Commodore's EPL Picks

There are many harsh lessons to be learned from the gambling experience, like the fact that being lucky will always trump being smart. And my dear readers, my luck seems to be running thin. There was some decent football on display this weekend, but there was also some heinous acts of shithousery. Diego Costa has assumed Luis Suarez’s role as the pantomime villain of the Premier League and is reveling in it. Chelsea really are a despicable football club. I say that knowing full well there may be those among you who will have cause to defend your boys. Take away your deluded manager, your villainous striker or your philandering club captain and you’re still left with the fans. The fans who sang to Petr Cech, a heroic servant of the club for 11 seasons, “We wish you had died, we wish you had died, that night in Reading, we wish you had died.” Such vile behaviour is inexcusable and if you are a Chelsea supporter, I suggest you find yourself a new club to support.

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Saturday 26 September

Tottenham 28/10 | Draw 26/10 | Man City 17/20

Onto footballing matters, and Spurs’ meeting with Manchester City at White Hart Lane. The Citizens assembled the most expensive team in the history of the league last weekend, and still they went down to West Ham. Money can’t buy you points – just ask Liverpool. On the flip side, Spurs fielded the youngest team of the season against Palace and were rewarded with a 1-0 victory. They had Hugo Lloris to thank for that, while at the other end of the park, Harry Kane continues to struggle. These sides are leagues apart, which will be evident on Saturday. Back City to bounce back in style at a very decent 17/20.

Leicester 3/1 | Draw 28/10 | Arsenal 8/10

So, despite all the pre-season hype, not much has changed at Arsenal. They didn’t come close to beating Chelsea – a side that has already lost to Crystal Palace and Everton this season. It looks to be another season of frustration for Arsenal fans. This weekend they visit the King Power Stadium to face unbeaten Leicester City. The Foxes have ridden their luck for the past two weekends, coming from two goals down on each occasion. Rihad Mahrez is undoubtedly the player of the season so far, but he has able support in Jamie Vardy and Shinji Okazaki. They’ve been far less assured at the back in recent weeks, and there should be goals on display here. I’m tipping Both Teams to Score, but Arsenal to win looks better value at 8/10.

Liverpool 9/20 | Draw 34/10 | Aston Villa 6/1

Just where the hell are Liverpool headed? They were unable to see off Norwich City at Anfield – a side they have absolutely decimated on almost every occasion in recent history. They have no identity, no belief and no hope. Something needs to change. Brendan Rodgers is bleeding profusely and a home loss to Aston Villa should be enough to put him out of his misery. It can’t go on any longer. Both sides are without a win in five matches (this week’s Capital One Cup excluded), so it all points to a dull draw. However, Liverpool don’t do dull. They do calamitous and dramatic. As I’ve suggested already in this column, Aston Villa are a better side away from home. They could very easily get a result here, making the 6/1 on offer for an away win too tasty to pass up.

Man United 1/5 | Draw 5/1 | Sunderland 11/1

Manchester United are getting lucky at the moment. Then again, they’re making their own luck. Juan Mata was clearly offside in the build-up to Anthony Martial’s opener against Southampton, but how well did the young Frenchman take his goal? He looks the real deal, which is a worry for the rest of the Premier League. That fortuitous victory lifted them to second in the league, just two points behind rivals Man City. On Saturday they host Sunderland, a side languishing at the foot of the table and yet to pick up a win this season. There can only be one outcome. No use spending any more time analysing this one. Back United on the HT-FT double at 13/20 and move on.

Southampton 21/20 | Draw 23/10 | Swansea 26/10

Southampton were better against United. Graziano Pelle was a constant menace up front, while Sadio Mane showed glimpses of the player that almost convinced Louis van Gaal to take him to Old Trafford. Yet, they still lost. Their visitors on Saturday, Swansea, have lost their way a bit since their victory over the Red Devils. Bafetimbi Gomis has gone off the boil and they’ve failed to score in their last two outings. The form guide is starting to reflect the strength of the teams in the league, and I believe Southampton will finish above Swansea over the course of the season. The last three meetings between these two have seen just three goals and Saturday’s meeting will be no different. Back a narrow home triumph, available at 21/20.

