Commodore's EPL Picks

Leicester City are top of the table. Leicester City! The same side that a year ago I had pinned for favourites to finish bottom of the Premier League. What do I know? It seems not much. Apart from what was a bad weekend’s punting, I have Man City as this season’s champions. Not if they play like they did on Saturday. They made an average Liverpool side look world-class as they fell to another heavy defeat. Yaya Toure, captain for the day, was a shadow of his former self in an advanced role. Compare his performance with that of Moussa Dembele in Spurs’ 4-1 victory over West Ham and he takes on the impression of a relic from yesteryear. There is no place for him in the modern game, especially with the work opposition midfielders are getting through. He’s a luxury that even the might of Man City cannot afford. I digress, though, we have another week to set things right, starting with Watford’s visit to Villa Park.

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Saturday 28 November

16/10 Aston Villa | Draw 21/10 | Watford 18/10 (17:00)

Watford may have taken all three points against Manchester United. In the end, they finished with none as Troy Deeney undid his hard work with an injury time own goal. It was harsh on the Hornets, who deserved more for a solid performance. The same can’t be said of Villa’s showing at Goodison Park. Remi Garde has a mountain of work before him if he’s to move this side away from the relegation zone. I sense a long and treacherous season for Villa supporters. Watford have already won away at Stoke and Newcastle, while Villa are yet to record a victory at home. This one could well end in a draw, which won’t really help Villa’s cause all that much.

7/4 Bournemouth | 24/10 | Everton 29/20 (17:00)

Bournemouth would’ve been kicking themselves after throwing away a two-goal lead against Swansea. Eddie Howe’s side have shown an inability to get the results their performances have deserved, and I expect it to tell come May. This weekend they host Everton, a side well worth watching at the moment. Gerard Deulofeu has been sensational, while Romelu Lukaku’s form will have Jose Mourinho sobbing into his morning coffee. The Toffees have tended to follow a good performance with an underwhelming one in recent weeks, but I don’t see that happening here. Bournemouth lost 5-1 to Spurs not too long ago and while I don’t foresee a similar scoreline, it should be a fairly routine victory for Roberto Matinez’s side.

7/10 Crystal Palace | 27/10 | Newcastle 36/10 (17:00)

Steve McLaren must be perilously close to the exit door. No one was shocked to see them lose to Leicester, but it was the manner of their defeat that will have set alarm bells ringing. They sit just a point above the drop zone, which is quite simply not good enough for a side of Newcastle’s stature. On Saturday they’ll come up against their former manager in the face of Alan Pardew. Palace have mixed the good with the bad so far this season, generally reserving their worst performances for home matches. On Monday they became only the second team to lose to Sunderland this season, after Newcastle. Palace have struggled for goals at home, while Newcastle have managed just two in six away matches. Under 2.5 goals is the way to go here.

11/20 Man City | 32/10 | Southampton 47/10 (17:00)

Manchester City remain favourites for the title, but their position is weakening. Absolutely battered during the first half against Liverpool, Ronald Koeman would’ve taken notes on how to dismantle this City side. As Spurs showed at White Hart Lane in September, City don’t like to be pressed high up the pitch. Southampton, initially under Pochettino and now under Koeman, have a side capable of doing just that. It could make for another interesting afternoon. City did the double over the Saints last season, scoring five goals without conceding. Given all that has come before, I don’t see this meeting being as cut and dry. City are too frail defensively, while Grazianno Pelle remains a handful up front. Back Both Teams to Score at 15/20.

21/10 Sunderland | 22/10 | Stoke 5/4 (17:00)

Big Sam’s influence at Sunderland was all too apparent at Selhurst Park on Monday as the Black Cats ground out a 1-0 victory on the back of a solid defensive performance. Their goal, courtesy of a defensive mix-up, was a typical Sunderland winner. They’re back in the game. This week for them – Stoke City. The Potters proved last weekend they aren’t averse to grinding out a result, surprising Southampton at St Mary’s. It came as no surprise to me – it was their third 1-0 away win of the season. Only West Brom can match that record. So what of a result here? The likelihood is it will be settled by the odd goal. Back under 2.5 goals and turn your attention elsewhere, this one isn’t worth watching.

