Commodore's EPL Picks

Football, bloody hell. Just when you thought Liverpool had the title all but wrapped up, with only a Jose Mourinho Invitational XI standing between them and inevitable glory, they slip. After Stevie G’s rousing, “We do not let this fucking slip!”, he slipped, and may just have handed the title to Manchester City. Elsewhere Ryan Giggs has been proclaimed the savior of Manchester United after outwitting some a caretaker manager with 90 whole minutes managerial experience. Everton’s players don’t seem to want the extra travel brought on by Champions League qualification, so they are doing their best to sabotage their season, while Sunderland have suddenly realized that they actually might just get relegated. Two weeks to go, can you hold your nerve?

West Ham 31/10 draw 5/2 Tottenham 9/10
We start elsewhere though, in a match that doesn’t really matter in the greater scheme of things. Yes, Tottneham have Europa League qualification to play for, but does that really matter? No, it doesn’t. Their opponents this week, a West Ham team that are dragging themselves across the finish line. Big Sam has been heckled by his own supporters recently, and Andy Carroll isn’t helping his cause by failing to do the one thing he’s in the side for – to put away headed chances. The Hammers gave Spurs a hiding when the two met earlier this season, but they have no form to go on. There’ll be few goals here, and I’m going for the draw.

Aston Villa 13/10 draw 22/10 Hull City 21/10
There’ll be a number of games at 4pm on Saturday, the first of which sees Hull City travel to Villa Park. Aston Villa have plummeted down the league table in recent weeks and now find themselves just 3 points above the drop zone. With their final two games coming against Man City and Spurs away, Paul Lambert would’ve earmarked this as their last hope to save this terrible season. Abonglahor looks bright, but the rest of the team are already on summer holiday. Hull have an FA Cup final on the horizon so it’ll be interesting to see how Steve Bruce lines his team up. If Long and Jelavic start, Villa could be in deep trouble. Check the team sheets and bet accordingly.

Man United 7/20 draw 42/10 Sunderland 63/10
I’m not taking anything away from Ryan Giggs or Manchester United’s performance on Saturday, but the way current champions celebrated a home victory over the Canaries was a telling illustration of just how far they’ve fallen. They are a long way from being contenders, and apart from Rooney and Mata there isn’t much in the way of world-class talent in that squad. Sunderland come to town on a high, and with it all to play for. Connor Wickham has started to look every bit the Premier League footballer, poor haircut and all. Five goals in three games and he’s single-handedly keeping the Black Cats in the league. Giggs will give it a full go, so expect goals here. Take Both Teams to Score at 15/20.

Newcastle 1/1 draw 24/10 Cardiff 27/10
Newcastle may have their manager back on the touchline, but until they have a striker worthy of the name, they’re never going to challenge the big boys. They’ll have to wait until the summer to rectify that, but in the meantime they have some football to play. A home match with Cardiff should really be an assured three points, but somehow I’m not convinced. The Bluebirds felt hard done by against Sunderland, but in truth they were some way off their fellow relegation strugglers. Goals have been the problem for both these teams all season. Saturday will be no different. Back under 2.5 goals at 21/20.

Stoke 12/10 draw 9/4 Fulham 23/10
I really thought that Fulham may be able to do it, but the home draw with Hull put all but paid to their chances of survival. For 20 whole minutes last week they found themselves out of the bottom three, a silver lining after months of darkness. Then Nikica Jelavic popped up at the back post and as the eye of the storm passed, leaving them clinging to a slim chance of Premier League survival. They have been better in recent weeks, but without that home win things are looking bleak for one of the Premier League’s most loved clubs. If they fail to get a result at Stoke they could be down by the time the sun sets on the Britannia. This is the end of the line I’m afraid for the Cottagers, whose former manager Mark Hughes will be the one to inflict the final blow.

