Weblog: The football punter

Take aim and hit those pesky bookmakers for six

SOUTHAMPTON certainly started a trend last weekend with their 8-0 drubbing of Sunderland.
The midweek Champions League coupon featured Bayern Munich’s remarkable 7-1 win at Roma, Shakhtar Donetsk beating BATE Borisov 7-0 and, more predictably, Chelsea thrashing Maribor 6-0 and Atletico Madrid putting five second-half goals past Malmo.
Oh, and Shrewsbury beat Bury 5-0 in League Two, which, given that according to my ratings Bury are a better team than either Maribor or Malmo, is well worth a mention too.
So where are the fancy correct-score bets going to be landed this weekend?
Are Manchester City going to hit West Ham for six at Upton Park? Sergio Aguero’s in awesome form but the Hammers have been playing well so it’s more likely that City will nudge them for one or two rather than hit them for six.
All the amateur psychologists will be sounding off about how last weekend’s result at St Mary’s will affect Southampton and Sunderland.
The Saints take on Stoke at home. They should be absolutely fine and I’ve got no qualms about putting them in a couple of accumulators.
I’m strangely tempted to side with Sunderland as well. The Black Cats can’t possibly be as bad as they were last weekend and they’re hosting an Arsenal side who must have used up all their luck against Anderlecht in the Champions League.
The Gunners were utter garbage for 88 minutes before their opponents decided to stop defending and watch Kieran Gibbs and Lukas Podolski pinch a ridiculous win.
I know they say it’s a good sign when a team plays badly and still wins but surely not when they play as badly as Arsenal did on Wednesday.
Obviously, I can’t fully trust Sunderland after last week’s shenanigans but I reckon they can hold Arsenal to a draw especially as Vito Mannone is bound to have a blinder against his old club.
The Italian keeper was the first to suggest refunding fans who’d travelled down to the Southampton mauling so he’s due a bit of good karma.
And as long as Gus Poyet moves Santiago Vergini as far away from his own goal as possible, Sunderland can avoid defeat.

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Match in Focus


Ajax v Go Ahead Eagles

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Ricardo van Rhijn has scored first in two of Ajax’s last four league matches
Expert verdict
After back-to-back Eredivisie draws Ajax can get a much-needed win over Go Ahead Eagles. Striker Kolbeinn Sigthorsson has scored four goals in Ajax’s last three league games, but at much bigger odds consider backing right-back free-kick specialist Ricardo van Rhijn.