Stoke 16/10 | Draw 9/4 | Bournemouth 31/20

Stoke are another side yet to pick up a win this season. Things haven’t gone quite as planned for Mark Hughes and his footballing revolution. Perhaps Stoke were better off sticking to their thuggish ways and implementing some good ol’ route one football with Peter Crouch as the focal point. Bournemouth are another side looking to play “the continental way”, but they’ve at least managed to pick up results in the process. A 2-0 win against Sunderland came courtesy of another goal from Callum Wilson and an absolute stunner from Keegan Ritchie. Unlike Stoke, they’ve added substance to their style. The Potters have lost two of their three home matches this season and the growing frustration is unlikely to foster any free-flowing football. I’m backing Bournemouth to win at 31/20.

West Ham 11/10 | Draw 23/10 | Norwich 9/4

Just how good are West Ham? They’ve already gone to Arsenal, Liverpool and Man City and won. Not even Chelsea will get those results this season. Sure, they were helped by a superhuman performance from Adrian between the sticks, but they got the job done. Results like that make gambling on the Premier League a rube’s game. They’ll probably do down to Norwich at home this weekend. The Canaries got a commendable draw at Anfield last time out, and will feel they can grab a similar result at Upton Park. This really could go any way, so I suggest steering clear. 

Newcastle 4/1 | Draw 28/10 | Chelsea 13/20

So Chelsea are back to winning ways after Diego Costa’s antics at Stamford Bridge. They still needed a dodgy free-kick and a deflected goal to see off nine-man Arsenal. Something remains amiss at the Bridge, with Costa remonstrating after his substitution, John Terry watching on from the bench and Kurt Zouma labelling his team-mate a nice guy and a cheat in the same interview. It might be a bold call, but Mourinho looks to have one foot out the door already. He’ll be gone before the season is up. Third seasons aren’t really his thing. As for Newcastle, Steve McClaren is looking every bit “the Wally with the Brolly”. He openly admits to not knowing his best XI, even after three months in the job. As lacklustre as they are at present, Chelsea should still find a way to win here, even if 13/20 is a tad short for my liking.

Sunday 27 September

Watford 15/10 | Draw 22/10 | Crystal Palace 18/10

Watford have finally started to find their feet at the top level, picking up back-to-back victories over the past two weekends. They were fully deserving of their victory at St James’ Park and should test Crystal Palace in Sunday’s only match. Palace failed to reach their early season heights as they slumped to a 1-0 defeat to Tottenham on Sunday. It was a game they feel they might’ve won, but in truth never did enough to trouble a poor Spurs side. They should be more comfortable at this level but successive defeats will have dented their confidence. This one has the makings of an entertaining affair, with the scoring draw available at 32/10.

Monday 28 September

West Brom 2/1 | Draw 22/10 | Everton 27/20

I don’t like Tony Pulis. I don’t like his football philosophy or his tracksuit and cap combination. He is the antithesis of what I expect from a football manager. And yet, he continues to find success. His West Brom side aren’t pretty, but they sure are effective. There is no real worry they’ll be relegated, but I can think of better things to do than stay up on Monday night watching them hoof a ball around the Hawthorns. Roberto Martinez and Everton will likely try their best to at least play some football, but against a Pulis side that is easier said than done. Back the unders and start the week with a winning bet. It’s a sure thing.

Let’s hope this is the weekend that turns things around. Otherwise I’m turning my attentions to the Rugby World Cup. There’s money to be made on the + handicaps if anyone’s interested. I made my fair share over the weekend. Otherwise, enjoy the long weekend and happy punting. Sala Kahle.

Written by Commodore Vegas
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EPL Picks
Man City WIN 17/20
Arsenal WIN 8/10
Aston Villa WIN 6/1
Man United HT-FT WIN 13/20
Southampton WIN 21/20
Bournemouth WIN 31/20
Chelsea WIN 13/20
Watford DRAW + BTTS 32/10
West Brom UNDER 2.5 GOALS 13/20