By Aidan Elder | Chief sports writer
For some – namely Eden Hazard – it was a dream weekend. For others, it was about as pleasant as a close up on Wayne Rooney’s severed thigh. The Paddy Power Blog looks at some of the bigger priced winning bets from the Premier League weekend that look frustratingly obvious now.
Liverpool v Manchester City – Martin Skrtel to score first and the 2-2 draw
It’s not a bet that would occur to too many people, but surprisingly, seven lucky punters had it. The Slovakian defender put Liverpool in front with a powerful header. He later undid all the good by giving Carlos Tevez the perfect assist for the second equaliser, but it was brilliant for the punters who had backed the 2-2 draw and more lucratively, the Scorecast. We caught up with one of the visionaries who placed the winning bet. And no, his name wasn’t Martin Skrtel.
He’s Antony Valente and his Twitter profile tells us he’s got a degree in Astrophysics from the University of Liverpool. Is that how he landed upon his lucrative bet? By calculating the cosmic microwave background in the Anfield atmosphere and factoring in the force of Martin Skrtel’s head in the electromagnetic spectrum was he able to deduce the likelihood of the final score? Not quite.
Basically I saw there was a Money-Back Special on for the game and decided to put a couple of Scorecast bets on. When I saw the odds for Skrtel to score first and 2-2 as the result I thought that was worth putting a quid on as it was 225-1, especially as a goal from a corner wasn’t a bad shout. Imagine my surprise when I saw the final score was 2-2 and Skrtel scored first! Also as Tevez was last goalscorer I got refunded for my other bet too!
And that not all prompted mention of the Money-Back Special segues nicely into talking about our Money-Back Special. We were foolishly offering money back on all losing 1st Goalscorer, Last Goalscorer, Correct Score and Scorecast singles on the match if Luis Suarez or Carlos Tevez scored the last goal and as Carlos Tevez did, it meant a refund of over £100,000 for our customers.
Correct Score Half Time – Full Time
Liverpool 1-0 Half Time – 2-2 Draw Full Time
It looks so simple now. Brendan Rodgers is trying to implement his vision at Liverpool, Manchester City have more fighting spirit than Joey Barton outside a nightclub. The Reds played pretty well, but City snuck out of Anfield with a share of the points. After falling behind twice in the game, Roberto Mancini’s side relied on a couple of defensive errors from the Liverpool defence for their goals which – in retrospect – was a rather clever playing of the percentages. The champions were uninspiring and far from impressive yet they still avoided defeat and recent history tells us that’s a pretty nice habit to have when it comes to the title race. One lucky punter had it pegged to a tea and netted a nice little win for a speculative punt.
Half Time Correct Score
Everton 3-1 (v Aston Villa)
Everton were brilliant against Manchester United. Aston Villa are starting to think Alex McLeish wasn’t such a bad option. After Marouane Fellaini asked more questions of the United defence than WADA’s drug-testers asked Lance Armstrong, For all there repestive highs and woes, you couldn’t have predicted Everton would have ripped Villa to such shreds so early at Villa Park. But a couple of customers did and made hay by coming to the conclusion the Toffees would have it so easy, they’d be 3-0 up at half time. Pienaar, Fellaini and Jelavic all cashed in and Shay Given’s Euro 2012 butter-fingers hangover continued. Villa managed to reclaim a thimbleful of pride in the second half thanks to Tim Howard’s switching off when the game was won and thinking about what he was going to do with his evening.
Damien Duff to score first v Manchester United
It’s not the biggest price of winners, but wow – Damien Duff available at 25/1 to score first. 25/1! He’s like … good. He’s scored 81 one goals in his professional career and that’s impressive because a lot that time was spent playing for Jose Mourinho who tazered you if you crossed the halfway line. Plus, he now plays for ‘have a go’ Fulham, so it’s not like he plays for some low-scoring chancers like Ireland. He scored first last week as the Cottagers and he managed to do it again this week. Robin van Persie’s first time cracker got the plaudits and the excessive drooling from the Match of the Day team, but Duffer’s wasn’t bad either, tucking home a well worked free-kick to send once bunch of supporters who travelled from London into delight and send another larger bunch of supporters who travelled from London into despair.
Swansea to win 3-0 versus West Ham
Yeah, it’s not the biggest price winner of the weekend, but feathering hell, it’s one of the most significant. Swansea have now scored eight, conceded none and sit in second place in the league. All of this after losing their supposedly irreplaceable manager and some of their key players. At this rate, they’ll beat Chelsea to the league title by a goal difference of +51 with Everton back in third paying for their comparative frugality in front of goal a further +26 goals behind. That may not happen, but thumping QPR and then handing Big Sam’s Hammers a solid can of whup-ass is a pretty nice way to start the season. The doubters about Michael Laudrup’s ability to replace Brendan Rodgers may not be gone, but they’re an awful lot quieter than they once were and gloomy pre-season predictions need to be given a dose of sunshine.