English Premier League Week 3 Commodore Vegas Preview

Well it’s fair to say that the season has hardly caught alight with a couple of drab matches over the weekend that seemed to mirror the rather uncommon early season showers. With only 17 goals scored across the 10 fixtures, it’s clear to see that no one is willing to go for broke this early in the season. With a number of managerial and personnel changes, it’s no shock to see this cautious approach being taken. However with two rivalries that have taken on cult like status coming to our screens this weekend, the season could finally spark into life. I sure hope it does, because watching last week’s action was something akin to going to the dentist with a hangover.

Man City 1/6 draw 13/2 Hull City 12/1
Before then, though, we must get through some of the lesser fixtures. A meeting of Man City and Hull fits this bill, although given City’s shock defeat in Wales, I won’t be taking anything for granted. Hull clung on to a 1-0 victory over Norwich despite going down to 10-men, and they’ll need a similar fighting spirit if they are to stop the blue moon from rising here. Pellegrini will already be versed on the differences between the English Premier League and La Liga - there are no easy matches here hombre. Perhaps it is finally time for us to see the silky skills of Stevan Jovetic, but with Dzeko and Aguero combining so well, he may feel the need to bench the Serbian once more.
Either way, they should have too much for Hull. This time I am sure, and this time I suggest you back the ‘cap.

Cardiff 21/10 draw 24/10 Everton 5/4
Malky Mackay may have masterminded a historic victory for Cardiff, but he’ll be needing plenty more of those if the blue birds, or red dragons, or whatever they now call themselves are to stay up. This weekend it’s Everton at home, and they might just fancy their chances. Swansea City before them built their top-flight survival on their home form in front of their die-hard support, and Mackay would be well advised to do the same. Roberto Martinez’s Wigan side had endless troubles on the road, and although he may have better players at his disposal, I’d utilise that little titbit until proven differently.
Call me reactionary, but after watching Cardiff on Sunday, they could cause many teams trouble at home - back them at 21/10.

Newcastle 11/10 draw 24/10 Fulham 5/2 
Watching Newcastle ponderously stroke the ball around St James Park on Saturday had me longing for the time when Faustino Asprilla and David Ginola made you think that Newcastle Brown Ale was the most stylish beer in the world. I wouldn’t even take a dime from current sponsors Wonga.com if they gave it to me - clearly Newcastle need it more than I do. They were insipid against West Ham and could’ve gone down if Big Sam had shown more inventiveness. This week it’s Fulham, who have that trait in heaps, but with Darren Bent now in the mix, they also have someone to finish their fancy football. Will it be enough to get a win? No.
I’d stick with a draw here. The going price, 24/10.

Norwich 19/10 draw 23/10 Southampton 14/10
The next match has mid-table meeting written all over it, but with Pablo Osvaldo and Ricky Van Wolfswinkel leading the line for the respective clubs, it actually might be worth flicking onto. Such is the draw of these clubs in this new television-rich climate that they were able to attract players that previously would’ve only opted for European football. Both Norwich and Southampton left points out on the field last weekend, but it was the Canaries that would’ve felt more aggrieved. Sometimes playing against 10-men is harder than eleven. Such is football. With two teams that will give it a go though, hopefully we’ll have goals. As a punter, the two draws last season suggest a tight match.
Stick with the draw, but if you spot an early goal get some money on the overs market.

West Ham 19/20 draw 24/10 Stoke City 28/10 
Last season, this could easily have been a ding-dong battle, with long-balls raining from the sky as gladiator’s battled below in a scene fit for the Coliseum. Now though, Stoke want to actually play football. It’ll be a long and arduous task for Mark Hughes - like re-training a dog that was repeatedly beaten by its previous owners. When confronted, it’ll fall back into its old ways, like Stoke against Palace last weekend. This week it’s West Ham, a side that will most certainly “make it rain”. If the new-look Stoke get the ball down on the surface and try to play, I fear that they’ll lose whatever edge they might’ve had.
These two have often shared the goals amongst each other, so a clever bet here might be both teams to score at 17/20. Be wary though.

Crystal Palace 29/20 draw 24/10 Sunderland 18/10
The final game on Saturday sees Crystal Palace take on Sunderland at Selhurst Park. Di Canio’s Black Cats may have shown themselves tough to break down last weekend, but they offered very little going forward apart from their early sucker-punch thanks to the “magical midget” Emanuele Giaccherini. Palace weren’t much better in their showing against Stoke, even with Marrouane Chamakh somehow managing to get on the scoresheet. Neither team has really shown me that they are in for anything other than a relegation scrap this season, so don’t expect too much quality here.
 I do think Palace might sneak a win here though.

Liverpool 31/20 draw 23/10 Man United 7/4 
Still the biggest fixture on the English calendar, Liverpool and Manchester United kick-off Super Sunday with a meeting at Anfield. There have been positive signs coming out of Merseyside so far this season, with a resolute defence giving them a platform to build on moving forward. That defence will be without Kolo Toure this weekend, and with Martin Skrtel struggling for vowels and fitness, they’re a bit short on options. United were underwhelming against Chelsea, and even Wayne Rooney’s chicken-without-ahead approach failed to impress upon the game. There have been goals in this one in recent times, and I see this one going no differently.
As for a result, I’m going to curse the Reds here and go with a home win at 31/20.

West Brom 31/20 draw 24/10 Swansea 17/10
West Brom’s start to the season has been a far cry from last year’s burst from the blocks. One point from two matches and no goals scored and things aren’t looking so rosy for Steve Clarke and his team. Throw in the sabbatical taken by Nicholas Anelka and the picture looks pretty grim. Swansea have started even worse, and find themselves at the foot of the table. They didn’t offer much against Tottenham, and it’d be nice to see Michael Laudrup grow a pair and start both Michu and Bony against the lacklustre Baggies.
Another tough one to call, with not much in the way of form to go on - but if the Swans can get their act together, they can get the three points here at 17/10.

Arsenal 1/1 draw 5/2 Tottenham 11/4
The final match of the weekend is my favourite fixture of the season - every season. The North-London derby is good for one thing, goals. Spurs may have signed a whole new team for the price they got for Gareth Bale, but only Etiene Capoue has any interest in the defensive side of the game. It makes for a good match, because Arsenal don’t really have any cares for the defending either. The loss of Podolski midweek will be a blow, but with Ramsey and Giroud in sumptuous form, the Gunners look a team growing in confidence. I expect that to continue with a win over their rivals, whose newsignings will have to go through a bedding in process.
The home win at evens and over 2.5 goals at 7/10. Go big, or go home.

There you have it, from the Commodore’s mouth. It has been a tough start to the season, with most teams’ conservative approaches playing havoc on the form books. I suggest you take the same path, and remember these words, “When in doubt, back the draw.” I’m not even going to hazard a guess at a multiple this week. I’m conserving my cash until some semblance of form appears on the radar. Enjoy the footy, Sala Kahle!

Cautious Commodore Vegas
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Man City 1/6
Cardiff 21/10
Newcastle draw 24/10
Norwich draw 23/10
West Ham v Stoke (Both
Teams to score) 17/20
Crystal Palace 29/20
Liverpool 31/20
Swansea 17/10
Arsenal 1/1