Friday 29 March 2013

Week 30: Happy Jesus' death day!

Glad to be back to good ol' league football after an international break which proved devastating for both the Grambler's bets and my faith in the Scotland national team.  Wins for Holland and the mighty Uzbekistan on Tuesday gave us a grand total of two out of five correct predictions which the chairman has deemed 'not good enough.'  The newspapers were full of talk of The Grambler's imminent sacking on Wednesday morning but after crunch talks with the board, he/she/it has been given a vote of confidence, but been warned that results must change before the end of the season.  There will be a great deal of pressure on all staff at Grambler Park this week and some good predictions will be expected to alleviate shareholders and fans alike.

Five game accumulator from all leagues
Game - Result - Odds
Swansea vs Tottenham - Draw - 2/5
Aberdeen vs Hearts - Home win - 7/5
Preston vs Portsmouth - Home win - 4/6
Ipswich vs Leeds - Home win - 23/20
Queen of the South vs Brechin - Home win - 4/11
50p @ 39/1

With Tottenham looking to seize 4th place from rivals Chelsea, a trip to Swansea may appear daunting.  The League cup winners may be back in 9th place but their home form has been impressive this season.  Swansea manager Michael Laudrup has warned Spurs that they could suffer from the 'FIFA virus'; an illness comparable to chlamydia whereby a one-night stand with international football leaves one unable to perform.  Aberdeen have finally moved Granpaw Broon into a granny flat beside Pittodrie and appointed former St Johnstone boss Derek McInnes, breaking a club tradition of only stealing Motherwell managers.  The Dons sit 9th in the SPL, although the fans still reckon that it's 1989 and they're challenging for the title.  Hearts have already been through their annual managerial turmoil, replacing John McGlynn with Gary Locke who will inevitably be sacked at the end of the season anyway.  Preston boss Simon Grayson has pretty much written off this season but claims that the foundations are in place for a promotion push next year.  He has overseen just one win in six games since taking over.  Portsmouth look likely to continue their unstoppable slide down the leagues with relegation to League Two this year.  It's almost like spending beyond their means in the Premiership leading to financial instability and seasons of poor performances on the pitch was a bad idea.  Who was manager then again?  Oh yeah, 'Sir' Harry Redknapp...  Since taking over as Ipswich gaffer earlier in the season, Mick McCarthy has taken his side from bottom to something resembling safety.  However, the Tractorboys have the lowest number of goals for in the Championship.  And the worst nickname.  Neil Warnock has said that if Leeds fail to gain promotion to the Premiership this season, he will leave the club.  Currently 10th, a play-off spot is not mathematically impossible but with 2 wins in the past 10 games, he'd best start packing his  bags.

Three game accumulator from the Premiership
Game - Result - Odds
Wigan vs Norwich - Home win - 10/11
Southampton vs Chelsea - Home win - 5/8
Everton vs Stoke - Draw - 11/4
50p @ 24/1

Wigan have reached that point in the season where they occasionally remember to win some games but they are still in the relegation zone.  Roberto Martinez expects his team to attack and be aggressive in their fight for survival.  Apparently Callum McManaman took this too literally...  Norwich have had a good season, although with probably a few more draws than they would like.  They have already started planning for next season by bolstering their attack with a club-record signing of the man with the greatest name in world football; Ricky van Wolfswinkel!  Just months ago, Southampton looked like they were already doomed.  But the appointment of Mauricio Pochettino may prove to be a shrewd one with the Saints joint on points with Sunderland in 15th.  Pochettino's only 2 wins have come against Manchester City and Liverpool, so Chelsea might not seem so daunting to him.  The Blues have moved past Spurs to 3rd in the Premiership and Rafa Benitez will be looking to hold onto this position, lest the Chelsea fans somehow turn against him even more.  The reverse fixture ended in a 2-2 draw back in January, and this proved to be the final nail in the coffin for Nigel Adkins.  Everton will once again be aiming to finish ahead of their noisy neighbours this season and so far lead the way with a 3 point advantage as well as a game in hand.  They were surprise victors against Manchester City prior to the international break and will hope that this form will not have been disturbed by the interval.  Stoke look set to end the season with their usual mid-table finish having gained no new fans as a result of their style of football.  But on a positive note, they will no longer be lumbered with the waste of space, self publicising, deluded, former footballer Michael Owen.

Three goalscorer accumulator
Scorer - Match - Odds
Michu - Swansea vs Tottenham - 8/5
Dimitar Berbatov - Fulham vs QPR - 10/11
Edin Dzeko - Manchester City vs Newcastle - 20/21
50p @ 9/1

Michu will undoubtedly go down as the find of the season having cost Michael Laudrup just £2 million and going on to score 15 league goals already this season.  Spurs kept a clean-sheet against Swansea back in December and will be aiming to keep Michu quiet once again.  Berbatov has been a pleasure to watch in the Premiership for the past 7 seasons with some memorable goals.  He is Fulham's top scorer this season with 11 but was not on the scoresheet when QPR defeated Fulham 2-1 earlier in the season.  Dzeko is perhaps the one of the most under-appreciated players at Manchester City with rumours constantly abound that the Bosnian striker will be sold off at the end of the season.  With 12 league goals this season, he is City's top scorer.  However, Roberto Mancini may not start with the striker following his international involvement during the week.

And that's yer lot!  Three relatively plausible bets to follow this weekend which could bring in a massive £36 for the Bobby Moore Fund.  And as always, remember; if you are Grambling under the age of 12, make sure you do so with the help of a responsible adult.

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