Swansea 13/10 draw 23/10 Southampton 2/1
A couple week’s back Swansea looked likely to be drawn into the relegation battle, but back-to-back wins have seen them secure their place among the elite for at least another season. Wilfried Bony has been the catalyst, but it was Jonjo Shelvey’s moment of genius that was the highlight of their 4-1 victory over Villa. He’s shown glimpses of brilliance during the campaign, but also moments that make him look like a League Two journeyman. It’s Southampton at home for them this weekend, who picked up their first win in four against Everton last time out. The Saints ran out comfortable 2-0 winners earlier this term, and despite Swansea’s recent resurgence they should have too much for their hosts. Back the away win at a well priced 2/1.

Everton 39/10 draw 26/10 Man City 7/10
The final game on Saturday is the latest in a line of “title deciders”, with Man City travelling to Merseyside to face Everton. The Toffees loss to Southampton all but ended their hopes of a spot in the Champions League, but don’t expect Roberto Martinez’s team to roll over at Goodison. In fact their record at home against City makes for interesting reading. They have won their last four matches, conceding just one in the process. The overall scheme of things is no different, having won 9 of the last 13 meetings between the two. They were ragged against Southampton, and if they repeat that performance then the title will be City’s. Gauge the atmosphere in the ground before throwing down, but at 39/10 Everton are just way too long not to have a punt given their history in this fixture.

Arsenal 1/4 draw 9/2 West Brom 95/10
So Arsene Wenger has all but guided his team to the Champions League in another stock-standard season at the Emirates. Burst out of the blocks; stumble over Christmas; fall apart somewhere around March and secure a top 4 finish come May. Arsenal are going nowhere slowly, and even a victory over West Brom to clinch that coveted top 4 spot fails to hide that. The Baggies look out of danger following their much-needed victory over West Ham, so it’s not as though they will be playing as if their careers depended on it. A number of Arsenal players should be in that position, but somehow I struggle to see any form of revolution happening over the summer. Arsenal to run out comfortable winners.

Chelsea 2/9 draw 5/1 Norwich 11/1
So Jose Mourinho “masterminded” another massive victory at Anfield on Sunday. His pragmatic approach may bring results but it’s certainly not pretty on the eye. I’d rather have a lit cigarette put out on my cornea than endure another 90 minutes of his 10-0-0 formation, wild gesticulations and chest pumping. I won’t be watching their match against Norwich on Sunday, I’ve got some grass to keep an eye on, but they should surely be able to see off the Canaries. They may have plenty to fight for, but then again so did Liverpool. Expect Mourinho to chop and change his side depending on their Champions League result. Either way, they should get the victory here.

Crystal Palace 68/10 draw 37/10 Liverpool 7/20
Oh Liverpool. Just when the years of agony seemed at an end, they conspired to bring about defeat in the biggest game of their careers. Like a red tide crashing against a blue wall, there was little thought or notice about just what they were doing, just keep on battering away in the hope that something will give. Nothing did. And now they find themselves calling in a favour from Everton. Sturridge should return for the Reds, who lacked the guile and intricacy that had led them to the top of the table against Chelsea. Crystal Palace are safe in the middle of the table and I don’t see this being any different from the Manchester City match. Liverpool to win and Both Teams to Score. This one is going down to the wire.

There you have it, the penultimate week of the Premier League season. Anxiety levels are at an all time high, and I’m in need of a stiff drink. I’m at risk of letting my heart overrule my head, but what am I to do? I’m a man of passion, and this is the most passionate of games. If you’re just here for the money, then you’re a damn fool. That will be all. Until next week, 

Sala Kahle.

Written by Commodore Vegas
Follow him on Twitter here!

Commodore’s Weekend Picks
West Ham DRAW 5/2
Man United BTTS 15/20
Newcastle U 2.5 Goals 21/20
Stoke WIN 12/10
Southampton WIN 2/1
Everton WIN 39/10
Arsenal WIN 1/4
Chelsea WIN 2/9
Liverpool WIN 7/20