By Aidan Elder | Chief sports writer
#IF WE KNEW THEN
In the end, there’s some something entirely predictable about this weekend’s Premier League action. Manchester United staged an amazing comeback. Manchester City fought back to win after looking pretty indifferent. Chelsea and Liverpool are fond of stalemates against each other and Arsenal have solid foundations similar to the lost city of Atlantis. We’ve seen it all before, but it was some fun watching it unfold all over again. Here’s a look at some of the more unlikely winning bets Paddy Power customers landed over the weekend.
HT/FT Correct Score
1-0 Aston Villa Half Time – 3-2 Manchester United Full Time
Anyone who has seen Manchester United play this season will have noticed a trend. They’re winning, but rarely looking spectacular. In fact, anyone has seen them since about 2002 will have noticed that trend. But expressing those shortcomings in a profitable bet can be difficult.
Although Aston Villa are bumbling along towards the foot of the table with all the credibility of Newsnight, United struggled and even fell two goals behind. Luckily for United, Fergie has imbued them with that famous ‘never say you’re worse than Aston Villa’ attitude and they kept plugging away relentlessly. They came roaring back in impressive fashion. Chicharito bagged two and a half goals and they didn’t even need their mandatory freebie penalty.
It wasn’t difficult for several Paddy Power customers. Plenty of punters backed Villa to be leading 1-0 at half time and United to nick it 3-2 by full time at odds as big as 175/1. One stands out from all the others, mainly due to his audacious decision to stick a fiver on it. Well done sir, you are clearly more reckless with your fivers than me.
There were lots of others who benefited from the United revival. United to win 3-2 at 66/1 was a popular bet in the pre-match and live betting markets. The straightforward double result of Aston Villa Half Time/Manchester United Full Time @ 25/1 had plenty of support
Adam Johnson to score first and Everton to win 2-1
Going into this game, Everton had conceded the first goal in all six of their most recent half-dozen matches. Impressively however, they hadn’t lost in five of them and one of them was the league cup so it doesn’t really matter anyway. They’ve shown plenty of fighting spirit and now Duncan Ferguson doesn’t roam the halls of Goodison Park, that’s confined largely to the non-criminal form of fighting spirit.
Sunderland took the lead at the end of an indifferent first half from the Toffees. Johnson snuck in behind an Everton defence that was diligently pushing up after clearing a corner. There was no need to panic however as the Black Cats have been largely crap this season and a Marouanne Fellaini-inspired revival ensured an Everton win and most importantly, a handsome win for one Paddy Power customer.
Arsenal 3 – 3 Fulham
Arsenal looked to have put their recent stumbles behind them against Fulham. They raced into an early 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski. They were cruising and just when they were about to uncork the bottle of champagne football, some musical statues while defending a Fulham corner allowed the visitors back into it.
They weren’t counting on the resilience of Dimitar Berbatov. In fact, no-one was. Berba – playing with focus and energy rather than the enigmatic zombie we’ve become accustomed to – scored the first, was the architect of an excellent second and then converted nonchalantly from the spot to put the Cottagers in position for their first win at Arsenal in the club’s history.
Giroud popped up to put paid to that dream, sparing Arsene Wenger the need to fudge a flimsy excuse for a disappointing defeat and landing a tasty 60/1 winner for one lucky Paddy Power punter.
Andres Weimann to score two or more goals v Manchester United
We’ve nothing against Andreas Weimann. Not even for his youthful boyband looks or the natural ability to ski we presume every Austrian has. That said, we wouldn’t really be inclined to back him to score one goal against Manchester United, let alone bag a brace.
He gave Villa an unlikely 2-0 lead with a couple of nicely taken goals and with it doubling his tally of goals for the Villains. The very fact that he had a tally of just two goals heading into the game would have been enough for most people to dismiss thoughts of him bagging a brace, but a handful of Paddy Power punters kept the faith and some of them may not even be blood relatives of Weimann’s. Obviously the rousing United comeback was inevitable, but his goals gave Villa Park a much-needed boost and at odds of 45/1, the same came be said of those punters’ accounts.
Dimitar Berbatov to score two or more goals v Arsenal
There were reasons both for and against Dimitar Berbatov performing against Arsenal. The ‘for’ argument was based mainly on his generally excellent form for the Cottagers since vacating his place on the Manchester United bench. The ‘against’ argument centred in on the fact it’s Dimitar Berbatov and sometimes it looks like stepping on a landmine wouldn’t be enough to move him.
He was excellent against the Gunners however scoring two, setting up the other and frequently pulling the strings in Fulham’s attacking play. And, aside from being a pain in the arse for the Gunners all afternoon, he made several people notably better off thanks to his brace. Well done Dimi. We always said you were a brilliant and fully committed footballer.