Commodore's EPL Picks

I took another sound beating in the FA Cup this weekend – that’s why betting on the FA cup is a mugs game. I made some money back thanks to Wayne Rooney’s strike against Arsenal, but Villa’s progress came at my expense. Let us move beyond that, though. The league is back on our screens this weekend, and there’s plenty to interest me. The break would’ve done some teams well, as they were running on fumes. Things are starting to wind down now, and the international break is due to rear it’s ugly head in the next fortnight. Momentum is a fickle beast, and it’ll be broken soon. Best those that have it, cash in on it – and we’ll be right there to do the same.

Crystal Palace 15/20 | Draw 5/2 | QPR 36/10
Villa’s 2-1 league win over West Brom coupled with QPR’s narrow defeat to the Gunners means the latter have fallen back into the drop zone. This weekend they travel across London to Selhurst Park for a match against Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace. The Eagles have been a bit up and down of late. They were sublime in their dismantling of West Ham, but failed to trouble Southampton in going down 1-0. There really isn’t much to choose between these two, exhibited by their 0-0 draw earlier this season. I’ll be leaning toward a home win, though, which can be found at 15/20. For those true punters among us, QPR have lost their last three matches 2-1 – a repeat is available at 8/1.

Arsenal 4/10 | Draw 36/10 | West Ham 57/10
Following their somewhat comfortable win over Manchester United at Old Trafford, Arsenal must be considered the form team in England at the moment. Wenger continues on in the job, unopposed, while even Danny Welbeck is back among the goals. On Saturday, they’ll play host to West Ham, a side whose season has taken a turn for the worse in recent weeks. They’re without a win in seven, albeit many of their defeats have come from those above them in the table. Their record against Arsenal doesn’t bode well for this one – having lost each of the last eight meetings between the two sides. Forget all the in-depth analysis, banker the Gunners at 4/10 and throw it into your multiples. 

Leicester City 11/10 | Draw 21/10 | Hull City 5/2
Leicester have been at the foot of the table since the beginning of December and indications are that isn’t about to change. If they have any ambitions of remaining in the Premier League, they must get a result at home to Hull City this weekend. They’ve won just four matches this season, although one of those came away to Steve Bruce’s side. Hull have enjoyed something of a resurgence in recent weeks, losing just once in their last five outings, while picking up valuable wins against fellow strugglers, QPR and Aston Villa. The Foxes have been installed as favourites, but given their recent run, I fancy Hull to get something out of this one. You can take them on the double chance at 13/20 and move along.

Sunderland 12/10 | Draw 21/10 | Aston Villa 24/10
Another lower league squabble will take place at the Stadium of Light this weekend when Aston Villa, fresh off their morale-boosting cup success, will head north. Three wins in his first five matches suggests Tim Sherwood is the right man for the job, while in contrast the Black Cats have failed to pick up a win in that time. The pressure is telling on Gus Poyet, who picked a fight with a cooler box, before looking to straighten Steve Bruce’s nose in their draw with Hull City last time out. Previous meetings between these two suggest that there will be little in the way of goal-mouth action. Excluding the 6-1 win for Sunderland with Paulo di Canio snarling from the touchline, the last five matches have produced just two goals. Two! Go big on the unders, with under 1.5 goals on offer at 16/10.

West Brom 5/4 | Draw 2/1| Stoke City 24/10
Where the hell are all the good fixtures?! West Brom vs Stoke – hardly a classic ey. The only point of interest here is Tony Pulis coming up against his former club. Unfortunately for the viewer, West Brom are the new Stoke, says Peter Crouch. He’ll be trying to provide goals for Mark Hughes’ iteration of the Potters, which is something of a ghastly hybrid. Barring the Baggies failures against local rivals, both teams come into this one on the back of some good form. I suggest you steer clear of this – anything could happen. If you must have a punt, take the draw at 2/1.

Burnley 52/10 | Draw 7/2 | Man City 9/20
Finally, something worth watching. Second plays second-bottom as Manchester City travel to Turf Moor to face Burnley in Saturday’s final match. In the reverse fixture at the Etihad, City squandered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2. A repeat of that result will be tickets for their title challenge. Of course, there is the small issue of a match against Barcelona at the Nou Camp to contend with next week, so keep an eye on the team sheets prior to kick-off. Vincent Kompany is expected to warm the bench again, while Wilfried Bony and Edin Dzeko will compete for a starting role up front. City were thoroughly professional in their win over Leicester, and although I expect them to get the desired result here, I do fancy Both Teams to Score at 15/20.

Chelsea 5/10 | Draw 31/10 | Southampton 52/10
Sunday is the day if you’re looking for some quality football – starting with Southampton’s visit to Stamford Bridge. The Blues sit 10 matches away from reclaiming the crown they last won under Carlo Ancelotti in 2010. It has been a title challenge built on their home record, where they have dropped just four points and conceded just five goals. The two teams played to a 1-1 draw when they met on the south coast at the end of last year, with Jose Mourinho speaking of a ‘campaign’ against his side after Cesc Fabregas was booked for diving. As for a bet here, I’m going with a home win and a clean sheet for the Blues, which can be found at 5/4.

Everton 8/10 | Draw 26/10 | Newcastle 34/10
Everton aren’t quite safe yet, but I can’t really see them going down. Not with the quality they have at their disposal (Gareth Barry aside). On Sunday they’ll host Newcastle, another side on the slide. The Magpies will finish 10th, of that much I am certain. They’re a side not good enough for a European push, but not bad enough to get caught in the relegation battle. They wreak of mediocrity. They’ve lost just once against sides below them in the league, and won just three times against those higher up the table. Maths was never my strong suit, but all this adds up to a draw for me. You can back it at 26/10.

Man United 8/10 | Draw 27/10 | Tottenham 31/10
Rooney is back among the goals, but unfortunately for United, so is Harry Kane. The future England failure hit two goals, one in either half, as Spurs moved back into the top six with a victory over QPR. Victory over United at Old Trafford will draw them level on points, but their record away at the big clubs leaves a bit to be desired. They’ve lost to three of the top five already this season, conceding 10 goals in the process. United may not be at their free-flowing best, and they’ll be without Angel di Maria, but they’ll fancy their chances of nicking a goal or two. I’m with them on that front, and I’m backing Both Teams to Score at 13/20. The draw will do neither much good, so they’ll both be going all out.

Swansea City 11/4 | Draw 24/10 | Liverpool 1/1
We close out the gameweek with a bit of Monday Night Football. Liverpool against Swansea has provided some classic matches in recent times, usually revolving around one man – Jonjo Shelvey. He had a hand in every goal of the corresponding fixture last season, a 2-2 draw, while he got Liverpool underway in their 4-1 win at Anfield in December with an own-goal. He’s bound to play a role on Monday. Anytime goalscorer bet anyone? As for a result, I’m struggling to go against Liverpool, who should have Steven Gerrard back in the mix for this one. They can be found at evens.

There you have it, folks. Sala Kahle.

Written by Commodore Vegas
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EPL Picks
Crystal Palace WIN 15/20
Arsenal WIN 4/10
Hull City WIN/DRAW 13/20
Sunderland UND 1.5 GOALS 16/10
West Brom DRAW 2/1
Burnley BTTS 15/20
Chelsea WIN+BTTS (NO) 5/4
Everton DRAW 26/10
Man United BTTS 13/20
Liverpool WIN 1/1