Commodore's EPL Picks

The weekend should’ve been a successful one, with a number of my FA Cup predictions landing. Unfortunately, any bankroll built up was squandered when I took a bath on the Tottehnam game. It’s not the first time this season Spurs have let me down, and to be done by former-Liverpool right back Martin Kelly made matters worse. But let’s leave that in the past, for we return to the Premier League this week, albeit an abbreviated fixture list. With Manchester City and Liverpool battling it out at Wembley for the first major trophy of the season, there are only eight matches to choose from. I’m sure we can find some value, though.

Saturday 27 February

8/10 West Ham | Draw 26/10 | Sunderland 7/2 (14:45) 

The value over the weekend was backing West Ham when they fell one goal down to Blackburn. The Hammers turned the game around in some style to win 5-1. They were 11/2 at one stage. Therein lies the value of live betting. Remember such things when they face Sunderland at home this weekend. The main talking point will be the return of Big Sam to the Boleyn Ground. Along with Hammers old-boy, Jermain Defoe, the Black Cats will be hoping to get the result they require to move them out the bottom three. Unfortunately, Sunderland’s record away at top half teams makes for grim reading. They’ve lost five out of six matches, conceding 18 goals in the process. I can’t see anything other than a home win here at 8/10.

11/20 Leicester | 32/10 | Norwich 5/1 (17:00) 

Leicester remain top of the log, just two points above the chasing North Londoners. They may have suffered defeat at the Emirates, but their performance suggested they aren’t about to give up their position without a fight. With their title rivals playing on Sunday, they have the opportunity to open up the gap once more when they face Norwich at home on Saturday. It is a game you really would expect them to win. Norwich certainly surprised me with their performance against West Ham, but even then they failed to wrap up all three points, despite leading 2-0 with 15 minutes to go. They’ve conceded more goals than any side in the league and kept the fewest clean sheets – just three. Leicester to Win and Over 2.5 Goals looks to have some solid value about it at 23/20.

18/10 Southampton | 21/10 | Chelsea 31/20 (17:00) 

A couple weeks back, Southampton were languishing in the bottom half, but the return of Fraser Forster from injury has seen a marked improvement in their form. The 1-0 victory at Swansea was their sixth in succession, all of which were built on the back of clean sheets. Forster has been in sublime form and he will need to be once again, when Chelsea come to town on Saturday. The Blues have their tails up after smashing a second string City in the cup, with a number of players seemingly enjoying their football again. Earlier this season it was the Saints who triumphed at Stamford Bridge against a very different Chelsea side. Mourinho is gone and Hiddink has brought back the joy. However, both sides are playing good football, and neither team will want to drop points here. Under 2.5 Goals might be the way to go at 13/20.

13/20 Stoke | 26/10 | Aston Villa 47/10 (17:00) 

I talked up Villa’s chances of survival last week and ended up being humiliated in public as Liverpool ran riot at Villa Park. Never again. This side is going down. Hell, they even lost to their own U-21 side this week. Next up for them is a trip to the Britannia, hardly an easy fixture. The Potters ended a run of wretched form with a 3-1 victory at Bournemouth last time out, with record signing Giannelli Imbula getting on the scoresheet. He certainly has the look of good player and one that can compliment those around him. With little else to play for, Stoke will just be pressing for a top half finish and an improvement on last season. Victory over Villa at 13/20 will be a good start.

13/10 Watford | 9/4 | Bournemouth 21/10 (17:00) 

After a great run through January, Bournemouth’s struggles have returned and they find themselves just four points above the drop zone heading into Saturday’s clash with fellow promoted side Watford. The Hornets have enjoyed a stellar return to the big time, all but securing themselves a slice of next season’s television deal, while also giving their fans the joy of a cup run. They were the far superior side against Leeds at the weekend, while a 2-1 win at Selhurst Park in their last Premier League outing was another great result for Quique Sanchez Flores. Their opponents seem to be heading in the other direction and could easily find themselves back in the relegation scrap after the weekend’s results. Another clear cut match here, with the home side tipped at a rather generous 13/10.

13/20 West Brom | 2/1 | Crystal Palace 18/10 (19:30) 

If only I’d had the conviction to back up all my FA Cup picks, I might’ve made some good money on West Brom’s demise at the hands of Reading. I love it when a Tony Pulis managed side loses, and this was no different. Their thuggery doesn’t have quite the same effect against sides from the lower divisions. However, against Palace this weekend, they’ll be back to their old tricks. Alan Pardew’s side have slipped down the table at an alarming rate, but it is on the road against mid-table opposition where they have shone this season. With Yannick Bolasie back in the mix, they could be set for an upturn in form. It was Palace that got up last time these two met and they look a decent punt at 18/10 to do the double this weekend.

Sunday 28 February

19/10 Manchester United | 21/10 | Arsenal 15/10 (16:05)

Depending on where you’re allegiances lie, Sunday’s meeting between Manchester United and Arsenal could well be the game of the weekend. This one, though, has a different feel about it. Unlike year’s gone by, it is Arsenal who are challenging for the title and United who are chasing a top four finish. The Gunners struggled to find their rhythm against Hull, but should be confident of seeing off a fragile United side at Old Trafford. The Red Devils face a tricky tie against Midtjylland on Thursday evening, while the absence of David de Gea could prove crucial here. The Spanish ‘keeper has saved Louis van Gaal’s side on numerous occasions this season, especially in the big games. In his absence I can only see one outcome, an Arsenal win. 

9/20 Tottenham | 34/10 | Swansea 13/2 (16:05) 

And what of Spurs? I’ve spoken all season of my belief that they will fall away as the campaign reaches a crescendo, but their recent form had me doubting myself. Their result against Crystal Palace showed once again just why I don’t believe them capable of winning the league. Ironically, it may help them in that quest, especially if they crash out of the Europa League on Thursday night. Putting all that aside, they have a match against Swansea on Sunday – one they really should be winning. However, earlier this season they were held at the Liberty, requiring two Christian Eriksen free-kicks to spare their blushes. And while I expect them to win this weekend, I don’t see them having it all their own way. This fixture has a tendency to produce goals and I’m backing Both Teams To Score, along with a home win at 24/10.

Written by Commodore Vegas
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EPL Picks
West Ham WIN 8/10
Leicester WIN + OVER 2.5 GOALS 23/20
Southampton UNDER 2.5 GOALS 13/20
Stoke WIN 13/20
Watford WIN 13/10
Crystal Palace WIN 18/10
Arsenal WIN 15/10
Tottenham WIN + BTTS 24/10