as great as we are, we tipsters gotta eat too

Sunday, February 28, 2010


The mocking laughter, the disbelieving faces, and the sarcastic pats on the back. Just another day in the life of an Arsenal fan who wears the shirt proudly to school/town the next day.

Some people have asked me why I do that. Why wear the shirt and invite mocking from people who might not have known that I'm an Arsenal fan? I could have hidden, but I must admit that I always felt defiant after defeat.

The 4-2 defeat at the City of Manchester Stadium, getting thumped by 3 goals without reply at home by a strong Chelsea side, going 2-0 down to Manchester United at home within 10 minutes in a major cup semi-final. Those were the strong teams.

Losing 2-1 to Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium last season, losing at the same place 3-1 this season, conceding a soft winner to Darren Bent's Sunderland. Teams we should not have lost to.

Some defeats saw us giving our all, some saw us going down without much of a fight at all. All were just as disappointing.

One thing never changed. The very next day, when it was time to pick a top from my wardrobe, my eyes would be drawn to my Arsenal shirts.

The red training top from 2008-2009 that my cousin got for me for my birthday.

The blue away shirt from 2002-2003 that Thierry Henry wore when he grabbed an incredible hat-trick in Rome. This was also the first football shirt I owned, and it was a gift from my mother.

The yellow-and-blue away shirt from 1988-1989 that Michael Thomas wore when he burst through the Liverpool defence in the final game of the season to score the second goal that would seal the league title that year. At Anfield too. This was a birthday gift from one of my best friends.

The current red-and-white that we are wearing. No history yet, as we haven't won anything in years, but I'm hopeful that this season might bring some long-awaited silverware. This was a birthday gift from my uncle, who's a lifelong Manchester United fan.

I would pick out a top as an act of defiance, pair it with a random pair of jeans, and go to school with my chest held high. The more people taunted and mocked me, the better I felt. The shirt, coupled with my belief that we would bounce back no matter what, was a show of defiance I felt I had to put up.

But last night served a timely reminder to me. It was never just a show of defiance.

I was genuinely proud to be an Arsenal fan.

That was why I never hesitated before pulling the shirt on, that was why I wore the shirts, however baggy and ill-fitting they were. Yes, they might not be the height of fashion. Yes, they might make me look fatter than I already am. And yes, they might not help in attracting any members of the opposite gender.

But after witnessing a match like last night's away game at the Britannia Stadium, it made me remember just why I'm such a proud fan of the Arsenal.

We had not won there since January 1982, and our last two visits there in recent years ended in crushing defeats. We were missing key players in every department of our team, and to top it all off, they scored from a long throw-in by Rory Delap barely 8 minutes into the match.

Now, there might be some who brand Stoke City as an anti-football side, what with their physical approach to the game, and scoring off long throw-ins. However, I don't think we should villainise them because every team should be allowed to play their own game, as long as it is within the laws of the game.

Back to the football match, and it was a familiar sight. Arsenal losing to Stoke City, because of a failure to deal with a Rory Delap throw-in. What happened after that was quite remarkable though.

First, we absolutely dominated the game after we conceded. An equaliser was inevitable, and duly arrived via the head of Nicklas Bendtner, the much-maligned Danish striker. Our continued dominance after the equaliser looked like it was going to bring a goal sooner rather than later, until a truly saddening incident on the field.

Young Aaron Ramsey, the bright Welsh prospect just 19 years of age, was the victim of a rash challenge from Ryan Shawcross, and ended up with a broken fibula and tibia, leaving his left leg snapped in two. If you are up for some truly grimace-inducing photos, check this out (

I don't think Ryan Shawcross meant it at all. It was probably an accident, and the fact that he burst into tears while leaving the field shows his intense remorse. But we had been here before, and the look on the faces of the Arsenal players showed that this injury was every bit as severe as the one Eduardo suffered at Birmingham two years ago.

That time, the team buckled under the pressure, giving up a 2-1 lead with seconds to go in the match, which led to our then-captain William Gallas throwing an almighty tantrum at the final whistle. None of that nonsense this time.

Gael Clichy, who gave up the penalty that led to Birmingham's last-gasp equaliser, was immense last night. He probed forcefully while attacking, and chased back like a man possessed whenever we lost the ball. For a man with his slight frame, his determination shone through when he headed a couple of Rory Delap throw-ins out of the penalty area.

He wasn't the only one. There were heroes all over the pitch.

Sol Campbell, 35 years old, led with experience from the back, and even burst into the opposition half trying to add urgency to our attacks.

Alex Song harried opponents from start to finish, and rather undeservedly got a yellow card for his hard work.

