Misery for Wenger, joy for Defoe, and sheer delight for the one punter that scooped a 175/1 winner
Punt of the weekend: Fabio Borini to score first and Sunderland to win 3-0 (175/1)
It’s been more than two years since Sunderland won an away game 3-0 in the Premier League, but there couldn’t have been a better time for them to rack up another one than in Saturday’s relegation scrap against Norwich. Especially if you were the one punter who had £1 on Fabio Borini to score first and Sunderland to win 3-0 at 175/1.
The punter based in the North East must have been delighted to see Andre Wisdom’s misjudged lunge on Fabio Borini, with the Italian striker picking himself up to score from the spot just before half time. Borini laid on a perfect assist for Jermain Defoe to make it two just seven minutes after the break, and haul Norwich back towards the danger zone.
This nervy punter was made to sweat for his winnings though, as it wasn’t until the final minute Sunderland made it 3-0. Duncan Watmore rounded John Ruddy and squeezed the ball home from an incredibly tight angle. A huge result for the Black Cats, and a memorable day for this shrewd punter.
Banker: Manchester United (1/4)
It certainly wasn’t spectacular, but Manchester United got the job done at home to Aston Villa on Saturday at super skinny odds of 1/4. Louis van Gaal’s men are still fighting desperately for a top four spot, while Aston Villa patiently waited for their relegation to be confirmed – the stage seemed set for a straightforward home win.
Aston Villa hadn’t won a league game since August 8 and were on a run of eight straight defeats in all competitions, yet the Red Devils were hardly impressive in their 1-0 win courtesy of Marcus Rashford. While Villa hardly threatened (notching up just one shot on target all game) United laboured, and looked uninventive.
Luckily for everyone that included them in their accumulators, 1-0 was enough to make them bankers at 1/4. Though it was far from easy watching.
Blow-out: Arsenal (1/3)
Classic Arsenal. At home to Crystal Palace – a side that had picked up nine points from a possible 48 – the Gunners seemed a sure-fire bet to keep up their momentum in the scrap behind league leaders Leicester. Yet despite having 21 shots to Palace’s seven and dominating with 68 per cent of possession, Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw.
Alexis Sanchez had put the home side up minutes before the half time whistle, but with nine minutes of the game remaining Yannick Bolasie struck an effort from outside the box that Petr Cech let squeeze in at his near post.
At odds of 1/3 the Gunners managed to let plenty of punters down, in what is becoming entirely predictable for Arsenal fans this season.
The value bet that looks painfully obvious: Jermain Defoe to score anytime (9/4)
Get him on the plane Roy! Defoe had scored eight goals in 13 league games in 2016 before Sunderland’s clash with Norwich, and if there was any player on the pitch who looked likely to get on the scoresheet it was Defoe.
The Canaries had the third worst defence in the top flight ahead of the Sunderland game, and with both teams desperate for points, the stakes were sky-high. With that in mind, combined with Defoe’s impressive record in 2016 we were crazy not to take a bit of the 9/4 that he’d find the onion bag at any point during the game.
Unsurprisingly, seven minutes into the second half Defoe turned in Fabio Borini’s cross from close range with a typical poachers goal. That’s now 10 goals in 14 away games this season, and while he’s unlikely to be on the plane to France this summer, Defoe could have helped our holiday savings if we’d been shrewd enough to back the 9/4.
The longshot that nobody saw coming: Jamaal Lascelles to score first and Newcastle to beat Swansea 3-0 (275/1)
Newcastle had won just two of their previous 16 matches ahead of their clash with Swansea at St James’ Park, so it’s easy to see why nobody quite saw this thumping result coming. Throw in the fact that it had been three months since Jamaal Lascelles had found the onion bag in the top flight, and this 275/1 shot was as unlikely as it sounds.
Yet everything came good for Rafa Benitez’s men, and there is just a very slim glimmer of hope that they might just survive…
Towards the end of the first half Lascelles headed home from a corner to ease some of the nerves in St James’ before Swansea started to dominate after the break. But goals from Moussa Sissoko and Andros Townsend inside the last ten minutes secured the Magpies all three points, and helped click a 275/1 longshot that nobody had predicted.