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English Premier League Preview

EPL resumes with a bang, starting with a clash between Manchester United and Leicester City!
EPL resumes with a bang, starting with a clash between Manchester United and Leicester City!
It’s a moment I’ve been dreading since news broke a few weeks back. After over half a decade writing this column, this will be my last article. The players, the managers have all come-and-gone, but this column has remained the one constant.. From booze-fuelled early morning rants, to late nights spent researching every tip, the memories come flooding back as I sit down for one last time. But now is not the time for sentimentality, it’s time to make some money. So for one last time, let’s get into it why don’t we? Hot damn!

Saturday 24 September

7/10 Man United | Draw 28/10 | Leicester 38/10 (13:30)

Jose Mourinho’s under fire side will get things going this week when they host the defending champions at Old Trafford. After getting absolutely rinsed at Watford over the weekend, Mourinho will need to change something or risk another defeat. Wayne Rooney has to go. The United captain showed all the mobility of a mahogany cabinet at Vicarage Road, which put added strain on the midfield partnership of Marouane Fellaini and Paul Pogba. United need a re-look, because it’s not working at the moment. Leicester have the players to exploit those weaknesses, with Islam Slimani enjoying a bright start to his time in England. United are vulnerable at the moment and 38/10 for the away win looks quite long. Get on it, unless Mourinho does the right thing and drops Rooney.

49/20 Bournemouth | 24/10 | Everton 11/10 (16:00)

Even after going one-nil down to Middlesbrough, there was never any doubt that Everton were going to win at the weekend. After openly criticising Gareth Barry to all who would listen on Friday evening, he popped up with a goal on his 600th Premier League appearance. You know things are going well when Barry is netting goals. For them this weekend is a Bournemouth side who were lucky to escape with a 4-0 loss at the Etihad. Jack Wilshere was woefully off the pace, while there was not much else on offer. Eddie Howe has many great attributes, but talk of the Arsenal job is extremely premature. His side, much like the Gunners, are a tad soft. Everton are 11/10 to grab another three points and I suggest you get involved.

2/9 Liverpool | 52/10 | Hull 12/10 (16:00)

Victory over Chelsea has Liverpool fans crowing from the rooftops and journalists clamouring to ask Jurgen Klopp about their title chances. The Liverpool manager simply shrugged them off before striding off to bear hug his players. Wise move Jurgen. This Liverpool side are a great many things, but title contenders they are not. Not yet at least. See off Hull City at home this weekend and then we’ll talk. They’ve beaten Arsenal and Chelsea this season, drawn with Spurs and yet it is their defeat at Burnley which says the most about them. They’re prone to off days, and those days will cost punters dearly. Hull have actually won three of the last five meetings between the two, including a 1-0 win at Anfield the last time they met. That’s enough for me to steer well away from this.

29/10 Middlesbrough | 49/20 | Tottenham 19/20 (16:00)

Mauricio Pochettino’s insistence on playing Harry Kane for the full 90 minutes week-in week-out could well prove their downfall this season. The England striker will now miss eight weeks with an ankle injury, and Spurs will have to rely on Vincent Janssen to lead the line. Sure, he bagged goals by the hatful in the Eredivisie, but a quick look at Dirk Kuyt’s current goalscoring record will show you how much water that actually holds. Spurs are going to struggle. This weekend they face a Middlesbrough side who have problems of their own. They’ve yet to score a goal in the second half of matches this season, while their usually sound defence has started to creak. Even so, I’m expecting a dull encounter here, with very little in the way of goalmouth action. Back the Unders at 13/20 and change the channel.

27/20 Stoke | 9/4 | West Brom 2/1 (16:00)

How fitting it would be that my old nemesis Tony Pulis would take his West Brom side to his former employers on the week of my final column. Is this the universe’s way of telling me Pulis is actually a gift from the footballing gods and I’ve had him wrong all these years? That his footballing philosophy is pure and right and evolution is not only unnecessary, it is a waste of bloody time. Damn you Mark Hughes! You’ve taken a competent Stoke side and turned them into a bunch of continental no-hopers. They couldn’t even win on a cold, wet Tuesday night in Stoke anymore. West Brom on the other hand, have all the ingredients of a solid Stoke side. They may be absolute crap on the road, but Stoke are crap everywhere. In one final cruel twist of fate, I’ll be backing a Tony Pulis’ side to win at Stoke. Is this really what it has come to?

