This week, one rather peckish fellow has dominated the footballing headlines as Luis Suarez decided that it was a good idea to have a mid-game snack consisting of Branislav Ivanovic's forearm. Strangely, the FA felt that this feast did not quite adhere to the rules of the game and promptly whipped out a ten match ban for the Liverpool based cannibal. Absolutely everyone has had an opinion on this episode, including our glorious leader David Cameron who is worried about the example that Suarez's behaviour is setting for our children. It's almost as good an example as taking your offspring to the pub and then leaving them there, eh Davey?
Elsewhere, coupons across Europe were busted as every armchair fan's former favourites Barcelona and Real Madrid were soundly beaten by every armchair fan's new favourites Bayern Munich and Borrussia Dortmund respectively. The first leg results from the Champions League semi-final would suggest we may be looking forward to an all-German final at Wembley come May but the Spanish giants could have an element of bouncebackability in the return legs. Sadly for Dortmund, it looks like their team will be ripped apart by the richer vultures of European football over the summer meaning that they will be unable to build upon this season's success. Munich are unlikely to be disappointed by this seeing as they were first in on the act, with the capture of Dortmund's £30 million striker Mario Götze.
And in the Europa League... Who am I kidding, no one cares.
Two bets for you this week; the traditionally useless 5 game accumulator and the always so close but no cigar Premiership accumulator. I have ditched the goalscorer bet as it is flawed in so many ways. If anyone would like to suggest an alternative bet to take it's place, feel free. I was thinking of something along the lines of a £1 bet on what Neil Lennon will cry about this weekend...
Five game all-league accumulator
Game - Result - Odds
Everton vs Fulham - Home win - 4/9
Wolves vs Burnley - Home win - 5/4
Hibs vs St Mirren - Away win - 21/10
Shrewsbury vs Portsmouth - Home win - 6/4
Chelsea vs Swansea - Home win - 1/3
£1 @ 33/1
At first glance, that is not too ridiculous a bet. Two Premiership games in which The Grambler has selected the home sides and favourites to win. In both cases, they could be considered must win games with a Europa League place up for grabs for Everton and third place within Chelsea's grasp. In the Championship, Wolves are desperately trying to claw their way out of the relegation zone and this is their last home game of the campaign so again I get to use the very much overused phrase 'must win.' Portsmouth have had a good week by their standards, having emerged from administration, agreed a fan's takeover and appointed Guy Whittingham as boss. But Pompey are already relegated and with little to play for, along with Shrewsbury's recent good form, defeat may be likely. And in the SPL, two teams who have had mixed seasons meet at Easter Road. Home-side Hibs are due to play Celtic in the Scottish Cup final in May but find themselves 9th in the league. St Mirren won the League Cup in March but are second bottom of the SPL. Both teams evidently have moments of good play but can also be very poor so this game could go either way.
Three game Premiership accumulator
Game - Result - Odds
Newcastle vs Liverpool - Home win - 15/8
Man City vs West Ham - Home win - 1/4
Aston Villa vs Sunderland - Home win - 5/4
£1 @ 7/1
In what looks like a fix, it's all home wins in this week's Premiership bet. But home advantage is not everything, otherwise this betting lark would be a whole lot easier. Newcastle set a high standard last season, playing some decent football and surpassing everyone's expectations with a 5th place finish. However, Alan Pardew's side have struggled replicate their form this season and despite the odd good result, have been dragged into the relegation fight. Liverpool are another team who have failed to live up to expectations. Currently 7th in the league and now without suspended leading scorer and aforementioned bitey-person Luis Suarez, they may struggle to finish the campaign on a high note. Manchester City have just handed the Premiership trophy back to their rivals from across the City and the talk of which multi-million pound signings they will be making this pre-season has begun. Second place is pretty much safe for City but speculation surrounds the future of many players who will surely be keen to prove that they are worthy of another season at the club. West Ham have had a better season than many would have expected and are currently 10th having gone 5 games unbeaten. They also had a nice bonus recently after it was confirmed that the taxpayers of this country, allegedly a bit skint and in a double-dip recession, are buying them a new stadium. Which is nice of us all! Aston Villa and Sunderland square up in a relegation dogfight (why is it always dogs? Why not giraffes?), with the home side having suffered yet another poor season. At least they didn't do so with Alex McLeish at the helm this time though. Meanwhile, Sunderland fans have already forgotten that their new manager is a horrible fascist after he won a few games, including thrashing much-hated rivals Newcastle on their own patch. How fickle football fans can be! Should he keep up the good start, the Black Cats could well be safe come the end of the weekend.
An agreeable sum of £40 is on offer this week should The Grambler correctly predict all eight results. As always, any winnings shall go to the Bobby Moore Fund for Bowel Cancer Research. Should you wish to play along at home, press the red button now......