This may be the last Goalscorer Gamble of the season. I say ‘may’ because I have no idea if there will be enough games on next week to fashion a column and it’s frankly far too early on a Saturday morning to check.
Anyway, the point is that it would be nice to go out with a bang, whether it’s this week or next. Last weekend we turned a small profit as Cameron Jerome and Jason Cummings delivered at juicy prices.
At this point of the season it’s slim pickings in terms of fixtures but let’s hope this restriction serves to focus the mind. We start somewhat inevitably then with the FA Cup final, in what promises to be a more intriguing game than we’ve seen in recent years.
Arsenal of course start as heavy favourites but Tim Sherwood’s Aston Villa are an unpredictable beast, capable of pulling off a shock as they did in the semi-final against Liverpool, or being thrashed as they recently were by Southampton.
One thing that has been guaranteed under Sherwood is goals and Christian Benteke has been the man to provide them. The Belgian has scored 11 goals in his last 11 appearances of the season and will look to add to that tally against an Arsenal side who have conceded in four of their last five games. The likely odds of [3.75] for Benteke to find the net should be snapped up.
Over in Germany it promises to be an emotional cup final as Jurgen Klopp looks to bow out at Borussia Dortmund with one last trophy. Looking to spoil his day are Wolfsburg who have just finished in second place in the Bundesliga.
The form goalscorer for either side is Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has eight goals from his last 11 games. The Gabon striker has had a good season in difficult circumstances, scoring 24 goals from 45 matches in what has been a troubled season for Dortmund.
Five of those goals have come from four cup appearances, so let’s back him at [6.6] to open the scoring on Klopp’s big day.
In Spain, Barcelona compete in the Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao. In what looks like a fatal flaw in Spain’s cup competition, the final is being played at Barcelona’s Camp Nou – giving them an advantage that they don’t really need.
One of Barca’s eyes will probably be fully trained upon the Champions League final next weekend, but they should still win this comfortably enough. Lionel Messi has scored all Barcelona’s last three goals, yet prior to the past two games Neymar was matching him stride for stride.
The Brazilian has scored nine goals in as many games to take his tally to 37 in 49 games for the season. With a record like that, the [2.22] on offer for Neymar to score looks like good value.
It may be cup final day in most countries but in tardy old Italy they are still playing league games. Napoli against Lazio is a vital match with Champions League qualification at stake, and Rafa Benitez’s men need to win it, with the Rome-based club only needing a draw.
The player who interests us is one we backed last week without success. Manolo Gabbiadini has scored five goals from his last seven games and is worth a punt to score the first of what Napoli will hope to be many goals, at a probable price of [8.0].
We finish with another cup final, this time in France. No one will be surprised to learn that Paris St Germain have made the final, where they will take on Auxerre side who are without a win in seven Ligue 2 games.
As nice as fairytales are, it’s hard to expect anything other than for PSG to win by a French cricket score. All eyes will be on Zlatan Ibrahimovic but it is Edison Cavani who is scoring more goals right now, with nine from his last six appearances.
In total he has 30 goals from 52 games and in such circumstances, the price of [2.0] for Cavani to grab some more looks a good bet.
Best Bet: Back Benteke to score at [3.75]
Back Aubameyang to score first at [6.6]
Back Neymar to score at [2.22]
Back Gabbiadini to score at [8.0]
Back Cavani to score at [2.0]