Commodore's EPL Picks




And we’re back. The international break is a thing of the past and we can get back to more important matters at hand. The transfer window is well and truly shut and teams will have to make do with their current batch of players. Manchester United broke all sorts of records this summer as Van Gaal set about restructuring the club by first ripping out it’s soul. You’ve got to commend his unwavering confidence, but it’s a dangerous game to play. The scavengers are waiting for him to fall, claws sharpened and teeth baring. Falcao better hit the ground running, or he risks going the same way as Fernando Torres – to the MLS via Italy. Too good to fail some may say, there’s no such thing.

Arsenal 19/10 draw 23/10 Man City 13/10
The weekend kicks-off in north London as Arsenal prepare to host Manchester City. Both teams enter this one on the back of less than desirable results. The Gunners seem a striker light at present, while City were strangely off colour against Stoke. It’s likely nothing more than a blip on the radar, but with their Community Shield defeat still fresh in the memory, things may not be as they seem in the land where the blue moon rises. Last year’s corresponding fixture ended in a 1-1 draw, with the reverse going to City by way of a stunning 6-3 scoreline. Arsenal showed solidity in their Champions League qualifiers and I expect the same here. A draw for me, with the 1-1 favoured at 11/2.

Chelsea 3/10 draw 43/10 Swansea 81/10
Despite my lingering doubts over his fitness, Diego Costa has been an instant success in England. Mourinho’s got his striker and his side looks the better for it. A thigh injury to their new main man could yet derail their early season form, but in Didier Drogba they have an able deputy, even at the age of 36. Swansea travel to the Bridge this weekend as the only other side with a 100% record in the top flight and they’ll prove tough to break down. With the pace of Nathan Dyer and the power of Wilfried Bony, they have enough to land a counter-punch or two. It’ll be intriguing, with the Blues tipped to sneak through by the odd goal.

Crystal Palace 11/10 draw 22/10 Burnley 5/2
We’re almost a month into the new season and Crystal Palace finally have a manager. Neil Warnock will slip into Tony Pulis’s tracksuit and cap on the touchline as Palace look to avoid the drop. Warnock is many things, but a saviour he is not. QPR floundered and Sheffield United sunk on his watch and Palace look likely to follow suit. Burnley managed a good draw against Manchester United last time out, keeping Rooney and co at arms length for much of the 90 minutes. Putting that home result aside, I think they’ll struggle here against the fired up Eagles. Back the home team at 11/10.

Southampton 8/10 draw 5/2 Newcastle 33/10
I’ve already seen enough to know that both Newcastle and Southampton will be safe this season, and that neither will be able to sustain a European push. They’re set for a mid-table squabble with the hope of a cup run lobbed in for good measure. Southampton were full value for their 3-1 win at West Ham, with Morgan Schneiderlin trebling his Saints goal tally in one afternoon. They’ll be more settled now that the transfer window has been shut. The Saints won the corresponding fixture 4-0 last term and, although their side has changed considerably in the interim, they still look likely to finish higher than Alan Pardew’s band of continental drifters. Another for the multiples at 8/10.

Stoke City 11/10 draw 21/10 Leicester City 5/2
Stokes 1-0 win against Manchester City defied common sense. To make matters even more unbelievable, Mame Biram Diouf – one of the worst players to have ever turned out for Manchester United – slipped the ball through Joe Hart's legs for the winner. Leicester City come to the Potteries this weekend having earned themselves a commendable draw against Arsenal in their last outing. Paul Konchesky is enjoy something of a renaissance on the left flank for the Foxes, which has no doubt caught Roy Hodgson's eye. These two met in the FA Cup earlier this year with Stoke coming away 2-1 victors from the match at the Britannia. This one should be no different, back them at 11/10.

Sunderland 5/2 draw 23/10 Tottenham 21/20
Prior to the match against Liverpool, even I was buying into the hype surrounding Spurs. They looked the part in their dismantling of QPR although, in truth, it was QPR. They head to north to face Sunderland this weekend, a team they've taken a fancy to in recent seasons. In fact they've won five of their last six against the Black Cats, including a 5-1 rollicking earlier this year. Gus Poyet's Cats were tame and timid against the aforementioned QPR a fortnight ago, a surefire warning to steer clear. Spurs have the record and the pedigree. They also have my money, at 21/20.

West Brom 23/10 draw 23/10 Everton 11/10
Everton were pretty damn good against Chelsea. Unfortunately for the Roberto Martinez and the Goodison faithful, Chelsea were just that much better. The Toffees have a good side here, not one capable of pushing for the Champions League, but a good one nonetheless. A trip to the Hawthorns to face West Brom should be a guaranteed three points, but you just never know what you're going to get from both these teams. The Baggies were horrendous against Swansea, but with a wave of Chris Brunt's magical left foot, they could be sublime on Saturday. I'm sticking with Both Teams to Score, a safer bet at 7/10.

Liverpool 1/4 draw 46/10 Aston Villa 95/10
Liverpool close out Saturday's action with a home game against Aston Villa. The Reds were back to their swashbuckling best against Spurs, and could've had six had Mario Balotelli shown up on debut. The Italian could well lead the line if Daniel Sturridge fails to recover from his thigh injury. Brendan Rodger's team have coped well with the loss of Suarez, but their new-look frontline will be tested here. The Reds were unable to cope with Villa's swift counter-attacking approach when the two met at Anfield earlier this year, and could be susceptible to a similar game plan come Saturday. Once again I'm backing Both Teams to Score, this time at evens.

Man United 1/4 draw 43/10 QPR 95/10
Sunday provides us with the first opportunity to see Van Gaal's new Manchester United side in action. Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo and Falcao all look set to make their debut's while Angel Di Maria will stroll out at the Theatre of Dreams for the first time as a United player. QPR will be looking to spoil the occasion. Rio Ferdinand will return to the club that turned him into a household name as he looks to show that he can still cut it at the top level. He'll have his hands full with Rooney, Van Persie and Mata buzzing around. You have to believe that Manchester United are good enough to win here. At 1/4, there's no value, so I'm going with a draw at 43/10.

Hull City 11/10 draw 22/10 West Ham 24/10
Hull have conducted some decent business over the summer, closing it out with the £10 million signing of Uruguayan international Abel Hernandez. Throw in Mo Diame and Hatem Ben Arfa and Steve Bruce is building an impressive looking squad. West Ham on the other hand still don't inspire much in the way of confidence, with Mauro Zarate the only signing that is likely to get the pulse racing and the pints flowing in east London. As for the match at hand, it tends to follow a similar pattern. The home team has won five of the last six meetings, with the sole exception being a 3-3 draw in 2009. Hull it shall be at 11/10.

Now that the small issue of the transfer window is out of the way, we can get down to focussing on the football. Before I leave you to your own devices – for better or worse – let me rustle up a little multiple. I'm going with Southampton/Stoke/Hull at 7/1, I suggest you do the same. Well I'm off to lubricate myself at the local. Sala Kahle.

Written by Commodore Vegas
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Commodore’s Weekend Picks
Arsenal DRAW 23/10
Chelsea WIN 3/10
Crystal Palace WIN 11/10
Southampton WIN 8/10
Stoke City WIN 11/10
Tottenham WIN 21/20
West Brom BTTS 7/10
Liverpool BTTS 1/1
Man United DRAW 43/10
Hull City WIN 11/10