Friday, December 13, 2013

EPL Week 16

Back after a short early break, the mind definitely freshened-up and ready to tackle the rumble and tumble of festive December football.

Man City v/s Arsenal. This is a 6-pointer, no doubt, with the 2 main contenders for the title according to the bookies. City are a formidable fortress at home but if there is team that can breach them, it is the Gunners. The mid-week away win at Bayern Munich could be the turning point of the Citizens' season because there is no doubt that it will have given them a huge confidence boost with the know-how that they went to beat the best team in the world at the moment. They have been stuttering in their EPL away games but a win in Munich can eliminate the mental barriers. On the other hand, Arsenal lost at Napoli in the UCL but still secured qualification. My concern is not the defeat in itself but rather the exertions they had to put in the game, especially having had to play with 10 men with the sending off of Arteta. So from a fitness point of view, the advantage is clearly with Man City and that tips the balance for me to the hosts. I see a draw-no-bet on the hosts as a safe and value selection.

Chelsea v/s Crystal Palace. Not sure which type of Chelsea team will show up on the day but I cannot see Mourinho's unbeaten home record being wrecked by the Eagles. The Blues should win this to keep their title hopes live.

Everton v/s Fulham. This should end in a home win. The Toffees have been impressive in winning at Old Trafford and securing a draw at Arsenal. This is a team growing in confidence under a good manager in Martinez. Fulham won last week but they can expect an entirely different proposition at Goodison Park. Everton is a Win selection.

Aston Villa v/s Man Utd. The bad news keep on piling for Man Utd as RVP will be missing a month because of a thigh injury. If they did not have Rooney in front, they would be in a worse situation than they are. They should however, have too much quality for the Villains who struggle to come up with good consistent performances week-in, week-out. Benteke is a non-factor at the moment. The selection is Man Utd as a draw-no-bet.

Tottenham v/s Liverpool. Spurs seem to be righting the ship after their calamitous 6-goal drubbing at the Etihaad a few weeks ago. Soldado scored a hat-trick in the Europa on Thursday and this could be the match he needed to finally start scoring on a regular basis. Liverpool have been rocked this week of the absence of Gerrard for more than a month. This is bad news for the Kops who are already missing striker Sturridge. That leaves Suarez as the only plausible man apt to score in this team. December could be a make or break month for Rodgers and his team. I see value going with Spurs as a draw-no-bet here.

Win: Everton, Chelsea
Draw-no-bet: Man City, Man Utd, Tottenham

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