The cat’s out of the bag – West Ham weren’t ever actually going to finish top-four.
It was just a cockney fever dream – brought on by an iffy pint of cockles ’n’ pears I shouldn’t wonder.
By the time everyone else’s spare games are played out, the Irons will be back scrumming for seventh or eighth on my forecasts. Today’s hosts Leicester (4pm) won’t be miles away, despite the dismal look of the table right now.
Brendan Rodgers will know he’s got Randers on Thursday night – the Danish also-rans, not baseball with Danny Dyer – and surely won’t risk spaffing half-fit types from his injury list here in any do-or-die schemes?
Forcing the game would anyway play right into the hands of West Ham, who counter well but can struggle if they have to use the winkle pin – so a tight one looks favourite.
The set-piece stats say bet Craig Dawson ‘first scorer’ at 22/1 (Bet365) each-way. The big Hammer has been knocking at the door. And ‘Tomas Soucek to score with a header’ is a fun longshot at 14/1 (BetVic).
Newcastle were Europe’s big spenders in January, and still somehow got out-shopped by today’s visitors Aston Villa (2pm).
Wand-footed Barcelona loanee Philippe Coutinho cost Villa nowt or £25million less than a Chris Wood. Coutinho has two goals and two assists in two-and-a-bit games so far – the 3/1 (Paddy) ‘anytime scorer’ looks right.
Add longshot fun with Jonjo Shelvey – a Barcelona target at one time. He’s scored from range in two of his 10 games since Eddie Howe got the Toon gig. Punt him ‘anytime’ at 13/2 (Unibet) and ‘scores from outside box’ at 11/1 (BetVic).
On their stats, Mo Salah is worth every inch of his 5/6 (Fred) ‘anytime scorer’ quote and Harry Kane isn’t far away at 5/4.
Check both start and punt Mo on his own, plus a Salah-Kane ‘anytime’ double at close to 3/1 (Coral, Lads).
Over in Serie A, Jose Mourinho ’s Roma can rattle sloppy hosts Sassuolo (5pm) – get on Tammy Abraham ‘anytime scorer’ at 8/5 (Unibet), not far off on his raw numbers.
Last week: Winners at 2/1 and 9/5