Who are the heroes of the weekend, and which team let everyone's accumulators down
Punt of the weekend: Pedro to score first and Chelsea to beat Bournemouth 4-1 (175/1)
A big winning scorecast gets the nod for Punt of the Weekend this time around, and while the result never looked in doubt, the nature of the win makes this a thrilling punt. Pedro clicked the first part of the bet within five minutes, burying a shot from 12 yards courtesy of a lovely through ball from Cesc Fabregas. Eden Hazard (!) added a second after 34 minutes, before Tommy Elphick pulled one back for the home side two minutes later.
All was looking good going into half-time at 2-1.
And the 175/1 shot looked even more likely after 71 minutes when Willian struck to make it 3-1, and give Cesc Fabregas a hat-trick of assists. But it was an agonising 20 minute wait for this punter, and as the clock ticked towards ninety minutes, it looked like a close call and nothing more.
That was until the 91st minute when Eden Hazard slotted home Nemanja Matic’s cut-back to make it 4-1 and send this punter to dreamland.
Banker: Manchester City (1/3)
Teenager Kelechi Iheanacho inspired Manchester City to a comfortable victory at home to Stoke in the early game on Saturday, and got punters off to the perfect start at skinny odds of 1/3. There’s nothing worse than the early game killing your Saturday accumulators, but that was far from the case as City strolled to a 4-0 win.
Fernando opened the scoring 10 minutes before half-time, heading in from a corner, before Sergio Aguero doubled City’s lead from the spot after Ryan Shawcross had fouled Iheanacho. The 19-year-old bagged two of his own after half-time as Stoke conceded four goals for the third game on the spin.
Joe Hart was tested just twice between the sticks, as Manchester City clicked through the gears ahead of the visit of Real Madrid on Tuesday night.
Blow-out: Liverpool (1/2)
Liverpool were one of the most popular choices for accumulators in Saturday’s 3.00pm games. Jurgen Klopp’s side were in flying form, and were facing a relegation-threatened Newcastle side at Anfield – a place the Magpies hadn’t won in the league since 1994.
And it was all looking very straightforward in the first half. Daniel Sturridge controlled on his chest and then fired Liverpool in front after just 76 seconds, before Adam Lallana curled in a belting effort from the edge of the box on the half hour mark.
However after the break Simon Mignolet’s attempts to justify himself as the most calamitous goalkeeper were given another boost as a rush of blood to the head saw him fly out towards Andros Townsend’s cross. He got nowhere close and Papiss Cisse nodded in a simple goal.
With 25 minutes to go Jack Colback’s deflected effort beat Mignolet after a poor header from Dejan Lovren, and despite mustering just three shots on target in 90 minutes Newcastle left Merseyside with a point, destroying accumulators up and down the country.
The value bet that looks painfully obvious: Riyad Mahrez to score first (11/2)
Jamie Vardy’s suspension meant there were concerns about Leicester going into the match with Swansea at the King Power Stadium on Sunday. But those fears look very much unfounded in hindsight, and we should have been wiser and taken advantage of Vardy’s absence to back Riyad Mahrez to open the scoring at 11/2.
The PFA Player of the Year had 16 goals to his name going into Sunday’s clash, and despite scoring just three times since Christmas, he was always likely to step up in Vardy’s absence.
Indeed he did. In fact it took just 10 minutes for Mahrez to open the scoring, burying a composed finish following a defensive f***-up from Swansea’s Ashley Williams.
The wise heads that backed Mahrez at 11/2 were celebrating after just 10 minutes, while the rest of us cursed not backing the soon-to-be Premier League winner.
The longshot that nobody saw coming: Shane Long to score first and Southampton to beat Aston Villa 4-2 (250/1)
Aston Villa are preparing for life in the Championship, and although putting in one of their ‘better’ performances of the season, they were still on the end of a 4-2 hammering at Villa Park courtesy of Southampton.
Shane Long put the visitors ahead after an early header, before he took advantage of a woeful backpass from Leandro Bacuna to tee up Dusan Tadic. Ashley Westwood pulled a goal back for Villa, before Long and Tadic combined again to make it 3-1. Westwood bagged his second with five minutes to go to set up a potentially thrilling finish, however Sadio Mane put another nail in Villa’s coffin in stoppage time with Southampton’s fourth.
The super unlikely scorecast paid a mammoth 250/1, mainly due to nature of the scoreline, rather than Shane Long’s opener which was a 5/1 punt.
It will come as no surprise that no one had the foresight to back this longshot.