With the New Year came the inevitable Cheeky Punt health kick. After numerous aborted ‘Dry January’ attempts I didn’t even bother degrading myself this year by pretending I could go 31 days and nights off that sweet, sweet peeve.
Instead, after a chance conversation with a Tunisian doorman mate of mine in the gym (Hi Karim!) I decided I would start my days in January by drinking extra virgin olive oil mixed with honey.
The health benefits are said to be plentiful yet hand on heart I’ve not seen any substantial gains in this department at time of writing. I did however spike three consecutive both teams to score wagers (Doncaster v Portsmouth, Espanyol v Deportivo and Everton v Leicester) so said ingredients may have mystical healing powers when it comes to BTTS punting. Watch this space.
Saturday was FA Cup third-round day, a day of days for footballing romantics up and down the land. I was itching for a lumpy single and figured that Bournemouth ticked plenty of boxes at 4/5 away to Millwall.
An expansive, ball-playing side safe from relegation who should give the oldest knock-out competition in the world their full attention. I had £150 on and could not believe my ears when I heard on the radio at 2:50pm they had made 11 changes. In the event they slumped to a rather shocking 3-0 defeat, with beleaguered boss Eddie Howe closing afterwards his “hands were tied” and citing the demands of the Premier League.
Nothing sums up the mad vacuousness of the modern game more than teams focusing on their mid-table Premier League finish ahead of seeking glory in the FA Cup, Wembley and all. Except maybe the ubiquitous floating disembodied head of Ray Winstone.
I learned two things on Tuesday. Firstly, Hull City are terrible and going down. Secondly, you should never task an infant with organising the tea. I was on babysitting duties for my sister so sat my young nephew in the trolley and advised if he stopped rhyming on, he could choose the tea.
15 minutes later we were leaving Aldi with six toffee yoghurts, a packet of all butter croissants and some frozen curly fries. I mean what the f**k was I meant to make with that? My speciality is, and has always been, spaghetti bolognese. It’s well documented.
I’d messed up badly regarding the evening meal but not in deciding to lump Manchester United minus a goal at 1/2 against Hull. The Tigers had a load out injured and I was convinced an easy win was on the cards at Old Trafford. However with the score at 0-0 at half-time I don’t mind admitting my a**e was nipping. Juan Mata eventually broke the deadlock but when Jose Mourinho brought Marouane Fellaini for Mata with 11 minutes left I was literally swearing at the TV.
For me, Fellaini has been abysmal every time I’ve seen him in a United shirt this season and I was giving him dog’s abuse in a gambling group I’m in on WhatsApp when he popped up with a header late doors to make it 2-0 and save my fiscal bacon.
It was a strange game. The Red Devils dominated but rather like my dinner that night there was very little end product. As my old mam is fond of saying though, “A meal is as good as a feast.” Thanks you Marouane, sincerely.
Cheeky’s Punt of the Week: Burnley to beat Southampton at 5/2 (Sky Bet)