Commodore's EPL Picks

Two teams will not play in the Champions League next season – Spurs and Southampton. That much is clear beyond all doubt. They are imposters, doomed to fail like Mourinho’s ploy to get the FA to alter their ludicrous stance on retrospective action. For once I’m on the Special One’s side. Ashley Barnes would’ve had no excuse if he’d seen red for physically assaulting Nemanja Matic at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Instead it is Matic that’ll miss the next three matches. Where is the sense in that? Back to the race for the top four. It’s a two horse race between Man United and Liverpool. I make the latter favourites at the moment, even with Europa League committments standing in their way. Other than that, I’m feeling juiced up and ready to make some rash statements about this weekend’s matches. Stand back and prepare to be enlightened. 

West Ham 1/1| Draw 24/10| Crystal Palace 11/4
West Ham should’ve beaten Spurs – that much is clear. Two goals to the good with nine minutes remaining, they somehow conspired to end with a solitary point. Another London derby awaits this weekend, this time against lowly Crystal Palace. The Eagles were within a whisker of doing a Spurs and securing a 2-2 draw against Arsenal after falling two goals behind. In the end, though, it was another loss for Alan Pardew’s men. The Hammers ran out comfortable victors when these two met earlier this season, although Palace were still without a manager at that stage. While I don’t expect a repeat of that 3-1 scoreline, Sam’s team should have enough about them to complete the double at evens.

Burnley 15/10 | Draw 9/4 | Swansea 7/4
It may not have been pretty, or even legal, but Burnley would’ve been happy with a point from their visit to Stamford Bridge. On Saturday they’ll host Swansea, who finally proved what everyone has been thinking for some time: Manchester United aren’t a very good side at the moment. Jonjo “pre-cog” Shelvey was on hand to stick it to the Manc’s in a sublime twist of fate. If only he could’ve done such things when in the red of Liverpool. I digress, we’re here to focus on making money. The Swans, while impressive on their home patch, haven’t quite shown the same intensity on the road. There won’t be much between these two, making the draw at 9/4 a decent wager.

Man United 7/20 | Draw 37/10 | Sunderland 72/10
Just where in the hell are Manchester United going? I can’t proclaim to have watched them too often this season (they’re too boring for my liking), but clearly something is amiss. They were unlucky to lose to a deflected goal to Swansea, but then again, luck has been on their side for much of the season. On Saturday they’ll host Sunderland, a side with less belief than a bunch of athiests. The Black Cats couldn’t even be bothered to try and beat West Brom at home. What a pathetic bunch of losers. Perhaps they might rise to the ocassion at Old Trafford like they did last season, they won for the first time since 1968. No, I’m afraid that’s not going to happen. Get on the unders, and the draw. This one is going to be another terrible football match.

Newcastle 9/10| Draw 23/10| Aston Villa 33/10
Newcastle’s novel no manager approach seems to be backfiring somewhat. It took just two minutes for Man City to score, before stroking in four more goals on the way to a rollicking 5-0 victory. A return to St James’ Park for a match against Aston Villa should lift the spirits. The Villians have found themselves a manager, although they still can’t find themselves a Premier League win. It’s now six losses on the trot for Tim Sherwood’s team after their 2-1 reversal against Stoke. Villa’s confidence is fragile at the moment, and despite looking a good side in the first half, once they conceded they always looked likely to lose. Live betting might be the way to go here. If Villa get ahead, I’d suggest getting on Newcastle/Draw. The Magpies have goals in them, and Villa simply do not.

Stoke City 9/10 | Draw 23/10 | Hull City 32/10
Stoke are sticking around in the top half. Mark Hughes’ side are on their way toward their best-ever Premier League points-haul after their victory at Villa Park. This weekend they’ll face Hull, who are also coming off the back of a morale-boosting victory over QPR. Dame N’Doye was the hero after right nutter Joey Barton was sent off for a low blow on Tom Huddlestone. Looking at this one, Hull have failed to beat any side above them away from home in the league. Stoke, strangely enough, have already lost to Leicester, Burnley and QPR at home this season. Hull are on the up and may be able to force the issue here, and make off with a draw at 23/10.

West Brom 24/10 | Draw 21/10 | Southampton 12/10
Like a mosquito shrouded by the cover of darkness, Southampton are an irritation that just won’t go away. It is their ability to grind out wins on the road against difficult mid-table opposition that has seen them maintain their Champions League aspirations for this long. They aren’t good enough to beat the big sides, but that doesn’t matter if they’re consistently turning over the likes of Newcastle and Swansea. This week it’s a trip to the Hawthorns to face Tony Pulis’s well-organised West Brom. Now normally I’d back the unders here and that’d be that, but given Southampton’s away record against sides of this calibre, they may be worth a punt. You’ll get 12/10 on an away win – I suggest you fire.

Liverpool 18/10 | Draw 5/2 | Man City 27/20
Onto the big match of the weekend. Last year this one looked a title decider, and after Liverpool claimed a 3-2 victory, it looked like they would go on to claim their first Premier League title. It wasn’t to be, as Steven Gerrard’s cruel slip and the subsequent collapse against Palace meant City would be champions of England once again. The complexion of Sunday’s match is a bit different. City are still chasing the title, while Liverpool are only in the running for Champions League places. However, when it comes to form, the similarities are striking. Liverpool, much like they did last season, have put together a great run and sit atop the league tables for 2015. A win might be out of their reach, especially with a tough trip to Turkey midweek, but Both Teams to Score looks a given at 6/10. Anfield will be rocking on Sunday – for those brave enough, the home win is available at 18/10.

Arsenal 5/10 | Draw 32/10 | Everton 5/1
The final match of the weekend comes to us from the Emirates, where Arsenal will face Everton. The Toffees somehow managed to escape the match against Leicester with a point thanks to a late Matthew Upson own goal. That’s hardly the form that is going to trouble Arsenal now, is it? The Gunners have been unusually consistent in recent weeks, with their loss to Spurs their sole hiccup since the turn of the year. Everton are slowly turning a corner, with Romelu Lukaku finding the form that made him one of the most highly sought-after player in Europe. Unfortunately for those that call yourself Everton supporters, that won’t be enough to ruffle Arsenal at home. Back the home win, throw it into some multiples and end the weekend on a high.

Now that we’re done with that, let’s get onto the real business. The Proteas will not win the Cricket World Cup and neither will the Black Caps. Of that much I am certain. The Bulls are in extreme danger of becoming the laughing stock of SA Rugby, even more so than the Lions. Back the Sharks to shame them in front of an empty Loftus Versfeld. In fact, double up on that. Let me call it a day, folks. Sala Kahle.

Written by Commodore Vegas
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EPL Picks
West Ham WIN 1/1
Burnley DRAW 9/4
Man United DRAW 37/10
Newcastle WIN/DRAW 1/5
Stoke City DRAW 23/10
Southampton WIN 12/10
Liverpool BTTS 6/10
Arsenal WIN 5/10