If the Long Shot is looking a bit worse for wear this week, then I do apologise, but I do have a good excuse: I have spent the week guzzling champagne after the Long Shot came up trumps twice – oh yes, let’s emphasise that again – twice last weekend to keep the profit rolling in.
For a long time it looked like it was going to be a fruitless week but a last-minute goal for Jordan Rhodes and an injury-time winner for Barnet at Chesterfield meant the girls could enjoy a bit of bubbly and the white stuff as well.*
The pot has now grown to a whopping £155 (at £10 a stake on each selection), which means I could have five losing weeks and still be in profit. But of course I don’t want that to happen, and this week’s choices, even with a speculative 20/1 shot, can keep the money rolling in.
*Disclaimer: my editor has told me to say that the Long Shot would obviously not condone any such behaviour.
Newcastle to beat Liverpool @ 5/1
I’ve been looking at the price for Newcastle to beat Liverpool all week wondering if I was having a Shallow Hal moment in reverse, because all I could see was a huge, fat, juicy price about the Toon when there should have been something far skinnier in its place.
But we’ve got to the weekend and Newcastle are still 5/1, and this is the sort of bet that will keep the Long Shot in Stringfellows for months to come. When it comes to Liverpool, the bookies seem to be in more denial than Lance Armstrong and I really don’t know why they seem so reluctant to price them up on ability rather than reputation.
It could be because the liability is too great, but while this remains the case we have to take advantage. I won’t bore you with the stats about Liverpool at Anfield, we all know they are rubbish at home, and to get 5/1 on a better team to beat them is pure Long Shot gold. Get on the Barcodes at a whopping price.
Robin van Persie to score a hat-trick for Manchester United against Arsenal @ 20/1
A real Long Shot this may be, but given that we’ve been in the money over the last few weeks we can afford to throw a bit of a wild one in, and what a story it would be if Robin van Persie was to put his old club to the sword by scoring a hat-trick at Old Trafford on Saturday lunchtime.
Having gone from scoring goals for a team who are a defensive shambles and aren’t going to win anything to scoring goals for a team who are a defensive shambles and aren’t going to win anything, all eyes will be on Van Persie as Arsenal visit his new club Manchester United, and I think we can have a bit of a go on the 20/1 about the Dutchman filling his boots against players he knows better than anyone.
As we all know, Van Persie’s goalscoring record is incredible – he has scored 55 goals in his last 72 games for club and country which, tellingly for us, includes four hat-tricks.
Ignore all this nonsense about Arsenal having the best defence in the Premier League (technically they do, but they have kept just one clean sheet in 11 and are as vulnerable as anyone), United are in such great goalscoring form – they have scored 19 in the last six – that they can rack up more goals, as they did when they scored eight in this fixture last season.
Van Persie is bound to score – let’s have a go on the 20/1 that he bags a sensational treble.
Dimitar Berbatov to score first in Fulham v Everton @ 5/1
He might smoke like a chimney, he might be lazier than Gabrielle’s eye and he might look at his teammates with the disdain Jeremy Kyle reserves for the guests on his show, but there is no doubting Dimitar Berbatov’s class and the Bulgarian star is a fine shout to notch the first goal for Fulham against Everton on Saturday.
Sir Alex Ferguson got sick of his languid ways, and the fact he has ended up at Fulham says that none of the other big clubs were prepared to take a chance on him either, even at just £4 million. But Martin Jol has a wonderful player on his hands – when he can be bothered – and Berba looks a good price to strike first when the Toffees visit Craven Cottage.
Everton’s fine start to the season is showing signs of stalling, with the Blues winning just one of their last five in all competitions, a home victory over hapless Southampton.
In all five of those matches, David Moyes’ side have conceded the first goal: a worrying trend that can be difficult to break, and I fancy that it may be a case of six in a row. At 5/1, Berbatov can be the man to break the deadlock.