Commodore's EPL Picks

The Far Post: The Red Revolution 2.0

Liverpool hire one of Europe’s brightest managers for the second time in four years.
This time it will work. This time. Jurgen Klopp has the pedigree that Brendan Rodgers simply didn’t. He’s won league titles, transformed unknowns into superstars and fallen in love with the clubs he’s managed. It’s a match made in heaven. Except it isn’t. It’s a business deal, only shrouded by the romance of football. Klopp – like Rodgers before him – certainly talks a good game, but he must deliver on those words. A first league title within four years. Bullish talk for a club in it’s third decade without one and a squad shackled with mediocrity. I fear he may have overshot the mark somewhat in his haste to please the fans. Only time will tell.

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Saturday 17th October

Tottenham 27/20 | Draw 23/10 | Liverpool 18/10

It’s fitting that the week should start with Liverpool’s visit to White Hart Lane. Jamie Carragher fears the Reds “are becoming Tottenham”. A damning indictment. Spurs may have shown some form in recent weeks but they are, at most, the seventh-best side in this league in my opinion. Liverpool must be better. Klopp won’t have much time to prepare as players trickle back from all parts of the globe. The Reds have won the last five meetings between the two sides, including a 3-0 win in the corresponding fixture last season. It was Liverpool’s best performance of the season, which didn’t count for much. Such a record simply cannot be ignored and I’m tipping Klopp to make a winning start at 18/10.

Chelsea 3/10 | Draw 4/1 | Aston Villa 77/10

What to make of Jose Mourinho? The Special One’s behaviour has been erratic in recent weeks, picking fights with all and sundry while his club flounders. Chelsea are in crisis. As defending champions, they find themselves in 16th place, just four points above the drop zone and Saturday’s visitors Aston Villa. Luckily for Mourinho, Villa are even worse off. Tim Sherwood’s tactical shortcomings are becoming more evident with each passing week. Defensively they remain as porous as ever, while up front Rudy Gestede is the only player offering any kind of threat. And yet, they’ll feel they can go to The Bridge and get something. Chelsea are 3/10 favourites, and should win, but it would be unwise to put any sort of money on them. Move along.

Crystal Palace 9/10 | Draw 26/10 | West Ham 28/10

Eight weeks into the season and Crystal Palace remain in the top four. It’s been some campaign for the Eagles and it shows no sign of abating. Yohann Cabaye was at the centre of another win prior to the international break, contributing a goal and an assist in a comfortable 2-0 triumph over West Brom. This week it’s West Ham at Selhurst Park. The Hammers are in some decent form of their own and are unbeaten in five matches. They’ve already won on the road at Arsenal, Liverpool and Man City and will be a threat here – the corresponding fixture last season ended 3-1 to the visitors. This one should be an enthralling affair, with both teams tipped to get on the scoresheet at 15/20.

Everton 9/4 | Draw 23/10 | Manchester United 11/10

Manchester United were going along so nicely until 20 minutes at the Emirates brought the facade crashing down. How will Louis van Gaal’s side react at Goodison Park this weekend? The Toffees have looked good in patches this season, but just aren’t able to match the big guns on any consistent basis. They’re a young side, capable of challenging if they’re allowed to stay together over a period of time. Unfortunately, given their current stature, that is unlikely to happen. Last season they ran out 3-0 winners in this fixture, their third consecutive win in this fixture. Can they make it four? United’s performance at the Emirates will give them the belief they can, and at 9/4, the home win is too tasty to pass up.

Manchester City 7/20 | Draw 4/1 | Bournemouth 67/10

Manchester City are back on top of the table. However, the international break has done them no favours. They will be without Sergio Aguero and David Silva in the coming weeks, two players integral to their fortunes. Throw in the ongoing injury issues surrounding Yaya Toure and they’ve got problems. They should be able to manage against the likes of Bournemouth, though – a side struggling with injury problems of their own. The Cherries have lost three key players in as many weeks and look likely to start their slide down the table. City should win this, but Eddie Howe’s side have shown great tenacity in all their fixtures so far this term. I fancy a sneaky punt on the Draw-City, HT-FT double at 3/1. 

