Friday, August 28, 2015

EPL 2015/16 - Week 4

Newcastle v/s Arsenal - Away win
Aston Villa v/s Sunderland - Draw
Bournemouth v/s Leicester - Home win
Chelsea v/s Crystal Palace - Home win
Liverpool v/s West Ham - Home win
Man City v/s Watford - Home win
Stoke v/s West Brom - Home win
Spurs v/s Everton - Home win
Southampton v/s Norwich - Home win
Swansea v/s Man Utd - Away win

Arsenal should be picking things up after a rather slow start. I am not convinced about the quality of the Newcastle team. With Mc Laren, they are a bottom-half team; without him, they are more a relegation team. This match should be high-scoring and it would not be a surprise to see Ramsey on the score-sheet. The Welshman was unlucky to have a valid goal ruled for offside against the Kops last Monday but it is only a matter of time that he finds the net.

Man City to beat Watford is a no-brainer. The Citizens lost so many points against low-tier teams last year and Pellegrini would want to avoid such mishaps if they are to challenge seriously this year.

I can very much see Spurs overcoming Everton at White Hart Lane. Tottenham are due a win, Kane is due a goal and Everton will feel the mid-week exertions of their overtime match at Barnsley.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

EPL 2015/16 - Week 3

Man Utd v/s Newcastle - Home win
Crystal Palace v/s Aston Villa - Home win
Leicester v/s Spurs - Home win
Norwich v/s Stoke - Away win
Sunderland v/s Swansea - Draw
West Ham v/s Bournemouth - Home win
West Brom v/s Chelsea - Away win
Everton v/s Man City - Away win
Watford v/s Southampton - Away win
Arsenal v/s Liverpool - Home win

The banker win of the week is definitely Man Utd as they entertain a less-than convincing Newcastle team. They might have missed on Pedro and have Rooney in a miserable rut of form, but the Red Devils should prove too much for former No 2 Steve Mc Laren's side to handle. In fact, this match could awaken Rooney who has an good record of scoring against Newcasle.

I also think Palace will be hard to beat at home to Aston Villa. Pardew's men are a top-10 team in my books.

Chelsea to beat West Brom also looks a formality. Sure Mourinho has been under-fire lately and their drubbing at City last week puts a question mark on the team itself. Although I don't think they will be as good as last year, the Blues should still prove too strong for the Baggies.

Friday, August 14, 2015

EPL 2015/2016 - Week 2

Aston Villa v/s Man Utd - Away win
Southampton v/s Everton - Home win
Spurs v/s Stoke - Home win
Sunderland v/s Norwich - Home win
Swansea v/s Newcastle - Home win
Watford v/s West Brom - Draw
West Ham v/s Leicester - Draw
Crystal Palace v/s Arsenal - Away win
Man City v/s Chelsea - Draw
Liverpool v/s Bournemouth - Home win

I see Arsenal back on track after their opening day woes. They just failed to score on the numerous chances they had against West Ham, with Giroud the mail culprit. Palace have proven not too smart at home last year as their style mainly relies on high pace counter-attacking football, so the Gunners are in with a good shout here.

Man City have started their campaign strong but Chelsea are a different animal to WBA. Mourinho relishes those types of matches and he will park the bus if he has to. That should be a close encounter and a draw the likely result.

Friday, August 7, 2015

EPL 2015/2016 - Week 1

Man Utd v/ Spurs - Home win
Bournemouth v/s Villa - Draw
Everton v/s Watford -  Home win
Leicester v/s Sunderland - Home win
Norwich v/s Crystal Palace - Away win
Chelsea v/s Swansea - Home win
Arsenal v/s West Ham - Home win
Newcastle v/s Southampton - Away win
Stoke v/s Liverpool - Draw
West Brom v/s Man City - Away win

I really like the chances of Crystal Palace as they visit newcomers Norwich and Southampton on their trip to Tyneside. I fancy Palace to be a top 10 team this year and the arrival of Cabaye brings creativity to a seriously good offence. Koeman did wonders at Southampton last season and I expect the same; his sides are tough to beat and they have started with good form already with strong showings in the pre-season friendlies and in the Europa League.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

