You’ll have seen a few things on the news about it recently: the good financial figures, improved growth, people with more money in their pockets. You really can’t have escaped it, because they’ve all been talking about it: David Cameron, George Osborne, Jeremy Paxman – it’s been headline news.
Yes that’s right, the Long Shot swelled its coffers yet again last week with a winning tip on the Tyne-Wear derby and the 1-1 draw between Sunderland and Newcastle gave us an overall weekly fiscal stimulus of £30, meaning that this column is now £50 in profit (at £10 stake per selection) since the start of the season and in no need for a Plan B whatsoever. My appearance on Newsnight can be but a matter of weeks away.
We have Demba Ba to thank for inadvertently turning the ball into his own net and in true Geordie fashion, in celebration I shaved my hair off, put on four stone and walked the streets of Hackney with no shirt on singing Jimmy Nail songs.*
And are we going to win this week? There ain’t no doubt, it’s plain to see! So get on this week’s selections while the going is good.
* Jimmy Nail’s greatest hits makes a great stocking filler for an elderly relative, just bear that in mind with Christmas around the corner.
West Ham United to beat Wigan by at least two goals @ 6/1
I think West Ham look a juicy price at 21/20 to go to the DW Stadium and beat Wigan as it is, but I reckon there is some real value in the 6/1 that West Ham can go there and win by at least two clear goals.
The Hammers have already proved themselves capable of doing what Wigan seemingly can’t – beat the teams around them. Fat Sam puts the ‘ugly’ into ‘ugly football’ but he gets results and Wigan away is just the sort of game he will be targeting for maximum points, especially with a horrific run of fixtures to come between now and Christmas.
And I see no reason why they can’t win convincingly. Eight of the Hammers’ 13 away wins in the Championship last season were by more than a goal, while Wigan seem to get beaten well whenever they are defeated.
Of the 17 matches that Wigan lost last season, 12 of them were by at least two goals, so in my eyes if you’re backing them to lose you may as well back them to lose with something to spare.
The Latics have already lost by more than a goal twice this season and with West Ham in good form and the more street-wise, organised side, I like the look of that 6/1.
Jordan Rhodes to score first in Blackburn v Watford @ 9/2
It looked at various points over the last 18 months or so that Jordan Rhodes would end up as a Premier League player, but it was Steve Kean and Blackburn Rovers who eventually took the chance on the 22 year-old goal machine and Watford could be the latest side who wished he was plying his trade at a higher level.
The Scottish international was hot property as he scored 37 league goals for Huddersfield Town in League One last year and the transition to the Championship has been seamless. Rhodes has scored six goals this season (two for Town, four for Rovers) and at 9/2 is definitely worth backing to open the scoring when Watford visit Ewood Park.
Gianfranco Zola’s side have been erratic in the extreme this season as the Italian loan experiment takes hold, but one thing you can rely on the Hornets for is to be leaky on the road. Watford have let in 16 goals in six away games this season as Zola gets to grips with his job and with the Londoners looking poor at the back, Rhodes is just the man to make them pay. Get on the 9/2 he breaks the deadlock.
Barnet to beat Chesterfield @ 4/1
I’ll accept that 4/1 is about the limit of where I can go for a long shot, but even still it looks a bit of a big price for a rejuvenated Barnet, Edgar Davids and all, to win at middle-of-the-road Chesterfield.
Okay, Barnet only have one win all season, but that came on Friday night and a thumping one it was too, beating Northampton 4-0. That was followed up by a creditable goalless draw at Wycombe and it looks as though the London side have turned a corner.
Much has been made of the presence of the man with the funky glasses, but it really does look as though the former Holland international is making a difference to the formerly hapless Bees and at 4/1 they can nick a win against bang average Chesterfield.
The Spireites are inconsistent at the best of times (which shows in their placing of 18th in League Two) and with no permanent manager at the helm, a side who have lost their last two home games to Dagenham and Fleetwood are worth opposing. At 4/1, the Barnet revival can take another step.