I’ve never been the most successful gambler but even I have never failed to predict at least one result – until this weekend.
Injuries, loss of form, blame it on what you will, but there were a number of surprises buried in my weekend coupon.
First up were Chelsea who had been imperious three weeks ago against Arsenal. So much so, in fact, that I said they had the air of champions elect about them. However, against Everton John Terry and co conspired to concede three of the worst goals you will see all season. The first was a double own goal, with deflections of Terry’s head and Peter Cech’s back sandwiching a fortuitous bounce off a post. A seemingly contagious inability to clear the ball gifted Yakubu a second equaliser, but the worst was saved till last. Cech went wandering and Drogba’s clearance ballooned off a confused Louis Saha and looped into the net.
Manchester United were next – they hadn’t lost to Villa at home in the league for 26 years – a banker on the coupon then. However, I hadn’t taken into account Martin O’Neill’s increasingly impressive outfit and the possibility of a tepid display from United – though if you ask Sir Alex Ferguson it was all the referee’s fault as he didn’t add enough injury time on. Manchester United’s Premier League odds might suggest otherwise.
And what about Spurs? 9-1 winners last time at the Lane they conspired to lose to second bottom Wolves. You’ll be telling me a Wigan player did a David Beckham next…
My chances of winning were well and truly down the tubes after that, so I moved away from football and concentrated on that annual love in, the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Plenty of contenders this year, a Boxing World Champion, a Formula One World Champion, and even an Ashes winning skipper. All worthy flutters, but always beware when the general public is involved. The sentimental vote was dished out in a big way and without a lifetime achievement award available Ryan Giggs rather sheepishly collected the main prize.
Now, I am a Ryan Giggs fan and part of me accepts that he deserves recognition for his professionalism over a long and successful career, but then I put my pedantic head on and think “the prize is for achievements in 2009!” Giggs might still be going strong, but over the last 12 months he has done little to justify his win. Jenson Button, on the other hand, managed to reach the pinnacle of his sport by becoming World Champion. Perhaps he’ll just have to keep driving till he’s 45. Maybe then he’ll get the nod from the British public. And yes, I had my money on Button.
It’s enough to make you watch X Factor.
Well, not quite…
Roll on the Cheltenham Festival, that’s what I say.