Commodore's EPL Picks

Well now, folks, that was some weekend of football. It may not have made for pleasant viewing for Liverpool and Manchester City supporters, but for the rest there was plenty to marvel over. Charlie Adam’s public shaming of Thibault Courtois had goalkeepers the world over offering condolences, while Jermain Defoe’s wonderstrike settled an utterly forgettable Weir-Tyne derby. Then there was Arsenal’s demolition job on Liverpool’s top four hopes. The Reds were perhaps as much to blame for their demise as the Gunners. Their indecisiveness was crippling, while the decision to play with seven midfielders when nothing short of a win would do, was baffling. I only wished I’d taken Arsenal outright. However, my weekend was saved by Alan Pardew and Crystal Palace, whose victory over the champions paid handsomely. For those that got on, you’re welcome. 

Swansea City 29/20 | Draw 22/10 | Everton 18/10
Everton have all but secured their place in the top flight with victories over QPR and Southampton. Those wins make it four in five in all competitions, as they look to save what is left of their season. This weekend they travel to Wales to face Swansea, who also enter the match on the back of consecutive victories. The Toffees boast a strong recent record in fixtures between the two, having won four of the last six meetings. They’ve also claimed all three points on their previous two visits to the Liberty, and are slowly returning to the form that saw them challenge for the Champions League places last term. I’m backing them to carry on up the charts at 18/10. 

Southampton 5/10 | Draw 29/10 | Hull City 62/10
Southampton showed against Everton that they just don’t have the quality to maintain a European push. The goals have dried up for Graziano Pelle, while Shane Long is nothing more than a journeyman who plays international football, only because he was born in Ireland. On Saturday they’ll play host to Hull City, who are also in desperate need of a win. Sitting just two points above the drop zone and without a win in five matches, you have to fear for Steve Bruce’s side. They’ve also lost their last three matches against Southampton. All this doesn’t bode well for the Tigers, who’ll have to look elsewhere for their log points. At 5/10, the Saints look a bit short, but could be one for the multiples.

Tottenham 11/20 | Draw 31/10 | Aston Villa 47/10
It seems that I will be right on two counts this season. Chelsea will win the league, and Spurs won’t finish in the top four. Harry Kane’s goals and a 5-3 win over the champions elect have clouded perceptions on just how good Mauricio Pochettino’s side really are. On Saturday, they’ll welcome one of their former managers to White Hart Lane, as Tim Sherwood brings his Aston Villa side to town. The Villains were completely outplayed at Old Trafford, where they managed just over 20% ball possession – a pitiful effort. Spurs have won the last five matches between these two, and although they’re not worthy of a top five finish, they should still have enough to see of Villa. Another for the multiples at 11/20.

Sunderland 31/20 | Draw 2/1 | Crystal Palace 17/10 
Sunderland’s recent record against Newcastle continued at the weekend, with a single goal enough to separate the two. The victory has lifted them three points clear of the relegation zone, although a loss against Crystal Palace this weekend could see them get pulled straight back in. The Eagles arrive at the Stadium of Light in terrific form. Alan Pardew has seen a tremendous turnaround since taking over at the beginning of the year, picking up 22 points from his 11 matches in charge. They now sit four points ahead of his previous side, Newcastle, whose fans forced him out of the club. Victory over the Black Cats just a week after Newcastle’s failure is an added incentive. I’m backing form over desperation here, with the Eagles tipped at 17/10.

West Brom 11/10 | Draw 9/4 | Leicester City 24/10
Every now and again the Premier League produces a result that could never have been predicted. QPR’s 4-1 victory over West Brom at the Hawthorns was such a result. The Baggies found themselves 3-0 down at half time against arguably the worst away side in the history of the Premier League. It was quite astounding, and cost me a fair bit of money. On Saturday they’ll get a chance to rectify matters against Leicester City, another relegation threatened outfit. The Foxes sprung a surprise of their own over the weekend, beating West Ham 2-1 to keep their hopes of survival alive. Such are the inconsistencies at this stage of the season. The Foxes are showing fight, and look a decent Double Chance bet at 6/10.

