Commodore's EPL Picks

The FA Cup is dead. Long live the FA Cup. Every man and his uncle had rung the death knell for footballs oldest tournament, then came Sunday’s match between Arsenal and Liverpool. Now that was a cup-tie. In the end as Daniel Sturridge sat inconsolable near the centre-circle, there was very little doubt that the cup is alive and kicking. Don’t tell me the cup don’t mean nothing anymore. It certainly drove a dagger into my heart watching The Reds exit on the back of yet another Howard Webb catastrophe. Fear not though, it’ll take more than that to stop yours truly from having a punt. So back on the horse I get. Lets ride.

Chelsea 11/20 draw 3/1 Everton 51/10
West London is the destination, Jose Mourinho is the target. Following his jibe at Wenger, the special one don’t seem so special no more. Failure came Chelsea’s way, and his comeuppance came swiftly. A cup exit at the hands of Manchester City, while Wenger’s ‘flops’ saw off an in-form Liverpool. Who is a specialist in failure now, ey? Mourinho better find a way past Everton this weekend, a side that got the better of them earlier in the campaign, or risk more mockery. Everton have a solid record against the Blues, unfortunately that is slightly skewed by results at Goodison Park. If Martinez plays his cards right, his side could snatch a point here. The thought of Mourinho losing more points is enough to get me excited. Back a draw at 3/1.

Arsenal 3/10 draw 44/10 Sunderland 95/10
Over to you Mr Wenger. Having masterminded victory against Liverpool, the astute Frenchman can heap the pressure on his fellow title challengers with victory against Sunderland. The Black Cats also find themselves in the quarters of the cup, following a rather drab 1-0 victory over Southampton. It was their fifth victory in their last seven matches, and Gus Poyet has completely transformed this side from the beleaguered bunch we saw under his predecessor. Enough to beat Arsenal on their home patch? I think not, back the Gunners to maintain their title push with a victory here.

Cardiff 15/10 draw 9/4 Hull City 18/10
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was touted as the savior of Cardiff City upon his arrival in Wales, but he is looking pretty far from it now. A cup exit at the hands of Wigan, one win in their last ten, including a hammering against Swansea and the club looks destined for the drop. If they fail to get a result against Hull, they could find themselves back on the foot of the table. The Tigers showed plenty fight to snatch a draw against Brighton in the cup, with a late Yannick Sagbo goal securing a replay. Hull may have been victors on their previous away day outing against Sunderland, but their form on the road leaves a lot to be desired. Neither team looks capable of victory here, so back the draw.

Man City 1/6 draw 67/10 Stoke City 14/1
Manchester City bounced back from a difficult week to see off Chelsea in the cup, with a number of players returning to give Pellegrini options across the park. Stevan Jovetic and Javi Garcia had key roles to play at The Etihad, along with the returning Samir Nasri. No squad is stronger in England at present and despite a midweek meeting with Barcelona they should have too much for Mark Hughes’ Stoke City side. The Potters have suffered 3-0 defeats on their last two visits to this ground and it wouldn’t shock me if this one had to go the same way. Back City to win both halves at a rather generous 11/10.

West Brom 15/20 draw 27/10 Fulham 37/10
Oh Fulham, what a shambles of a club at the moment. They look a team destined for the Championship, and that was even before they decided to dispense with their manager who had only been in charge for two months. Packing their bags along with Meulensteen were Ray Wilkins and Alan Curbishley. The dream team that became a nightmare. In their place, Felix Magath has been given one simple task: Save us. Okay, perhaps it’s not so simple. A visit to West Brom, who themselves are teetering on the brink will be his first challenge. They won at the Hawthorns last season, although that might be out of the realms of possibility here. Rather back both teams to score at 15/20.

West Ham 2/1 draw 23/10 Southampton 27/20
West Ham are a testament to what happens when you stick by your manager. Manchester United fans will tend to differ, but a little faith goes a long way. Big Sam, the fire-breathing Englishman, has taken his side from the depths of despair up to eleventh in the table in a matter of weeks. The visit of Southampton will give them an opportunity to make their way back into the top 10, such is the congestion at the bottom. As for the Saints a cup exit has left their season a bit in the lurch, with nothing much to play for. Finishing higher than Manchester United might not even get them Europa League football. As for a result here West Ham are on the up, and are tipped to continue the trend with a victory here.

Crystal Palace 49/10 draw 28/10 Man United 6/10
Across London at Selhurst Park, Tony Pulis is looking to heap more misery on David Moyes and his inept band of not so merry men. Juan Mata for all his cute football can’t even seem to get United out of first gear. Tom Cleverly has been made the scapegoat, most probably because a goat could outperform him in the middle of the park. Only Wayne Rooney looks to be giving his all for the cause, while he seeks out a contract elsewhere. It’s a sad state when you expect Manchester United to put in more crosses than a Tony Pulis managed team. I actually feel sorry for them. Not enough to stop me from having a punt on Palace though, at 49/10.

Liverpool 3/10 draw 9/2 Swansea 17/2
Further up the table, Liverpool will be looking to maintain their title tilt when they host Swansea on Sunday. The Swans are a far cry from the team that Brendan Rodgers left, despite finding themselves in a rather lofty tenth place. They were put to the sword on Merseyside just last week. Throw in Liverpool’s 5-0 win in the corresponding fixture last term and this hardly looks a happy hunting ground for them. The Reds have been playing champagne football on their home turf this season and are tipped to claim a comfortable win here. Back them on the ‘cap at 7/10.

Newcastle 21/20 draw 23/10 Aston Villa 26/10
Newcastle are in free-fall. A 4-0 loss to what is hardly a swashbuckling Spurs team says it all. Three losses on the trot and ten goals conceded. They might be relieved to see Aston Villa next up on the fixture list, a team who aren’t without their own problems. But looks can be deceiving, especially seeing as Villa are a better team on their travels. With their counter-attacking prowess, they are better suited to playing on the break, and Newcastle will have to be wary of the threat they pose. A Villa win would put Newcastle on the verge of an all-out mutiny. Luckily for them, I think they can get something out of this one, although I’m backing both teams to score at 8/10.

Norwich 27/10 draw 24/10 Tottenham 21/20
We close things out at Carrow Road with Spurs sauntering into town on the back of their 4-0 victory. Emmanuel Adebayor is playing like a man in the shop window, which is exactly what he is. Tim Sherwood has done a good job with this team, who are now the best team on the road in the league. As for Norwich, they’ve managed only one win since the turn of the year and find themselves just one point outside the relegation zone. Chris Hughton better get out the old pitchfork and shovel because he could very well be on gardening leave soon. Especially after Spurs claim a victory at 21/20. 

It really has been one hell of a ride so far, and there’s still 12 matches to go. Then it’s the World Cup in Brazil, complete with unfinished stadia, rioting Brazilians and the odd bit of footy. This really is a year to savour, especially if Liverpool had to claim a long-awaited title. I didn’t just say that did I? There goes our chances for another season. That’ll be all. Good afternoon, good evening and good night.

Written by Commodore Vegas
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Commodore’s Weekend Picks
Chelsea DRAW 3/1
Arsenal WIN 3/10
Cardiff DRAW 9/4
Man City Win Both Halves 11/10
West Brom BTTS 15/20
West Ham WIN 2/1
Crystal Palace WIN 49/10
Liverpool Handicap (-1) 7/10
Newcastle BTTS 8/10
Tottenham WIN 21/20