Weblog: The football punter

Sack-race market set for a sprint finish

Stoke versus West Brom, a short price to not even figure on Match of the Day let alone be the last game of the night, is a big old tussle this weekend.

Not big in a meaningful league position kind of way but big in a Sack Race kind of way.

Two of our market leaders, Messrs Hughes and Pulis, going to post in a loser-takes-all showdown of some significance unless Swansea's Francesco Guidolin beats them in the sprint finish.

As I’ve said in previous rambles, Stoke stink right now and got even whiffier last weekend when they were taken to the cleaners by Crystal Palace.

I would still maintain that anyone who has jumped aboard the Potters-going-down bandwagon has probably done their money because they’ll either improve very quickly or sack Yozzer and improve slightly less quickly. Either way they will improve because they’ve got the players.

West Brom? I’m not sure they’ve got the manpower to keep Tony Pulis in employment for much longer although they did him a big favour last weekend when West Ham turned up at the Hawthorns but then refused to play for an hour.

It was a result that probably brought Pulis a bit of time though my hunch is that this market is turned on its head this weekend, with a Stoke win.

There's a couple of belting TV games to take a peek at.

Leicester were taken to the cleaners on their last trip to the north-west but I’m not sure Manchester United are anywhere near clinical enough to do to the Foxes what Liverpool did. And odds-on Man U? Not for me. A lay all day.

Chelsea, without Jose Mourinho to get under Arsene Wenger’s skin, should lose at the Emirates, especially if David Luiz is fit.

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Match in Focus

19:45 TODAY SS5

Alaves v Granada

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Granada have conceded two goals or more in each of their last four matches
Expert verdict
A late penalty condemned Alaves to a 2-1 defeat at Valencia on Thursday but the promoted side have acquitted themselves well in their first five games and can respond with a win. Both of Alaves’s home games this season have finished 0-0 but they should have better luck breaking down second bottom Granada, who have conceded 12 goals.