Saturday 2nd December 15:00
Get on: Bolton
Anelka to score the only goal of the game 40/1
Sheff Utd v Charlton Saturday 2nd December 15:00
Sheff Utd 13/10
Get on: Draw
Match to finish 1-1 11/2
Wigan v Liverpool
Saturday 2nd December 15:00
Get on: Liverpool
Kuyt to score two or more goals 6/1
Middlesbrough v Man Utd
Saturday 2nd December
17:15 Live on Premiership Plus
Man Utd 8/13
Get on: Man Utd
Rooney to score from outside the penalty area 9/2
Everton v West Ham
Sunday 3rd December
16:00 Live on Sky
West Ham 10/3
Get on: Draw
Under 2.5 goals in the game 8/13
Man City v Watford
Monday 4th December
20:00 Live on Sky
Man City 8/11
Get on: Man City
Barton to score at any time 4/1
By Gerry McDonnell