Commodore's EPL Picks

There wasn’t much success over the weekend – the Springboks lost, Liverpool won and Chelsea failed to score. It didn’t make for good reading on my betting account. But we go again. For now is not the time to give up, now is the time to persevere, for the gods have provided us with a bountiful of football and I’m not about to pass it up. It was a downward streak of dumbness that brought me to this new low... and Roberto Soldado. Disasters like his winner against Everton goes with the territory in this business. Let it be noted that writing this before the midweek games, which leaves me a couple plays short when it comes to this weekend’s matches. I’m no clairvoyant, but I’m confident enough to take a stab in the dark.

Newcastle 5/1 draw 3/1 Chelsea 11/20
Newcastle’s recent resurgence was brought to a halt at Upton Park on the weekend with a narrow 1-0 loss to West Ham after Moussa Sissoko saw red. Chelsea, well they failed to score for the first time this season against a well-organised Sunderland outfit. Surprisingly the last two meetings between these clubs at St James’ Park have ended with a home win, the second of which saw me shamed in public. Newcastle are similarly well-organised at present and I have a suspicion that they might spring a surprise here. The Newcastle/Draw Double Chance looks a decent bet at 12/10.

Hull City 14/10 draw 9/4 West Brom 2/1
Hull City were fleeced at Old Trafford on Saturday, making it 24 matches without a win against his former club for manager Steve Bruce. Their opponents this weekend, West Bromwich Albion, weren’t much better, and have now failed to find the net in over 300 minutes of football. Just what the hell is going wrong with these two football sides? Hull, on paper at least, should be well away from the relegation zone and looking for a long cup run. On the field, they’re quite different. Just where this one will go is anyone’s guess. Mine – under 2.5 goals at 7/10.

Liverpool 11/20 draw 3/1 Sunderland 52/10
Liverpool won’t win the league for another decade at least. Any goodwill they may have garnered from their run at the title last season has well and truly dissipated, leaving behind the harsh reality that they aren’t a very good football team. Brendan Rodgers tinkered with his formation somewhat against Stoke and they were much more assured at the back, keeping a clean sheet. However, going forward they resemble a zoo lion, de-clawed and left to stew in it’s own filth as onlookers taunt from afar. One of these days they’ll rediscover their killer instinct and go on a murderous rampage but, against Sunderland on Saturday, is not that day. Back the draw. Let’s move on.

QPR 11/10 draw 22/10 Burnley 26/10
Burnley have found their saviour. Their bid for survival lies precariously on the tattooed shoulders of Danny Ings. He’s the only player in their team that can score goals, and Sean Dyche will be hoping he continues his form against QPR on Saturday. The R’s (a terrible nickname for a football club) have also rediscovered their form of late, picking up a good win against Leicester at the weekend. Another victory should lift them out of the relegation zone, and although I expect them to pick up that win, I’m tipping Both Teams to Score at 17/20.

Tottenham 11/20 draw 3/1 Crystal Palace 52/10
Goddamn Spurs. They’ve already lost four home matches this term, were 1-0 down against Everton, and suddenly decided to find form. Harry Kane needs to calm the fuck down. The young lad ran over 13km on Sunday, and those around him responded. Ho ho. Mauricio Pochettino has found his man, and with Aaron Lennon on the right, their pressing was much better against the Toffees. They’ll still struggle against the big teams, but against Crystal Palace on Saturday they shouldn’t have any problems. I’m going with a straight home win, and throwing it into a multiple or two.

Stoke City 27/10 draw 24/10 Arsenal 1/1
All of Arsenal’s victories this season have come against sides in the bottom half of the table. On Saturday they face 12th placed Stoke. The Potters disappointed against Liverpool, with only Bojan looking likely to get on the scoresheet. They’re frustratingly inconsistent at the moment, so you never know what might transpire at the Brittania. Arsenal have had their troubles with the Stoke of old but, under Mark Hughes, Stoke are no longer the gang of thugs they used to be. They play silky football. The only problem is, Arsenal do it better. The Gunners are on offer at evens, I suggest you take advantage of it. 

Man City 6/10 draw 31/10 Everton 9/2
City are back. Yaya Toure has put his birthday cake issues behind him, Sergio Aguero is causing havoc among opposition defences and Frank Lampard continues to play like he’s 32-years-old. Even Gael Clichy is getting in on the act. They’ve got Everton at home on Saturday, a game that has caused them problems in the past. Despite doing the double over the Toffees, City don’t hold the greatest record against Roberto Martinez’s side. Everton disappointed against Spurs, and played much of their football in front of the opposition. I expect three matches in nine days to catch up with Martinez’s small squad, and have City on the ‘cap at 13/10.

West Ham 14/10 draw 5/2 Swansea 18/10
West Ham were second best for long periods against Newcastle, but somehow managed to come out on top, climbing to sixth place in the process. However, the performance was flat and they appeared to be missing the creativity and brute force of Diafra Sakho and Alex Song, who both offer something different. In all likelihood they’ll miss the match against Swansea, leaving the Hammers a bit short. The Swans have failed to score in three of their last four meetings with West Ham, and have managed just six goals away from home this season. I’m expecting another low-scorer, making the 8/10 on offer for under 2.5 goals a decent wager.

Aston Villa 27/20 draw 23/10 Leicester City 2/1
Leicester City haven’t won a league game since 21 September. Aston Villa haven’t won a league game since 13 September. These are the two worst sides in the Premier League at present. There’s nowhere to hide here. Win, and live to fight another day. Lose, and there must be a case for a change in manager. Villa are a big club, they shouldn’t be languishing near the relegation zone every season. It’s shameful. We expect this of Leicester, even after they slapped United silly, we knew it was just a cruel joke. That they’d end up back in the Championship before long. There won’t be many goals here, but on sheer history alone, I’m going with a home win at 27/20.

Southampton 17/10 draw 24/10 Man United 16/10
I overestimated Southampton’s abilities. I thought them capable of getting a draw against City, but that proved unfounded. They’ve got United this weekend, the third in a devilish run of fixtures that will surely put a stop to the hubris flowing from St Mary’s at present. They’re a solid side, but Champions League contenders they are not. Manchester United are, and they proved that during a stunning first half against Hull. Angel di Maria will miss the trip to the south coast, but Wayne Rooney should start, while Jonny Evans and Radamel Falcao should also feature. United are on the up and at 16/10, they’re good value for a win.

This is where I get off, folks. I’ve taken a conservative approach this weekend in light of recent failures. With other engagements winding down, the festive season provides the greatest opportunity to focus my attention purely on football, and on finding winners. It’s gonna be a good month. I’ve got a feeling in my bones. Sala Kahle.

Written by Commodore Vegas
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Commodore’s Picks
Newcastle WIN/DRAW 12/10
Hull City UNDER 2.5 GOALS 7/10
Liverpool DRAW 3/1
QPR BTTS 17/20
Tottenham WIN 11/20
Arsenal WIN 1/1
Man City HANDICAP (-1) 13/10
West Ham UNDER 2.5 GOALS 8/10
Aston Villa WIN 27/20
Man United WIN 16/10