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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

The Soothsayer

Sacre bleu! Arsene Wenger must be wondering what has gone with his all-conquering Gunners as they lost 2-1 at home to Blackburn last week, a match that I highlighted as good value for Rovers. I hope you took my advice. Manchester United could only manage a draw at home thanks to an equalizer and first goal for United by Diego Forlan, which enabled Liverpool to stretch its lead at the top with an undeserved win against Tottenham. Glenn Hoddle must have felt hard done by as his team deserved at least a draw.

In the Russian Premier League last week CSKA went back to the top as Lokomotiv did not play. Spartak also had a good result away to Rotor, winning 3-0.

I'm having a bad run in the NFL as my tip, New England, went down 24-16 at home to Denver.

EUROPE





It's a weekend of derbies in the English Premier League, as Arsenal travels to west London's Loftus Road to play Fulham. I've had a whisper from a prominent Moscow-based Cottagers supporter (actually the only Fulham supporter) that this will be four defeats in a row for Arsenal, and even though Fulham is not on sparkling form I think he could be right and there is some good value out there. The Fulham win is 4.50-7/2 or with a handicap of +0.5 the price is 2.00-evens, which I think presents better value as you have the draw as well.

Tottenham faces Chelsea at White Hart Lane in another London derby. This is a tough one to call -- no difference in the prices and form -- so I'll go for a draw at 3.25-9/4. There is also a northeast derby as Newcastle takes on high-flying Middlesbrough, where there is of course some value in taking Boro' at 3.50-5/2, or a better bet is with the draw +0.5 at 2.10-11/10.

Liverpool is at home to West Ham, and we can expect a few goals here mainly from the team in red, Liverpool being 1.40-2/5 to win. I know it's a short price but it's a sure-fire win.

Manchester United is playing host to Southampton, but don't expect the same scoreline as last year (6-1), as the Saints are on a bit of a run, five games without defeat, so the bet of the week has to be Southampton +1.5 goals at 1.90-9/10.

The Russian league could well be decided this week: If CSKA fails to win at Alania Vladikavkaz and Lokomotiv beats Sokol on Saturday and then gets a win at Alania on Wednesday, then one more win will secure the Railwaymen the Russian title for the first time in their history. The best bet this week is to go for a win double on Lokomotiv on Saturday and Wednesday at the combined odds of 2.75-7/4.

UNITED STATES





Who can I give the kiss of death to this week? Fresh off a bye week, the San Diego Chargers should be more than ready to battle their way past the New York Jets. Last week, the Jets suffered a demoralizing 24-21 defeat at the hands of Cleveland. The Jets had the game won but squandered a big lead. At home to the Jets, the Chargers have also won four of the last six and a win will give the team their first 7-1 start since 1994, the year they advanced to the Super Bowl. Jets quarterback Chad Pennington better take care, as the Chargers lead the AFC with 22 sacks and are the only team in the conference with three players on 4.0 sacks or more. Go for the Chargers -- 6.5 at 1.90-9/10

Last week's loser cost the kitty $20, and it is now down to $90.

CHARITY BET



Our tipster had some bad luck at Arlington last week, with Islington beaten into third and Landseer breaking down while out in front. So with no new funds to add and his strike rate dropping, our intrepid punter this week eyes the world of rugby league, backing New Zealand to beat the Welsh in this weekend's clash at 30 points, 1.30-3/10.

The pot still stands at 28,255 rubles.

BET OF THE WEEK



$20 double
Southampton +1.5 to win 1.90-9/10(6 p.m. Saturday)
San Diego Chargers – 6.5 points to win 1.90-9/10(12:05 a.m. Monday)
Possible winnings -- $72

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