Manchester City 1-1 Middlesbrough
Heading into the clash at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester City were the 2/9 favourites coming off the back of a 3-1 thumping of Barcelona in mid-week. It was no surprise then to see an eye-watering 98 per cent of punters’ cash going onto Pep Guardiola’s men, as well as City being selected as bankers for the 3.00pm accumulator crew. The draw was an 11/2 shot and Boro the 12/1 outsiders
30 minutes in…
Man City have dominated but not scored. They’ve had eight shots – three of which have been on target – while no Middlesbrough player has even eyed up an attempt. They look as threatening as a damp mop, and that’s given Alvaro Negredo enough time to complete today’s cryptic crossword in the paper. City are 1/5, the draw is 4/1 and Boro have drifted to 17/1 in-play.
Goal – Aguero 1-0 (43 mins)
It was inevitable. The little Argentinian minx was bound to open the scoring and he duly obliges at odds of 11/5 – delighting punters and the few Fantasy Football players that still care at this stage of the season. Middlesbrough drift to a lofty 100/1 to make a second half comeback, while City are now are barmy 1/40. The draw is 14/1 but the odds suggest it’s goodnight Vienna for Aitor Karanka’s men.
Boro have their first attempt on goal! With all the optimism in the world bottled up and sunk at half-time, Alvaro Negredo steps up and pings an effort left-footed for goal all the way from the centre circle. Claudio Bravo makes the save, and the odds stay the same…
20 minutes to go…
Pep’s side are very much in control, but haven’t quite managed to kill the game off. The game seems to be drifting towards its conclusion at a very leisurely place, with the most excitement coming from the fact that Stewart Downing is warming up and one member of the crowd eagerly pointing out that Downing used to be the local DJ in Northallerton. City are 1/33, Boro are a whopping 125/1 and the draw is 13/1.
85 minutes gone
Game over? The away team have offered little or no threat and are out to 375/1 while they’re as big as 20/1 to even pinch a point.
Goal! Marten de Roon 1-1 (91 mins)
Would you Adam and Eve it? From nowhere Marten de Roon rises to nod in George Friend’s cross and equalise in injury time. The draw was as 33/1 before the goal, while City had dropped to odds of 1/100. A gut-wrench for anyone who had backed City, but glory for punters who took a punt on Boro to snatch an unlikely punt.
Burnley 3-2 Crystal Palace
There’s not much to pick between the two sides as they line up at Turf Moore. Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace are 13/10 favourites, Burnley are 23/10 and it’s 11/5 to finish all square.
Goal – Vokes 1-0 (2 mins)
Burnley are out of the traps faster than a rocket-propelled greyhound and with just 120 seconds on the clock Sam Vokes opens the scoring. It might send the home crowd wild, but our traders either aren’t as fussed or weren’t watching as the betting doesn’t shift too much. Maybe they were at the vending machine?
Goal – Gudmundsson 2-0 (14 mins)
People live tweeting the game curse their luck as Johann Berg Gudmundsson doubles Burnley’s lead. The traders spring into action and Sean Dyche’s men are now 1/5 for Premier League glory. The draw is now an 11/2 punt and Crystal Palace are as big as 11/1.
The referee calls for the oranges and as the fans bail out for a pie and cup of Bovril, Burnley are now 1/8, Palace are 18/1 and the draw is 6/1. Everything looks beautiful rosy for Burnley as they eye up their fourth league win on home soil this season.
Goal – Wickham 2-1 (60 mins)
Drama! Connor Wickham hops off the bench and scores with his first touch to haul Palace back into it. Alan Pardew looks at his own reflection in the dugout and smiles. He knows he’s a tactical genius. Palace went out to 40/1 for the win but suddenly they’re back in to 8/1. Burnley were 1/10 but are suddenly 4/7, while the draw is now a tempting 12/5 punt.
Goal – Benteke 2-2 (82 mins)
With just eight minutes remaining Christian Benteke buries a penalty after Matt Lowton was judged to have handled in the area. Pardew is warming up another dance routine on the touchline. Punters who backed the draw at 9/1 are now on a 1/3 punt. Palace went from a high of 30/1 into 5/1, while Burnley are 8/1. Punters who took the Clarets at 1/10 thinking it was easy money at 2-0 are suddenly changing their soiled chinos.
Goal – Barnes 3-2 (93 mins)
Oh good Lord. Ashley Barnes is bouncing back from a long-term knee injury and hits a stunning winner for the home side in the third minute of stoppage time. Absolute scenes! Burnley were 1/10 at 2-0, had gone all the way back out to a high of 17/1 in the 90th minute, and they snatched victory at the death. We’ll raise a glass of Pardew’s tears to any punter that backed Burnley following Benteke’s 82nd minute spot-kick.