Going for Goals
Turn the frustration of last minute equalisers into pure joy by indulging in the Both Teams To Score market. Gareth Walker offers us his advice when looking for the ideal games and gives out his best tips for this coming weekend's action...
There seem to be disgruntled football fans everywhere and my ears have barely stopped ringing from all the booing I heard last weekend.
At the Emirates, Arsenal fans made their views on losing to a side from Wales pretty clear, while at the Bridge Chelsea followers welcomed their new manager in their own unique way, stopping the abuse only long enough to hark back to glory days of mid-table anonymity. Even a flick over to La Liga proved deafening, as Real Madrid supporters took up Jose Mourinho’s invitation to cat-call him.
It is difficult to know whose fans will be the most uneasy at the Stadium of Light on Saturday. Sunderland are on a wretched run and, in case anyone was in any doubt that relegation is a distinct possibility, decided to only turn up in the second half of their game at Norwich. In fairness, it was a decent showing after the interval, and even Delia was shouting out the Canaries Custodians’ name by the final whistle.
At least Sunderland supporters have the man they want in charge, and Rafa Benitez deserves every single penny of his £77million salary having to put up with all this abuse. No wins in seven in the Premier League have seen Chelsea slip to third while the chasing pack hunting the Champions League’s spot they have made their own.
There is certainly no other route back into next seasons’ competition, after elimination on Wednesday night, but away from the barracking of their own fans they should be good enough to notch a couple of goals on Saturday. However, with their Blues’ defence not exactly looking water-tight at West Ham last weekend, the Black Cats should also be able to find the onion bag.
Our second game involves another under-performing London club in Arsenal. Arsene Wenger bizarrely passed up the opportunity of having a real crack at top spot in his Champions League group in midweek, and so has a full squad to choose from for the visit of West Brom.
After a blistering start to the season, there was plenty of talk about a Baggies top four finish, although most of it came from Tipton in the West Midlands. Two successive defeats is no disaster though, and with the Gunners so shaky at the back, a high scoring draw could well be a value wager. Either way, I certainly have less hesitation than that Arsenal back four about making this a selection for our Both Teams To Score Accumulator.
Staying in the Premier League, and Liverpool travel to East London on Sunday to face West Ham. The ingredients are good; two teams fairly level in the betting and both with the ability to score goals. It is undoubtedly a concern that Luis Suarez is suspended for the visitors, but odds of 1.83 are just too tempting to pass on.
In to the Championship, and one side who may well find themselves playing the likes of West Ham and Liverpool next season is Brighton. An early sending-off and a brace of penalties cost them at Crystal Palace last week, but Gus Poyet has got a cracking side playing some decent stuff. They are back in South London at the Valley this Saturday, and I fully expect them to take all three points. Charlton are no slouches though, and having drawing a blank last weekend, are our pick to complete our accumulator by getting on the score-sheet this time around.
They say that the only two certainties in life are death and taxes. Well they should also add a clean sheet at Villa Park on Saturday to that list. Aston Villa host Stoke in what could well be considered the most unappealing top-flight fixture of all time. It would be a prime candidate for having nil-nil written all over, if it wasn’t for the inevitability that one of these sides will nick a solitary goal in the last ten minutes to win it. Either way, it meets all the criteria for pride of place in a Both Teams Not To Score double.
The other half of which is to be found across the English Channel with our friends in France. As well as being a half-decent 90’s Britpop band, Saint Etienne are also a football team and host perennial Champions League underachievers Lyon in a top of the table derby clash on Sunday.
My attention to this game was initially drawn by some superb comments by the Lyon chairman saying he wanted not only three or four dinosaurs out of his dressing room, but also to get rid of two or three penguins who only want to play for their wallet.
Google Translate is notoriously unreliable, but my GCSE French backs it up on this occasion. A rudimentary understanding of French football is all that is required to know that goals are as rare as quand les poules auront des dents. A quote as big as 1.86 is likely to last even less time than a French military campaign, so is well worth snapping up.
Follow Gareth Walker's Both Teams To Score selections in his Going for Goals column every Thursday at Best of the Bets.
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