Tuesday, January 28, 2014

EPL Week 23

The name all week, particularly for Man Utd fans, has been Mata, Mata, Mata. The arrival of the Spaniard is a game-changer; while it will be too late for their title charge this year, he will definitely be a huge asset in their hunt for 4th place( aka UCL spot) and in the coming years. Man Utd should have a much better second-half to the season with the coming of Mata and the returns of RVP and Rooney. Week 23 starts in a couple of hours, and here are my thoughts.

Man Utd v/s Cardiff. I said it above; the impending returns of RVP and Rooney, together with a playmaker like Mata gives Man Utd considerable attacking options. If these 3 can stay fit and play together, there is no doubt that the potency is their for them to open defences at will. I think Mata's arrival will have given the whole Mancunian squad a lift this week and they are definitely a confident Win selection against a struggling Cardiff side.

Norwich v/s Newcastle. The Magpies have just lost playmaker Cabaye to PSG and this does not bode well with them. The Frenchman was their main source of inspiration in midfield and I think they will mightily struggle to cope with his absence. Norwich can pounce here. I see the hosts edging this and they look to be a solid value Win bet.

Southampton v/s Arsenal. This is going to be a tough game for Arsenal. Soton are no push-overs at home and seem to be regaining some of their early-season form. It's my opinion only, but I think that Arsenal will not be able to cope with the pace that Man City and Chelsea are about to set at the top of the table. At current odds, I see the Gunners as big lays for the title as I confidently think that they will not be able to match up with the big 2 above. I see them dropping points in this match too. Soton is a value draw-no-bet proposition at current odds.

Swansea v/s Fulham. The hosts have been expensive to back for some time now. This could be the game that changes things for them. They need a big W and there are not many worse travelling teams than the Cottagers. If Laudrup's team cannot win this one, they should never be backed again this year. They are a Win selection for this match.

Crystal Palace v/s Hull. I believe CP will avoid the drop this year because manager Pulis has put in the expected tactical discipline in the team. That said, Hull is a danger on the road with their ability to score and close shop. Best to avoid, although I think that CP might edge this one.

Liverpool v/s Everton. Both are rocked by injuries and both are fighting for 4th place. This looks set to be a tight encounter and if there is to be a winner, it should come from the home side. So, the Kops are a draw-no-bet selection.

Chelsea v/s West Ham. Eyes closed, this will be a Blues win.

Sunderland v/s Stoke. This Sunderland team has a resilience in it. It can make dramatic come-backs and can score against the most rigid defence. It will have had a massive boost by going to win Carling Cup final qualification at Old Trafford last week. I like their chances as a draw-no-bet against an average Stoke team.

Tottenham v/s Man City.
Ok, I'm not 100% behind the Tim Sherwood Spurs revolution yet. Maybe if they beat City... The Citizens are scoring at will but this will be a much difficult task than the likes of Watford, Cardiff or West Ham. It's impossible to oppose them in the attacking form they are at the moment. Spurs have their work cut out for them and will need to be ruthless in the chances they are going to create. Man City are a draw-no-bet selection.

Win: Man Utd, Swansea, Norwich
Draw-no-bet: Southampton, Liverpool, Sunderland, Man City

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