FOOTBALL can be a cruel game. I was looking at three winners in Sunday's Premier League matches before four late goals in the three matches handed me a trio of losers.
We all know football lasts 90 minutes (and more) so I can't complain but Man Utd's clincher, followed by Everton's comeback from the dead and Liverpool's late flurry left me relying on Real Betis and Napoli to score against Barcelona and Napoli respectively and thankfully that duo saved the day.
And I didn't know whether to salute Lionel Messi's record-breaking feat or simply chuck another bottle at the telly. I'd planned to put him to score first as the Super Single but there were doubts about whether he'd recover from an injury picked up against Benfica in midweek so I left him out.
Anyway today's another day and there are a few sides who catch the eye. I'll start with yesterday's nememis, the Premier League, and I've got to admit the fixture list has thrown up another tough game to call.
Fulham entertain Newcastle and to me it looks a draw or home win. With Fulham a best 1-1 with bet365 and Ladbrokes there is no value in the double chance so I'm taking a little risk on Martin Jol's men.
Bookies agree with that verdict because Alan Pardew’s men are as big as 3-1 at Betfred to pick up their first away victory of the campaign. Last Monday I backed against Newcastle and they ended a four-match losing streak with a 3-0 victory against Wigan but who knows what would have happened if their opponents hadn't been reduced to 10 men after 12 minutes.
I'm not sure if Newcastle would have won and until they get the likes of Johan Cabaye and Ryan Taylor back they could continue to struggle. Hatem Ben Arfa could be back but there is a slight doubt over Demba Ba who netted two against Wigan.
Fulham welcome back big centre-half Brede Hangeland and he's been a big miss. If Hangeland has an influential game at the back and Dimitar Berbatov does the business up front then Fulham could win this.
My one concern about Fulham is they haven't scored in three and are without a win in six but they have beaten Newcastle on four of their last five visits to Craven Cottage.
There is one game in La Liga and I like the look of Rayo Vallecano at home to Real Zaragoza. Rayo have been superb at home and if you don't count defeats to Barcelona and Real Madrid have won four and drawn five.
Rayo's games in La Liga this season have averaged 3.4 goals so over 3.5 has a chance at 21-10 with sportingbet. Both teams to score is also a possibility although Rayo's last four haven't brought up this market and it pays just 8-13 at William Hill.
There are also two games in Serie A with Sampdoria facing Udinese and Bologna taking on Lazio. Four of the past six Samp-Udinese meetings have been draws with three of them producing over 3.5 goals – two 2-2s and a 3-3.
Udinese have been up and down all season but one thing's been a constant – they've conceded 13 in six games and with Samp scoring in five of six the best bet could be both to net at 10-11 at William Hill.
Lazio are unbeaten in six as they push for a Champions League place and could edge a win at a Bologna side who look like they'll be fighting the drop this season. The Romans have won four of their last five in Serie A – the other result was a commendable draw against Juventus – so I'm considering them at 13-8 with William Hill.
There are a couple of big games in Russia – Rubin Kazan v Spartak Moscow and Zenit v Anzhi. Rubin should win while Zenit v Anzhi could be a cracker between two title contenders. In the two games I'm looking at both to score.
Berbatov to score
(13-8, William Hill)
Both teams to score treble
Zenit v Anzhi (4pm)
Sampdoria v Udinese (6pm)
Rayo Vallecano v Real Zaragoza (8pm)
Pays £55.90 to a £10 stake at bet365