By his own high standards, Harry Kane had a bit of a slow start to the season, and though he’s found the net for Spurs a few times recently, that form didn’t transfer to England’s rematch with their World Cup semi-final opponents on Friday evening.
While Raheem Sterling is looking to up his meagre return for the national, and Marcus Rashford wonders where his finishing touch has drifted off to, it was big Hazza’s blank in the empty Stadion Rujevica that hit punters hardest this weekend.
Those fans on the hill over the stadium were left scratching their heads whether it was worth the effort after the sides played out a goalless draw amid echoing shouts that brought to mind the Etihad on Champions League nights.
King Kane saw the most interest from our customers on the first goal scorer markets, taking almost twice as much money at 4/1 and 50% more bets than the next most popular selection… Shane Duffy of the Republic of Ireland!
Amazingly, and in line with the principles of the Total Football approach made famous by the Dutch side of the seventies that state every player should be able to play any position on the pitch, Ireland’s centre back is now so good he’s backed as the biggest goal scoring threat in Martin O’Neill’s side while lining out in the defence.
Sadly for our bettors the Brighton man couldn’t show how much his goal-getting game has come on, but they got plenty of value in his 22/1 odds even if the game was a bit of snoozefest.
He did get a 9.8 from the Russian judge for his last minute flop to the ground, so that’s some consolation.
There was one big winner for goal scorer gamblers to celebrate though – unless they were from Northern Ireland, who lost out in Vienna thanks to Marko Arnautovic’s lone goal on Friday evening.
West Ham’s wily goal weaver spun the Northern Ireland defence on its heels, tying up their offside trap before slotting away his 22nd international goal to make him our biggest first goal scorer pay out of the weekend.
And because it was the only goal of the game, he hit us on the last goal scorer market too.
Cheers for that Marko.