BILLY BUNTER

Weblog: The football punter

Sunderland position is no laughing matter

AS a wiser man than me once said football is a funny old game, although some of our young starlets seem to be taking that too literally at the moment with all this laughing gas nonsense trend doing the rounds.

Take a look at the managerial situation in the Premier League.

Mauricio Pochettino exited Southampton last summer after leading them to eighth spot in the Premier League, believing he could not march Saints any further up the standings, but replacement Ronald Koeman has taken them to seventh despite an exodus of players.

Tottenham sacked Tim Sherwood because they did not believe he did well enough in leading them up to sixth in the table last season but his replacement Pochettino has done no better with Spurs heading to St Mary’s in sixth spot.

Maybe Pochettino would have been better off staying at Saints after all and his return on Saturday is unlikely to be pleasant with the home fans declaring it ‘Ronald Koeman day’ with supporters encouraged to come dressed in orange to pay homage to the Dutchman.

I just wish everyone could play along nicely together and both Pochettino and Koeman seem like good eggs so my hope is for a draw with my main bet coming from the Britannia.

Stoke look solid enough for me with Sunderland in big trouble in the Premier League relegation battle. The Black Cats have won FIVE times in the league this term.

Gus Poyet was sacked after Sunderland were battered 4-0 at home by Aston Villa, but replacement Dick Advocaat watched his team get battered 4-1 at home by Crystal Palace last time out.

Maybe it wasn’t the manager who was the rubbish one after all.
Football eh? It’s a funny old game.

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Match in Focus

17:30 TODAY SS1

Man City v Aston Villa

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • There have been 32 goals in the last nine meetings
Expert verdict
Man City rate a confident selection when they take on Aston Villa. The Citizens need points to guarantee Champions League football next season and they looked motivated enough against West Ham last week. Villa, however, could be feeling the effects of last week’s FA Cup semi-final success.