Commodore's EPL Picks

The international break is an ugly time for gamblers. It is a time of desperation, recklessness and guaranteed personal failures. I have always hated international breaks for personal reasons, but as a gambler, I really hate it. Nothing good ever happens when players are forced to leave the sanctuary of their clubs for the far-flung corners of the earth and a reunion with their countrymen. They left for a reason. But we leave that misery behind us, for the Premier League is back! Ho ho ho. It’s time to throw some fat on the fire. Let it burn.

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Saturday 21 November

36/10 Watford | Draw 23/10 | Man United 17/20 (14:45)

Man United have been terrible for a number of weeks now. They have been picking up points despite themselves – something has to give. It took a special strike from Jesse Lingard to see off West Brom, but they can’t continue to ride their luck. As it stands, they sit two points behind Man City. Sometimes the Premier League makes less than no sense. This week they travel to Watford – a side more than capable of doing them. Odion Ighalo is a constant menace up front and has already notched up 7 goals in 11 appearances this season. I’m making a brave call here and backing the Hornets for a home win at 36/10. 

9/20 Chelsea | 34/10 | Norwich 57/10 (17:00)

One person who would’ve been relieved by the international break is Jose Mourinho. The Chelsea manager has had some time to reflect on what has been a catastrophic start for the champions and formulate a way out of this mess. The Blues will go in search of just their fourth win of the season against Norwich on Saturday. The Canaries ended a run of four consecutive defeats with a 1-0 victory over Swansea courtesy of a Jonny Howson goal. Mourinho will be back in the stands for this one, having missed the defeat at Stoke. I’ve been vehemently against backing Chelsea all season, but at 9/20 they’re well worth throwing into a multiple. This time they’ll get things right. This time.

11/20 Everton | 3/1 | Aston Villa 47/10 (17:00)

As expected, Aston Villa showed much more defensive resolve in Remi Garde’s first match in charge. Mirroring the pragmatic approach he took at Lyon, Garde’s Villa shut down the league’s top scorers, recording just their second clean sheet of the season. That they didn’t manage a shot on target won’t have bothered the Frenchman – they didn’t lose. There is bound to be a similar approach to the trip to Goodison Park to face an improving Everton side. Romelu Lukaku continues to look the real deal up front for the Toffees. The Belgian will take some confidence into this one, having scored home and away against Villa last term. If you can, back him to score anytime, otherwise the unders could well be the way to go here. 

7/4 Newcastle | 24/10 | Leicester 14/10 (17:00)

Newcastle were quite simply never in the match against Bournemouth and yet they made off with a 1-0 victory. It was the sort of brazen daylight robbery reserved for comic book movies. On Saturday they’ll host the Foxes and, more importantly, a rampant Jamie Vardy. The Englishman has been near unstoppable in recent weeks, reaching Harry Kane-like levels of prowess in front of goal. Newcastle may have kept a clean sheet in their last outing, but they have shipped 22 goals already this season. The Foxes are yet to lose on the road this season, while every one of their away matches have seen both teams scoring. That is where the money is, although odds of 5/10 seem a little short. Rather wait for them to go behind and jump on the double chance in-play. They’re the kings of the comeback.

11/20 Southampton | 29/10 | Stoke 52/10 (17:00)

A month or so back, Mark Hughes was on the brink of being sacked. Stoke, for all their investment in Europe’s bright young talents, had failed to set the league alight. Not much has changed since bar one thing – results. The Potters have won four of their last six matches, including that victory over Chelsea last time out. Hughes is safe for now. On Saturday, Stoke head to the south coast to face Southampton. The Saints have enjoyed a solid run of their own and are unbeaten in their last six matches. Defensively, they’re closer to the solid unit we saw last season, while Graziano Pelle continues to chip in with vital goals up front. This one will be tight, with not much to choose between the two. So much so that I’m going for a draw at a rather decent 29/10.

