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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

The Soothsayer

The Gunners did it again last week. They blew away Sunderland as if they were in a different league. In the process they sent Peter Reid to the dole queue. Liverpool left it very late, but a last-minute winner from Michael Owen secured victory. The result put a few more worry lines on the brow of Chelsea's Claudio Ranieri -- he may be a good outside bet to lose his job next at 31.00-33/1. Manchester United also left it late but was a bit more convincing than the Reds from Merseyside as it beat Everton 3-0.

As soon as I said that Lokomotiv had the Russian Premier League in the bag, it goes and loses its second game of the season, 2-1 to Saturn, opening the door to CSKA -- which now tops the table by one point. Spartak has also got an outside chance of snatching the title but there will have to be a lot more shocks for that to happen. Lokomotiv has played fewer games than the other two so its destiny is still in its own hands.

My bet last week was let down by my NRL and NFL tips -- I must stop tipping sports that only use initials.

EUROPE



It's all Euro 2004 qualifiers this week, the most interesting match being Georgia and Russia, and for more reasons than just football. For Russia to lose this one would be nothing short of a national disaster. Even though the game is in Tbilisi, the Russians have enough squad depth to win this one easily ... as long as the pressure does not get to them. Expect a few goals and back Russia to win at 1.91-10/11.

England goes to Slovakia on Saturday night without Rio Ferdinand and Sol Campbell. This will not be an easy trip but the English should still kick off their campaign with a win at 1.72-8/11.

There are some other qualifiers that present outstanding value, such as Israel to beat Malta at 1.30-3/10 and Italy to beat Yugoslavia at 1.50-1/2. The best bet is Iceland to beat the hopeless Scottish team which, even at its best, would find it difficult to beat a local under-12s team. Back the Icelanders to win at 2.10-11/10.

UNITED STATES



I said last week that the San Diego Chargers were the last unbeaten side but there was one more: the Oakland Raiders. Now, as I tipped the Chargers last week to win and that was the kiss of death, this week I'm going for Oakland (-6.5 points 1.91-10/11) to beat the St. Louis Rams and continue its winning run. Get on Oakland to win the Super Bowl at 8.00-7/1 -- you won't see that price next week.

The kitty's down again by $10 and is now $116 in profit.

CHARITY BET



For the second week running the charity funds have not increased from 27,205 rubles, but after meeting our charity tipster on the flight back to Moscow he assures me he's on to a winner in the Cesarewitch later this month. 250 rubles each way on Hawkwind at 26.00-25/1.

BET OF THE WEEK



$20 double
Russia to win 1.91-10/11 (7 p.m. Saturday)
England to win 1.72-8/11 (9:30 p.m. Saturday)
Possible winnings -- $66

Frank Caruana is the manager of Sportland. Contact him at Soothsayer@imedia.ru