Firstly, an apology for the lack of a Long Shots article last week. I know you’d have turned up here expecting another winning tip for your ale money at the weekend, but even the best of us need a break every now and then. And besides, those high-class hookers won’t keep themselves company.
But at least I left you all on a high, with another great weekend for the Long Shot a fortnight ago. We Meat Loaf’d our selections again, but rather than saying two out of three ain’t bad, I’m going to go one further than Mr Loaf and say two out of three is bloody good and the profit speaks for itself.
Cardiff winning 2-1 at Barnsley and Southend doing the business at home to Rochdale after a drawn first half has swollen the coffers back to £135 and after a week off spent getting ‘refreshed’ (you can take that any way you like) I’m extremely hopeful we can grab another winner with the three selections below.
So don’t just sit there – register with bwin now and get involved!
West Brom to beat Arsenal @ 5/1
There are a few reasons why I’m putting up West Brom to beat Arsenal and I must confess the most pertinent one is the fact that if I’d have written a Long Shots column last week, then Swansea at 6/1 to go to the Emirates and win would definitely have been in it and I’ve been kicking myself all week.
So I don’t want to miss out again on an even more tempting 5/1 that West Brom, a team three points better off than the Swans, do exactly the same.
This is all part of my anti-Arsenal agenda (from a punting perspective), because the Gunners just aren’t a very good team anymore and in whatever match they are involved in, the value is always with the opposition.
Arsenal are 53/100 to win this, which is some sort of sick joke when they have won two of the last ten and have been abject in nearly all of those games.
They can’t keep a clean sheet – just three in the 20 matches since the much-trumpeted three clean sheets at the start of the year – and I want to be against them every week.
The Baggies have been playing well and 5/1 is the sort of price the Long Shot needs to be getting involved with.
West Ham to beat Liverpool and under 2.5 goals @ 9/2
The price about West Ham beating Liverpool at Upton Park is good enough as it is, but for that extra bit of value I’m going to have a stab on them doing just that in a match that sees two or fewer goals.
And why? Well, that is obvious – Luis Suarez isn’t playing. Without Suarez, you just don’t know where Liverpool can get a goal from, as even when he doesn’t score he is inevitably involved at some point and with no other strikers to call upon for a multitude of reasons (if indeed you do call Fabio Borini a striker), I’m pretty certain the score on Sunday will end in ‘Liverpool 0’.
Suarez has ten league goals; nobody else has more than one. And when you are relying on Jonjo Shelvey to play as a ‘false nine’, you know you’re in trouble.
West Ham are in good form at home, too, and have only lost once in seven games, holding Manchester City and beating Chelsea, and they can do enough to eek out a win against a team that, even with Suarez in the side, have only scored ten away goals in seven matches, five of which came at Norwich.
Draw/Southend in Fleetwood v Southend @ 5/1
As you’ve read above, a draw at half-time followed by a Southend win at full-time was a bet that copped for us at 4/1 two weeks ago and while it might show a little bit of a lack of imagination to go for the same bet again (I never said I was original, so pipe down), I really believe it is a punt that can land for us again at an even better 5/1.
The rationale behind the bet was firstly that Southend are flying in League Two after a ropey start – they are top of the form table with 14 points from the last 18 – but also because the Shrimpers are the half-time draw masters of the bottom tier.
The win over Rochdale was the 13th time Paul Sturrock’s men have been level at the break in 20 fixtures – more than anyone else. And on Saturday they go to Fleetwood, who have been drawing in 11 of their league games at half-time, five of which have come at home.
So I expect another stalemate at the break, but again I think Southend can prevail against a side that have taken just six points from the last six matches and have won just four of their ten home games.