Occasionally, a person can become so synonymous with a certain action that the English language will evolve as a result. For example, if the sight of anything Portuguese sends you into a psychotic rage, you’re ‘doing a Rooney’, if your alcoholic wife beats you up due to unresolved rage issues, she’s ‘knocked out a Gerry’, and if you pay six times over the correct market value for a mediocre footballer, you’ve ‘pulled a Fergie’.
We’ve all been had in the net on the odd occasion, but Fergie has bought more turkeys than Sainsbury’s in recent years. Michael Carrick is the latest addition to a list that includes Kleberson, Forlan, Veron and my personal favourite, the Djemba brothers. After blowing an incredible £18.6m on the talented but ultimately limited midfielder, Sir Alex has once again been tucked up like a sleeping baby.
Fulham can continue the theme of stitching up the purple-nosed one. Rooney’s a fitness doubt for the Old Trafford opener; after reading his autobiography, it comes Bandarqq as no surprise that he’s struggling with a groin injury. Fulham scored twice against Man U in both of their meetings last season, 12/1 about a shock is just too big.
If Martin Jol has finished laughing, he’ll take his Tottenham team to a tricky match at the Reebok. Jol has bought and sold exceptionally well in the summer, with Berbatov and Zokora being standout additions to the squad. Zokora believes he can be the ‘Vieira of the Lane’; expect him to be completely outplayed by Fabregas when they meet Arsenal. Tottenham are a decent team, but they always struggle against Bolton (they’ve lost six of their last seven league matches); I can’t see past the draw at 9/4.
The Liverpool players will be pleased to hear that Neil Warnock is banned from the touchline when they visit Bramall Lane, although this may not stop Warnock from launching threatening paper aeroplanes from the stand. Liverpool’s reserves saw off a full strength Chelsea last week, their first team receive the nap of the week award at a healthy 4/7.
Wigan manager Paul Jewell is a jovial character, but something tells me he won’t be smiling after his team take a mullering at St James’ Park. Wigan faced Newcastle on three occasions last season, the team playing at home won every match. Dull, but true. Wigan have Heskey, Newcastle have the points in the bag at 8/11.
Everton must be backed at 8/13 at home to new boys Watford. The partnership of Beattie and Johnson looks promising; Beattie can win the flick-ons to allow AJ to go down to ‘earn’ the penalty. Watford have visited Goodison Park on nine previous occasions, they’ve lost every time.
Gareth Southgate has been busy in the transfer market, the signing of Julio Arca for less than £2m looks an inspired piece of business. Reading are nicknamed the Royals, and like their German counterparts in Buckingham Palace, they’ll remain pointless on Saturday night. I do like the Boro at 9/5.
The Villa fans are a lot like me, happiness can be gained from just one little Yank. The Villa have lost at Highbury for the last eight years, it’s a good job this one is being played at the Emirates, they’re unbeaten there. There’s a momentum behind the Villa thanks to the takeover (I was a Randy Lerner once) and the arrival of Martin ‘The Saviour’ O’Neill; it would be folly to invest in the Gunners at 3/10. A red card in the match is on offer at 7/2; Graeme Poll is ‘officiating’, so you’re 50% less likely to collect.
Michael Ballack was substituted after 25 minutes in the Community Shield, I know what it’s like to finish prematurely, it’s no picnic. Four of the previous six matches between Chelsea and Man City have finished 1-0, with Drogba almost certain to squander a couple of chances; a repeat of the 1-0 scoreline at 6/1 looks a decent wager. If Ballack and Shevchenko both start, I’d rather be on a 2-0 stroll for the Champions at a healthy 11/2.
Last week’s accer hit both posts and the bar before being cleared off the line, this week’s will fly straight in the top corner. Liverpool, Everton, Newcastle, Middlesbrough and Chelsea are the chosen ones, the accer will pay out at 14/1 when successful.
The weekend specials:
“Tim’ll fix it” – Cahill to score with a header 11/2
“Young a tart” – Luke Young to be booked for diving 16/1
“A bitter Lehmann” – Aston Villa to score a goal Evs
“Duff’ll bag” – Damien Duff to score two or more goals 9/1
The quote of the week:
“What I’m looking for is flexibility.”
Steve McClaren knows the score.
The probably misheard quote of the week:
“I’m internally grateful to Steve McClaren.”
Dean Ashton desperately wanted that cap.
The lay man:
You’ve got to love the betting exchanges. People are lining up to back Arsenal at 1/3; if you ‘lay’ that bet, you’re effectively backing either the draw or a Villa win at 3/1. Happy, happy days.