17/20 Swansea | 5/2 | Bournemouth 31/10 (17:00)

Swansea have gone to absolute rubbish in recent weeks. Defeat to Norwich City made it one win in their last eight matches. From a high of fourth at the beginning of September, they’ve plummeted to 14th in the table. Sanity has been restored over Gary Monk’s coaching credentials. He’s not the next Alex Ferguson, he’s barely the next Brendan Rodgers. Saturday’s meeting with Bournemouth should provide them with a chance to return to winning ways, but it’s hardly cut and dry. Eddie Howe’s side deserved more out of their previous match – a 1-0 defeat to Newcastle. They played some good football, but were shown up for their lack of finishing in the continued absence of Callum Wilson. There won’t be many goals on offer here, with the odd goal likely to knick it. Lump on the unders at 8/10 – this one’s a certainty.

5/1 West Brom | 33/10 | Arsenal 5/10 (17:00)

On the surface Arsenal’s trip to the Hawthorns looks a tricky one. The Baggies, coached by Arsene Wenger’s nemesis Tony Pulis, are a tough side to break down. However, Arsenal on the road has been one of the best bets around for the best part of this year. They’ve won five of their six trips this term, scoring 14 goals in the process. A couple of those matches have come against stubborn teams who have sat deep in a bid to stifle Wenger’s side. But, in Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla, Arsenal have the players to find that final ball, to unravel even the tightest of defences. Saturday will be no different. West Brom will live with them for 45 minutes, but as they tire Arsenal will exploit the gaps.

6/10 Manchester City | 3/1 | Liverpool 4/1 (19:30)

The final match on Saturday should be an interesting one. Just over 18 months ago, Liverpool and Man City battled for the title. Only one side continues to do so. Even the arrival of Jurgen Klopp can’t disguise just how far the Reds have fallen. City are leagues ahead of Klopp’s motley crew and it will tell on Saturday. While Liverpool will be forced to field Dejan Lovren at centre back, City will be welcoming back Sergio Aguero. Even a half fit Aguero has enough to cause the Reds’ defence all sorts of problems. Expect Raheem Sterling to come in for some stick from the away supporters, but he made the right choice in leaving Anfield. His decision will be vindicated with a win on Saturday, probably by two goals or more. 

Sunday 22 November

5/10 Tottenham | 32/10 | West Ham 47/10 (18:00)

Talk about Spurs’ top four aspirations are at an all-time high following their performance at the Emirates a fortnight ago. Mauricio Pochettino certainly has them moving in the right direction, but it is only a matter of time before they sell their best players and go into yet another period of transition. Fourth place is unattainable for a club like Tottenham. Sunday’s home match with West Ham should tell us a bit more about their chances. The Hammers have a decent recent record against their North London rivals and should stand a chance even without the influential Dimitri Payet. They’ve already beaten Man City, Liverpool and Arsenal on the road. Will they beat Spurs? No, I don’t think so. Pochettino has a defensively solid side, who will eek out a victory here. Just don’t bank on them finishing in the top four.

Monday 23 November

5/10 Crystal Palace | 31/10 | Sunderland 5/1 (22:00)

Monday Night Football makes a return this week, although Crystal Palace versus Sunderland is hardly going to entice too many people to extend their weekend’s by a day. In fact, if Big Sam wasn’t paid to be there, I’m sure he would be down at the pub helping himself to a pie and ale. There really is little redeeming about this fixture. Palace may have beaten Liverpool but before that they went three matches without a win, while Sunderland have won just once this whole season. I’d suggest giving this one a miss. If you must, punt Palace at 5/10.

Written by Commodore Vegas
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EPL Picks
Watford WIN 36/10
Chelsea WIN 9/20
Everton UNDER 2.5 GOALS 19/20
Newcastle BTTS 5/10
Southampton DRAW 29/10
Swansea UNDER 2.5 GOALS 8/10
Arsenal WIN 5/10
Man City WIN 6/10
Tottenham WIN 5/10
Crystal Palace WIN 5/10