The stage was set for a third accy win on the bounce. Eintracht Frankfurt and Fulham had done their jobs and Real Madrid would surely put Celta Vigo to the sword in the evening kick-off.
Tranmere Rovers were top of League One and unbeaten after twelve games, with nine wins. A victory at fourth from bottom Bournemouth looked a formality. Apparently, it wasn’t.
All was well when Ronnie Moore’s men took the lead, but three unlikely second half goals sent Rovers to their first defeat of the campaign and denied this punter a hat-trick. That’s it Tranmere, you have now made ‘the list’ (which is a piece of paper with ‘Peterborough’ written on it).
The important thing is to not let it get to me (holds back the man tears) so on we go to the next one. Here are four more matches that will hopefully not only pay for my ticket to the new 007 film, but allow me to rent an Aston Martin to go in. Or at the very least a Nissan Micra.
Back our predictions this week by placing the free £20 bet you get for signing up to bwin on this selection and you could walk away with £242.60. Now set your face to stunned, because I am about to kick this accy off with controversy and rebellion: I’m predicting a draw!
Stoke and Sunderland to draw @ 9/4
Alert the church elders: we have put a draw in our accy this week. They say every time you predict a stalemate, a kitten cries.
But what choice do I have? The overwhelming statistics back up the assumption that these two teams will cancel each other out at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Tony Pulis’ side have drawn five of their eight games so far, while the Black Cats have tied the same number having played just seven times in the Premier League this season.
Sunderland won both fixtures between the two last season, including a 4-0 romp at the Stadium of Light, but only Steven Fletcher and Demba Ba have found the back of the net for Martin O’Neill’s men in 2012/13, and it’s highly unlikely Ba will be playing in this one.
Stevenage to beat Swindon @ 31/20
This selection is heavily based on the idea that recent form is crucial and with Stevenage winning at home and Swindon losing away in midweek, the 31/20 on offer that both will do the same this weekend looks enticing.
Gary Smith’s men beat in-form Portsmouth 2-1 at Broadhall Way, while Paolo Di Canio’s side fell to the same scoreline at Crewe.
The Boro have actually drawn more than they have won at home this season but they remain unbeaten on their own patch and will be looking to maintain the form which has seen them move into second place in League One.
Swindon only dropped to seventh despite their loss in Cheshire, but the early season promise that the Robins showed has just dimmed slightly in recent games thanks to a solitary victory in their last five outings.
Manchester City to beat Swansea @ 1/5
The Premier League champions started off the 2011/12 campaign with a nervous game against newly promoted Swansea, failing to find the net before half-time. They ended up winning 4-0.
With a title under their belts, and with the Swans reportedly in-fighting, you would think the Saturday evening kick-off at the Etihad would be a cakewalk.
It may not be that simple, as Michael Laudrup’s boys bounced back from a recent dip in form last week to record a home win over Wigan and climb up to tenth in the Premier League table.
However, despite their Champions League woes, City remain unbeaten domestically and will surely have enough fire-power to put several past a Welsh defence which has conceded 12 in their eight games so far.
Barcelona to beat Rayo Vallecano @ 11/50
Finally, we back a team who are apparently only just better than Celtic.
More seriously, La Liga leaders Barca conceded four times in their last away game and still won. That’s how good they really are.
OK, the Barca defence appears to be made up of midfielders, youth teamers, and a strategically placed pot plant (or Alex Song as he prefers to be known), but with a record of played eight, won seven and drawn one (Real Madrid) in the league, you would do very well to argue that Tito Vilanova’s side won’t continue their fine league form in the Estadio de Vallecas.
A late Jordi Alba winner broke Scottish hearts on Tuesday (apart from those at Rangers), but with Barca’s victims last Saturday (Deportivo) being the only side to have conceded more than weekend opponents Vallecano, this punter feels dizzy at the mere suggestion that the Catalans won’t be victorious in this one.
A final warning to any teams thinking of busting my coupon this week: Tranmere went on to suffer another defeat at home to Doncaster mere days after ruining my weekend. Mess with my accumulator, and feel my wrath.*
*David would like to stress that he was in no way, shape or form responsible for Tranmere’s loss to Doncaster, unless voodoo really does work.
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