Commodore's EPL Picks

The festive period is a tough time for punters and managers alike. The quick turnaround between games makes things that little more difficult, with little time for analysis. With FA Cup ties across the country this weekend, one would expect a slight reprieve before a return to league action. Instead some teams will be back on the park just 48 short hours after their respective cup ties. Time to work for your paychecks lads. It’s important to bear this in mind when lining up your bets. Fatigue and injuries will come into the fray – don’t get caught out.

Tuesday 12 January

19/10 Aston Villa | Draw 21/10 | Crystal Palace 29/20 (21:45)

We start the week’s action at Villa Park, as Aston Villa begin their farewell tour to the Premier League. Last week’s defeat to Sunderland left them 11 points from safety. Considering they’ve picked up just eight points this season, their fate seems sealed. If it isn’t already, it will be after defeat to Crystal Palace on Tuesday. The Eagles were outplayed at home against Chelsea at the weekend, but have looked a better side on the road all season. This is as good a bet as you’re likely to find at extremely generous odds of 29/20.

21/20 Bournemouth | 24/10 | West Ham 26/10 (21:45) 

After a long run of draws, West Ham woke from their slumber to dispatch both Southampton and Liverpool over the festive period. Victory at the weekend moved them to within a point of Man United and left them with the longest unbeaten run in the Premier League. All this despite a string of injuries. They will likely welcome back playmaker Dimitri Payet for the trip south to Bournemouth on Tuesday. The Cherries triumphed 4-3 in a remarkable match at Upton Park earlier this term, although the goals have dried up since then. They’ve drawn a blank in each of their last three matches, although two of those ended in a draw. However, I fancy the Hammers to be up for this one and am tipping another away win at lengthy odds of 26/10.

7/2 Newcastle | 26/10 | Manchester United 15/20 (21:45) 

Newcastle and Manchester United – two sides synonymous for beautiful, attacking football. Those reputations have been somewhat shattered this season, with both enduring a lean period in front of goal. The Magpies have failed to find the net in each of their last three matches, while United had scored just five goals in eight matches prior to their 2-1 victory over Swansea. Wayne Rooney may have been the hero, but it was young Anthony Martial who once again looked the biggest threat. Neither side is in particularly vintage form and Under 2.5 Goals looks a good bet at 15/20, especially considering the reverse fixture ended 0-0 earlier this season.

Wednesday 13 January

7/20 Chelsea | 36/10 | West Brom 82/10 (21:45) 

Beware the Blues. Chelsea are back. There was something about their performance at Selhurst Park that tells me their season is far from over. Gone were the imposter’s who filled the field during Mourinho’s final days, replaced instead by touches of skills and ruthless efficiency. However, it has been the inclusion of John Obi Mikel that has brought about the biggest change in the champions. He has helped bring a balance that has been lacking all season, breaking up play and allowing those more talented individuals to express themselves. They should have no problem seeing off West Brom on Wednesday. You can back them to Win-To-Nil at 9/10.

5/10 Manchester City | 7/2 | Everton 47/10 (21:45) 

Manchester City’s late revival against Watford could prove a pivotal moment in their season. Seemingly heading for another away defeat and a six point gap to the top, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero dragged them back into the title race with late strikes. The return to form of Toure in particular will be heartening for City fans, while they will be hoping there is more to come from Aguero. Next up for them is a meeting with Everton at the Etihad. It’s been a favourable fixture for the Citizen’s in recent times, winning four of their last five meetings. Given City’s home form and the Toffee’s penchant for shipping easy goals, that record should continue. 

9/10 Southampton | 5/2 | Watford 31/10 (21:45)

Now just a point ahead of Norwich and seven outside the relegation zone, Southampton have taken four points from the last 24 available. If it wasn’t for an unexplainable victory over Arsenal, they’d be in even deeper trouble. Next up for them is a tricky home tie against Watford. The Hornets can count themselves desperately unlucky not to get something out of their meeting with Man City. Quique Sanchez Flores’ side have lost just twice on the road this season, against City and Leicester. The away Double Chance at 9/10 looks a gimme, while for those bold few among you, the away win is on offer at 31/10. 

9/10 Stoke | 24/10 | Norwich 31/10 (21:45)

Stoke were bitterly disappointing against West Brom over the weekend. Following victories over Manchester United and Everton, I went in strong on the Potters and got burnt. I won’t be doing that again in a hurry. Wednesday sees them return to the Britannia for a match with an in-form Norwich City side. Alex Neil’s men have picked up nine points in their last three matches to move six points clear of safety. Despite this, I find it very hard to back a side that has lost five of their last six on the road. Meanwhile, Stoke have won five of their last six home games, beating Chelsea (twice), Man Utd and Man City in that time. The home win comes in at 9/10, but you have been warned.

7/10 Swansea | 5/2 | Sunderland 4/1 (21:45)

Season after season Sunderland have found a way to make it out of the drop zone just in time. Saturday’s win over Aston Villa was massive for them and Big Sam. Even more telling was Jermaine Defoe’s brace. Defoe doesn’t deserve to go down. He’s too good for the Championship. Wednesday’s trip to Wales provides the Black Cats with another opportunity at three points. Swansea have been solid if unspectacular since the departure of Gary Monk as manager. A run of three consecutive clean sheets came to an end at Old Trafford, but their last home match – a 1-0 win over West Brom – will have them believing they can get something out of this one. A draw looks the most likely outcome at 5/2.

17/10 Liverpool | 23/10 | Arsenal 15/10 (22:00)

One has to feel a bit for Jurgen Klopp. The German has inherited nothing more than a mid-table squad from Brendan Rodgers and is expected to have them competing for Europe. It was always going to be a tough ask. Victory’s over Man City and Chelsea skewed expectations, which have since been tempered by defeats to West Ham, Crystal Palace and Watford. It will be interesting to see how they approach their meeting with Arsenal. Much will depend on who is available up front. Christian Benteke’s lack of movement has hindered their attacking play, while Philippe Coutinho is starting to show what I always suspected – that he is not a world-class talent. Arsenal are better in almost every position and should win comfortably – 15/10 is an absolute steal. 

7/10 Tottenham | 28/10 | Leicester 7/2 (22:00)

Just three days after their meeting in the FA Cup, Spurs and Leicester will return to White Hart Lane for a crucial league fixture. Much of the outcome will depend on how each side approaches that first fixture. Last week I warned of fatigue in the Foxes ranks and, after failing to score for the third consecutive match, it’s beginning to become apparent. Spurs were better than the 1-1 scoreline suggests against Everton and must believe Champions League football is there for the taking. They will not be league champions and any talk of such is just foolish. They will, however, send a Vardy-less Leicester to their second defeat in a fortnight.

Written by Commodore Vegas
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EPL Picks
Crystal Palace WIN 29/20 
West Ham WIN 26/10
Newcastle UNDER 2.5 GOALS 15/20 
Chelsea WIN-TO-NIL 9/10
Man City WIN 5/10
Watford WIN/DRAW 9/10
Stoke WIN 9/10
Swansea DRAW 5/2
Arsenal WIN 15/10
Tottenham WIN 7/10