The Weekend Long Shots is back for the first time in a fortnight after we took a break during the last round of fixtures to sit in a dark room and have a long think about what we’ve done.
Last time out, we had a worse week than Justin Lee Collins, with two very dodgy tips nowhere near coming in, but I’m not getting too despondent: Cardiff v Leeds finished 2-1 after I’d tipped up 2-2, and thanks to Steven Fletcher a couple of weeks ago, we have actually broken even so far, so spirits are still high.
And with confidence still intact, here are this weeks selections…
Steven Gerrard to score first for Liverpool v Norwich @ 7/1
There is a danger that the second series of Fox’s fly-on-the-wall documentary – or should that be self-portrait on the wall, Brendan? – is going to be called ‘Beating Liverpool’ rather than ‘Being Liverpool’, so bad has the Reds’ start to the Premier League season been, but I fancy them strongly to defeat Norwich and it could be the captain who once again does the business.
Steven Gerrard has looked far more like his old self against Sunderland and Manchester United as Liverpool generally improve as a team and he is still, at 32 years of age, the Merseysiders’ best player (although when the competition is Stewart Downing, that isn’t difficult). He is certainly their best finisher and the most likely source of goals, and it makes this a not-so long shot in my book.
And when you consider that Liverpool’s non-scoring strikers are 9/2 (Luis Suarez) and 13/2 (Fabio Borini), you can’t help but feel that Gerrard is value at 7/1. I’m not entirely sure what kind of parallel universe has Borini as more likely to score than Gerrard, but it is probably the one where John Terry is a stand-up guy.
So at 7/1, Stevie G can do as he usually does and bail Liverpool out in their hour of need.
(Read a full betting preview of Norwich v Liverpool here)
Peterborough United to beat Hull City @ 7/1
Okay, so you may be thinking that I have gone slightly mad with this one and it could well be that I am stretching the concept of a Long Shot to the very limits of sanity but the 7/1 on Peterborough to beat Hull looks like Eamonn Holmes to me – it’s just far too big.
Yes, I know Hull have started well, particularly at the KC Stadium, where they have won three our of three. More pertinently, I also know that Posh have started horrendously, losing all seven of their league games to remain rooted to the bottom of the Championship without as much as a point.
So why put up Peterborough? Several reasons. Firstly, this is the Championship, the most erratic and unpredictable division outside the Ormskirk Craven Minor Under-12’s Saturday league and as such, you are duty bound to have a go at any side that are 7/1.
Secondly, Posh are going to Hull, managed by Steve Bruce and his natural blonde hair. They aren’t going to the Maracana to face 1970 Brazil.
Finally, there is Peterborough themselves. Darren Ferguson has come out fighting this week and the Spawn of Satan (that one’s copyrighted, by the way) has had his players in for double training sessions while talking up his fully-fit squad and the importance of the game.
He’s right to underline the latter point, as another defeat could see him tossed back on the scrapheap (where is Mark Robins when you need him?) but Peterborough aren’t that bad and a result will be just round the corner. At 7/1, you might as well get on it being Saturday.
Five or more goals in Bradford v Port Vale @ 23/4
It is not very often that Micky Adams is mentioned in the same sentence as ‘entertainment’. Indeed, it is not very often that Micky Adams is mentioned in a sentence that doesn’t contain a variation of ‘how on earth does that long-ball merchant ever get a job considering he seems to fail miserably whenever he pitches up at some poor, unwitting lower-league club?’
But if Adams is breaking the habit of a lifetime by doing a decent job at Port Vale (under difficult circumstances, too) then he has really broken the norm by making Vale the League One entertainers.
Unlikely as it may seem, those wanting goals should get along to watch Adams’ side, who have produced 32 goals in their eight games at an average of four a match. Port Vale are the division’s top scorers with 21 goals and their trip to Valley Parade to face Bradford could be another goalfest.
The Bantams aren’t far behind Vale in the goals stakes, with 26 strikes arriving in their eight league matches, and it is worth a punt on there being at least five when the two sides meet on Saturday. Both clubs have been involved in two matches each that have seen five goals or more scored and it could happen again.
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