Commodore's EPL Picks

Some weeks are ugly in the World of Sport – last week was one of them. Hardened gamblers were turned to quivering shells as Man City somehow managed to lose to Burnley. If that wasn’t bad enough, Chelsea did their very best to lose at home, while Manchester United stomped a helpless Tottenham side into oblivion. All this would’ve been fine, but then Aston Villa went and scored four goals in one match. Gambling on the English Premier League is a brutal past-time, but that was pure sorcery. Madness, I tell you. The Black Cats fans had seen enough, and snarled viciously at the Sunderland bench – it was all a bit unsavoury. Rather watch Arsenal, I say. Their football is the stuff of pure fantasies at the moment.

Man City 3/10 | Draw 42/10 | West Brom 15/2
How in the hell did Man City go and lose to Burnley?! All I needed was a goal from them, is that too much to ask? There better be a response against West Brom this weekend or their title challenge is effectively over, if it isn’t already. The Baggies are no pushovers, and Tony Pulis has them regimented and efficient. City will likely come into this one off the back of another Champions League loss, leaving the Premier League as Manual Pellegrini’s final bastion of hope. Unfortunately, given their listless performance against Burnley and their midweek trip to Barcelona, I don’t expect things to get any better on Saturday. Back West Brom on the double chance at 18/10.

Aston Villa 27/20 | Draw 21/10 | Swansea 2/1
Tim Sherwood is a miracle worker. Five words I never thought I’d here myself say. To give you an indication of just how big that win over Sunderland was I’ll share with you some stats. Before the arrival of Sherwood, Villa had scored 12 goals in 25 matches. Since joining the club, the Villains have scored six in their last four, including that 4-0 free-for-all on Weirside. On Saturday they’ll host Swansea, who should’ve beaten Liverpool on Monday. They didn’t and now they’ll be under pressure to perform at Villa Park. I’m going with the guts on this one, so feel free to opt out. But I fancy Villa to go back-to-back at 27/20.

Newcastle 4/1 | Draw 28/10 | Arsenal 13/20
Newcastle did the unimaginable on Sunday – they made Everton look like a decent football side. They remain a side stuck in limbo, without a manager, a chance of silverware or even a Europa League spot. If they're not careful, they'll be drawn into the relegation dogfight before long. Unfortunately for the Magpies among you, I give them no chance against Arsenal this weekend. There will be no 4-4 draws or left-footed Cheick Tiote volley's here, only pain. The value may be a bit on the low side, but get on the Arsenal win at 13/20 and throw that into a couple multiples – it's the bet of the weekend.

Southampton 9/20 | Draw 33/10 | Burnley 6/1
The goals have dried up for Southampton, and with it their Champions League prospects. They've managed just three goals in their last seven matches – hardly the form that will see them competing with the best in Europe. On Saturday they'll host Burnley, who come into the match on the back of their victory over the champions. Burnley also managed a 1-0 victory when the two met earlier this year, but I can't say I'm too keen on repeat business here. A better option will be to stick to the unders markets, where you can get 17/20 on under 2.5 goals.

Tottenham 11/20 | Draw 31/10 | Leicester 9/2
Spurs really were a spineless pack of street dogs at Old Trafford, and were put out of their misery with a 3-0 hammering. That they managed just one shot on target – coming in the 89th minute – says it all. This weekend they host Leicester, the side that knocked them out of The Cup earlier this year. Spurs are unbeaten in their last nine at White Hart Lane, with their last home loss coming against Stoke in November. Despite being a lightweight side that is doomed to finish outside the European places, they should still have too much for the Foxes, who are doomed for much worse. 

Stoke 11/10  | Draw 21/10 | Crystal Palace 26/10
Crystal Palace continued their move toward safety with a comfortable 3-1 victory over QPR last time out. I have quite a liking for this side, and if they manage to find a decent striker in the summer I think they'll be able to kick on. Alan Pardew, for all his flaws, remains a competent manager, while in Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha they have two of the league's better wingers. Stoke, well they're Stoke. Despite Mark Hughes' best efforts to convince the watching public that they're an entertaining football side, I'm not buying it. A 1-0 loss to West Brom last time out proves my point. I fancy Palace to get something out of this one, making the Double Chance at 13/20 your best bet.

West Ham 8/10 | Draw 5/2 | Sunderland 34/10
Sunderland come into their match against West Ham a point above the drop zone and without a manager. If that happens to change in the days leading up to the match, I suggest you get on the away win. I’m a firm believer in backing based on a new manager, no matter who the new man is. Jomo Sono could take over at the Stadium of Light and pick up a win in his first match. Such is life. However, it is unlikely there’ll be a new man at the helm by the time they travel south to London. West Ham weren’t as bad as the scoreline suggests against Arsenal, and might’ve made off with a point if Matt Jarvis could shoot. As it is, they should have no chance seeing off the Black Cats here.

Liverpool 11/10 | Draw 24/10 | Manchester United 24/10
Sunday gets underway with a massive clash at Anfield. There remains 10 matches left in the season, but I can't help feeling the winner of this one will go on to secure Champions League football. That winner will be Liverpool. It seems a cocky statement, and it is. Just as I was gosh darn sure that United would win the reverse fixture (and I was right), this one can only go one way. Forget about United's flash in the pan against Spurs, and Liverpool’s lacklustre showing in Wales. A few weeks back the Reds tore Manchester City limb from limb, and I expect them to do the same against Louis van Gaal’s schizophrenic United side. Take the home win at 11/10 and don’t look back.

Hull 6/1 | Draw 32/10 | Chelsea 9/20
Chelsea haven’t been at their best in recent weeks. They’ll still have too much to win the league. Perhaps this is an indication that English football really isn’t at the standards it was a few years back. Chelsea are a good side – don’t get me wrong. But failing to beat 10-man PSG at home in 120 minutes of football altered my perception somewhat. Their laboured performance against Southampton can be forgiven after their midweek exploits, but failure to beat Hull City will have alarm bells ringing. Fortunately for the Blues amongst you, I don’t see that happening. Wait for the price to drift and pick them up in-running at 6/10. Easy money.

QPR 9/4 | Draw 9/4 | Everton 12/10
The weekend closes out at Loftus Road where QPR will be hoping to kickstart their bid for safety against Everton. The Toffees moved six points clear of the drop zone with a 3-0 win over Newcastle, their first in the league since January. The R’s have been terrible on the road this term, making their remaining home matches even more vital. Nothing less than a win will do against Roberto Martinez’s team. Unfortunately, that is something they’ve managed just once in their last 10 matches. QPR have goals in them, exhibited by Matt Phillips’ absolute stonker against Palace, but they don’t have a defence capable of closing out the match. Back Both Teams to Score at 8/10.

Best you get your fix this weekend, for next week international football rears it’s ugly head. Enjoy the footy, and the punting. Mahalo.

Written by Commodore Vegas
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EPL Picks
West Brom WIN/DRAW 18/10
Aston Villa WIN 27/20
Arsenal WIN 21/20
Southampton U 2.5 GOALS 17/20
Tottenham WIN 11/20
Crystal palace WIN/DRAW 13/20
West Ham WIN 8/10
Liverpool WIN 11/10
Chelsea WIN 9/20