I’ve never been one to keep up with the news or current affairs; it has never really been my thing. I often make social faux pas – it was only the other week that I discovered Malcolm X wasn’t a Power Ranger.
But even though I’ve spent most of the week in Stringfellows, it hasn’t been a normal week. Even I couldn’t avoid the topical news about Thatcher’s death, and I have to say it has come as a bit of a shock.
I’ve heard quite a lot about this on the news, and I think that no matter what your opinion, and there are many Reds who hate how Blue Thatcher was, there is no denying that Thatcher was a formidable opponent.
Uncompromising, especially with foreigners that got in the way, Thatcher didn’t care about unpopularity – nothing would stop Thatcher from achieving.
Always on the cover, Thatcher would stop at nothing to ensure opponents were beaten into the ground. It wasn’t pretty – in fact it was often bloody – but Thatcher often got the job done.
And whatever anyone might think, I am nothing if not courteous and I am going to pay my respects.
RIP, Ben. You will be missed.
Despite the solemn mood in Long Shot towers, we have picked three selections and we are confident of adding to our £157 – so here we go.
Birmingham City to beat Leicester City @ 4/1
Leicester City are falling to pieces at the seams at just the wrong time and it is well worth backing in-form Birmingham City to go to the King Power Stadium and put another dent in their promotion push.
Nigel Pearson’s side have slipped out of the play-off places after a run of just one win in 13 matches – a sequence that includes eight defeats. It has piled the pressure on Pearson, who should have his team fighting for automatic promotion rather than two points shy of sixth place and on a dreadful run.
And with the Foxes having lost four of their last six home games, Birmingham have to be a bet. Blues have won four of their last six away games, losing just once, and with little to play for, Lee Clark’s side can approach the game with a freedom that the Foxes will find impossible to replicate.
Yaya Toure to score first in Manchester City v Chelsea @ 9/1
It is FA Cup semi-final weekend and once we get the underwhelming spectacle of Wigan v Millwall out of the way on Saturday, the big boys can go at it on Sunday and they don’t come much bigger than Yaya Toure, who looks huge at 9/1 to open the scoring when Manchester City take on Chelsea.
Toure, like much of the City squad, has underperformed horribly this season, but there is no doubting he is a big-game player and now he is back in form – he has scored three goals in his last seven games for club and country – he can once again prove he is the man for the big occasion by bagging the first goal.
He scored the opening goal in both the 2011 semi-final and final – both 1-0 victories for Roberto Mancini’s side – and having broken the deadlock against Chelsea just six weeks ago in a 2-0 victory in the Premier League, the Ivorian can be at it again at 9/1.
Christian Benteke to score first @ 9/2 in Aston Villa v Fulham
Okay, I sound like a broken record here, but while he is still priced up at odds that make the Long Shot get excited, then I am going to keep on tipping up Christian Benteke to score first.
His Aston Villa side host Fulham at Villa Park on Saturday in a match that manager Paul Lambert will have earmarked for three vitals points, because the Cottagers travel about as well as Ryanair.
And the Big Belgian™ can do the damage once again. His goal at Stoke last week continued his incredible run: Benteke now has ten goals in 13 games, six of which have been the opening strike, and he has to be backed against a Fulham side that has just three clean sheets on the road.