19/10 Sunderland | 22/10 | Crystal Palace 15/10 (16:00)

I’ve seen many a Sunderland side during my times, but David Moyes’ iteration is particularly bad. And bear in mind, I’ve seen them field a side with Titus Bramble in defence and Jozy Altidore up front. On Saturday they’ll host a Crystal Palace side who somehow find themselves in 8th place on the table. Alan Pardew is running hot and they have recorded their first back-to-back wins in almost a year. Andros Townsend is caring for now at least, while the ever-reliable Scott Dann is chipping in where he can. Palace are slightly short at 15/10, but they are playing Sunderland, so that is to be expected.

52/10 Swansea | 33/10 | Man City 5/10 (16:00)

My pre-season prediction of a Man City title triumph is looking pretty solid at this moment in time. However, their start to the season does bear a striking resemblance to last season. One major difference though is the man in charge. Guardiola has a clear philosophy, which he is willing to stand by for good or ill. And unlike the case of Arsene Wenger, his unwavering approach has served him well. Sergio Aguero will return for their trip to Swansea this weekend, where you can almost guarantee he will get on the scoresheet. City drew this fixture last season, but before that had won five on the trot against the Swans. I reckon we’ll see some goals, with Both Teams To Score and City to win at 18/10 the play here.

13/10 Arsenal | 24/10 | Chelsea 2/1 (18:30)

Saturday concludes with one of my favourite matches in the Premier League calendar – the London Derby between Arsenal and Chelsea. There aren’t too many sides in the league who openly hate each other the way these two do. Last season it was Diego Costa’s general shithousery that drew the most attention and the Chelsea striker can expect a torrent of abuse at the Emirates on Saturday. Chelsea have had the upper-hand in recent times, winning seven of the last 10 meetings between the two. They even managed the double last season, despite losing to pretty much everyone else. It was that man Costa who did the damage at The Emirates, playing the pantomime villain perfectly. If anyone is going to score here, it’ll be him, while I expect Chelsea to get the better of Wenger once again. His side simply don’t have the stomach for the fight.

Sunday 25 September

18/10 West Ham | 9/4 | Southampton 15/10 (17:00)

Slaven Bilic must be a man worried for is job. If he isn’t, he damn well should be. West Ham are horrific at the moment. To lose 4-2 to West Brom really is something. Torn apart by Nacer Chadli. Nacer Chadli! This side is a complete and utter shambles. Failure to get something out of Sunday’s meeting with Southampton will only up the ante. The Saints haven’t been vintage by any means, but victory over Swansea last time out has them looking up. The inclusion of Charlie Austin has given them some cut and thrust up front and Claude Puel will be wise to continue with him at the weekend. However, West Ham’s defending at the moment is so bad, even Shane Long could bag himself a goal. I can only see another away win here, which has some decent value about it at 15/10.

Monday 26 September

37/20 Burnley | 22/10 | Watford 31/20 (21:00)

We finish things off with some Monday Night Football as Sean Dyche’s Burnley play host to a high-flying Watford. The Hornets have dispelled pre-season predictions with two sumptuous performances in the last fortnight. They’ll look to keep that run going at Turf Moor, but they may not have things all their own way against Dyche’s men. Burnley have already taken points off Liverpool and Hull City this season, both of whom entered the match high on confidence only to be outdone by Burnley’s work ethic on the day. While I don’t expect a home win, the draw might well be worth a play at 22/10. You could go one further and back the 1-1 correct score at 9/2.

Last week’s 
Chelsea vs Liverpool BTTS 6/10
Everton Win 15/20
Crystal Palace Win 19/20

This week’s 
TREBLE @ 15/1
Everton Win 11/10
Crystal Palace Win 15/10
West Brom Win 2/1

Written by Commodore Vegas