Cesc Fabregas never stopped running, never stopped passing. He provided two goals for Bendtner and Vermaelen, and had the poise and nerve to net the winning penalty in the 90th minute. And to top it all off, when Stoke's manager Tony Pulis tried to influence the referee to produce a yellow card late in the game, Fabregas ran towards Pulis holding his finger to his mouth, Shhh-ing him. He is everything I expect from a captain, and I would dearly love for him to lift the League trophy this year.

We could have let our heads drop after witnessing a team-mate break his leg and quite possibly never play football again, we could have used that as an excuse after yet another disappointing result, but we did not.

Instead, we battled back like men. We were not mere "babies", as Patrice Evra has suggested. We showed that we could stand up to physical play from our opponents. We fought hard, and got the result we deserved.

The huddle at the end showed what Arsenal Football Club was all about. We're not just a team that can pass circles around people, that can carve out intricate play patterns on the pitch. Last night, we played for each other, we played on for Aaron Ramsey, and now, we've got to keep that going on to the end of the season. We will win this for Aaron Ramsey.

Even if we do not win the title this season, I'm still proud of the players, proud of the manager, proud of my fellow fans, and proud to be an Arsenal fan. We've come back from 11-point and 9-point deficits on two separate occasions this season, and now we are just 3 points behind league leaders Chelsea.

Anything can happen from now till the end of the season, and we could end up losing all the remaining 10 games this season, but all that means will be that you will see me wearing an Arsenal shirt on 10 different Monday mornings. That will never change.

Arsenal For Life.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


fulham are in good form, while burnley are slowly finding out that life in the top flight isn't exactly a bed of roses. i can't see burnley getting the 3 points here, and the best they can hope for is perhaps a draw.

Eddy's prediction: $10 on fulham or draw @ 1.44 = $14.40


aston villa have had a wretched record in games against manchester united, and last season's comeback win for united showed just how difficult it is for aston villa to even achieve a draw. however, last season's match was slightly different. manyoo's defence suffered despite being at full strength, and of course, there was cristiano ronaldo. villa play a competent counter-attacking game, and i think they should cause problems for united, who are undergoing a terrible defensive crisis. the one-goal handicap looks like a good one to take, as i don't see villa being beaten by two goals.

Eddy's prediction: $5 on aston villa +1 @ 2.075 = $10.38

Saturday, November 7, 2009


another no-brainer. manchester city to win. once again, the margin of victory is hard to predict, but manchester city will definitely pick up all 3 points at home after a streak of draws.

Eddy's prediction: $10 on manchester city @ 1.33 = $13.30


i think this one's a no-brainer. arsenal to win. not sure if they can clear the handicap, but surely a win is almost certain.

Eddy's prediction: $10 on arsenal @ 1.36 = $13.60

Saturday, October 31, 2009


so here's a little multiplier for you punters out there to try.

arsenal vs tottenham (arsenal or draw @ 1.11)
fulham vs liverpool (fulham +1.5 @ 1.20)
manchester united vs blackburn (blackburn +3 @ 1.18)
portsmouth vs wigan (portsmouth +0.5/1 @ 1.19)
stoke vs wolverhampton (stoke or draw @ 1.20)

Eddy's prediction: $5 on above multiplier @ 2.24 = $11.22


i reckon hull will be able to hold on for a draw, and jimmy bullard will probably feature and that's good news for hull, who are lacking inspiration at the moment.

roland's prediction: $5 on hull +0.5 @ 1.96 = $9.80

i agree with roland that hull should be able to hold on for a draw, against a burnley team whose bubble has well and truly burst, which is no surprise really. they are a very average side, and this is a battle between two teams that are surely gonna be relegated at the end of the season. however, i'll err on the side of caution, and go with a higher handicap, in case bullard doesn't play.

Eddy's prediction: $5 on hull +1 @ 1.405 = $7.03


manyoo turned in one of their worst performances of the season against a depleted liverpool side last week, and deservedly emerged from the game with nothing in the bag. good news for them then, that the very next week, they face a blackburn team that was also smacked 5-0 by chelsea last week. on paper, this is a sure-win for united, but i don't think it's as clear-cut as that. manyoo will be missing vidic, ferdinand, neville and giggs, and that leaves them looking rather depleted, especially at the back. blackburn, on the other hand, welcome back david dunn from his virus, and i think he will cause some problems for united. i definitely do not see blackburn getting thumped, and as such, a 2-goal handicap is fantastic.

