Weekend Talking Points: Wolves win, Rory roars and Valtteri’s victory
Round-up of the weekend’s sporting action
A weekend of surprise results saw Wolves reach the FA Cup semi-finals, Valtteri Bottas edge out Lewis Hamilton in Australia and Scotland scrape a draw against England at Twickenham.
Liverpool’s victory over Fulham went to form, while Rory McIlroy’s victory at Sawgrass will have punters purring ahead of The Masters next month. It’s all covered in our Weekend Talking Points.
Wolves shock United to reach FA Cup semis
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wasn’t happy with Man United’s surprise 2-1 defeat to Wolves on Saturday night. The interim boss described it as a “big step backwards”, after goals from Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota condemned the Red Devils to defeat at Molineux.
Nuno Espirito Santo won’t mind. His side are now 4/1 second-favourites for a first FA Cup triumph since 1960. They’ll need to overcome Watford at Wembley to reach the Final, where either Manchester City or Brighton & Hove Albion will lay in wait after their respective comeback wins.
Liverpool go top as Fulham edge close to the drop
West Ham’s remarkable turnaround to beat Huddersfield Town was the standalone result of the weekend. But it was Liverpool’s 2-1 victory over Fulham which has bigger ramifications on the Premier League table.
While the Cottagers are all but down, Jurgen Klopp’s men now have a two-point lead at the summit going into the international break. Even an uncharacteristic mistake from Virgil van Dijk couldn’t dampen the Reds’ spirit. They’re now 2/1 to lift a first top-flight title since 1990.
England falter as Wales claim Grand Slam
The equation for Wales was simple. Beat Ireland and they’d claim a first Grand Slam success in the Six Nations since 2012. Warren Gatland’s men didn’t disappoint, storming into a 16-0 half-time lead before eventually running out 25-7 winners at the Millennium Stadium.
That meant England’s Calcutta Cup clash with Scotland was null and void. But Eddie Jones will be concerned with the way his side collapsed after taking a 31-0 lead in 31 first-half minutes. The Scots rallied late on and briefly led before George Ford’s late try rescued a 38-38 draw.
It’s a result that will concern Jones and co, who are now 4/1 for the Rugby World Cup.
Bottas emerges as the Wizard of Oz
Valtteri Bottas played second-fiddle to Lewis Hamilton throughout the whole of last season. So it was sweet justice for the flying Finn to take the chequered flag ahead of the five-time world champion at Albert Park.
A Mercedes 1-2 is par for the course these days, although Ferrari will be concerned at finishing 57s and 58s off the pace having been expected to front run Down Under. Scuderia chiefs are keen to stress they’ll bounce back in Bahrain, with Sebastien Vettel 11/4 for the race win.
Rory roaring in the Players Championship
Only five golfers have completed the modern Grand Slam. McIlroy will fancy his chances of making it six at The Masters next month following a nail-biting one-shot victory at the Players Championship on Sunday.
The Northern Irishman edged out Jim Furyk courtesy of a two-under-par 70 to give him victory on 16 under at Sawgrass. It was McIlroy’s first tournament win in a year and sets him up perfectly for a tilt at Augusta National on April 11th.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing