Friday, February 21, 2020

EPL 2019/20 - Week 27

Chelsea v Tottenham - Home
Burnley v Bournemouth - Home
Crystal Palace v Newcastle - Away
Sheffield Utd v Brighton - Home
Southampton v Aston Villa - Home
Leicester v Man City - Home
Man Utd v Watford - Home
Wolves v Norwich - Home
Arsenal v Everton - Home
Liverpool v West Ham - Home

I see a lot of home wins this week-end, make your pick really.  Leicester looks the best value of them all as they entertain Man City. The defending champions have clearly given up on the Premier League and will rely on the Champions League to salvage a somewhat disappointing season so far. Their battle off-field against a 2-year UCL suspension is proving to be a distraction they could do without. Leicester have nothing to lose going into this match and any point will be a bonus. With Vardy upfront and the shrewdness of manager Rogers, they are capable of landing all 3 points. A below-par Citizens team will have problems against a home side with a strong record at the King Power stadium. It might be worth going for a straight home win here.

Win: Leicester

Friday, January 31, 2020

EPL 2019/20 - Week 25

Leicester v Chelsea - Home
Bournemouth v Aston Villa - Away
Crystal Palace v Sheffield Utd - Away
Liverpool v Southampton - Home
Newcastle v Norwich - Home
Watford v Everton - Home
West Ham v Brighton - Draw
Man Utd v Wolves - Draw
Burnley v Arsenal - Away
Tottenham v Man City - Draw

Wow! Ighalo for Man Utd. I am not sure how that is going to work for the Red Devils. The coming of Bruno Fernandes looks, however, promising; the Portuguese looks really a great addition. That said, Man Utd have a tough match on Saturday against Wolves. The visitors are gunning for a European place and are in good form with the likes of Jimenez and Traore firing on all cylinders. I believe they can squeeze at least a point out of Old Trafford. The Red Devils are in much need of firepower in attack after the injury to Rashford and although Fernandes will eventually make his mark as an offensive weapon, the match will probably come too soon for him to make the impact needed. A draw-no-bet or outright win on Wolves could be rewarding.

Draw-no-bet or Win: Wolves

Monday, January 20, 2020

EPL 2019/20 - Week 24

Bournemouth v Brighton - Home
Aston Villa v Watford - Draw
Crystal Palace v Southampton - Draw
Everton v Newcastle - Home
Sheffield Utd v Man City - Away
Chelsea v Arsenal - Home
Leicester v West Ham - Home
Tottenham v Norwich - Home
Man Utd v Burnley - Home
Wolves v Liverpool - Home

I can punt all day against Liverpool going unbeaten this season. They won't. They might go unbeaten at home but they will flinch one or more times on the road. They rode their luck on their last road trip at Spurs where Mourinho's men had glorious chances to at least tie the match but they were just missing a finisher like Harry Kane upfront. Wolves will present another stern challenge to Klopp's men and it might be worth siding with the home side taking at least a point out of the champions-elect. The Wanderers are one of the form teams of the moment and play with great resilience and purpose under Nuno Santo. Their team sheet is certainly inferior to the Kops but their never-say-die attitude, as Southampton attested to last Saturday, will pose problems for the visitors. A draw-no-bet on Wolves can be rewarding.

Draw-no-bet: Wolves

Friday, January 17, 2020

EPL 2019/20 - Week 23

Watford v Tottenham - Draw
Arsenal v Sheffield Utd - Home
Brighton v Aston Villa - Home
Man City v Crystal Palace - Home
Norwich v Bournemouth - Home
Southampton v Wolves - Draw
West Ham v Everton - Draw
Newcastle v Chelsea - Away
Burnley v Leicester - Away
Liverpool v Man Utd - Home

Mikael Arteta is doing a good impression in his managerial debut at Arsenal. The Gunners are playing with renewed confidence and purpose. They seem to have that extra edge to them, something they were sorely lacking under Emery. This Gunners team is on the ascendancy like their manager. Sheffield Utd has often proven a tough nut to crack even for the best teams in the EPL. They are a well organized team that is hard to break down. At current odds, I find it worth chancing with the home team; they should have enough to edge this even without their talismanic striker Aubagmeyang.

