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Remind me next time

Get set, folks. This is some sporting weekend ahead - and I’m all over it!

In fact, does it get better?

Look what we’ve got.

It’s the Masters. It’s the Grand National. There’s a Grand Prix PLUS it’s Man City v Liverpool - and that could be a Premier League decider!

I’m starting with the Masters - and giving it to you straight. No f*cking around - it’s Rory McIlroy or Dustin Johnson for me.

The circus around Tiger helps Rory no end. Now, don’t get me wrong, Tiger Woods coming back to professional golf is amazing. He’s been through plenty - yes, largely down to his own making - but even so.

Him winning the Masters in 2019 was the greatest sporting comeback I’ve seen.

He hadn’t won a major for 11 years and had been some through some personal upheaval including a messy divorce and arrest.

Seeing his jaded mugshot beamed round the world was some fall from grace - but he came back and won golf’s most cherished tournament and donned the green jacket again.

Since then, as we know, he’s almost lost his leg in a car accident.

But Tiger is superhuman. He’s been through rehabilitation and him turning up at Augusta earlier this week was incredible. Now the stage is set - and that surely helps Rory.

His quest to win the Masters is becoming legend itself and, without Tiger, you know the cameras and attention would be trained on the Irishman. Not now, and hopefully that helps him.

Forget the missed cut in Texas last week. That was about fine-tuning his game and we know he can rip Augusta up. He’s done it before, but famously not for four rounds.

Yes, Rory can have his moments - even now - but his game has largely been decent over the past year and he gets the vote.

outrights

Similarly, the attention is less on Dustin Johnson now he’s no longer world number one. Scottie Scheffler has that mantle now and has made a rapid rise in recent months.

Dustin has enjoyed a dip - and I do mean enjoyed. He’s been in a far more relaxed mode since dominating the game, but there have been signs in recent weeks that his game is coming back - perfect timing I say!

Respect, of course, to the likes of Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas and Colin Morikawa.

All are major winners and leading contenders, as are the younger pair of Cameron Smith and Victor Hovland. Both have played well this season so far, as has our own Matt Fitzpatrick. All could easily figure.

But I’m adding the name of Justin Rose to my Masters trio. He’s played well at Augusta so many times before - finishing second twice and leading after the first round on a few occasions. He targets the major events now and might put it all together this week. 

So, to the Randox Grand National on Saturday at Aintree - and the crowds are back.

Last year it was surreal, but nevertheless exciting as a race and good luck to Minella Times and Rachel Blackmore in their bid to win back-to-back Grand Nationals. That would be something else.

However my two against the field are Delta Work and Santini.

Delta Work edged out the magnificent Tiger Roll at Cheltenham and sent him into retirement - and maybe knowing he’d be beaten again by his stablemate at Aintree prompted the decision of connections to call it a day with the great horse.

The form of that race looks good to me and Gordon Elliot’s runner is my main selection - joined by a rejuvenated Santini.

Now trained by Polly Gundry, he finished down the field in the Gold Cup but the Grand National has been the main target for a while and he should arrive fresh and ready to go. He stays all day.

horseRacingOdds

So, to the Premier League this weekend and what a humdinger we’ve got in store.

It’s Man City v Liverpool on Sunday - the Premier League decider.

Okay, that might be too soon, but whoever wins takes a huge psychological advantage into not just the rest of the season but also into their FA Cup semi-final clash at Wembley in ten days time.

I’m going with City - but only just.

Liverpool have been brilliant in closing the gap on Pep’s team. They’ve become a touch more pragmatic maybe of late and Klopp has certainly played a blinder in team selection and tactics to get the points on the board.

That’s been the most important thing, but now the shackles might be off and these two brilliant teams - head and shoulders above the rest now - could produce an absolute classic.

It’s tempting to go for the draw, but it’s City for me - just. They might just be the fresher of the two teams - but it’s going to be tight.

odds

Check out all my predictions for the weekend ahead.

Be lucky all and enjoy what’s coming!

Vinnie.

 

Vinnie’s best bets

Grand National

Delta Work
Santini

The Masters

Rory McIlroy
Dustin Johnson
Justin Rose

Premier League

3pm unless stated

Friday

Newcastle v Wolverhampton Wanderers 8pm DRAW

Saturday

Everton v Manchester United 12.30 EVERTON WIN

Arsenal v Brighton & Hove Albion DRAW

Southampton v Chelsea CHELSEA WIN

Watford v Leeds DRAW

Aston Villa v Tottenham Hotspur 5.30 SPURS WIN 

Sunday

Brentford v West Ham United BRENTFORD WIN

Leicester v Crystal Palace LEICESTER WIN

Norwich City v Burnley NORWICH WIN

Manchester City v Liverpool CITY WIN