Any final day heroics from Paddy Power Punters? You bet.
The Premier League final day
Punt of the weekend: Two nine-team accumulators that took Paddy for more than €60k at odds of 6,915/1
Two punters finished the season in serious style this weekend as they went through every Premier League game at odds of almost 7,000/1. As if Paddy hadn’t taken enough punishment with Leicester’s title success, a couple of punters – one from the UK and another from the Emerald Isle – took Sunday’s finale apart by picking the right result of all five games.
While Arsenal, Everton, Newcastle (!) and Southampton all recorded comfortable victories, this bet included four draws and needed a comeback from Stoke City that resulted in an 89th minute winner from Mame Biram Diouf to click. Quite the remarkable run of events.
Banker: Arsenal (1/8)
If you were looking for an absolute certainty this weekend, Arsenal duly obliged at super-skinny odds of 1/8. The banker in everyones acca, the Gunners did the business at home to Aston Villa with ridiculous ease.
Olivier Giroud bagged a hat-trick which began after just five minutes, while Aston Villa’s miserable season was summed up in stoppage time, as Mikel Arteta’s shot cannoned off the crossbar and ended up going in off goalkeeper Mark Bunn. Aston Villa had not won an away game in any competition since the opening day of the season and had been relegated for the best part of a month before arriving at The Emirates Stadium, so it was no surprise to see Arsene Wenger’s side dominate from the off.
Perfect for short-price favourite-backers and ideal for any accumulator bets.
Blowout: Manchester City (9/20)
One odds-on team that did fail to deliver was Manchester City. While the Citizens knew that a point against Swansea at the Liberty Stadium would be enough for them to guarantee a top four spot and Champions League qualification, punters were keen to back them to win at a price of 9/20.
However, despite an early opener from Kelechi Iheanacho, it wasn’t to be. Just on the stroke of half-time Andre Ayew’s defelected free-kick wrong footed Joe Hart and while City created plenty of good chances, their young striker and team-mate Sergio Aguero were unusually wasteful. Francesco Guidolin’s side were stubborn throughout the second half, and although a point guaranteed Champions League football for Pep Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium next year, it cost plenty of punters who had lumped on to the away side.
The value bet that looks painfully obvious: Arsenal -2 on the handicap (5/4)
We’ve already briefly covered Arsenal in our ‘Banker’ section, but the ease with which they swept past Aston Villa makes the handicap bet look like a missed opportunity.
Aston Villa had conceded exactly three goals away on five separate occasions this season, including on their travels to Leicester and Tottenham. They’d also conceded four goals away to Manchester City and Everton, and they’d failed to score in six of their nine games heading into the fixture at the Emirates Stadium. It was therefore no surprise to see Arsenal control the game, and stretch clear as Villa’s defence tired.
It took until the 78th minute for Arsenal and Olivier Giroud to score a second after the Frenchman’s fifth minute opener. But two minutes later Giroud had his hat-trick and the Mark Bunn own goal in stoppage time put a little gloss on the scoreline. Villa ended the season with just 17 points and can close the book on a miserable campaign.
The longshot that nobody saw coming: Georginio Wijnaldum to score first and Newcastle to beat Tottenham 5-1 (2,250/1)
Soooo…. That was weird.
Relegated Newcastle were expected to face a hostile crowd at St James’ Park while Tottenham needed just a point to pretty much guarantee a top two finish and end the season above their fierce North London rivals for the first time for 21 years. However nobody read the script. The home crowd were fully behind gaffer Rafa Benitez and after 19 minutes Georginio Wijnaldum opened the scoring at odds of 11/1. Aleksander Mitrovic bagged a second before half-time, and at the oranges everything was looking rosy.
Newcastle threatened to implode in the seocnd half as Erik Lamela pulled a goal back, and scorer Mitrovic was red carded after 67 minutes, however Wijnaldum converted a penalty to restore the Magpies’ two goal advantage. With five minutes remaining Rolando Aarons and Daryl Janmaat both got on the scoresheet within 60 seconds of each other and Newcastle secured a remarkable 5-1 victory.
Unlikely? Very much so. The 5-1 results was a 500/1 shot, and combined with Wijnaldum to score first, it became a 2,250/1 scorecast that nobody predicted.