Chelsea are on a mazy run, throwing dud games when they are expected to win and getting results in the unlikeliest situations. Lampard's men should have enough in them to go beat Newcastle at St James Park. Steve Bruce's men have over-extended themselves so far but they don't have the quality to compete as a top 10 team. The Blues should be able to control this match and get the points they badly need to have a good hold of the all-important fourth and final UCL spot.

Win: Chelsea, Arsenal

Friday, January 10, 2020

EPL 2019/20 - Week 22

Crystal Palace v Arsenal - Home
Chelsea v Burnley - Home
Everton v Brighton - Draw
Leicester v Southampton - Home
Man Utd v Norwich - Home
Wolves v Newcastle - Draw
Tottenham v Liverpool - Home
Bournemouth v Watford - Draw
Aston Villa v Man City - Away

Liverpool will win the league but that doesn't mean that they will go unbeaten throughout. Their odds are decidedly way too short as they visit Spurs on Saturday. Ok, Kane will not play and this will be a hard blow for the home team. But even without his irreplaceable striker, Mourinho still has a potent squad at his disposal to breach the Kop defence. The likes of Son, Moura and Ali have goals in them and it will not be surprising if the Portuguese can hatch a plan to inflict a first defeat for the visitors this season. At current prices, it will be rewarding to go for a straight Spurs win and the less-risky draw-no-bet makes appeal as well.

Win, Draw-no-bet: Tottenham

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

EPL 2019/20 - Week 21

Brighton v Chelsea - Home
Burnley v Aston Villa - Home
Newcastle v Leicester - Away
Southampton v Tottenham - Away
Watford v Wolves - Home
Man City v Everton - Home
Norwich v Crystal Palace - Away
West Ham v Bournemouth - Home
Arsenal v Man Utd - Home
Liverpool v Sheffield Utd - Home

Happy New Year 2020 everyone!!

Newly-appointed manager Moyes can start his second managerial Hammers career on a winning note as Bournemouth visit the London Stadium. It is always a case of making first impressions whenever a new manager takes over as the players get that extra urge to make their mark. The feeling watching them for the past weeks was that they were not responding to ousted manager Pellegrini. Bournemouth have a pretty mediocre away record and look vulnerable to the wrath of a home team in bad need of a win. At current prices, it looks rewarding to side win a straight home win.

Burnley got burned by Man Utd in their last home match and I've rarely seen them playing that bad at Turf Moor. They will find Aston Villa easier to deal with than the Red Devils. Their solid front duo of Wood and Barnes should present a menace for the wobbly Villa defence. This should end in a comfortable home win.

Win: Burnley, West Ham

Friday, December 27, 2019

EPL 2019/20 - Week 20

Brighton v Bournemouth - Draw
Newcastle v Everton - Draw
Southampton v Crystal Palace - Home
Watford v Aston Villa - Home
Norwich v Tottenham - Away
West Ham v Leicester - Home
Burnley v Man Utd - Home
Arsenal v Chelsea - Home
Liverpool v Wolves - Home
Man City v Sheffield Utd - Home

Anyone out there still thinking that Liverpool won't be crowned champions? There is no more race, the Kops will win it by a canter. Man City will focus on the Champions League while still fighting for second spot in the league. The others are just not good enough.

After a tepid start, Southampton have been enjoying some positive results lately headlined by their away win at Stamford Bridge in their last match. They no longer look like a team primed for the drop. They should have enough of them to dispose of visiting Crystal Palace. The Eagles are a middle-tier team that is gunning for a European spot but they will do well to finish in the top 10 and far from the relegation battle. They were arguably lucky to have beaten West Ham in their last match thanks to a Ayew's sublime solo goal. Their over-reliance on Zaha can often bite them and although the former Man Utd player can always present danger up front, his current form is not as spectacular as in previous years. Might be worth chancing on a home win at current prices.

Leicester's legs might have been somewhat cut off by their recent debacle against Liverpool. After a spectacular unbeaten run, the Foxes are now on a 2-game losing streak having lost to rivals Man City and Liverpool in their last 2 matches. That sequence might extend to 3 if West Ham can regain some level of form. There is much pressure on Hammers manager Pellegrini due to their serious dip of form in the past months but the results have slightly improved in the past few weeks. As mentioned earlier, they should have gotten something out of their last encounter against Palace. If the Foxes are still reeling from their past couple of results, the Hammers have enough in them to cause an upset. A home win will be very rewarding although going to the less-risky draw-no-bet might prove fruitful as well.

Win: West Ham, Southampton

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

EPL 2019/20 - Week 19

Tottenham v Brighton - Home
Bournemouth v Arsenal - Home
Aston Villa v Norwich - Home
Chelsea v Southampton - Home
Crystal Palace v West Ham - Draw
Everton v Burnley - Draw
Sheffield Utd v Watford - Home
Man Utd v Newcastle - Home
Leicester v Liverpool - Home
Wolves v Man City - Away

Merry Christmas to you all!

I see a lot of upside going with many of the home teams on the Boxing Day match-ups. Spurs is a certainty to beat Brighton. I see Villa being great value to dispose of struggling Norwich. Chelsea should be able to edge its encounter against the Saints. Sheffield United have decent form at home and should overcome lowly Watford. Man Utd mis-cued against the latter last week mainly due to keeper De Gea's howler but they should have too much firepower against the Magpies.

I believe Leicester are the value team to side with against league leaders Liverpool. The visitors are newly-crowned world cup champions but there is no doubt that they will be short of peak fitness after their trip from Doha. Those exertions and the upcoming busy schedule will have Klopp rotating the team and they look exposed going to dangerous Leicester City. Foxes manager Rodgers would certainly relish doing one to his old club and I believe they can at least extract a draw from the encounter. Leicester as a win looks plausible, a draw-no-bet on them presents less risk but good returns in the end.

Win: Leicester, Man Utd, Tottenham, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Sheffield Utd

Friday, December 20, 2019

EPL 2019/20 - Week 18

Everton v Arsenal - Home
Bournemouth v Burnley - Home
Aston Villa v Southampton - Home
Brighton v Sheffield Utd - Draw
Newcastle v Crystal Palace - Draw
Norwich v Wolves - Away
Man City v Leicester - Home
Watford v Man Utd - Away
Tottenham v Chelsea - Home

Arsenal will operate under new manager Arteta this week-end and the Gunners will surely be keen to make good first impressions as they visit Everton. The new manager has been a solid No 2 for Guardiola at Man City but is unproven at this level. It is a big question mark hanging over the club and I am not so sure he will make the immediate impact as Gunners fans will be expecting. Everton have had managerial issues of their own, having had to dismiss Silva a few weeks ago. Quite surprisingly, the club has amassed some encouraging results under caretaker manager Duncan Ferguson since the Portuguese departure. The Scot seems to have instilled some vigor back into the players and they will be surely keen to pounce more misery on the ailing visitors. Usually I would favor the team with the new manager but given the directions both clubs have taken for the past weeks, I can very well see a home win.

Man Utd are on an upward curve and it could be that Solksjaer has found the proper buttons to push. A near-repeat of their last away performance where they shocked Man City at the Etihaad should put them in good stead against the struggling Hornets. Rashford is on a tear and Greenwood looks to be an amazing poacher in the making. Martial should be involved as well and I can see a comfortable Red Devils win.

Win: Man Utd, Everton

Friday, December 13, 2019

EPL 2019/20 - Week 17

Liverpool v Watford - Home
Burnley v Newcastle - Home
Chelsea v Bournemouth - Home
Leicester v Norwich - Home
Sheffield Utd v Aston Villa - Draw
Southampton v West Ham - Draw
Man Utd v Everton - Home
Wolves v Tottenham - Away
Arsenal v Man City - Away
Crystal Palace v Brighton - Draw

The big guns have relatively easy matches this week and although I wouldn't call Arsenal easy fodder, I can easily see Man City coming out trumps out of their visit from the Emirates. The Gunners are have been in total rotten form for the weeks and have lost manager Emery as a consequence. They haven't shown any improvement with Llunberg at the helm and Man City should feel lucky to visiting them at an auspicious moment. The Citizens have waved their title good-bye after their rather stunning loss at home to city rivals Man Utd. We knew at the start of the season that their main aim was the Champions League and that importance will have been aggravated given the insurmountable gap Liverpool has forged at the top. But given the knockout stages of the UCL will resume in February, the title is their short term priority and the 3 points look very viable against an out-of-sorts Gunners team.

Spurs lost in their UCL mid-week visit at Bayern but Mourinho seems to have brought back some belief into the squad. Son and Ali are in confident form at the moment and look capable of scoring in every match. Wolves is never a place to have an easy match and the Wanderers are having a great season and currently vying for a European spot. Their main negative is that they had a midweek Europa league match yesterday and although they did win it fairly comfortably, they will be on the fringes fitness-wise. I see either a Spurs win or a draw, so a draw-no-bet on the visitors looks plausible.

Win: Man City
Draw-no-bet: Spurs

Friday, December 6, 2019

EPL 2019/20 - Week 16

Everton v Chelsea - Away
Bournemouth v Liverpool - Away
Tottenham v Burnley - Home
Watford v Crystal Palace - Away
Man City v Man Utd - Home
Aston Villa v Leicester - Home
Newcastle v Southampton - Draw
Norwich v Sheffield Utd - Away
Brighton v Wolves - Home
West Ham v Arsenal - Home

Everton will be manager-less after the sacking of manager Silva and it could be an oh-so-lucky visit for Chelsea. Lampard's men are enjoying a good run and the return of striker Abraham in mid-week re-invigorates their attacking prowess. The Blues have an excellent shout at a UCL spot if they can continue their surprisingly positive display under Lampard. Goodison Park is never an easy place to garner full points but the Toffees are in such turmoil that the visitors will be strongly fancying a win. At market prices, Chelsea look good value to come out as outright winners.

If the Citizens are to retain their title, they will have to at least come out on top of the battle of Manchester. They have the better squad and are quite formidable at the Etihaad and everything points to a home win. Man Utd will be buoyed by their mid-week win against Spurs  but this Man City is an entirely different beast. Guardiola's men will need to keep an eye on Red Devil striker Rashford though as the England striker is in electric form and capable of intimidating the unsettled Citizens' backline. This should, however, end in a home win.

I like the chances of Villa against Leicester. The Foxes are the hottest team in the league having won their last 7 matches. Everything good thing has an end and it is not fathomable to see Rogers' men keeping the winning streak or Vardy continuing his goal-scoring. Villa are no push-overs at home and I can see them at least snatch a draw in this match. A draw-no-bet or outright win on the Villains could be very rewarding.

Win: Aston Villa, Chelsea, Man City

Friday, November 29, 2019

EPL 2019/20 - Week 14

Newcastle v Man City - Away
Burnley v Crystal Palace - Home
Chelsea v West Ham - Home
Liverpool v Brighton - Home
Tottenham v Bournemouth - Home
Southampton v Watford - Home
Norwich v Arsenal - Home
Wolves v Sheffield Utd - Draw
Leicester v Everton - Home
Man Utd v Aston Villa - Home

Leicester are in devastating form at the moment, led by an inspiring Vardy. It is funny that the England striker seems to have picked up his game just when his many thought (including I) that he would be negatively distracted by the front pages of his missus' feud with Mrs Rooney. Since the infamous story broke, Vardy has been on a goal-scoring tear. Leicester will be happy to welcome an out-of-sorts Everton whose manager Silva is firm favourite to be the next given the boot. Needless to say that should the visitors lose this match, the chances are that the boot will be applied. The Toffees have a poor away record and are carrying a significant injury list. The loss of Coleman at the back for the visitors will only play to Vardy's advantage and it could be another big scoring day for the Leicester striker.

It might be worth taking a chance on Southampton as they entertain Watford on Saturday. The Saints have garnered somewhat encouraging results and displays after their 0-9 drubbing against Leicester last month. Watford are a team in total disarray with the mildest attacking threat and the return of Quique Flores as manager has hardly improved results for the Hornets. This is a 6-pointer for the 2 worst teams in the league and I will go for home advantage.