Southampton 15/20 | Draw 11/4 | Leicester 7/2

After a less than favourable start, Southampton have gone on to win three of their last five matches, including that 3-1 triumph at Stamford Bridge. Ronald Koeman’s new signings seem to have settled in well, while last season’s stalwarts are hitting form. On Saturday they host Leicester City at St Mary’s with the possibility of moving level with the Foxes on points. If they are to come away with a result, they’ll need to find a way to stop the red-hot Jamie Vardy. The England forward has scored in each of his last five league appearances. Leicester have shown all season how dangerous a side they are on the counter-attack and Southampton will need to be wary. I still fancy the Saints to get up, with a home win and Both Teams to Score available at 24/10.

West Brom 19/20 | Draw 23/10 | Sunderland 3/1

Big Sam is back in the game. Oh how I’ve missed the burly bugger and his exaggerated sense of his own ability. Why just this week he was quoted saying he still believed he’s good enough for the England job. Well Roy Hodgson currently holds the position, so I suppose he has a point. Anyway, his first job will be getting something out of Sunderland’s visit to the Hawthorns this weekend. Pulis and Big Sam going at it – what more could you ask for? Expect route one football and some ferocious tackles, while the two managers prowl the touchline like hungry bears during a salmon run. This should be fun. As for a result – you can’t pass on new manager syndrome. It’s a thing. Back the Black Cats at 3/1. 

Watford 9/2 | Draw 3/1 | Arsenal 11/20

Can Arsenal really win the title? Belief is high after their dismantling of Manchester United, but I’m not so sure. I tipped them prior to the season but something about them doesn’t sit well with me. They’re not Man City. They can’t cope with injuries to key personnel. It will tell over the course of a season. For now, though, let’s just revel in the beauty of those first 20 minutes against United. No team would have stayed with them. It was champagne football of the highest order. They will have little problem seeing off Watford on Saturday. Their away form has been superb over the last season and at 11/20 they represent one of the bets of the weekend. Certainly one for the multiples.

Sunday 18th October

Newcastle 15/10 | Draw 23/10 | Norwich 7/4

How much longer more can Steve McClaren endure? Newcastle sit at the foot of the table, below even Sunderland. Surely this cannot go on for much longer. The thing is, they’ve been decent at times this season. They even took the lead against Manchester City before Sergio Aguero tore them to pieces. Sunday’s meeting with Norwich is a must-win game. And yet, I don’t think they’ll win it. The Canaries are a side low on luck, yet they sit six points better off than their hosts. Simply put, they’re a better side. The bookies don’t quite agree, which makes the 7/4 for an away win an even more enticing offer.

Monday 19th October

Swansea 19/20 | Draw 23/10 | Stoke 28/10

Monday Night Football is back. Swansea host Stoke in what should be pleasant enough match. Both sides like to push the ball around, however only the Swans have done it with success this term. Things may have gone a bit off the boil recently, while Stoke have seen an upturn in fortunes. After going six league matches without a win, the Potters have picked up six points from their last two. Four of the last five meetings between these two have seen both sides getting on the scoresheet. A repeat will get you 19/20 – another one for the multiples.

My 100/1 treble went close last week, with United’s blank and Harry Kane’s OG putting me out. We go again, though. Back Liverpool & BTTS/Southampton & BTTS/Swansea & BTTS at 73/1. It’s a runner. Otherwise enjoy the weekend. Sala Kahle.

Written by Commodore Vegas
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EPL Picks
Liverpool WIN 18/10
Crystal Palace BTTS 15/20
Everton WIN 9/4
Man City DRAW-WIN HT-FT Double 3/1
Southampton WIN + BTTS 24/10
Sunderland WIN 3/1
Arsenal WIN 11/20
Norwich WIN 7/4
Swansea BTTS 19/20