Weblog: The football punter

Gunners soap opera heading for shock ending

I’M not convinced, despite what Sky and other hysterics try to tell me, that there’s a title race up for grabs, and nor am I overly thrilled by the relegation scrap which seems to involve four teams who I’m guessing most of us thought would be down there anyway.

But there’s definitely some late potential for top-six anguish and glory to be had before the end of term.

Everton are odds-on to be up to fifth place come Saturday night – and not a bad bet to still be there come Monday evening.

Burnley have had a stunning season but I can’t see them stopping the Toffees now that Ronald Koeman’s men have got the bit between their teeth.

And then all Everton eyes will be on the two sides they are about to leapfrog – Man Utd and Arsenal – who each have tough asks to come.

United are at home to Chelsea which means we have to endure the dreary Mourinho-Conte sideshow before the main event kicks off. And when it does kick off I can’t see Chelsea slipping up.

The fact is, I can’t ever see Chelsea slipping up. Whether they play well or not, they just don’t lose. And I don’t see them losing at Old Trafford where United draw way too many games, nine already.

Twenty four and a bit hours later and there’s another managerial soap opera to unfold with Arsene Wenger and his Arsenal up at Middlesbrough.

The careless among you will see this as an away banker given Arsenal’s flat-track bully status.

But there seems to be something about Boro which stops the Gunners in their tracks.

Five of the last seven Premier League meetings between these two have ended in draws with a win apiece in the other two fixtures. The Boro-draw double chance for me and more pressure on the obstinate Wenger.

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Match in Focus

17:30 TODAY BT2

Lazio v Udinese

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Expert verdict
Lazio have been playing some sensational football, beating Crotone 4-0 just before Christmas before thumping SPAL 5-2 and Chievo 5-1 in their two league outings in 2018. Udinese won five out of five in December but kicked off the new year with disappointing 1-1 draws against Chievo and SPAL and they are unlikely to relish their trip to the rampant Romans.