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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

The Soothsayer

The big three of Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool all won last week in the English Premier League. Arsenal has taken Man United's mantle of scoring winners in the last minute of the match, so the position at the top looks unchanged. The Red Devils' win against Leverkusen, its first in Germany in 36 years, was far more impressive than last week's thrashing of Macabbi, but the big plus was Ruud "Van the Man" Nistelrooy finding the net twice without the aid of the penalty spot -- so maybe changes will soon be on the way to the Premier League table.

Spartak could not hold on to its lead against Rostselmash and after this draw can probably kiss the Russian Premier League title goodbye. CSKA beat Torpedo-Zil on Monday, and although Lokomotiv's game was postponed, it looks like the title is its for the taking with only six games to go and its nearest rivals having played more games.

Despite losing 35-3 to Ireland in Krasnoyarsk last week, the Russian rugby union team can still make the World Cup next year if it beats Georgia and Romania in its last two games.

My English bet of the week was a winner, but the U.S. bet went narrowly down, so the kitty only gets a small nibble.

EUROPE



There are some tough games in the English Premier League this week, but the one that stands head and shoulders above them all is Arsenal's visit to Leeds. The Gunners are on top form at home and in Europe, while Leeds recently beat Sir Alex Ferguson's men 1-0, then flopped against Blackburn the following Sunday. If Leeds can repeat the performance it had against Man United this Saturday, then Arsene Wenger could be looking at his first Premier League defeat in 28 games. All great runs have to end somewhere, so back a Leeds win at 2.75-7/4.

Liverpool has a difficult away game at inconsistent Manchester City. City can beat the best but is still very suspect at the back, and this will let it down; it's a draw at 3.25-9/4.

Manchester United may have to do without van Nistelrooy away at Charlton on Saturday as he picked up a knock against Leverkusen. I say may, but really I think Fergie will wave his magic wand and van Nistelrooy will make a miraculous recovery. Back him for the first goal and a Manchester United win at a special price of 5.00-4/1, or just a Man United win at 1.72-8/11.

CSKA will be the only one of the Russian Premier League top three to play this weekend. It has an opportunity to go just one point behind the leader if it beats bottom club Sokol, which it should do at 1.40-2/5.

DOWN UNDER



I thought the Australian Rules Grand Final was worth a mention. It takes place Saturday at 8 a.m. Moscow time. I admire the blood and thunder of rugby, but not knowing much about it I've been doing some swatting up. The Brisbane Lions are the holders of "The Flag" and are in only their second grand final. They have an awesome record in reaching it, thrashing the opposition out of sight. The Collingwood Magpies, or "The Club," on the other hand have been in many finals and after starting badly have come good at the right time. The best bet I think is the Lions to win -- 34.5 handicap at 2.00-Evens.

UNITED STATES



On Sunday at 11 p.m. it's the U.S. Grand Prix. I'm going for Juan Montoya at 6.00-5/1 to win at Indianapolis, the place where the Columbian made his name in the CART series.

I'm making one NFL selection this week, and that is New England at San Diego to be under 41.5 points at 1.90-9/10. Both teams have won their opening three games, so things will be tight.

RYDER CUP



The 34th Ryder Cup starts Friday at 10 a.m. It's back at the Belfry for the first time in nine years, and as a result 10 members of the U.S. team will be first-timers on these fairways. As this course is used on the European tour, nine of Sam Torrance's team know it well, and this is why I am backing Europe at 2.75-7/4 to take the Ryder Cup back across the Atlantic. Even with Tiger in red-hot form, one player does not make a team.

After one winner and one loser, there's only $11 to add to the kitty, which is now $146 in profit.

CHARITY BET



The charity money increases by 860 rubles to 27,205 rubles as Russia did indeed beat the Argies at tennis. This week, before our top tipper heads back to England for the last of the flat season, he casts his eye over the sport once aptly described as a waste of a good walk, namely golf and the Ryder Cup. He is backing the Americans at 1.50-1/2 to beat Europe.

BETS OF THE WEEK

3 x $5 Doubles, 1 x $5 Treble

Ruud van Nistelrooy to score first 4.00-3/1

(6 p.m. Saturday)

Juan Montoya to win the U.S. Grand Prix 6.00-5/1

(11 p.m. Sunday)

New England at San Diego under 41.5 points 1.90-9/10

(12:15 p.m. Monday)

Possible winnings -- $443

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