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Commodore's EPL Picks

Thirteenth beating second. Twelfth beating seventh. Eighteenth beating eighth. Tenth beating first.. Sixteenth drawing with fourth. Twelfth beating third. Nineteenth beating sixth. Eighteenth winning away at the reigning champions. Just what is going on in the EPL? These are just a couple results from the last two weeks of Premier League football. You’d have a better chance winning the lottery in Greece than picking some of these results. It’s all getting a bit much now. I feel we’re losing touch with reality.

Saturday 12 December

18/10 Norwich | Draw 23/10 | Everton 14/10 (14:45)

This weekend’s matches start at Carrow Road, with Norwich hosting Everton. Any sane person would believe this can only have one outcome. After defeat to Watford, the Canaries have now picked up just four points from their last eight matches, while Everton have lost just once away from home all season. However, Norwich have managed a win and two draws in their last two home meetings with the Toffees, while Roberto Martinez’s side have struggled to put sides away this term. On Monday they were guilty of overplaying their hand at times and I suspect their bravado might be their undoing. Back the draw at 23/10.

15/10 Crystal Palace | 21/10 | Southampton 18/10 (17:00)

Last week wasn’t a good one for Southampton. After being dumped out of the Capital One Cup by Liverpool, Ronald Koeman’s side dropped points at home to the Premier League’s worst side over the weekend. They find themselves on the road this week, with a trip to Selhurst Park on the cards. Crystal Palace earned a commendable draw at Everton on Monday, but it is their home form that is a cause for concern. The Saints have won on their last two visits to the ground and are 18/10 to do so again this weekend. There has been very little to suggest they will, but that counts for little in a season like this. Back Southampton and thank me later.

3/10 Manchester City | 9/2 | Swansea 17/2 (17:00)

Manchester City, more than any other side in the Premier League, are an enigma. When they’re good, they’ve bloody excellent. But when they’re bad, they’re abysmal. At Stoke on Saturday, they were the latter. Defensively they shambolic, while their midfield wasn’t much better. It was up front though, with Wilfried Bony leading the line, that they struggled the most. I said before the match, if Sergio Aguero doesn’t play, leave it well alone. Bony is a great many things, but mobile he is not. It told against Stoke. Despite all this, City should have no problem seeing off Swansea this weekend. The Swans have gone backwards at a rate of knots and I’m afraid Gary Monk is out of answers. Back City to triumph and Monk to get the sack. This is a results business, and he hasn’t gotten enough.

18/10 Sunderland | 21/10 | Watford 15/10 (17:00)

After yet another victory, Watford are well on their way to safety. They currently find themselves in the top half on 22 points, having taken 13 points from a possible 15 against the league’s bottom six sides. They face another of that bunch this weekend when they travel to the Stadium of Light. Big Sam may have the team headed in the right direction, but they still find themselves firmly in the bottom three. There were positives from the defeat to Arsenal. They were disciplined on defence, while Petr Cech was forced to make a number of crucial saves. Throw in the emergence of young Duncan Watmore who looks a real prospect and things aren’t so bad on Weirside. The bookies are split here, and I’d suggest steering clear. This could go either way.

27/20 West Ham | 21/10 | Stoke 21/10 (17:00)

West Ham would’ve been pleased with a point at Man Utd, but this is a side that tore Arsenal and Liverpool apart on the home patch earlier in the campaign. They aren’t quite the threat they once were. The same can’t be said of Stoke, who were superb against Man City on Saturday. They utterly outplayed the title favourites with a front four talented enough to grace the Champions League. Xherdan Shaqiri was sublime, while Bojan and Arnautovic were a constant menace. The victory was owing to their fast start and looking over the stats it’s not an isolated incident. Mark Hughes’ side have scored six times in the first 15 minutes of matches this season, more than any other side in the league. They’re 9/1 to be leading after 10 minutes at Upton Park – well worth a dabble.

26/10 Bournemouth | 9/4 | Manchester United 21/20 (19:30)

Coming as it does after a massive midweek in the Champions League, these matches could have a very different complexion by the time the weekend rolls around. Make no mistake, the pressure is on Louis van Gaal at Man United. They may sit just three points off the top, but all is not well at Old Trafford. They’ve now won just three of their last 10 matches, and had five 0-0 draws in that time. Their opponents this weekend, Bournemouth, will come into the match brimming with confidence after their momentous victory over the champions. Eddie Howe’s side has shown a great fighting spirit in recent weeks and there’s no reason to suggest they can’t get another result here. I’m backing another draw, this one at 9/4.

Sunday 13 December

47/10 Aston Villa | 3/1 | Arsenal 11/20 (15:30)

Arsenal weren’t great against Sunderland, but they got the result, which was all that mattered. Arsene Wenger’s reaction when Aaron Ramsey wrapped things up in stoppage time said it all. They must now go and get a similar result at Villa Park this weekend. Of course, much will depend on the outcome of their midweek encounter with Olympiacos. Villa rode their luck at times against Southampton, but in the end were deserving of a point. However, the result means they have now gone 14 league games without a win. I don’t see that changing on Sunday. The Gunners may be struggling with injuries, but they are tipped to edge it by the odd goal.

4/10 Liverpool | 7/2 | West Brom 7/1 (18:00)

Liverpool were as bad as they have been under Jurgen Klopp at St James’ Park. They were sloppy in possession and lacked any sort of creativity in the absence of Phillippe Coutinho. Their schedule seemed to catch up with them. Klopp is bound to rotate his squad after already securing a place in the Europa League knockout stages. They’ll need to be fresh in the face of a West Brom side that managed to hustle a point from Spurs over the weekend. Tony Pulis has some good memories at Anfield with Stoke and will be confident of making off with another point against more fancied opponents. I’m leaning toward a draw here, although my outlook might change if Daniel Sturridge’s name is on the team sheet.

7/20 Tottenham | 4/1 | Newcastle 7/1 (18:00)

After watching Newcastle match Liverpool for intensity on Sunday, the question has to be asked – Why the bleeding hell can’t they play like that every week?! As bad as Liverpool were, Newcastle were much-improved from the side that went down 5-1 to Crystal Palace. On Sunday they travel to the capital to face Spurs. A Sammy Ameobi goal within seconds of the restart was the catalyst as Newcastle came from a goal down to win here last season. In fact, the Magpies have come out on top in the last two meetings at White Hart Lane. Can they be the first side to inflict defeat on Spurs since the opening day? Probably not, although the home win is too short at 1/3. I’ll take some of the away Double Chance at 2/1.

Monday 14 December

19/10 Leicester | 23/10 | Chelsea 27/20 (22:00)

By the time you read this article Jose Mourinho might be out of a job. I genuinely thought they had turned a corner over the past few weeks, but that theory was blown out of the water by Bournemouth. To lose to a newly promoted team, ravaged by injuries to key players, coming off the back of an eight-game winless slump sums it all up really. To make matters worse, on Monday they face a trip to the league leaders. A side so far from the husk of a team currently ambling around The Bridge. Led by Claudio Ranieri, a man deemed not good enough for Chelsea and Roman Abramovich, Leicester have made this a season worth watching. How they are 19/10 outsiders, I will never know. Put your house on it. If Mourinho hasn’t been sacked by then, he could well be after defeat to the Foxes.

Written by Commodore Vegas
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EPL Picks
Norwich DRAW 23/10
Southampton WIN 18/10
Man City WIN 3/10
Stoke WIN FIRST 10 MINS 9/1
Bournemouth DRAW 9/4
Arsenal WIN 11/20
Liverpool DRAW 7/2
Newcastle WIN/DRAW 2/1
Leicester WIN 2/1