Happy end of the transfer window, everyone! How was it for you? Did you get Jim White-esque raised pants levels of excitement about John Stones signing for Everton? Or did you find it interminably dull, with the exception of Peter Odemwingie going all Alan Partridge and driving to Dundee, sorry, Loftus Road in his bare feet and eating Toblerone while having a nervous breakdown?
Yeah same here, although watching QPR play Russian Roulette with their future was quite amusing and nothing says ‘panic buy’ quite like the words ‘Jermaine’ and ‘Jenas’.
But at least Harry Redknapp stayed true to his word when he said in December that he ‘didn’t want to spend the owner’s money’ and that he didn’t ‘want to see the owners get their pants pulled down again’.
What do you mean he bought Chris Samba for £12.5 million on a £100k-a-week contract? Really? Oh. And it’s not like ‘Arry to make it up to suit his own needs as he goes along, is it?
Although here at Long Shot Towers I am not going to criticise anyone for making it up to suit their own needs as they go along too much, because I am going to do a bit of an ‘Arry here myself.
No, I’m not setting up a questionable bank account in my pet’s name, although I am doing a bit of a dodgy transfer of my own: I am counting last week’s five-star tipping into the official Long Shots stats, even though it was a bit like the Long Shot’s little brother looking at FA Cup shocks.
So while it was a column about the FA Cup and it wasn’t technically the Long Shots column, it kind of was and if you think I am going to let tipping up winners at 19/4 (MK Dons to beat QPR – sorry ‘Arry!) and 4/1 (Barnsley to beat Hull) slide and go unnoticed, then you obviously don’t know how self-centred and money-hungry the Long Shot is.
So that resulted in £107 returns from last week’s tipping, swelling the kitty considerably. Don’t like it? Sue me. I’ll use ‘Arry’s legal team. They seem quite proficient in getting people off the hook.
So with £157 now in the coffers, it is on to this week’s selections and with our usual tenner on each one, we are confident of another profitable week.
Get on these….
Southampton to beat Wigan and over 2.5 goals @ 4/1
Southampton might be yet to win since Mauricio Pochettino controversially replaced Nigel Adkins a fortnight ago, but the Argentine can pick up his first victory in an entertaining game against Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium.
Until he gets that first victory, Pochettino will be haunted by the shadow of Adkins, but promising displays in a home draw against Everton and a narrow loss at Manchester United tell me that first win is imminent and he can get it against a Wigan side who are woefully out of form.
The Latics did well to come from two goals down to grab a draw at Stoke in midweek, but their only win in their previous 11 league games was against a dismal Aston Villa side and Roberto Martinez’s men are back in the drop zone as a result.
By contrast, Saints have lost just three of their last 14 in the league and are playing well enough to go to the ever-accommodating DW Stadium and grab a win.
And as always with both teams, goals should come as a guarantee: eight of those 11 Wigan games have seen over 2.5 goals, while nine of the 13 games at the DW have produced at least three goals.
On the road, Southampton are the same, with no team seeing more goals in their away games than the club from St. Mary’s (44).
So with goals more than likely, add in a Southampton win and 4/1 looks like a good value Long Shot to me.
(Read a full Wigan v Southampton betting preview here)
Swansea to beat West Ham and under 2.5 goals @ 11/2
Swansea City are having a dream season and they can continue that by beating West Ham United at Upton Park in a low-scoring encounter at the sort of price that keeps the Long Shot living the life of luxury.
The Swans battered West Ham 3-0 in the reverse fixture at the Liberty Stadium back in August and that gulf in class has been replicated over the course of the season, with the Swans in the top eight of the Premier League and in the final of the Capital One Cup, whereas the Hammers are sliding slowly towards the relegation zone after a run of just three wins in 15 league games.
It makes the 2/1 that Swansea win in east London a massive price, but the 11/2 that they do so in match that sees under 2.5 goals is too big for the Long Shot to ignore.
No side has seen fewer goals scored in their away fixture than City, whose 12 league matches on the road have produced just 21 goals – an average of just 1.75 goals per match – which is explained by the fact Swansea have let in just nine goals on the road, the best record in the division.
All but three of those fixtures have seen two goals or fewer and with five clean sheets in their last eight games on their travels, Swansea can shut West Ham out with ease.
The 11/2 on them nicking a win against a side with one clean sheet in 15 looks massive to me.
(Read a full West Ham v Swansea betting preview here)
Barnsley to beat Blackpool @ 4/1
As mentioned above, Barnsley did us a favour last weekend when they won at Hull in the cup at 4/1 and at the same price, they can do us another turn by going to Bloomfield Road and beating managerless Blackpool.
The sacking of Keith Hill looked a bit on the harsh side, even with Barnsley propping up the Championship table at the time – it is hardly a surprise if Barnsley struggle at that level – and when Inverness boss Terry Butcher turned down the job, turning to Hill’s assistant David Flitcroft seemed like a desperate move.
How wrong that assumption was. The Tykes are unbeaten in five games, winning four of them without even conceding a goal, and the upturn in fortunes has been incredible enough to think they look far too big to win at middle-of-the-road Blackpool.
With no manager and no major reinforcements in January, the Seasiders are going nowhere in 14th place and their home form has been dreadful for some time.
Pool’s only home win since September was against Blackburn in December – a run of 12 games in league and cup with just one win.
That run includes the tenures of Ian Holloway, Michael Appleton and now caretaker Steve Thompson, who has admitted that the uncertainty has affected performances this year.
With Barnsley in great form, you should be all over that 4/1 on them taking advantage and continuing their fine recent run.