Commodore's EPL Picks

Gambling on the Premier League got off to a slow start, although Chelsea’s dropped points at home helped me break just about even. I’ll take it. Especially with so little form to go on. It was a strange weekend in the end – bookended by victories for the two Manchester clubs and kick-started by Kyle Walker’s own goal. There were red cards, goal-keeping howlers, disallowed goals and a rasper from Phillipe Coutinho. His strike, along with Stoke’s new centre circle, was one of the few highlights of that drab affair at the Britannia. Onto bigger and better things I say. It’s time to start turning a profit.

Friday 14th August

Aston Villa 9/2 | Draw 28/10 | Man United 6/10

For the second weekend running it will be Manchester United who get things underway when they visit Aston Villa on Friday night. Louis van Gaal will be hoping for an improved performance from his expensively assembled squad who were underwhelming in their opening day victory over Spurs. Villa picked up their third successive opening day victory, although little can be read into a 1-0 win over Bournemouth. What would’ve pleased Tim Sherwood is their new-found defensive resolve, which will be tested by the infinitely more talented United side. The Red Devils have a great record at Villa Park, making the 6/10 available for an away victory just about worth your while.

Saturday 15th August

Southampton 9/10 | Draw 24/10 | Everton 31/10

Saturday kicks-off on the south coast with Southampton hosting Everton at St Mary’s in what looks an intriguing fixture on paper. Both sides opened their season with a come-from-behind 2-2 draw against sides they were tipped to beat. The Saints needed a late Shane Long header, while Everton had Ross Barkley to thank for their point despite a laboured showing against newly-promoted Watford. The Toffees still look three or four signings away for competing for a Europa League place. Tom Cleverly isn’t really the game-changer they need at the moment. As for a result, the home side has won each of the last four meetings between the two. Back the Saints to make it five at 9/10.

Tottenham 7/10 | Draw 27/10 | Stoke City 36/10

I still maintain that Spurs are not a very good football side. Mauricio Pochettino proclaimed himself happy with their performance at Old Trafford – an indication on just where this side belongs. Stoke come to town bullish after doing the double over the north London club last season, including a 3-0 drubbing at the Britannia. Mark Hughes has continued to add some talented footballers to his group of exotic Europeans, with Swiss international Xherdan Shaqiri the latest to head to the midlands. What is this world coming to? The Potters may not be the best on the road, but 36/10 looks good value for my liking. You could play it safe with the Double Chance at even money. 

Sunderland 27/20 | Draw 22/10 | Norwich 2/1

Norwich can consider themselves hard done-by after going down to Crystal Palace on the opening day. Cameron Jerome saw his acrobatic strike ruled out, while the late penalty was a harsh reality check for the Canaries. Their opposition on Saturday, Sunderland, had no such hard luck. They were thoroughly fleeced by Leicester City. The new centre-back pairing of Sebastien Coates and Younes Kaboul were diabolical while Lee Cattermole was yanked off after just 30 minutes. New season, same old Sunderland. Will they be able to turn things around at the Stadium of Light this weekend? I’m not so sure. Either way, Norwich look likely to bag a goal or two. I’m taking Both Teams to Score at 8/10.

Swansea City 19/20 | Draw 24/10 | Newcastle 28/10

Swansea were fully deserving of their point at Stamford Bridge in one of the more eye-catching performances of the opening weekend. Andre Ayew gave every indication he’ll be a good signing for the Swans while Jonjo Shelvey outwitted Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic in the middle of the park. This weekend they’ll come up against a Newcastle side also brimming with optimism after their draw with Southampton. Georginio Wijnaldum was the pick of the new signings and took his goal particularly well. Perhaps I was wrong about Newcastle and Steve. Maybe they are a top-half side. Or perhaps they got lucky. There should be a couple goals here, with over 2.5 goals available at evens. If you’re looking to go outright, Swansea look good value at 19/20 given their impressive home record.

