By Aidan Elder | Chief sports writer
Talk of handshakes and grudges dominated the build-up to the weekend’s Premier League action, but there was a good bit of football played, some it rather entertaining. Here’s the Paddy Power Blog run-down of some of the bigger priced winners from the weekend.
Reading 0–1 Tottenham Half Time / Reading 1–3 Tottenham Full Time
Half Time/Full Time Correct Score
The beauty of some big-priced winners is how frustratingly simple they are. Case and point was Sunday afternoon’s showdown at the Madjeski. Everyone knew Tottenham weren’t as bad as the knee-jerk reactions suggested and we all knew Reading might actually be as bad as the knee-jerk reactions suggested. That might be a little bit harsh on Brian McDermott’s side, but from early on the suspected gulf in class was exposed as Spurs dominated.
They took a lead that was narrower than they deserved into the half time break and kicked clear in the second half. With the points firmly in the bag, most people were already thinking about whether or not it was worth staying up for the inane drivel on Match of the Day 2 later that night, but not everyone. A few Paddy Power customers had backed the 1-0 Half Time, 3-1 Full Time scoreline, so Hal Robson-Kanu’s late consolation was greeted like a last gasp World Cup winner by some.
One of those people was Paddy Power customer, Graham Perry. He’s our Punter of the Week as he had the right amount of vision and jamminess to call it perfectly. Here’s how he did it.
“The reason for my prediction was quite simple really,” Graham says, sounding a bit like Sherlock Holmes as he begins his smug ‘I’m so clever’ explanatory bit.
“I thought it would be a tight first half but in my mind thought Spurs would score a goal. I went for 3-1 Full Time knowing that Reading was always capable of scoring a goal especially at home. I just leapt with joy as I watched the game but also had a nervous last few minutes knowing there was so much hanging on the final 3-1 result,” he explained, before adding a totally unprompted “THANK YOU PADDY POWER.”
Arsenal to win 6-1
There’s not much talk about goal droughts and missing Robin van Persie around the Emirates these days. After failing to find the net for a couple of games, Arsenal are and up and running and flat track bullying their way past clearly inferior opponents. With a fixture list that looked tougher than getting a handshake off Anton Ferdinand, Southampton were always going to struggle in the opening weeks of the season.
After giving the two Manchester clubs a fright in recent weeks, Nigel Adkins’ men looked to be in decent shape, but the thumping in North London was more deflating than Edward Scissorhands time making balloon animals. The Gunners ran out comfortable winners helped by two Saints’ own goals and the ability to make Gervinho look like Maradona and it was a popular bet, with a decent chunk of punters predicting Arsenal would hit their guests for six.
There were plenty of fans cursing Wojciech Szczęsny even more than normal. His attack of the butterfingers gave Southampton a freebie goal and took out plenty of bets on the 6-0 scoreline. Plus, lots of people had the Scorecast bet of Podolski to score first and Arsenal to win 6-0. That would have been a winner at 225/1, because when it comes to First Goalscorer betting, the Hooiveld own goal is excluded and the German gets credited with the first goal. That’s both encouraging and immensely frustrating, which is pretty much how it’s felt like being an Arsenal fan for the last seven years.
Arsenal to be winning 4-1 at Half Time
Not everybody was cursing Szczesny’s Almunia moment. Incredibly, one punter was cheering to the rafters when he gift wrapped a goal for Daniel Fox. It meant Arsenal went in to the half time back-slapping break 4-1 up and one Paddy Power customer had a 100/1 winner. We’re not sure how you land upon that precise bet, but it did the trick.
Manchester United 4-0 (Live Betting)
Normally Wigan come to Old Trafford and figuratively bend over the table, but on Saturday not even Danny Welbeck’s perfectly timed ‘falling in instalments’ could help United find a way through. Chicharito took a penalty that was a bit ‘shitarito’ (sorry – had to be done) and United were frustrated going into half time. Not everyone was frustrated as a few punters did back a penalty to be missed in the game at 9/1.
With Wayne Rooney out and Robin van Persie on the bench, it looked like the hosts might be missing a bit of cutting edge. That didn’t put off one Paddy Power customer who kept the faith. With five minutes gone in the second half and both sides still boasting clean linen, this lucky punter backed United to run out 4-0 winners on our Live Betting at 33/1. About a minute later, none of the Latics defence noticed Paul Scholes creaking into the six yard box and he scored one of the easier goals in his career. Soon after the visitors reverted to type and crumbled, leading to the pummelling Wigan now expect as standard every time they roll into the Old Trafford car park.
Berbatov to score first and Fulham to win 3-0
Whilst United huffed and puffed, a couple of hundred miles away a former employee was making hay. Helped by Peter Odemwingie’s attempts to relocate Sascha Riether’s testicle to somewhere in his chest, Fulham had an easy afternoon of it. Dimitar Berbatov reminded everyone about the side of his game that’s more than just sitting on the bench and moaning about not being allowed to move clubs with a brace on his Fulham debut.
His first was classic Berba, a sweet shot lofted into the right hand corner of Ben Foster’s net. His second was also classic Berba, as in he didn’t have to do a whole lot of work for it. Alexander Kačaniklić was fouled in the penalty area and Berbatov gave the Cottagers a second goal. Steve Sidwell made it three and ensured plenty of big priced Scorecasts clicked. You didn’t even need something as elaborate as a Scorecast to click as Berbatov was a pretty tasty 12/1 to score two or more goals in his debut.