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A Drogba With 2 Ricks
Written by: Gerry McDonnell (19-August-2006)

Sometimes, a person can become so synonymous with a particular action that the English language will evolve as a result. For example, if the sight of anything Portuguese sends you into a mad rage, you are ‘doing a Rooney’, if your alcoholic wife beats you up because of unresolved rage issues, she’s ‘knocked out a Gerry’, and if you pay six times more than the true market value for a mediocre footballer, you’ve ‘pulled a Fergie’.

We have all been had in the net occasionally, but Ferguson has bought more turkeys than Sainsburys in recent years. Michael Carrick is the newest addition to a list that includes Kleberson, Veron, Forlan and my personal favourite, the Djemba brothers. After wasting an incredible £18.6m on the talented but truly limited midfielder, Sir Alex has once again been tucked in like a sleeping baby.

Fulham can continue the idea of stitching up the purple-nosed one. Rooney is a fitness doubt for the opener at Old Trafford; after reading his autobiography, it's not surprising that he is struggling with a groin injury. Fulham scored two times against Man Utd in both of their encounters last season, 12/1 about a shock is just too big.

If Martin Jol has stopped laughing, he will take his Spurs team to a tricky match at the Reebok. Jol has bought and sold very well over the summer, with Berbatov and Zokora being key additions to the squad. Didier Zokora believes he can be the ‘Vieira of the Lane’; expect him to be totally outplayed by Fabregas when they meet Arsenal. Spurs are a decent side, but they always struggle against Bolton (they have lost six of their last seven league matches); I cannot see past the draw at 3.25.

Liverpool's players will be happy to hear that Neil Warnock is banned from the touchline when they travel to Bramall Lane, but this may not stop Warnock from launching threatening paper airplanes from the stand. Liverpool’s reserves beat a full strength Chelsea last week, their first team receive the nap of the week award at a decent 1.57.

Wigan manager Paul Jewell is a jolly character, but something tells me he will not be smiling after his team takes a mullering at St James’s Park. Wigan faced Newcastle three times last season, the home team won every match. Boring, but true. Wigan have Emile Heskey, Newcastle have got the points in the bag at 1.73.

Everton should be backed at 1.62 at home to newcomers Watford. Partnering Beattie and Johnson looks promising; Beattie can win the flick-ons and get AJ to go down to ‘earn’ the penalty. Watford have visited Goodison Park nine previous times, they have lost every time.

Gareth Southgate was busy in the transfer market, signing Julio Arca for less than £2m looks like a clever bit of business. Reading are called the Royals, and just like their German counterparts in Buckingham Palace, they should remain pointless on Saturday night. I do like Middlesbrough at 2.80.

The Aston Villa fans are a lot like me, they can get happiness from just one little Yank. Villa have lost at Highbury for the past eight years, so it's lucky this one is being played at the Emirates, they are unbeaten there. There is a momentum behind the Aston Villa due to the takeover and arrival of Martin ‘The Saviour’ O’Neill; it would be silly to invest in the Gunners at 1.30. A red card in the match offered at 4.50; Graham Poll is ‘officiating’, so you are 50% less likely to collect.

Michael Ballack was substituted after just 25 minutes in the Community Shield, I know what it is like to finish prematurely, it is no picnic. Four of the last six matches between Chelsea and Man City have finished 1-0, with Didier Drogba almost certain to waste a couple of chances; a repeat of the 1-0 score line at 6/1 looks like a decent wager. If both Ballack and Shevchenko start, I would rather be on a 2-0 win for the Champions at a healthy 6.50.

Last week’s accumulator hit both posts and the bar before being cleared off the line, this week it will fly straight into the top corner. Liverpool, Everton, Newcastle, Middlesbrough and Chelsea are the chosen teams, and the combo will pay out at 14/1 when successful.

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

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