Win: Southampton, Leicester

Friday, November 22, 2019

EPL 2019/20 - Week 13

West Ham v Tottenham - Away
Bournemouth v Wolves - Home
Arsenal v Southampton - Home
Brighton v Leicester - Home
Crystal Palace v Liverpool - Away
Everton v Norwich - Home
Watford v Burnley - Draw
Man City v Chelsea - Home
Sheffield Utd v Man Utd - Draw
Aston Villa v Newcastle - Draw

The Special One is finally back from the ranks of unemployment as he takes over under-performing Spurs. The resulting availability of Pochettino will no doubt have rejoiced a few leading clubs in Europe and it remains to be seen who will be the lucky club to register his services next. At Spurs, Mourinho will have a talented bunch at his disposal and it is almost a guarantee that the fortune of the club will get better as the season progresses. It is so often said that a newly-brought manager almost always wins his first match in charge as the players are desperate to make a good first impression to the new boss. The Tottenham players will certainly be very motivated and willing on Saturday and given they are playing an out-of-form Hammers team, the odds are that Mourinho will start his Spurs career in a winning fashion. I do not see the short 3-day period to get prepared for the match as a hindrance as the new manager is tactically astute to play in such circumstances. This match should end in an away win.

Man City will most certainly leave their Premiership crown to Liverpool this season but they will not want to give it away without a fight. Chelsea is a big fish coming up at the Etihaad and the Citizens will have to be at their top-most form to get the full points. The Blues are being masterfully guided by Lampard so far but I don't think they have the team to go beat Man City on its ground. American star Pulisic has been on fire of late as have the other young guns like Mount and Abraham. This should be an exciting match to watch but the experienced home side have enough in them to bag all points.

Win: Tottenham, Man City

Friday, November 8, 2019

EPL 2019/20 - Week 12

Chelsea v Crystal Palace - Home
Burnley v West Ham - Home
Newcastle v Bournemouth - Draw
Southampton v Everton - Draw
Tottenham v Sheffield Utd - Draw
Leicester v Arsenal - Home
Man Utd v Brighton - Home
Wolves v Aston Villa - Draw
Liverpool v Man City - Home

This is match of the season so far as Liverpool host Man City at Anfield. It is hard to argue against the point that the Kops are about to bring home the title that has eluded them for years. They seem to have the resilience, hunger and the team to finally claim top honours, something they have come oh-so close to achieve in recent years. The season still has a long way to go and there will be ebbs and flows but at the moment, everything seems to be going the Kops' way. Victory over their main and only challengers Man City will further kick them off in their title quest.

Man City can be mesmerizing on their best day; simply the best team in football. However, they can have their off-days and drop seemingly easy points. An off-day on Sunday against Liverpool will be fatal. Klopp's men are in unforgivable mood at the moment and they are never out until the final whistle. Shades of the great Man Utd teams under Sir Alex Ferguson or the Liverpool of the 80's! On paper, Guardiola's men are superior but the drive and hunger will be on the other side. It is hard to see the hosts losing this and I think they are very capable of winning all 3 points and opening a decisive gap at the top.

Leicester are on a roll and Arsenal are a team in doubt at the moment. This makes them very vulnerable against the likes of Vardy, Perez and Tielermans. Clearly, the coming of manager Rodgers last year has had a positive impact on the team and although I don't expect them to win the Premiership as they did a few years ago, the Foxes have a legitimate shot at a top 4 finish. At current prices, they are value to bag full points against Arsenal.

Win: Liverpool, Leicester

Friday, November 1, 2019

EPL 2019/20 - Week 11

Bournemouth v Man Utd - Away
Arsenal v Wolves - Home
Aston Villa v Liverpool - Away
Brighton v Norwich - Draw
Man City v Southampton - Home
Sheffield Utd v Burnley - Home
West Ham v Newcastle - Home
Watford v Chelsea - Away
Crystal Palace v Leicester - Away
Everton v Tottenham - Home

The return of Anthony Martial from injury seems to have given Man Utd the wind in their sails that they badly needed to recover from their horrendous start to the season. The French striker can score but is also a perfect foil for Marcus Rashford, who has regained his goal scoring touch since Martial's return. The renewed confidence in the squad in general gives the Red Devils a good opportunity to grab another full points as they visit a Bournemouth side that has fired blanks in four of their last 5 matches. Dean Court has been proven a tough ground for the Mancunians in recent years and they were just able to squeeze out a win in injury time in last year's visit. I expect them to do the same again on Saturday.

Sheffield Utd are proving very resilient at home as Arsenal will have witnessed a couple of weeks ago. It would not be surprising if they overcome visiting Burnley. The visitors are not overly strong on the road although they have managed to squeeze out a few draws. This is bound to be a low-score affair, and at market prices, it might be worth going with the home team for the outright win.

Win: Man Utd, Sheffield Utd