Eddy's prediction: $5 on blackburn +2 @ 1.875 = $9.38

bets this week

sorry for the inactivity - been really busy!

hull city +0.5 @ 1.96
i reckon hull will be able to hold on for a draw, and jimmy bullard will probably feature and that's good news for hull, who are lacking inspiration at the moment.

stoke city -0.5 @ 1.94
after a trashing from portsmouth in midweek, i think stoke will bounce back with a win at the britannia where they are very strong.

sunderland -0.5 @ 2.06
sunderland looks good value because of their injury problems, but whether or not darren bent plays doesn't matter because kenwyne jones has also chipped in his fair share of goals, with only 2 less than bent. west ham have lacked cutting edge this season and i don't think they'll find their form in time for this match.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


this is the big one. the fixture both sets of fans marked out on their calendars at the start of the season. liverpool come into this one after 4 consecutive losses, and can ill afford another. manchester united are in good form coming into this match at anfield, but this is exactly the sort of match where the form-book goes right out the window. liverpool will be desperate to avoid that 5th loss in a row, which would definitely mean goodbye to the title this year, and with home advantage, i can't see how liverpool will lose this match. whether gerrard or torres plays doesn't matter, the players will dig in to ensure at least a draw, so level ball should be safe.

Eddy's prediction: $10 on liverpool level ball @ 2.20 = $22.00

Friday, October 16, 2009


blackburn suffered a humiliating 6-2 defeat last time out at the emirates stadium, but they were unlucky in that they had both christopher samba and ryan nelsen out for that game, which meant that their defence was terribly makeshift. this time round, both of them are back, and i think blackburn can bounce back successfully from that horrible defeat, and thump burnley at ewood park.

Eddy's prediction: $5 on blackburn -0.5 @ 1.75 = $8.75


here's a little multiplier you might wanna consider for the weekend.

arsenal v birmingham (arsenal win @ 1.16)
sunderland v liverpool (sunderland +1.5 @ 1.18)
everton v wolves (everton win or draw @ 1.10)
aston villa v chelsea (chelsea win or draw @ 1.16)
blackburn v burnley (blackburn +0.5 @ 1.15)

Eddy's prediction: $5 on above multiplier @ 2.00 = $10.00

Saturday, October 3, 2009


everton will be high in confidence after a superb display against BATE borisov during the midweek europa league clash. saha has been on form and he was rested and will be raring to go against stoke, who have found it difficult on their travels and have never won so far, and have scored only 4 goals in 7 games so far. bilyaletdinov looks like a great acquisition and pienaar's absence won't be felt, hell, no one even remembers arteta is missing out for everton. that's how good they are right now, and they will only get better. everton to win.

roland's prediction: $5 on everton win @ 1.50 = $7.50


spurs are having a great run, bouncing back from successive defeats against man utd and chelsea with 10 goals in the last 2 matches. bolton, who have been traditionally hard to beat at home, have surprisingly not won and i don't think they will be able to. bassong has proved to be a fine addition and harry redknapp has found a good balance to the team, and with robbie keane being able to bag 4 goals, you know that the team is on form. go for a spurs win, as i don't think bolton will be able to contain lennon and defoe.

roland's prediction: $5 on Spurs -0.5 @ 1.980 = $9.90

Friday, October 2, 2009


after last week's success, here's a little multiplier you might wanna consider laying down a couple of bucks on.

hull v wigan (hull +1 @ 1.18)
burnley v birmingham (birmingham +1 @ 1.24)
chelsea v liverpool (chelsea +0.5/1 @ 1.13)
wolves v portsmouth (portsmouth +1.5 @ 1.18)

Eddy's prediction: $5 on above multiplier @ 1.95 = $9.75

RESULT: $5 became $7.87, because birmingham was voided (score 2-1)


manyoo are bang on form, having won their last god-knows-how-many games. they have won playing well, and they have won playing poorly, so the momentum is definitely with them. in a home game against steve bruce's sunderland, one would once again expect bruce, a fergie old boy, to do his former boss a favour, and lose this one. he has done it in the past, with wigan, and i think he'll do it again. however, an interesting point to note is that, it has never been a spanking for steve bruce's team. i suspect this is because the respect goes the other way as well, and fergie doesn't wanna humiliate his former players. as such, i'm going for sunderland on a good handicap, just in case they perform really well, and actually succeed in holding united.

Eddy's prediction: $5 on Sunderland +2 @ 1.60 = $8.00 (from bet365)


10th-ranked gilles simon is the favourite heading into this match, and i think that is a fair reflection. while gilles simon tends to choke once a tournament heads into the business end, his opponent this time is 44th-ranked jurgen melzer, who has had a terribly easy route so far. i fancy gilles simon to progress to the final this time, as his past 3 losses have come to players far more established than melzer, such as tsonga, djokovic, and ferrero.

Eddy's prediction: $5 on gilles simon to beat jurgen melzer @ 1.53 = $7.65

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

FIORENTINA vs LIVERPOOL (Champions League)

Liverpool are without their injured Mascherano, who has been an immense figure in their midfield with the absence of Xavi Alonso. His absence will greatly impair Liverpool's ability. Furthermore, Liverpool have a crucial match at Stamford Bridge over the weekend, and another loss will cut them much further adrift from the title chase, so I think Rafa will be resting key players and playing fringe ones. As Liverpool have the weakest bench amongst the big 4, I don't think they can get a result from this game. Fiorentina have been showing very good performances at home and have won every single game so far, so I think backing Fiorentina for this game is the right choice.