West Ham 12/10 | Draw 22/10 | Stoke City 9/4
Two sides with very little to play for will meet at Upton Park on Saturday, as West Ham play host to Stoke City. Apart from Charlie Adam’s wondergoal, Stoke offered very little in the way of attack against Chelsea and can consider themselves lucky not to have been on the end of a hiding. The Hammers weren’t much better against Leicester, and look to be waiting for the season to end. It’s a common problem of mid-table sides at this stage of the season. Matches between these two are often close, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see this one end in a draw.

Burnley 5/1 | Draw 31/10 | Arsenal 5/10
Arsenal are currently the best side in Europe on form. They absolutely tore Liverpool apart over the weekend, allowing them to move into second position after Man City’s defeat to Crystal Palace. With Chelsea only playing on Sunday, Arsenal have a chance to close the gap at the top of the table to four points with victory over Burnley at Turf Moor. Their North London rivals, Tottenham, failed in that task at the weekend, but Wenger’s side are in a different class. It will be a monumental upset if they fail to win here. Given their current form, the 5/10 available looks good value and can serve as a banker in your multiples. 

QPR 67/10 | Draw 36/10 |Chelsea 4/10
I’m not quite sure what to make of QPR at present. They looked all but dead and buried before rising like a phoenix to savagely rip West Brom to pieces. It was a perplexing performance and one that will have Jose Mourinho worried ahead of their trip to Loftus Road on Sunday. There’s always a little added spice when it comes to London derbies. QPR managed to knock over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge a couple seasons back, with a late Shaun Wright-Phillips strike sealing a rare victory in an ultimately doomed season. This one has me worried, especially as Chelsea haven’t found top gear in recent weeks. Rather look elsewhere.

Man United 29/20 | Draw 23/10 | Man City 18/10
On Sunday the two Manchester clubs meet in a match that could have far-reaching consequences on the league in the coming seasons. City are falling fast. Fifteen points in 11 matches is mid-table form. Carry on this way and Liverpool might even still be in with a shot of finishing fourth. As for United, well Louis van Gaal’s possession-based approach is starting to pay dividends. A season on transformation and Champions League football to look forward to next season – objective achieved. Man City have had a monopoly in this fixture in recent times, but it would be impossible to back them on current form. Get on the home win, and enjoy the match, it should be a goodie.

Liverpool 4/10 | Draw 36/10 |Newcastle 13/2
Liverpool are facing a minor crisis at present. Their fidgety performance against Arsenal was perhaps the worst seen from a Brendan Rodgers side in recent times. They’ll host Newcastle on Monday evening without the suspended trio of Martin Skrtel, Emre Can and Steven Gerrard. Luckily for them, Newcastle are in an even worse state. There is nothing about the Magpies squad that will instill any fear in the Reds back three. However, they’ll need to find a way to get the goals flowing again, even without Daniel Sturridge. Perhaps it’s time to bring Mario Balotelli in from the cold, Brendan. As for a result – 1-0 to Liverpool. Don’t wait up.

My weekend multiple fell agonsingly short, as Valencia failed to find a goal against Villareal despite dominating proceedings. Porto/Feyenoord/St Etienne/Midtjylland at 10/1 – that’s my play for this weekend. Also keep an eye out on Twitter, I’ll be sharing any punts that may come up over the weekend. Sala Kahle.

Written by Commodore Vegas
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EPL Picks
Everton WIN 18/10
Southampton WIN 5/10
Tottenham WIN 11/20
Crystal Palace WIN 17/10
Leicester City WIN/DRAW DOUBLE 6/10
Stoke City DRAW 9/4
Arsenal WIN 5/10
Man United WIN 23/10
Liverpool WIN 4/10