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I`m a lover, not a fighter. My campness is not a result of liberal idealism; I`ve simply lost so many brawls that i`ve had pacifism thrust upon me. Nowadays, the only way i`d get involved in a ruck is if the wife was being mugged. If we stood together, I reckon we could take her.

Jose Mourinho and Roman Abramovich do not share my increasingly feminine outlook. War has broken out between manager and chairman, and Chelsea`s title ambitions are the first confirmed casualty. The beleaguered Blues are still firing on all cylinders in the cups though; Nottingham Forest will be cut down at a scything 1/7.

Petr Cech is so concerned about the ongoing hostilities, he`s whipped out his helmet as a safeguard. With the inspirational keeper between the sticks and a revitalised Shevchenko leading the line, I`m quietly confident that the Blues will either win 3-0 or 4-0, a scenario which pays out at a more socially acceptable 3/1.

The normally placid Frank Lampard has reacted angrily to criticism from Joey Barton this week. I can`t help thinking that Frank should have just taken it on the chin; the second one. The Lamp is in fine fettle, he must be backed at a rotund 11/8 to find the net at any time.

If the fallout from the 'Big Brother` house has taught us anything, it`s that we must unite as a people. Let`s come together, right now, to back West Ham at 5/6 to see off Watford.

Wayne Rooney has admitted to knowing all the songs from 'Oliver!` off by heart. I`d have thought 'Grease` would have been more up his alley. They say an army marches on their stomach`; Rooney can lead his United troop to a victory over Portsmouth at 3/10.

Southampton look overpriced to cause a shock at Manchester City. The Saints are flying high in the Championship, Bradley Wright-Phillips is in goal scoring form and Pele is sure to make it hard for Psycho`s men. Man City are always the epitome of unpredictability, the Saints can march in at 4/1.

I don`t believe in déjà vu, although i`ve got a niggling feeling that I may have mentioned that once before. Birmingham face Reading in the 4th Round for the second year running; the Blues came out on top last time, at odds of 6/4, a repeat is more than a possibility.

Violence is never the answer. Unless the question is, 'What`s the best way to ensure my dinner`s on the table on time`. Reading coach Wally Downes actually laid hands on Neil Warnock last week, when push comes to shove, I suggest you back Birmingham to win 1-0 at 15/2.

It`s been reported that Tottenham may be given a bye in the UEFA Cup; how can they be so sure that they`ll meet Rangers? I`m absolutely positive that Spurs will beat Southend at 1/4.

Is it wrong for me to continually speak of my admiration for Thierry Henry? Apparently, it is during lovemaking. It`s hard for me to think of the Gunners without remembering my wedding day. It brings a tear to my eye to think of the wife being led down the aisle by her father, shortly after her brothers had led me down head first. I`m welling up about the 8/15 for an Arsenal win over Bolton.

Mike Newell`s comments on female officials were nothing short of abhorrent in today`s more enlightened society. There is a definite place for the fairer sex in the beautiful game; those pies don`t heat themselves. Blackburn will see off Luton at a rather warm 5/6.

Stoke will be up for the fight at the Cottage, but like Big Brother`s Jackiey, they`re poorly armed. I`m going to go out on a limb and suggest that a Fulham win at 8/13 is a punt pulled directly out of the top drawer.

Many people admire Ghandi for his unswerving commitment to resolving conflict in a non-violent manner. Personally, I preferred it when Thumper tried to teach him how to ice skate. Middlesbrough are on fire, they`ll turn over Bristol City at a red-hot 11/10.

It`s not the size of the dog in the fight; if it was, the wife would be the undisputed world heavyweight champion. Birmingham, Middlesbrough, Fulham, West Ham and Arsenal form an 18/1 accer that is so dominant, any argument against it would be like foreplay; a complete waste of time and effort.

Weekend Betting:

Luton v Blackburn Saturday 27th January 12:30
Live on BBC

Luton 10/3
Draw 12/5
Blackburn 5/6

Get on: Blackburn

Match Special:
McCarthy to score two or more goals 11/2

Birmingham v Reading
Saturday 27th January 15:00

Birmingham 6/4
Draw 9/4
Reading 17/10

Get on: Birmingham

Match Special:
Campbell to score the only goal of the game 33/1

Bristol City v Middlesbrough
Saturday 27th January 15:00

Bristol City 3/1
Draw 9/4
Middlesbrough 11/10

Get on: Middlesbrough

Match Special:
Yakubu and Viduka both to score 13/2

Fulham v Stoke
Saturday 27th January 15:00

Fulham 8/13
Draw 13/5
Stoke 5/1

Get on: Fulham

Match Special:
Fulham to score three or more goals 9/4

Tottenham v Southend
Saturday 27th January 15:00

Tottenham 1/4
Draw 9/2
Southend 10/1

Get on: Tottenham

Match Special:
Defoe to score two or more goals 4/1

West Ham v Watford
Saturday 27th January 15:00

West Ham 5/6
Draw 5/2
Watford 4/1

Get on: West Ham

Match Special:
Benayoun to score at any time 11/4

Man Utd v Portsmouth
Saturday 27th January 17:15
Live on BBC

Man Utd 3/10
Draw 4/1
Portsmouth 9/1

Get on: Man Utd

Match Special:
Ronaldo to score direct from a free kick 7/1

Chelsea v Nottm Forest
Sunday 28th January 14:00
Live on BBC

Chelsea 1/7
Draw 6/1
Nottm Forest 18/1

Get on: Chelsea

Match Special:
Shevchenko to score a hat-trick 20/1

Man City v Southampton
Sunday 28th January 15:00

Man City 4/6
Draw 5/2
Southampton 4/1

Get on: Southampton

Match Special:
Southampton to win 2-1 16/1

Arsenal v Bolton Sunday 28th January 16:00
Live on Sky

Arsenal 8/15
Draw 3/1
Bolton 13/2

Get on: Arsenal

Match Special:
Henry to score from a Fabregas pass 9/2

By Gerry McDonnell

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Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Andy Leggott
Date:Thursday January 25 2007
Time: 1:31PM

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