Roland's prediction: $5 on Fiorentina +0.5 @ 1.960 = $9.80

Saturday, September 26, 2009


so here's a little multiplier you might wanna consider laying down a couple of bucks on.

fulham v arsenal (arsenal level ball @ 1.18)
liverpool v hull (liverpool win @ 1.14)
blackburn v aston villa (blackburn +1 @ 1.195)
sunderland v wolves (sunderland level ball @ 1.25)
stoke v manchester united (stoke +2 @ 1.28)

Eddy's prediction: $5 on above multiplier @ 2.57 = $12.85

RESULT: $5 became $10.05, because stoke was voided (score 0-2)


aston villa have a bit of a crisis going on in central midfield, with sidwell ruled out of this game. that leaves martin o'neill to count on either fabian delph (severely out of his depth in the premier league), or a very unhappy nigel reo-coker to partner stilian petrov in midfield. you don't need to be a genius to figure out that villa will struggle in midfield in this match. you will perhaps remember the last time they left sidwell out of the side, they played terribly and lost to wigan on the opening day. since then, they have won all their matches, but this sort of run has to stop somewhere, and i don't see allardyce losing yet another game.

Eddy's prediction: $5 on blackburn +0/0.5 @ 1.825 = $9.13 (from bet365)

Friday, September 18, 2009


Burnley are actually a very weak squad, and they only beat Man Utd and Everton due to their promotion high and their home support. Their back to back losses against Chelsea and Liverpool, conceding 7 goals in the process, should have knocked the wind out of their sails. While Burnley are at home and will be tough to beat, I think they will be more courageous when facing Sunderland, leaving more holes in the defence to be exploited by the awesome partnership of Darren Bent and Kenwyne Jones.

Roland's prediction: $5 on Sunderland level ball @ 1.82 = $9.10

i totally agree with my fellow tipster, roland. i definitely do not see sunderland losing this one, so level ball is a fantastic bet to take. with darren bent in imperious form, the burnley defence, which isn't exactly mobile, will probably have a day to forget. also, burnley like to pass the ball around, but with cattermole and cana around, they're gonna find very little time on the ball, as the pair of them are INSANE.

Eddy's prediction: $5 on Sunderland level ball @ 1.82 = $9.10


Villa have overcome a bad start to their EPL campaign, notching 3 tough wins in succession against Liverpool away from home, Fulham, and their derby match against Birmingham City. Them being knocked out of Europe means that Martin O'Neill has a strengthened squad to concentrate on the league alone. The new partnership of Dunne and Collins have strengthened the back line immensely and I don't see how Aston Villa will drop points in this game, seeing as how Pompey are still collapsing quickly.

Roland's prediction: $5 on Aston Villa -1/1.5 @ 1.88 = $9.40

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Blackburn will welcome Ryan Nelsen back, who is an inspirational figure to the team with his tenacity and never-say-die attitude. 1 point from 3 games is definitely not enough for Big Sam's team and, while their striking options are pretty limited, they will be up against Mancienne who is still learning the ropes at the top level of English football. I think the strength and experience of either Jason Roberts or Benni McCarthy will prove crucial in exploiting the Wolves defence and Blackburn will post their first win of the season.

Roland's prediction: $5 on Blackburn -0.5 @ 1.870 = $9.35


i think this is one of the clearest bets of the week. arsenal just lost two weeks ago, even though they played very well, while manchester city has been getting the results without looking very convincing. the thing about such unconvincing runs is that they have to end sometimes, and as such, i fancy arsenal on the level ball.

Eddy's Prediction: $10 on arsenal level ball @ 1.825 = $18.25

Agree with Eddy. Arsenal won't lose twice in a row, and while they aren't exactly king of comebacks from setbacks (the 2-1 loss to United), they will be facing a Bellamy-led City attack, which isn't the best that City can offer. City's strength has been their lack of goals conceded, but Arsenal is a team that can carve openings out of nothing and I expect Arsenal to at least draw, or win this one.

Roland's Prediction: $5 on Arsenal level ball @ 1.800 = $9.00

Saturday, August 29, 2009


this is the big one. arsenal have been in good form since the start of the season, while manchester united have looked far from convincing, struggling for victory against birmingham, losing shamefully to burnley, and then looking totally toothless for one half against a poor wigan side. it is a tough one to predict, as both sides have their qualities, but i just feel that arsenal will not be thrashed as comprehensively as they were in the champions league last season. being at home, manchester united have a very good chance of winning this, despite being without rio ferdinand. i fancy arsenal to not lose though, as i just think manchester united's older legs will struggle to compete with the youthful exuberance of arsenal's play.

Eddy's prediction: $5 on arsenal +0.5 @ 1.715 = $8.58 (from bet365)