2/1 Leicester | 23/10 | Man United 5/4 (19:30)

Not many would’ve thought a top-of-the-table clash at the end of November would involve Leicester and Man Utd. And yet, that is where we find ourselves. Can the Foxes keep it up? There have been no indications to think otherwise. Jamie Vardy is having a party, while Riyad Mahrez continues to bamboozle the league’s best defenders. Ho ho ho. As for Man Utd, well they continue to win despite being as boring as a three and a half hour period drama. This fixture last season produced one of the matches of the decade as United let a 3-1 lead slip to go down 5-3. It really was wonderful stuff. Of course this season’s Man Utd side are a little different. They’ll look to starve the Foxes of the ball, but I do fancy Leicester to knick a goal or two. Enough to win? At 2/1, I sure do hope so.

Sunday 29 November

27/20 Tottenham | 23/10 | Chelsea 19/10 (14:00)

Expectation is building at White Hart Lane with each passing week. This week’s home match against Chelsea will prove a good barometer of their title credentials. I don’t believe them to be close to title contenders, but I have been wrong in the past. There will be two factors counting against them this weekend, though. Firstly a trip to Azerbaijan in the Europa League and secondly the loss of Dele Alli to suspension. They may have been able to overcome one of these things, but both could prove a bridge too far. Their saving grace is Chelsea’s own troubles, but they are back to winning ways. Last week was a good one to back the Blues, and I’m banking on Tottenham’s travel exertions making it another good one at 19/10. 

9/10 West Ham | 24/10 | West Brom 29/10 (16:05)

After a great start West Ham seem to be moving backwards. The loss of Dimitri Payet is a massive blow to their ambitions and it told against Tottenham. Of course, there was a lot more going on than the simple loss of a playmaker. A return to Upton Park will hopefully spur Slaven Bilic’s side on, but their visitors on Sunday will be no pushovers. West Brom under Tony Pulis are a well-drilled side, capable of picking up their second win over London opposition in over a week. They’ve already managed 1-0 away wins at Stoke, Norwich and Aston Villa. However, West Ham are the third highest scorers in the league, so you would expect them to get on the scoresheet. I foresee a score draw, available at 34/10.

5/10 Liverpool | 32/10 | Swansea 52/10 (18:15)

Kloppmania is taking hold at Anfield and expectation is growing. But while their away form has been impressive, their record on their home patch is far less convincing. Klopp’s high pressing gameplan is perfectly suited for away matches, but is less effective against sides intent on sitting back and soaking up pressure. On Sunday, Swansea would do well to take a similar approach. Unfortunately for them, it is not in Gary Monk’s personality to approach a match that way and it should tell. The Reds have yet to win after playing in the Europa League on a Thursday. That has to change sometime. Back the Reds to triumph at 5/10 – confidence is soaring.

42/10 Norwich | 32/10 | Arsenal 11/20 (18:15)

The final match of the weekend sees Arsenal travel to Carrow Road to face Norwich. Now a week ago I would’ve put this down as a banker, but now I’m not so sure. Arsenal’s air of away invincibility is no longer after their pitiful performance at the Hawthorns. While the loss was chalked up as a “nightmare” by Arsene Wenger, the loss of Francis Coquelin for two months could prove even more costly. Without his bite in the centre of the park, Arsenal are a much easier side to play against. Norwich have caused problems for most sides at Carrow Road and could well push Arsenal here. Back Both Teams to Score at 7/10.

Written by Commodore Vegas
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EPL Picks
Aston Villa DRAW 21/10
Everton WIN 29/20
Crystal Palace UNDER 2.5 GOALS 9/10
Man City BTTS 15/20
Sunderland UNDER 2.5 GOALS 6/10
Leicester WIN 2/1
Chelsea WIN 19/10
West Ham DRAW 34/10
Liverpool WIN 5/10
Norwich BTTS 7/10