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Blame Liverpool and Celtic for ruining your bankers accum

by Aidan Elder | January 28, 2013
Brendan Rodgers

RED FACED – Rodgers saw his side crash out of the FA Cup at Oldham (pic: Inpho)

by Aidan Elder | Chief Sports Writer

It was a weekend for the bookies in the football. There’s no other way to put it really. Loads of odds-on shots got turned over in the FA Cup, the Old Firm were less than solid in their respective competitions and one European giant contributed to the misery when flopping as a red hot favourite.

It’s not nice, but as I watch Paddy Power have a 40 foot high statue of himself made entirely from Ferrero Rochers and After Eights lowered into his office, I can assure you the money is being spent wisely. Here are the top five flops to blame for busting your bankers accum.

#1 Rangers – 1/10

Opposition: Montrose at Ibrox (Scottish Division 3)

What went wrong?
Showing our almost Mayan flair for forecasting the future, we paid out on Rangers to win the Scottish Division 3 title last week. Right on cue, they flopped when heavy favourites to beat Montrose. Don’t worry, they’re still about 128 points clear at the top of the fourth tier of Scottish football and on course to resume shouting angry obscenities at Celtic fans in a league game for the 2015/16 season.

When it comes to this game, Rangers were a combination of both unlucky and underwhelming. The Gers took the lead thanks to an own goal and had chances to extend it, but also gave the visitors a few chances and the belief that the minnows could take a big scalp. They equalised thanks to a stunning 89th minute David Gray strike from about 35 yards out that may or may not have been helped by his slip as he went to hit it. We suspect helped, but we can’t be sure. Rangers still had time to hit the post and grumble about Lady Luck being a bit of a bitch to them, but it was to no avail as the weekend’s biggest bankers only managed a draw.

#2 Juventus – 1/5

Opposition: Genoa at the Juventus Stadium (Serie A)

What went wrong?
The bottom line is Juventus’s strikers were about as effective as a Lance Armstrong attempt to ingratiate himself back into sporting society with a self-serving interview with Oprah. The defending Serie A champions were expected to cruise past a Genoa side having a good long flirt with relegation and whilst the game stats look good for Juve, the scoreline didn’t. They had more shots, shots on target and possession than their lowly visitors, but wasted too much of it thanks to some lethargic finishing. They took the lead thanks to Fabio Quagliarella early in the second half, but Genoa pegged them back thanks to Marco Borriello.

So often accused of getting favourable decisions from referees, Juve must have left the Rolex in the wrong match official’s locker because he shafted them late on. As they pushed for an injury time winner, they had a shout for handball turned down that was so blatant even a crappy, blurry screenshot makes it look obvious (see below). They didn’t get that penalty or an equaliser, sending a few accums down the gabinetto.

blog_juve-hball

#3 Liverpool – 2/9

Opposition: Oldham at Boundary Park (FA Cup)

What went wrong?
It’s hard to pinpoint what Brendan Rodgers’ attitude to the cup was this time around. The attack he selected for the game said ‘we want our day out in Wembley’ but the defence said ‘we’d like a couple of weekends off so we can concentrate on coming sixth’. The presence of Suarez, Sturridge, Borini and Sterling couldn’t compensate for their defensive frailties with Coates and Skrtel combining to make Latics’ striker, Matt Smith look more dangerous than trusting Brad Jones to pick up a gentle cross.

For about the gazillionth time this season, Liverpool dominated possession, wasted a few chances and looked vulnerable defensively, particularly to the standard League One tactic of hoofing the ball towards the forehead of the big man. Oldham took their chances very well and didn’t even give Liverpool the chance to moan about a cabbage patch of a pitch. After the optimism generated from thumping Norwich last weekend, it was two steps back for Liverpool. They should have had enough quality to dispose of a team so bad Paul Dickov might get sacked regardless of the giant-killing, but they couldn’t. It’s a bad result for Reds’ fans and anyone who threw them into the accum.

#4 Celtic – 3/10

Opposition: St. Mirren at Hampden Park (Scottish Communities League Cup)

What went wrong?
It wasn’t all his fault, but Charlie Mulgrew’s attempts to have ‘having a Jonathon Walters‘ changed to ‘having a Charlie Mulgrew’ hindered Celtic rather badly. With the score at 1-1, his missed penalty wasn’t hapless enough to get him a Pizza Hut ad, but his handiwork to gift St. Mirren one shortly after might get him a call-up to the Six Nations. His handball was punished and gave the Buddies a lead which they never relinquished.

Celtic’s strikers showed a remarkable ability to hit the woodwork whilst at the other end, the St. Mirren strikers made the most of the few chances that came their way. Mulgrew did somewhat redeem himself by stylishly scoring Celtic’s second goal of the game, but as it came seconds before the final whistle and after Steven Thompson goal for St. Mirren, it made little difference. Celtic were knocked out, like so many accums that were banking on it being a cakewalk.

#5 Norwich – 4/11

Opposition: Luton Town at Carrow Road (FA Cup)

What went wrong?
If you backed Norwich to win this one, what went wrong is that your blind love of Norwich took precedence over logic. This one had ‘slightly predictable FA Cup shock’ written all over it. After taking one point from a possible 18 in the league, they’ve slipped down the table so Chris Hughton’s priority is staying up and he was probably smiling through gritted teeth when the weakened side he sent out against Peterborough managed to pull off a win.

He again sent out a less recognisable team against Luton, but this time he didn’t get away with it. Luton absorbed the pressure, rode a bit of their luck and then when Hughton seemed to decide that having to go through a replay was a fate worse than being stuck in conversation with Stephen Fry for a couple of hours, went for the kill. They counter-attacked effectively and landed the sucker punch ten minutes from the end that’s to a sharp finish from Scott Rendall. Painful stuff for the Canaries and more importantly anyone who ignored the form guide and blindly put Norwich in the accum.

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