In addition to the front-runners there have been a few surprise performances not least from 21-year old Michael White, who has already knocked out Mark Williams and Dechawat Poomjaeng and will go on to face Milkins or Ricky Walden in the quarters. He is currently at 22 to win the tournament and although I don't advise backing the in-form man, especially one so inexperienced, if he can carry his momentum into his next match there is no reason to suggest he could not make the semis. Poomjaeng, who was unfortunately knocked out yesterday, has been the source of much entertainment in his brief spell at The Crucible and I'm sure many will be sad to see him out. I think Maguire's quote that he doesn't think Poomjaeng 'is the full shilling' pretty much sums up his antics.
Over in football land United sowed up the title in brilliant fashion and we have entered the stage of the season where the outright markets begin to settle or partly settle their bets. I'll be honest and admit this does confuse me slightly as it skews the profit and loss margins on each market as each team gets knocked out of the running. But anyway, the biggest market still left in contention definitely seems to be the race for the top 4, or even top 3, while the final relegation spot also seems unsettled. I feel each weekend between now and the end will be crucial for both of these battles and it is difficult to see who has the easiest run in for the top 4 race. Arsenal face United at home this weekend and although Ferguson has rightly vowed to honour the top 4 race, I don't see any reason why Arsenal cannot take at least a point from the champions-elect. If they can avoid defeat on this occasion they would certainly appear to hold a small advantage over the other two, who still need to play each other on May 8th. I am sticking with my belief that Chelsea will be the ones to miss out, while Arsenal will take 3rd place. This is not the market belief however, as Chelsea are favourites for the top four at 1.33 and top 3 at 2.04. We shall see.
Down at the bottom it is really difficult to call and I won't be getting involved there. On the surface it seems that Wigan have the tougher run in but I get the impression people are reluctant to oppose them due to their heroics in recent seasons. I can't help but feel though that this may be one season too far for the club, especially as they have the FA Cup final to think about as well, although I do hope I am wrong. Enjoy your weekends.