Friday, December 20, 2013

EPL Week 17

The games will be coming fast and furious during the festive season; bring'em on!

Liverpool v/s Cardiff. The Kops look to be the banker of the week-end. Even without Gerrard and Sturridge, they are in flying form thanks to Suarez. Cardiff, on the other hand, are rocked by a severe off-field dispute between manager and owner. Once the 90 mins are over, they could very well be manager-less. The Kops should win this by a margin and no need to mention who's most apt to score.

Crystal Palace v/s Newcastle. Many are giving the in-form Magpies a strong chance here. I will go the other way and make the Eagles the value draw-no-bet of the week-end. Under Pulis they are a becoming a resilient team that is difficult to break down. They've won 2 of the past 3 and came out with honours intact in last defeat at Stamford Bridge. I think Palace can avoid the drop with the kind of work ethic Pulis is instilling in the team.

Fulham v/s Man City. The news that Dempsey is to re-join Fulham on-loan is definitely a plus in its fight to stave off relegation. However, the visit of EPL favourites Man City, does not bode well for the hosts. Even without main striker Aguero, City has the best squad in the league and can manage goal-scoring threats from many other sources. Their recent win at Munich in particular, will give them the confidence to overcome their currently poor away league record. Man City are a Win selection.

Man Utd v/s West Ham. I think Man Utd is on a winning streak here after 2 dismal and well-documented home defeats. Should be a win for the Red Devils.

Stoke v/s Aston Villa. Mark Hughes seems to have finally impregnated the team with his footprint and they are now a difficult team to break down. They must have a great chance against the struggling Villains. I like the hosts as a safe draw-no-bet proposition.

Sunderland v/s Norwich. On paper, Sunderland should edge this although I am not sure how much a toll their extra-time win against Chelsea in mid-week will affect them. Norwich are very vulnerable on their away travels, and are hard to warrant any kind of confidence. This could very well end in a draw and better to sit on the fence.

Southampton v/s Tottenham. I just read that Tim Sherwood wants to be permanent manager of Spurs. Who? I mean, the guy has no managerial experience and has only won one piece of silverware in his career. Spurs are a team in disarray at the moment, and their mid-week loss at home to West Ham proves that unless they get the right, world-class manager at the helm as soon as possible, their season will turn for the worst. I thought they would be a top 6 team this year but unless they come up with someone good quick, they might not even get a European spot. The Saints' form hasn't been brilliant of late, but they have a good record at home and will be keen to pounce on a wounded opponent. The hosts are definitely a draw-no-bet recommendation.

Arsenal v/s Chelsea. I think the result can go any way, but I'd rather watch than have a punt on this one. Mourinho has a great record against Wenger teams, particularly as he has a knack of shackling teams that play offensive football. This is a 6-pointer game for both, and it won't be surprising if it ends in a draw.

Win: Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd
Draw-no-bet: Crystal Palace, Stoke, Southampton

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