Watford 12/10 | Draw 23/10 | West Brom 22/10

Watford looked the best of the promoted sides on their return to the Premier League after eight years in the Championship wilderness. Troy Deeney proved a constant menace to the Everton backline, while the five debutants didn’t look overawed by the occasion. Next up for the Hornets is West Brom at Vicarage Road. The Baggies let me down badly against Man City after Tony Pulis decided to take an unusually attacking approach and got his arse handed to him. Expect him to revert to type against Watford, with new record signing Saloman Rondon being handed a debut from the bench. Watford showed enough against Everton to suggest they can stay up this season and are tipped to pick up their first win at 12/10.

West Ham 5/4 | Draw 24/10 | Leicester City 2/1

The big surprise this past weekend was just how easily West Ham managed to deal with Arsenal. Slaven Bilic’s side were helped by Petr Cech’s generous goalkeeping, but that should take nothing away from the quality of their play. Dimitri Payet showed himself the heir apparent to Paulo di Canio’s mercurial genius while 16-year-old Reece Oxford had a debut to remember. They’ll be looking to build on that result when they host Leicester on Saturday, who were just as impressive in seeing off Sunderland. They picked up where they left off last season, making it eight wins in their last 10 Premier League matches. However, I expect the Hammers match sharpness to tell again, with the home victory tipped.

Sunday 16th August

Crystal Palace 37/10 | Draw 27/10 | Arsenal 7/10

God damn Arsenal. Touted as potential title contenders by all-and-sundry, myself included, they flattered to deceive on Sunday. Petr Cech was a liability, while Olivier Giroud conspired to miss chance after chance. It was typical Arsenal. This weekend they face a tricky away day against Crystal Palace where Alan Pardew and Arsene Wenger will renew their rivalry. The Eagles were my bet of the weekend at 19/10 and didn’t disappoint, picking up a comfortable 3-1 victory. Yohan Cabaye was every bit as influential as expected, while Wilfried Zaha was full of running and invention. Palace have it in them to cause Arsenal all sorts of problems and offer good value at 37/10. A week is a long time in football and doesn’t Wenger know it.

Man City 1/1 | Draw 24/10 | Chelsea 26/10

Last season’s top two meet at the Etihad on Sunday in this weekend’s showpiece event. Jose Mourinho looks set to be without his first-choice ‘keeper after Thibaut Courtois went on walkabout against Swansea. What will be of even more concern for him is the form of Branislav Ivanovic and Gary Cahill, both of whom struggled to deal with Swansea's free-flowing attackers. City had no such problems as they brushed West Brom aside, where David Silva oozed class and Yaya Toure looked reinvigorated after a mediocre campaign last term. Both meetings ended in a 1-1 draw last season and while Chelsea are undoubtedly rattled by the opening weekend’s events, I can’t see them losing here. The draw can be found at 24/10 and looks a decent bet.

Monday 17th August

Liverpool 5/10 | Draw 33/10 | Bournemouth 5/1

Liverpool still seem a side struggling for an identity. Much of this can be put down Brendan Rodgers scattergun approach to transfers and his constant tinkering with their formation. They simply don’t know how they want to play and the signing of Christian Benteke has further muddied the waters. The Belgian cut an isolated figure up front and apart from a piece of magic from Phillippe Coutinho, the Reds were decidedly average at the Britannia. There were positives, though. Dejan Lovren had his best showing since signing from Southampton, while Jordan Ibe offset the loss of Raheem Sterling. With upcoming trips to Manchester United and Arsenal, a win at home against Bournemouth on Monday is imperative. They should deliver on that promise, but it is the clean sheet that looks good value at 11/10.

It’s well known to those that know it well, that form is a fickle beast so early in the season, so I’d hesitate to get too excited about any one teams performance. There were plenty goals on the opening weekend, while elementary mistakes are not likely to be repeated second time around. I’d suggest erring on the side of caution so early in the season as we look to build an innings. Until next time, happy punting. Sala Kahle.

Written by Commodore Vegas
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EPL Picks
Man United WIN 6/10
Southampton WIN 9/10
Stoke City WIN 36/10
Sunderland BTTS 8/10
Swansea WIN 19/20
Watford WIN 12/10
West Ham WIN 5/4
Crystal Palace WIN 37/10
Man City DRAW 24/10
Liverpool CLEAN SHEET 11/10