Commodore's EPL Picks

Not a bad weekend, but then again not a great one. Mediocrity is death for a fully-fledged gambler like myself. We expect more, and I’m damn sure going to try deliver more this weekend. Chelsea blindsided me badly on Saturday and my credit rating has the scars to show it. That’s what you get for putting your faith in Fernando Torres. Mourinho will know better in the future, but he may just have blown his teams title chances in the present. Elsewhere Arsenal showed to have a bit of a backbone – fancy that. And all in all the big winners were Liverpool, so on the whole, I’ll take it.

Man City 3/10 draw 41/10 Southampton 15/2
The first stop this weekend is The Etihad, where Manuel Pellegrini will be tinkering in a bid to get his team’s title tilt back on track. The Saints will provide stern opposition, with a number of in-form players looking to stake their claim for a spot in the England World Cup squad. It finished all square when the two met earlier this term, but there is a lot riding on this one this time around. City can heap the pressure on their title challengers by claiming the three points here, and I don’t expect them to slip up here. 3/10 for the home win might not offer you much value, so perhaps you might look at City to keep a clean sheet at 5/4.

Aston Villa 9/10 draw 24/10 Fulham 31/10
Fulham’s loss to Everton has left them five points adrift of safety with only six games to go. It was one of those matches that seem to only occur involving bottom clubs; a game they dominated but ultimately lost. You have to feel that their trip to Aston Villa will give them one last shot at salvation, and despite Villa’s recent home victory over Chelsea their home form is diabolical. Fulham got the victory at Craven Cottage in December, and will be looking to do the double here. If they can repeat their performance from last weekend here then the 31/10 might just be worth a dabble.

Cardiff 13/10 draw 21/10 Crystal Palace 21/10
The bottom three are at risk of being cast adrift, with a number of the teams above them picking up valuable points this weekend. Saturday sees the proverbial six-pointer with Crystal Palace heading to Wales to take on a desperate Cardiff City team. I had given Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team little hope, but they have shown quite a bit of fight in recent weeks. Their last-gasp equaliser in a thrilling 3-3 draw showed me that they haven’t quite thrown in the towel just yet. Palace, for all their fine home performances have shown an inability to trouble teams away from Selhurst Park and as such I’m going with a home win at 13/10.

Hull City 15/10 draw 21/10 Swansea 18/10
A little further up the table, Swansea have given themselves a bit of breathing room following their comfortable victory over Norwich. It was their first win in seven league matches, and it leaves them seven points above the relegation zone. A trip to Hull City is in store for them this weekend, in a match that is about on even on paper as you can get. This is reflected in the betting, with Hull slight favourites courtesy of their home ground advantage. There’s good reason too, as The Swans are without an away win since November. They may have Michu causing a right scene for them up top, but I still worry about their defensive lapses. Give me a home win at 15/10.

Newcastle 3/1 draw 5/2 Man United 9/10
A battle for mid-table supremacy will occur at St James’ Park on Saturday, with David Moyes taking his inconsistent Manchester United team up north. Newcastle have been nothing short of woeful in recent weeks, conceding 7 goals in their last two without troubling the scorers. They did manage a momentous 1-0 victory at Old Trafford earlier this term, and will be hoping to repeat the feat here. Teams do seem to pick up their game against United, who seem there for the taking. Neither team inspires much confidence for me at present, so I’d rather go for Both Teams To Score at 7/10. It’s a solid enough bet with both teams’ defensive frailties.

Norwich 13/10 draw 23/10 West Brom 2/1
The second of Saturday’s basement battles sees West Brom travel to Norwich with both teams desperate for the three points that will lift them closer to safety. West Brom could live to regret the last-minute equaliser in their topsy-turvy clash with Cardiff. Norwich meanwhile were soundly beaten by Swansea as Chris Hughton’s side continue to flirt with relegation. The Canaries will carry in some confidence having won their last two meetings with the Baggies 2-0. Another evenly priced affair, which has me leaning towards over 2.5 goals at 11/10. If I had to pick a winner, I’d go with the home team once again at 13/10.

Chelsea 1/5 draw 51/10 Stoke 11/1
Closing out Saturday’s action, Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea will be looking to bounce back from their shock defeat to Crystal Palace when they take on Stoke at Stamford Bridge. Anything less than a victory will probably count them out the title race, so they’ll be going all out to claim the three points. Stoke enter this one on form, having claimed 3 victories in their last 4 outings including an impressive 4-1 away win at Aston Villa. Chelsea will be hoping Samuel Eto’o will have recovered from his hamstring strain in time to lead the line, or risk depending on Fernando Torres again. I’d wait on this one until we view the team sheets. So perhaps in-running betting is the way to go here. For a value bet, the 1-0 Chelsea victory at 9/2 looks a decent wager.

Everton 15/10 draw 23/10 Arsenal 7/4
Sunday’s first match will have massive Champions League ramifications, where Everton can move within one point of Arsenal with a victory against the Gunners. Five league wins on the trot has seen Roberto Martinez’s team on the brink of a top four finish. The Toffees had the better of the league meeting at the Emirates earlier this term, but were soundly beaten by Wenger’s team in the FA Cup quarter-finals. Both teams like to get the ball on the ground and play the game in the right way, so expect a couple of goals here. While I don’t expect Everton to get up and take fourth from Arsenal, I do foresee a victory for them this weekend. Goodison Park will be rocking, and it’ll make all the difference. Back the Toffees at 15/10.

West Ham 64/10 draw 36/10 Liverpool 4/10
Liverpool are now well and truly within sight of their first league title in 24 years. For once, it is in their hands. Eight wins on the spin has seen them climb to the summit, and I don’t expect them to relinquish that spot without a battle. That is exactly what they will have on their hands on Sunday when they travel to Upton Park. Old boys and Anfield flops lurk in every corner of the Boleyn ground, waiting to prove a point and shatter Scouser dreams. Andy Carroll will be the focal point for a West Ham side that is within sight of another top 10 finish. I’m going to let the superstitions get the better of me here, so I’m backing another Liverpool win. I keep doing it and they keep delivering. It may be a lowly 4/10, but I’m not changing tact now.

Tottenham 5/10 draw 31/10 Sunderland 52/10
Monday Night Football gives us a game of utmost importance for Sunderland, if not so much for Spurs. Tim Sherwood seems to have survived the axe, but another spineless performance like we witnessed at Anfield could be the last with him at the helm. Spurs seem a side incapable of challenging the bigger teams but their record against the lesser teams is immaculate. Against teams in the bottom half, they have conceded only one goal at home; against West Brom in a 1-1 draw. Goals will be at a premium here, so I won’t be staying up to watch this one. I’ll just throw down some money on under 2.5 goals at 21/20, and a bit on the home win at 5/10.

This remains a position that I haven’t ever found myself in; unexplored territory. As an unflinching Liverpool supporter, it’s become increasingly difficult for me to reign in my expectations. I’m going to hold off any rash predictions for another week, but expect some recklessness next week. Until then, Sala Kahle.

Written by Commodore Vegas
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Commodore’s Weekend Picks
Man City WIN 3/10
Fulham WIN 31/10
Cardiff WIN 13/10
Hull City WIN 15/10
Newcastle BTTS 7/10
Norwich WIN 13/10
Chelsea WIN 1/5
Everton WIN 15/10
Liverpool WIN 4/10
Tottenham WIN 5/10