Now I’ll admit that I’m not one for having a winter break. With in-laws like mine you need a decent excuse to elope down the pub to watch any old tosh on Boxing Day.
In fact, this year I took it a step further by setting off at 3am from Stockport to watch Plymouth v Torquay just because the whole family were round.
Obviously I love my festive football for purely selfish reasons but I also don’t buy into how these soft continental types need a breather for a few weeks when it gets a bit nippy.
Really, how beneficial can it be to have a mid-season break? It’s not as if all the foreigners get the better of Ingerlund during the big summer tourna….
Anyhow, the other reason I detest the absence of silky European stuff is because I miss my weekly spot of Messi-bongo, where I close the curtains, dim the lights, stick my Barry White on and work up some steam.
Things were getting particularly heated just before Christmas. The Messi man scored about 273 goals during December as Barcelona shot their tika-taka all over the faces of the rest of La Liga and it’s been a couple of weeks now since I’ve had a fix.
But my sweaty palms will only have to wait until 6pm this evening when Barca re-start their La Liga campaign at home to city rivals Espanyol, and with the Catalan kings having won 16 of their last 17 Primera Division fixtures I’m expecting to see some really kinky ball on net action.
In fact there have been 57 money shots for Barcelona in just 17 games this season and that does not bode well for an Espanyol side who take it in the wrong ‘un over once a game.
Espanyol are currently sat in the bottom three and a side who’ve posted one away win in their last 21 games usually end up taking it from all angles at Camp Nou.
bwin’s 3Way football betting market points this way with Barca 2/25 for the win with Espanyol at 23/1 and the draw at 9/1 and I’ll now throw you all a curve ball by saying that I actually think Espanyol will get the three points on Sunday.
Only joking. They’ll get spanked. Well and truly. Los Periquitos did draw 2-2 at Real Madrid in their penultimate game before the holidays but Mourinho’s men are a busted flush these days whereas Barca are steaming full tilt straight towards the title.
Barca have won the last four home fixtures between the two and although Espanyol generally make a fist of it at their ground they’ll be luck to escape with anything other than pride left intact.
As if Barcelona need any more of a boost then boss Tito Villanova is likely to be back on the bench following his cancer treatment and I fully expect his boys to put on a show.
As ever with this lot you’ve got to dig deep to find much that will make you money and even Barca to win with a 2-0 handicap is 13/20 on.
A home win with over 3.5 goals in the game is still only 6/4 although if you fancy a dabble on Barca winning by either two or three clear goals then those prices are both 16/5 and certainly worth a few quid.
My line of attack with Barca is to pick out a few punts to pad your weekend accumulator out and I’d definitely back them to score in both halves at 2/5 or to win both halves at 31/50.
When the hosts are such a short price for the win the only way to make big money is to get on either the correct score or multiple correct score so I’ll throw a few of them in your direction.
Barca’s average score at home this year is approximately 3-1 and you can have that at 10/1 or the multiple correct score of 2-1, 3-1 or 4-1 at 333/100, with the 1-0, 2-0, 3-0 at 19/10 and 4-0, 5-0 or 6-0 available at 13/5.
Just as Sunday is likely to be followed by Monday, Lionel Messi is 3/20 to notch at least once, 11/20 for two or more and 2/1 for a hat-trick although the better shout is 13/10 for first scorer and the same price he’ll finish things off himself. Just as I probably will.