A full midweek fixture list immediately on the back of an FA Cup weekend is always difficult to predict. With some teams earning confidence boosting wins, others slipping up against lower league opposition and a lucky few enjoying winter breaks in Qatar, this week’s fixtures were no different. Unperturbed, we poured over the fixtures trying to find some value for you.
Tuesday night saw two of our bankers in action as Stoke hosted Wigan and Man City travelled to QPR. Dr Zoidberg made a strong case for a Stoke victory and looked well on course as they lead 2-0 shortly after half time. With the largest stake of any of our pundits on the line, I’m sure Dr Z would have chosen the 49th minute to cash out and secure a nice profit, but unfortunately for him we haven’t built that feature into the site yet. In the end, Wigan fought back to earn a draw and left Dr Zoidberg with a sizeable dent in this week’s budget. Meanwhile, I had put considerable faith in Man City to beat QPR and listened in agony as a combination of an inspired Julio Cesar and wasteful finishing meant City left with just a point. Well done to Dr Zoidberg though who correctly predicted a low scoring encounter.
Tuesday proved to be just the aperitif before the feast of goals on Wednesday evening. Thankfully, that was exactly what I was hoping for in the Arsenal – Liverpool match. The Gunners defence are their own worst enemy at the moment and it took no time at all for Sturridge and Suarez to cause havoc in the Arsenal penalty box and grab the opening goal for the visitors. Arsenal bounced back to create a string of good chances only to be denied by Pepe Reina or a lack of composure. Just as I was beginning to think they would never score, Olivier Giroud (mentioned as a threat in our write up) buried a header to start the come back and complete my banker.
THTP also won his banker as he rightly predicted that Everton would beat an inconsistent West Brom. Just like Stoke on Tuesday night, Everton cruised into a two goal lead thanks to left-back/striker Leighton Baines, but THTP must have been on the edge of his new sofa as West Brom halved the deficit midway through the second half. Thankfully, THTP’s profit was secure as Everton held strong and avoided becoming the fourth team this week to give up a two goal lead to draw 2-2.
Elsewhere, we got it pretty wrong: Fulham beat West Ham despite Dr Zoidberg’s support, Newcastle’s French revolution began at Villa, and the Old Trafford crowd were restricted to just three goals this time out.
This weekend we’ve got a full spread of football league action, the return of the Six Nations, women’s cricket world cup and the ‘greatest show on earth’ (the Super Bowl) for our pundits to get their teeth into. Our picks will be back tomorrow.