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A tie, with a Lam starter
Written by: Gerry McDonnell (11-August-2006)

Sometimes in life you need to be willing to compromise. This morning for example, it was too cold for a t-shirt, yet perplexingly, a little too warm for a jacket. After considering my options at length, I took the middle ground by selecting a long sleeved top. An almost identical situation is now in play in the Middle East; they could do worse than ‘be like the G’ and consider a compromise, as could all bettors with an interest in the Community Shield.

There’s a stigma involved with backing a draw in a football match, you are basically telling the bookmaker that you’re not smart enough to solve the conundrum, but with so many question marks surrounding the preparation of both Chelsea and Liverpool, taking the draw at 3.20 will prove a profitable concession.

Jose’s getting his excuses in early by claiming his players are underprepared, the reality is that Rafa's got him by the short and baldies. Mourinho has come out on top in only two of his last seven face-offs with Benitez, Jose’s non-stop whining is an exercise in pre-emptive damage limitation. Chelsea cannot be backed at 2.10, a 1-1 scoreline must be at 6.50.

Frank Lampard’s autobiography made fascinating reading. He claimed that his legs were heavy during the 2006 World Cup; talk about stating the obvious. Lampard was told that he was the fittest England player; you can get 1.73 about a typo. Frankie’s performances in Germany were truly, truly awful, but few can argue with the fact that ‘Lamb lard’ always performs for his club. The Lamp is a 9.00 shot to open the scoring.

Jose has gone to the extreme of shaving his head in a symbolic gesture that he's ready to go to war. Jose is no mug, when entering the field of battle, it’s almost compulsory to have a German in the vicinity, hence the signing of Michael Ballack. A sending off has been priced up at 3.75 bet odds, if Craig Bellamy was on the pitch on his own that would tempt.

Bellamy and Pennant should both be in the starting eleven for the Pool, and let’s be honest; it is probably not the last time they’ll appear in a line-up. Bellamy is controversial, but the boyo can play. The Bell has been chalked up at 8.50 to score the last goal of the match.

There is another full Championship programme to get our teeth into, and Southampton are the weekend nap at home to West Brom. I fancy the Saints to be there or thereabouts at the end of the season, so 2.38 is too big against a mediocre Albion side. Paradoxically, I cannot see the Saints performing well in the Cup competitions, with Pele in their team; they will not get past a semi.

Ex-Baggie Robert Earnshaw found the net in midweek, and goals to Earnie are like bottles of buckfast to the wife, one begets another. Norwich look like a great investment at 1.91 to beat Luton and the pacy, goofy, dwarf-like striker should be backed at 5.00 to bag the opener.

Crystal Palace host Leeds in a potential cracker and the Eagles are the selection at 2.25 to keep their 100% record. Leeds were denied a victory in midweek when Shahbaz scored a 90th minute equaliser for QPR; if a little camp Scotsman can breach your defence, Macken and Morrison could literally run riot.

Leicester and Ipswich are as pointless as voting on a big brother eviction, so an ‘O’ must go when they meet up at the Walkers. Ipswich can take comfort from their performances in narrow losses to Palace and Wolves while embarrassing defeats to Luton and Burnley will do little for the goalless Foxes. You cannot touch the crisp nibblers at odds on; you must accept the tractor factor; back Ipswich at a humongous 3.75.

Top marks to Billy Sharp for his fantastic goal celebration in midweek, Scunthorpe’s sharpshooter delighted all with a superb impression of our very own Monty. (That is England’s latest spin sensation, not the large-breasted golfing choker.) On a related note, Saturday sees the final episode of Cricket AM, I enjoyed it immensely; it was like Soccer AM, only funny. Scunthorpe should be bet on at 2.50 to see off a Crewe side in terminal decline. Norwich, Southampton, Crystal Palace and Gretna form the accumulator of the week, it pays out at a whopping 18.00. Get on now, or forever hold your piece.

Professional odds compiler Gerry McDonnell regularly offers his unique advice on Premiership soccer betting. Place your bets at Gerry's sportsbook Super Soccer

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