Commodore's EPL Picks

The state of the Premier League table must now be given some serious consideration. These results are no flukes, no once-offs. They are happening with greater consistency and belief is growing. Leicester City can win the league. There, I said it. I’ve written such things off as the talk of fools and fables, but I’m beginning to believe. At the same rate, Crystal Palace can challenge for Europe. These anomalies are now common-place and it’s time to start taking notice. The Foxes entered Monday’s meeting with Chelsea as outsiders, going against everything we’ve seen prior. The match played out just how it should have given each team’s record this season. And those that followed me made money. It was a good weekend. Now for another.

Saturday 19 December

3/10 Chelsea | 4/1 | Sunderland 92/10 (17:00)

It’s fitting then that we start with the beleaguered champions. They were better against the Foxes, but their standards have dropped so drastically that even a rise in performance levels is not enough. They now sit 16th, just one point above the drop zone – it’s becoming a full-blown crisis. I’ve been on his case for the last three weeks, but failure to beat Sunderland at home must surely be the last straw for Mourinho. Hearteningly for the Portuguese, two of their three home victories this season have come against sides in the bottom three. They should make it three from three against Big Sam’s toothless Black Cats.

9/10 Everton | 26/10 | Leicester City 27/10 (17:00)

Everton have to be one of the most infuriating sides in the Premier League. Filled with some of the league’s brightest young talent, they are a joy to watch in full flight. Their ability is unquestioned, as is their predilection for throwing away leads and conceding late goals. In a season like this, they really should be challenging for Champions League football. Instead, they find themselves as close to the bottom three as they are the top three. Next up for them is Leicester City at Goodison Park. On form alone, Leicester should be favourites and at 27/10 they offer great value. I’m taking a safer route here, though, and backing Both Teams To Score at 6/10. Throw it in your multiples.

5/10 Man United | 31/10 | Norwich 11/2 (17:00)

It’s becoming clearer with each passing week that Louis van Gaal is not the man to move Manchester United forward. Close on £300 million spent only to produce some of the most turgid football ever seen from this illustrious club. I won’t lie – I’ve taken great pleasure in watching them flounder this season, but their results have hit me in the pocket. On Saturday, they’ll be expected to see off Norwich City at home, but expectation is not enough. United are now without a win in five, including home matches against West Ham and PSV. Both those matches ended 0-0 and any sane betting man would back another draw at 31/10. You could even go one better and take the 0-0 correct score at a staggering 11/1.

31/20 Southampton | 22/10 | Tottenham 7/4 (17:00)

To think a few weeks back Spurs were being touted as potential title contenders. I’ve always maintained they didn’t have it in them and the result against Newcastle on Sunday validated my assumptions. Such is their fragility, a few injuries can curtail their season. Criticise Arsenal all you like, but they have been able to maintain results in the face of an injury crisis. Spurs lost Moussa Dembele and they fell apart. And what of their opponents this weekend? Southampton have now lost three of their last four matches, while the other was a home draw against Aston Villa. They are woefully out of form. I can’t ignore such desperately poor form – making the Spurs away win a decent punt at 7/4. 

27/20 Stoke | 21/10 | Crystal Palace 2/1 (17:00)

Stoke City are yet to concede a goal this season with Ryan Shawcross on the pitch. It’s a staggering statistic and one that deserves mention. The much-maligned Shawcross has been a rock at the back for Stoke in recent weeks and has been one of the main reason’s behind their resurgence. Their draw against West Ham makes it one loss in six, an off-day at the Stadium of Light at the end of November. On Saturday, Shawcross will put his record to the test against Crystal Palace. The Eagles slightly surprise home victory over Southampton allowed them to pull level with Mauricio Pochetinno’s much-fancied Spurs side on 26 points. It’s a massive achievement for the London club and one Alan Pardew deserves great credit for. As for a result here, I fancy both sides to share the spoils and am backing the draw at 21/10.

29/20 West Brom | 22/10 | Bournemouth 19/10 (17:00)

Bournemouth’s back-to-back victories over Chelsea and Manchester United has seen them climb the table to 14th place. It’s a mammoth achievement for a squad so short on quality and struggling with injuries to key players. They can move within a point of West Brom with victory at the Hawthorns on Saturday. The Baggies put in a typically Pulis-like performance at Anfield on Saturday. That is to say they bloodied the opposition and scored via set-pieces. Archaic, but effective. Their home form, however, is not as impressive. They’ve conceded a league-high 14 goals on their home patch and have already lost 4 matches. Despite all this, the 19/10 on offer for an away win seems too short for me. Steer clear of this one.

1/1 Newcastle | 27/10 | Aston Villa 27/10 (19:30)

Newcastle are out of the bottom three after back-to-back victories over Liverpool and Tottenham. While their performance against the Reds caught me by surprise, their victory over Spurs made me some decent money. Their luck has turned and the results are coming now. There should be another one this weekend against Aston Villa. I’m afraid the Villains are doomed for the drop and the 16/10 on offer for them to finish bottom of the table looks a steal. Even a new manager couldn’t change the complexion of their season. Banker Newcastle at even money – probably the bet of the weekend.

Sunday 20 December

28/10 Watford | 24/10 | Liverpool 19/20 (15:30)

Sunday’s meeting between Liverpool and Watford is an intriguing one. After such a great start under Jurgen Klopp, the Reds have seen levels drop in recent weeks. Meanwhile, Watford continue to exceed expectations and now find themselves one point ahead of their more illustrious opponents in seventh position. This match is a tale of two strikers. Odion Ighalo continues to bang them in, while Christian Benteke looks a shadow of the player that tormented defenders when at Aston Villa. In current form, it’s difficult to see how Liverpool will walk away from Vicarage Road with three points. I’m backing the Watford/Draw Double Chance at 15/20.

21/20 Swansea | 23/10 | West Ham 26/10 (18:00)

The final match of the weekend sees two out of form sides squaring off at the Liberty Stadium as West Ham and Swansea look to turn around their ailing campaigns. As of writing, Swansea had yet to appoint a new manager, with a number of names being bandied about. Whoever they sign, he will be relishing the prospect of facing a West Ham side desperately short on form and goals. The Hammers are without a win in seven matches, and have scored just three goals in that period. It’s certainly saying something that a manager-less Swansea side are even money to win on Sunday. I expect them to do just that, with the new manager (whoever he is) providing just the lift they need.

Monday 21 December

27/20 Arsenal | 5/2 | Man City 18/10 (22:00)

Monday’s meeting between Arsenal and Manchester City has the look of a title decider about it. If Leicester should slip up at Goodison Park, the winner can secure top spot over Christmas. It’s certainly something worth fighting for. City plodded through their match against Swansea at the weekend, where they needed a late Yaya Toure deflected strike to sneak through. Arsenal, by comparison, were fairly comfortable in their handling of Aston Villa. Aaron Ramsey, restored to his preferred central midfield role, has rediscovered his goal-scoring touch and added some much-needed directness to Arsenal’s play. Arsenal produced one of their most disciplined performances in recent memory last season at the Etihad and if they can replicate that at the Emirates on Monday, they should be able to strike a telling blow in the title race. I’m tipping them to do just that at 27/20.

Written by Commodore Vegas
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EPL Picks
Chelsea WIN 3/10
Everton BTTS 6/10
Man United DRAW 31/10
Tottenham WIN 7/4
Stoke DRAW 21/10
Newcastle WIN 1/1
Watford WIN/DRAW 15/20
Swansea WIN 21/20
Arsenal WIN 27/20