Commodore's EPL Picks

There were mixed feelings about the weekend’s action around the Vegas household. There was good football, and plenty of it, but there were also too few winning bets. I beg for your patience, for the worm will turn, and the profits will come. My early season predictions have proven outdated in this brave new world, full of wing backs and wonderment. We’re heading closer to the six-game form barrier and yet the top 4 is populated by Aston Villa, Swansea and Southampton. Sanity will prevail soon enough, but until then we need to predict the unpredictable. So buckle up, things are about to take a turn for the weird.

QPR 17/10 draw 21/10 Stoke 16/10
Stoke followed up their 1-0 win away at Manchester City with a loss at home to Leicester by the same scoreline. If that isn’t evidence of the world gone crazy, I don’t know what is. This weekend they travel to London to face QPR, who gifted Louis van Gaal the perfect tonic to his ailing start to the season. Harry Redknapp’s persistence with a back three has the feeling of early-onset Alzheimer’s. And with Charlie Austin tasked with firing them to safety, this side looks destined for the drop. Backing Stoke on the road may sound like insanity, but that is what is required at the moment. Get them at 16/10.

Aston Villa 36/10 draw 26/10 Arsenal 15/20
Aston Villa have eschewed the recent trend of three at the back, going with a novel 5-5-0 formation against Liverpool last weekend. Regular forward Andreas Weimann spent his afternoon at right back as Paul Lambert’s team managed an unexpected victory. I don’t expect him to alter his approach too much for Arsenal’s visit to Villa Park. The Gunners played some good ball against City and might’ve even snatched the victory had Danny Wellbeck not tried to be so damn cute when one-on-one with Joe Hart. With Debuchy out, Gabby Abonglahor could have a field day on the left flank. The 36/10 available on a home win seems too good to pass up.

Burnley 29/20 draw 21/10 Sunderland 18/10
Sunderland’s game against Tottenham was a thrill-a-minute affair, while Burnley and Crystal Palace served up a cure for narcolepsy at Selhurst Park. Given these contrasting matches, it’s difficult to say what I expect out of this one. Burnley know that their home form is key to their chances of survival, so you have to believe they’ll give it a go against Gus Poyet’s team. Sunderland have drawn three of their four matches so far, although all those matches involved goals. This could be a candidate for a correct score bet, with the 1-1 draw at 5/1 favoured. Alternatively you could just back the draw at 21/10.

Newcastle 1/1 draw 23/10 Hull City 27/10
Alan Pardew has a contract at Newcastle until 2020. There’s a thought for the day. The fans want him out, the owner is trying to flog the club and the players couldn’t care less, as long as they are getting paid. It’s a sorry state of affairs over at St James’ Park. Hull come to town this weekend with a new-look team that showed flashes of brilliance in their draw with West Ham. Mo Diame was a powerhouse in midfield while Abel Hernandez showed early promise. The Magpies look a side in free fall, while Hull are on the rise. Back the Tigers at 27/10.

Swansea 15/10 draw 22/10 Southampton 17/10
Southampton made easy work of Newcastle last weekend, with new-signing PellĂ© grabbing a brace to lift expectation around St Mary’s. A trip to Wales this weekend should provide a better indication of where they are at present. Swansea played their part in a pulsating match at Stamford Bridge, before eventually being undone by the class of Diego Costa. Recent meetings between these two have been short on goals, but with both teams in good nick this one could go against history. I foresee goals, with the over 2.5 goals market available at 19/20.

West Ham 38/10 draw 27/10 Liverpool 13/20
Liverpool’s post-Suarez revolution has got off to a shaky start, with the loss to Aston Villa raising some questions about their recent acquisitions. More than half their team were new faces and they struggled for any fluidity on attack. Their next task is a trip to West Ham, whose fresh faces combined to great effect against Hull on Monday night. Mauro Zarate was lively, as was Diafra Sakho. Big Sam might resort to his tried and trusted against the Reds though, especially given their set-piece worries on defence. Liverpool should really be winning this one, but a draw wouldn’t surprise me here.

Leicester 43/10 draw 28/10 Man United 6/10
Manchester United hailed a new era with their 4-0 demolition of QPR on Sunday, with their expensively assembled squad of players getting the job done. Angel Di Maria looked every bit the player that starred at the World Cup, while their other debutants were assured on their first outings. The trip to Leicester this weekend provides them with the opportunity to erase the memories of their 0-0 draw with Burnley earlier this month. The Foxes outwitted Stoke last weekend, but they’ll need a slice of luck if they’re to halt the rising red tide. Back United to go back-to-back at 6/10.

Tottenham 5/10 draw 31/10 West Brom 52/10
I still can’t quite put my finger on Spurs. One moment they look like Champions League contenders, the next they’re mid-table muppets. Their match against Sunderland was a case-in-point, as they led twice before eventually drawing the game after a calamitous own goal. They welcome West Brom to White Hart Lane on Sunday as the Baggies continue their pursuit of their first win this season. Looking across the West Brom line-up, there’s little that should worry Mauricio Pochettino here. Lump it on Spurs at 5/10 and throw them into your multiples.

Everton 4/10 draw 33/10 Crystal Palace 64/10
Everton are another that will be there and thereabout at the end of the season, although squad depth could be their shortcoming. With Europa League commitments on their plate, they’re going to struggle to match the heights of last season. They’ve got Crystal Palace at Goodison on Sunday, a side that wrecked their Champions League dreams last season. A 3-2 victory for the Eagles handed Arsenal the initiative, which they didn’t relinquish. Palace will prove stubborn as all hell under Neil Warnock and could well get a draw here, which can be found at 33/10.

Man City 27/20 draw 24/10 Chelsea 18/10
The weekend closes out with the biggest match of the season so far. Manchester City or Chelsea will be champions this season. Sunday’s fixture will have an impact on deciding who, even at this early stage of the season. City looked quality against Liverpool but their subsequent two fixtures have shown their shortcomings. Chelsea have oozed class, but they haven’t been truly tested yet. Mourinho did the double over Pellegrini last season and seems to have the Chilean’s number. City face Bayern Munich midweek and could still be feeling the effects come Sunday. Chelsea have the nous to take victory here, at 18/10.

Chelsea have done enough already to be considered my favourites for the title, as they were last year. Manchester United for all their spending have still only won one match. It would be wise to remember that before talking them up. As for City, well there’s not much weakness there, but without the aging Toure they don’t look as imposing. The rest are there for our entertainment. Until next week, Sala Kahle.

Written by Commodore Vegas
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Commodore’s Weekend Picks
Stoke WIN 16/10
Aston Villa WIN 36/10
Burnley DRAW 21/10
Hull City WIN 27/10
Swansea OVER 2.5 GOALS 19/20
Liverpool WIN 13/20
Man United WIN 6/10
Tottenham WIN 5/10
Everton DRAW 33/10
Chelsea WIN 18/10