|Pundit||Last Week's Profit/Loss||Current Balance|
Sunderland's continued their run of 1-0 home wins against Manchester City before the international break and myself and Nick correctly predicted we would continue our yearly tradition. Nick in particular was a big winner putting one pound more on the bet than I did, meaning he leapfrogs Dave in the standings. Nick has kindly agreed to put his winnings towards the fund to find Wes Brown a new knee. And now onto this week's selections:
Back to domestic football after the prolonged period of tedium that is an International break! However it does throw up the glamour tie that is Stoke vs Sunderland. The hosts have failed to win in their last eight games in the Premier League, while Sunderland have lost six of their last seven trips away from the Stadium of Light. If those stats weren't enough to dampen your enthusiasm for the game, try these on for size: Sunderland have failed to score in their last three Premier League away games and there have been under 2.5 goals in Stoke's last four games at the Britannia...
However, I fancy Sunderland's chances to take advantage of a Stoke side in free fall and like the look of an away win with under 2.5 goals which Ladbrokes have priced at 11/2
Elsewhere I'm going to back Chelsea to take advantage over an injury-ravaged and out of form West Ham side and knock three or more goals past Sam Allardyce's side.
- Sunderland to win and under 2.5 goals in the game - 11/2 - £2.50 Stake
- Chelsea to score three or more goals - 12/5 - £2.50 Stake
After back to back home wins over Southampton and Manchester City it was a shame for our momentum to be stalled by this weekend's international action. Hopefully the Lads will regain their rhythm swiftly this weekend and carry on the positive form and encouraging performances at Stoke on Saturday. Stoke have held three of the current top ten to 0-0 draws at home this season, while their win against struggling Palace was their only game at the Britannia to go over 2.5 goals so far this season. Their other home game was a surprising home defeat to fellow strugglers Norwich City 1-0. With that in mind, I'm predicting a low scoring Sunderland victory.
Elsewhere, the Torneo Inicial is heading towards his close in Argentina and a couple of title chasers look set to drop points this weekend. San Lorenzo have been in fine form, leading them to the top of the table, but have a tough away fixture at Atletico Rafaela. Newell's Old Boys, who they displaced at the summit of the table, are in a rut since losing to city rivals Rosario Central and face a tough home game against title rivals Arsenal de Sarandi. Fellow challengers Boca Juniors come up against their former manager Falcioni at La Bombonera and should take advantage of their rivals' failures by winning comfortably.
- Sunderland to win and 1 or 2 total goals in the match - 6/1 - £2 stake
- Rafaela - San Lorenzo & Newell's - Arsenal to end as draws, Boca to win - 129/9 - £1 stake
So I got a big win last week! Unfortunately I think that has to be put down to even a stopped clock being right twice a day rather than any great Road to Damascus moment in my betting career. I fancy this week's game away to Stoke to be a close one, but one that Sunderland will hopefully eventually prevail in. To that end, I'm backing it to be a draw at half-time, but Sunderland to win by full-time.
Elsewhere, Valencia have been extremely up and down this season, whereas Elche have done pretty well considering they've only just come up from the second division. Could Valencia slide back into crisis once more with an away loss? I'm saying yes.
- Draw half-time, Sunderland to win - 7/1 - £2
- Elche to beat Valencia - 15/8 - £3
Thank heavens proper football is back after this international garbage we've had to put up with.
I'm not too confident headed to Stoke. For some reason I never am when we do go there, and results have probably favoured this thought. I do like what Poyet is doing though, and I'm more than happy to lump on the game being a draw this weekend.
Elsewhere, wins for Crewe, Shrewsbury and Gillingham return a very healthy profit.
Sunderland & Stoke Draw - 23/10 - £5 Stake
Crewe, Shrewsbury and Gillingham all to win - 14/1 - £5 Stake
Stoke away is still my least favourite match on the calender. This isn't down to 'wet and windy nights' or that Stoke are very good; they're not. It's more down to Stoke versus Sunderland games being utterly dire affairs with never more than one goal in them. The exception to this was the defeat at The Brittania Stadium in 2011, when Pulis' side became a parody of themselves, fouling their way to a 3-2 win, despite the visitors being 2-1 up with 10 minutes left, thanks largely to an atrocious refereeing performance. This time I fancy us to get something, but it'll certainly be a horrific game of football regardless of what happens.
Elsewhere, Nantes are doing well in Ligue 1, but Monaco probably have better players, and are at decent odds to get a win there, so I'm going to go with them.
- Sunderland to win or a draw - 11/13 - £5 Stake
- Monaco to beat Nantes - 13/10 - £10 Stake