Commodore's EPL Picks

Once John Terry popped up to celebrate another thing that he hadn’t done I should’ve known the weekend was doomed for failure. It was the first of many disappointments over the weekend as the Premier League continued to throw up surprising results by the dozen. The top four opened up the gap to the rest and with eleven games remaining it looks like a four horse race. Or two horses, a Shetland pony and a Chihuahua. However you see it, it’s going to go down to the wire.

Everton 9/20 draw 32/10 West Ham 63/10
Everton were on the receiving end of John Terry’s snatch and run, when in truth they probably deserved more from the game. They looked comfortable for most of the 90 minutes and Roberto Martinez’s changes gave the impression that he believed they could snatch it. A visit from West Ham this weekend should provide some stern opposition, with the Hammers in a rich vein of form. They’ve now notched up four wins on the trot and with the return of Andy Carroll, Big Sam is doing a little jig on the touchline. This one has brought with it plenty of goals in the past and I fancy that trend to continue. Back both teams to score at evens.

Fulham 62/10 draw 36/10 Chelsea 9/20
Felix Magath was minutes away from masterminding a much-needed victory against fellow strugglers West Brom, but this league is cruel. On managers and punters alike. It certainly was a much-improved defensive performance from the Cottagers and they’ll need to build on that against Chelsea this weekend. The Blues’ 1-0 victory was the hallmark of Chelsea’s title winning side under Mourinho and their second such scoreline in four matches. Fulham have failed to score in each of their last three outings against their near-neighbours from across the Thames, and that record looks like it may just continue here. With Chelsea struggling for goals themselves, I’m going with under 2.5 goals at 11/10.

Hull City 27/20 draw 22/10 Newcastle 21/10
Steve Bruce is starting to look like something of a miracle worker at Hull City. A 4-0 victory over Cardiff lifted them six points clear of the drop, and with Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long combining effectively up front they look fairly safe at present. It’s Newcastle for them this weekend, in the reverse fixture of one of the matches of the season. It was Sone Aluko’s stunning volley that claimed a 3-2 victory for Hull that day in an enthralling encounter. The Magpies actually managed a win, and a goal against Villa with the returning Loic Remy providing some relief for under-fire Alan Pardew. Despite this Newcastle still look a side woefully short on confidence and given Hull’s newfound attacking prowess they should be rolled over quite easily here. Back the Tigers at 27/20.

Stoke 47/10 draw 27/10 Arsenal 6/10
Another striker that is back amongst the goals is Olivier Giroud. Following his off-field indiscretions, his return to the starting lineup against Sunderland brought with it a brace of goals. They’ll need his goals at The Britannia this weekend as they look to overcome a stubborn Stoke side that pushed Man City all the way. That the Potters have only lost twice on their home ground and beaten both Chelsea and Manchester United shows that this is still a tough place to come. With howling winds and frenzied fans it’s a far cry from the glamourous surrounds of The Emirates. Arsenal do have a great away record, but they are without a win from their last three away games. If Stoke are up for it, and they usually are, this could be a long afternoon for Wenger’s men. I’m liking the look of the draw at 27/10.

Southampton 26/10 draw 5/2 Liverpool 1/1
Liverpool were at their swashbuckling best and catastrophic worst against Swansea as they kept their title chances alive by the narrowest of margins. A trip to the South Coast this weekend will put their credentials to the test once again against a team that has had the better of them in recent times. Southampton claimed a 1-0 victory over the Reds earlier this season, and eased to a 3-1 victory in the corresponding fixture last season. Liverpool have been made odds-on favourites for this one but they have been shaky on the road, where their defence has been even more porous. As such I’d steer clear of the outright and rather go with both teams to score, which may seem short at 11/20 but that’s because it’s a certainty.

Aston Villa 11/10 draw 24/10 Norwich 26/10
Just when you think the axe is about to drop on Chris Hughton, he pulls out a result that keeps him in a job for a little while longer. Norwich fans have even begun calling him Hughdini. They were fully deserving of their victory over Spurs, effectively stifling the Londoners attack before catching them on the break. Expect a similar game plan at Villa Park this weekend as they look to kick-on toward safety. Villa were on the receiving end of a 1-0 scoreline, making it three matches without a goal for Paul Lamberts side. The Villains have been diabolical in front of their fans, while Norwich aren’t much better on the road. Go somewhere else if you’re looking for action. If you’re looking for a punt, take under 2.5 goals at 15/20.

Swansea 8/10 draw 26/10 Crystal Palace 36/10
Things continue to be extremely tight at the bottom, with Swansea all the way up in twelfth place sitting just four points above the drop zone. They will host Crystal Palace this weekend in what is an intriguing match-up. The Swans have shown a bit more resolve since Gary Monk took the reigns, but they have still not managed to halt the flow of goals past Michel Vorm. Palace were unlucky against United, and were it not for a reckless challenge by Chamakh they may have made off with a point or three. If Palace are to stay up it, will be on the back of their home form, for their performances away from Selhurst Park don’t inspire much hope. They’ve managed just 6 points from 12 away games. As a result I’m leaning toward a home win, priced a bit short at 8/10.

Tottenham 7/20 draw 4/1 Cardiff 83/10
Closing out the weekends fixtures, Tottenham will look to get back to winning ways when they host Cardiff at White Hart Lane. Spurs were back to their early season ineffectual selves as they dillied, dallied and were rightfully punished by Norwich. Without the width and pace offered by Lennon and Townsend this Spurs team don’t have much to have me believing they can finish in the top four. Their opponents on the other hand look nothing less than a Championship side, and a mediocre one at that. Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer is in over his head and they look a shoe in for the drop. A spineless capitulation at home to Hull showed just how out his depth the Norwegian manager is, and they should be soundly beaten here. Back Spurs to do the double over the Bluebirds.

With Manchester City and Sunderland meeting at Wembley there isn’t a full set of fixtures this weekend, but at least we have a cup final to look forward to. Sunderland have a good record against the Citizens, but you have to believe that even they can’t stop City from lifting the first silverware of the season. If you can find someone willing to give you some odds, back Toure as an anytime goalscorer and fleece those rubes for all they’re worth. Other than that, have a good weekend. See you on the other side. Mahalo.

Written by Commodore Vegas
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Commodore’s Weekend Picks
Everton BTTS 1/1
Fulham U 2.5 Goals 11/10
Hull City WIN 27/20
Stoke DRAW 27/10
Southampton BTTS 11/20
Aston Villa U 2.5 Goals 15/20
Swansea WIN 8/10
Tottenham WIN 7/20