EPL 2015/2016 - Chelsea won't repeat

EPL is back again! The summer has been ripe with upheavals for most of the leading teams and the race looks to be as competitive as ever. Will Chelsea keep its crown? Will Van Gaal deliver for the Red Devils? How will Liverpool cope with the strong contingent of newcomers? Will it finally be Arsenal's year? Will Man City be explosive with the arrival of Sterling? Here's a lowdown on the leading teams, and although it's way too early to make a prediction on the eventual winner, I will make one anyways!

Chelsea. By Ambramovich's standards, the Blues' summer transfer activity has been very quiet. They have pinned their hopes on the arrival of Falcao and it is really a make or break decision for the club and player. I will say this; Falcao on his best form is arguably the best striker in the world. Sure, he did not produce as expected at Man Utd. Was it his knee injury? Was it Van Gaal's system? Is he done? If Mourinho can bring him back to his best, the goals will be flowing. But it's a really big if. Provided that Falcao is a non-factor, then it must be a worry for their fans that Chelsea have really not strengthened from last year. I think they will find it a much harder season and will have to count on the others flopping again. As things stand, while I think they will be in the thereabouts (as with all Mourinho's teams), I don't think they have the quality to repeat.

Man City. Manuel Pellegrini must be feeling the heat as if he does not have the Blues in contention from the start, he could very well liable to lose the top job. They got Sterling to boost their ranks after his acrimonious exit from Liverpool. The guy is the best current English player in my opinion. So he will bolster their attack even though they have lost Jovetic and Dzeko. The trouble is really with their defence where an out-of-form Kompany spells trouble at the back. Mangala will probably show better colors this season while deMichellis has many chinks in his armour. The Citizens should be playing role again but they have yet to show that they have the mental fortitude to win the title on their own right; the 2 times they won, they were well served on a platter by Man Utd and Liverpool. Still, they boast the strongest squad in the league and are my early favourites for the title.

Arsenal. Everyone seems to agree that this is going to be Arsenal's best chance in years to land the big one. The elements seem to have properly fallen into place for Arsene's men at last. The arrival of Petr Cech in the nets provides them with stability they have lacked in previous seasons. Alexis Sanchez is their main weapon up front after a terrific first season, but fans must beware of second-season blues for the Chilean who will not have had an optimal summer rest after his exertions in the Copa America tournament. The Gunners should go close this year but need the right guidance from a manager that has definitely lacked insight during tough spells and important matches in the past. They are the outsiders with a live chance if City falter.

Man Utd. This Utd team is going to be markedly different than last year as far as player personnel is concerned. Gone are RVP, di Maria, Falcao; 3 big names that on their best form would terrorize any opposition. But the incomings are nothing short of quality with the likes of Depay, Schweignsteiger and Schneiderlin among others. Let's not forget that Pedro is probably going to make the jump from Barcelona. It's the defence that is problematic for the Red Devils where they lack the presence of a defensive rock a la Ferdinand or Vidic. There is no leader at the back and it would be worse if they lose de Gea to Madrid. I see the Mancunians having an even better season than last year but it seems stretching to see them win it all. Close but probably no cigar for Van Gaal.

Liverpool. How the Kops will deal with the post-Gerrard and post-Sterling era will determine the fate of manager Rodgers. They have brought in some top names like Benteke and Origi which makes them boast the best strikeforce in the Premiership. The fact that they went through a tame spell at the end of the season severely questions the mental toughness of this team and its manager's. This is going to be a rebuilding season and Rodgers will be the focal point. They have the potential of a top 4 team but can't expect to fight for the overall title.

So at this point, I say Chelsea won't repeat. I see this going between Man City and Arsenal. It's going to be close and the parameters will change as the weeks go by. It should definitely be a closer race than last year. We'll revisit the predictions in 6 months.