Commodore's EPL Picks

If football matches finished after 80 minutes, I might've been a happy man this week. Alas, they do not, and I'm pretty pissed. In a league notoriously difficult to call, the start of this season has downright lunacy. Manchester United threw away a 3-1 lead to lose at Leicester. 3-1! Leicester! Frank Lampard supplied the narrative of the weekend with his equaliser against his former club. That one I really should've seen coming, as should've Chelsea. This league will always find a way for the narrative to win. The script that not even a Hollywood scriptwriter could write. Yes, because dreams like these are conjured up in a dingy apartment above a pub in Putney. This is the Premier League, where a good story will always trump a good punt.

LIVERPOOL 15/20 draw 26/10 EVERTON 34/10
First off this weekend is the Merseyside derby. Neither Liverpool or Everton have come close to last season's heights, as both crashed to humiliating defeats over the weekend. Brendan Rodgers was outwitted by 'Big Sam', while Tim Howard went on walkabout for the Toffees in their loss to Crystal Palace. Rodgers will be desperate to have Daniel Sturridge back in action, with the England striker in line for a return at Anfield. Everton will be better than they were against Palace, but they don't have the best recent record on enemy turf. If Sturridge plays, Liverpool will win, such is his importance to the Reds' cause. 

Chelsea 2/11 draw 52/10 Aston Villa 12/1
Chelsea would've been kicking themselves on Sunday after throwing away a 1-0 lead against 10-man City. They were at their pragmatic best, and looked to have stolen all three points until Lampard showed up late in the box like he'd done so many times before. On Saturday they'll host Aston Villa, who have proven themselves a very capable side on the road. Much depends on their ability to score first. If they manage to do so early, you could still get some value on the away win. Of course, if Chelsea get going early, this could get ugly. The latter seems the most likely.

Crystal Palace 29/20 draw 9/4 Leicester City 7/4
Leicester's start to the season has made the footballing fraternity sit up and take notice. They were the Championship winners last season and have built up a decent haul of eight points from their first five matches, courtesy of two wins and two draws. Leonardo Ulloa has proven a handful upfront, while fellow Argentinian Esteban Cambiasso adds some class to the midfield. A trip to South London awaits for them this weekend, as they come up against Neil Warnock's Crystal Palace side. I've got a feeling this dream start has some way to go yet. Back the Foxes at 7/4.

Hull City 9/2  draw 28/10 Man City 11/20
Two-nil up against Newcastle with 20 minutes to go, Hull looked home and dry. That was until Papiss Cisse came on to save his managers job and cause me agony. Mo Diame has been a shrewd signing for Steve Bruce, with my only surprise being the lack of big-name suitors for the Senegalese international. They host Manchester City at the KC Stadium on Saturday, whose own powerhouse African midfielder looks out of sorts at present. City did the double over the Tigers last season, 2-0 victors on both occasions. A repeat of that scoreline can be found at 13/2, or you can back the outright at 11/20.

Man United 3/10 draw 42/10 West Ham 67/10
Louis van Gaal's aura is quickly receding. While his insistence on all-out-attack in commendable and makes for good viewing for the neutrals, it is terribly misguided. Liverpool lost the league title despite scoring over 100 goals last season. Man Utd look set to follow suit. They will host West Ham at the Theatre of Dreams this weekend, the same side that picked Liverpool apart at Upton Park. Diafra Sakho and Enner Valencia will make runs in behind the United defence all afternoon, and there's no one there to stop them. Back both teams to score at 8/10 and throw that into your multiples.

Southampton 4/10 draw 33/10 QPR 13/2
Victor Wanyama got a rare start and an even rarer goal as the Saints saw off Swansea last time out. Next up for them is QPR, who are quickly becoming my bogey team. They fought back to secure a draw against Stoke courtesy of a late Niko Kranjcar free kick. I've always been a fan of the crafty Croat and I'm pleased to see him pack in the Premier League. The Saints, much like last season, find themselves in a lofty position after three wins on the trot. They should make that four against 'Arry Redknapp's team on Saturday.

Sunderland 16/10 draw 22/10 Swansea 16/10
Sunderland made it four draws from their first five fixtures with their stalemate against Burnley. Gus Poyet's side are lacking any sort of threat up front, with Connor Wickham and Jozy Altidore hardly the most mobile duo around. Swansea will be without Wilfried Bony for this one after he saw red against Southampton but, in Baf├ętimbi Gomis, they have a capable replacement. Gomis hasn't quite fired since his move from Ligue 1, but it is only a matter of time. Despite all of this, it's difficult to go against a draw with the Black Cats involved. You can find it at 22/10.

Arsenal 15/20 draw 5/2 Tottenham 36/10
Saturday closes out with a marque fixture, and one that is never short on entertainment. Arsenal will host Spurs in the first North London derby of the season. Arsene Wenger's side played some decent ball against Aston Villa, although they were helped by the Villains first-half implosion. The verdict remains out on Danny Welbeck, although there were positives to take from his performance. Spurs haven't quite adjusted to Mauricio Pochettino's high-pressing system and were duly punished against West Brom. Their recent record against top quality opposition is enough to suggest that the Gunners will triumph here, with 15/20 a decent price.

West Brom 9/10 draw 23/10 Burnley 29/10
Sunday's match has the look of a hangover about it. West Brom will face Burnley in perhaps the most underwhelming Super Sunday fixture on record. The Baggies picked up their first win of the season at Spurs to move out of the bottom three. They'll be back before the season is up. As for Burnley, they clung on for their third goalless draw of the season. All this doesn't bode well for Sunday's game, with two of the leagues lowest scorers facing off. Of course, for those that bet accordingly, there's still money to be made. Back both teams to score (no) at 8/10, and get out of the house. There's better things to do than watch this.

Stoke City 21/20 draw 9/4 Newcastle 5/2
Monday Night Football returns with an intriguing match from the Potteries. Stoke have just one win to show for their efforts this season, a 1-0 victory away to Manchester City. Try as you might, that doesn't make any sense. Alan Pardew remains in charge of the Magpies, but one has to feel that time is running out for the fiery Brit. They've failed to score on the road so far this season, while they shipped four goals in their last field trip. Stoke at home may not be the sure thing it once was, but at 21/20 against this Newcastle side, it looks like decent value.

Remember to keep an eye out on the midweek Capital One Cup fixtures. The results won't mean much, especially as most teams will give their fringe players a run, but keep an eye out for any injuries. I'm going to steer clear of any ill-advised multiples this weekend. Perhaps you should do the same. Don't go wasting your hard-earned cash on a whim. Or do, who am I to preach. Sala Kahle.

Written by Commodore Vegas
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Commodore’s Weekend Picks
Liverpool WIN 15/20
Chelsea WIN 2/11
Leicester WIN 7/4
Man City WIN 11/20
Man United BTTS 8/10
Southampton WIN 4/10
Sunderland DRAW 22/10
Arsenal WIN 15/20
West Brom BTTS (No) 8/10
Stoke City WIN 21/20