Commodore's EPL Picks

It may not have been a perfect weekend, but the big results went my way and in the end that was enough to turn a profit. Things were never going to be easy at this stage of the season, where teams are either stumbling around like zombies, or are a bloodthirsty bunch of savages hell-bent on saving themselves from the dreaded drop. This week’s approach involves only betting on teams that have something to play for. The rest are already on holiday.

Crystal Palace 11/10 draw 9/4 Aston Villa 26/10
Crystal Palace showed last week just what I mean by a team with their backs against the wall. A simply stunning performance against Cardiff was capped by a sumptuous strike from Jason Puncheon to wrap up the 3-0 victory. Their opponents this week weren’t as impressive. Without the imposing Christian Benteke Villa succumbed to Fulham as I imagined they would. When these two met earlier this season at Villa Park, it was Palace that took a slim 1-0 victory. They can all but assure their safety with a victory here, and are tipped to do the double at 11/10.

Fulham 11/10 draw 24/10 Norwich 9/4
Villa’s conquerors Fulham will be looking to build on their victory in the hope of executing a great escape. Felix Magath has given them renewed hope, but they still sit 5 points away from safety. Of course they will be able to change that this weekend when they meet Norwich at Craven Cottage. The Canaries have been treading water all season and manager Chris Hughton has paid the price. After a summer spending spree that brought in a number of internationals, their performances haven’t been up to scratch. Only Crystal Palace have scored less goals than Hughton’s team. Fulham are on the up, Norwich are going the other way. Another home win for me at 11/10.

Southampton 5/10 draw 32/10 Cardiff 51/10
Southampton were well in the game with Manchester City until the assistant inexplicably failed to flag David Silva offside in the build up to City’s second. Things went from bad to worse, with Jay Rodriguez damaging his cruciate ligament, an injury that will rule him out for the next six months. It’s been a great season for the Saints, with a top half finish all but assured. Cardiff will pay them a visit this weekend, with time quickly running out. A spineless showing at home against Crystal Palace has left them six points from safety with five games to go. Southampton easily swept them aside when the sides met in December and I expect them to do the same again here. You seeing a trend? Take the Saints at 5/10.

Stoke 11/10 draw 24/10 Newcastle 24/10
A mid-table nothing game if ever there was one, Newcastle travel to the Britannia to face Stoke. Neither team has been good enough to truly challenge for anything this season, but they haven’t been quite so terrible as to risk relegation. They’ve just stewed in the mid-table mire for much of the season. Stoke disappointed last weekend, but back on their home turf I expect them to put in a better performance, especially against a Newcastle team who is seemingly already on a beach in Cannes. They’ve lost their last 3, conceding 11 in the process. It’s all pointing toward another home win at 11/10.

Sunderland 7/2 draw 5/2 Everton 8/10
I tipped Everton to beat Arsenal last weekend, and they duly obliged. However, before the game I said I still fancied the Gunners claim the final Champions League berth. Now I’m not so sure. Everton were deserving of their comfortable victory and are a side oozing with confidence at the moment. Their opposition this weekend are on the opposite end of the spectrum. Having gone down 5-1 to a mediocre Spurs side, Gus Poyet has all but waved the white flag. They need a miracle now, and I’m afraid the footballing gods seem they are all out. I can’t look further than another Merseyside victory at 8/10.

West Brom 2/1 draw 9/4 Tottenham 13/10 
The final game on Saturday see’s the aforementioned Spurs travel to the midlands to face-off against West Brom. Pepe Mel’s Baggies made off with a vital 1-0 victory last weekend thanks to Morgan Amalfitano’s superb strike. These two drew earlier this season in Tim Sherwood’s first game in charge, and it seems his time is already up. His players responded in the best fashion possible on Monday night, by sweeping aside Sunderland 5-1, but there is still something about this Spurs side that doesn’t quite gel for me. The Baggies need one more performance to all but assure their safety and I see that coming here against an inconsistent Spurs outfit. Another home win, this one at a more profitable 2/1.

Liverpool 27/20 draw 5/2 Man City 18/10
All the title challengers will be in action on Sunday, with Liverpool and Manchester City given the chance to land the first blow at Anfield. It doesn’t get any bigger than this. Win, and Liverpool will be on the verge of that elusive title. Lose, and City will surely be crowned champions once again. These are the fine margins that we’re dealing with. The Reds haven’t lost in the league in 2014, City have only gone down once. There’s very little to choose between the two, with both capable of blowing the other off the park. I’d bank on there being goals, over 3.5 goals at 12/10. As for a result, I’m going for the Reds to keep rolling on. I’ve backed them throughout this run and I’m not about to change that now. SASAS to the fore. 

Swansea 42/10 draw 26/10 Chelsea 13/20
If the earlier kick-off had to end in a draw, Chelsea will be given an opportunity to draw level on points with Liverpool with a win at the Liberty Stadium. It’s never an easy place to go, especially with Swansea fighting for their lives near the foot of the table. The last two meetings between the two in Wales have ended 1-1; showing just how difficult things can be across the border. The Blues responded well to their setback against Crystal Palace, but they don’t strike confidence in me at the moment. Michu and Bony will have more than enough to keep Terry and co busy, and I fancy Swansea to get something out of this one. A missed chance for Mourinho’s men, as this is tipped to end in a draw at 26/10.

Arsenal 4/10 draw 36/10 West Ham 13/2 
Arsenal were atrocious against Everton and there’s no doubt about it, Wenger’s job is under scrutiny. If it isn’t, it damn well should be. Nothing less than a comfortable victory over West Ham at the Emirates will do for the jackals gnashing at his heels. Oxlaide-Chamberlain and Ramsey should make a welcome return, but West Ham are a difficult side to get to grips with. Just ask Liverpool. Do Arsenal have the steel to win this battle? No, but they do have the skills. The Gunners won’t have it all their own way, but I expect them to come out on top. The bet for me though is Both Teams To Score at 17/20.

I may have been a tad conservative this weekend, but sometimes you just have to believe that the bookmakers got it right and bet accordingly. I’d be wary of the bottom three – they are all one loss away from the drop in my eyes. As for the big one, I’ll be a couple drinks down before that one kicks off. The nerves are getting too much for me, and I expect to be a quivering wreck come the middle of May. Enough speculation though, us gamblers survive on cold-hard facts. Liverpool have already seen off Arsenal, Spurs, Everton and United at Anfield this season. On Sunday, it’ll be Manchester City that’ll be blown away first by “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and then by Stevie G and the boys. Take that one to the bank. 

Written by Commodore Vegas
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Commodore’s Weekend Picks
Crystal Palace WIN 11/10
Fulham WIN 11/10
Southampton WIN 5/10
Stoke WIN 11/10
Everton WIN 8/10
West Brom WIN 2/1
Liverpool WIN 27/20
Swansea DRAW 26/10
Arsenal WIN 4/10