Monday, February 29, 2016

EPL 2015/16 - Week 28

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

Crystal Palace did not justify the confidence placed upon them last week but I still believe that it is a case of "when" and not "if", they will finally start a winning run. They travel to fellow strugglers Sunderland for a good opportunity to bag in 3 important points. Although it's relatively early to have a firm judgement, I have a feeling that Sunderland are looking more likely to go down than stay up. I think they will desperately missing players of the caliber of Adam Johnson during the relegation scrap. Bolasie should be making his comeback felt sooner than later for the Eagles and they could be the value away win of the midweek matches.

If there is a team that I strongly believe will be relegated, it has to be Villa. They haven't improved under manager Garde and they are not showing any signs that things will get drastically better. The visit of Everton does not look good for them as Martinez's men have good form going into this match with some resolute defensive displays in their last matches. Barkley has just been sparkling for the Toffees this season and he has been creating danger by the bucket load in many of his matches of late. Everton are good to at least get a point out of this encounter and it might be worth a shot to see them get all three.

Friday, February 26, 2016

EPL 2015/16 - Week 27

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

I expect lots of home wins this week-end but I am going to focus on the 2 matches I believe will be away wins. I think Crystal Palace are due a league win and the return of striker Bolasie could coincide with a change in their fortunes. They beat Spurs at White Hart Lane in the FA Cup and have an arguably easier road test against West Brom. The Baggies don't sport the best form at the moment and although they are expected to beat the drop, they are not as solid at home as they used to be a while back. The Eagles should just edge this.

Man Utd might have won their Europa League tie against some Danish minnows but Arsenal represents a different test. The injury-hit home side will miss Rooney, Martial, Smalling to name a few and I just can't see their make-shift side trouble the likes of Cech, Ozil and Sanchez. The Gunners are worthy favourites and will expect 3 important full points in their quest for the title.

Friday, February 12, 2016

EPL 2015/16 - Week 26

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

Leicester are confounding all logic at the moment; they put Man City firmly in their place last week and they look to crush the league by doubling down on Arsenal on Sunday. This match at the Emirates can go either way as the Foxes are never out of a match; their gung-ho style means that they have a chance to win or equalize until the last kick.

Everton looks a banker win as they host West Brom. Martinez's men are in blistering form having won their last 3 matches three to nil and things are oh-so-smooth in their attack with Barkley the mastermind. The Baggies suffered in extra-time in mid-week, so will be tested to their physical limits for this match. Got to go for the home win.

I also like the chances of the Red Devils as they visit Sunderland. The latter have let go of their best player, Adam Johnson, in mid-week. The Black Cats have a terrible defence which Rooney and Martial are set to exploit. Van Gaal's team again made the news this past week regarding the impending arrival of Mourinho. Much is being discussed on it but just a look at his management style leads me to categorically think that this could end up being the worst decision ever made at the club should this happen. Mourinho gets results but at a price and risk that will not suit a club of that magnitude. We will get to that as the story develops, but Man Utd have turned the corner as their recent away displays at Newcastle and Chelsea have shown and they look good for the 3 points.

Friday, February 5, 2016

EPL 2015/16 - Week 25

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

A 6-pointer match in Manchester as City host surprise league leaders Leicester. All the talk with Leicester has been with Vardy and Mahrez. Their keeper Schmeichel and their defence do not make the back pages but they are the ones that more often that not keep things tidy at the back and provide the platform for their devastating counter-attacks. If they can keep the likes of Aguero and Silva at bay, it is not impossible of them to actually snatch the 3 points. De Bryune will be missed for the Citizens although truth be told, they have ample firepower to do damage to any team. They will need to be at their best and I see them just nicking this although it would be no shock if Leicester were celebrating a winner in the end.

Aston Villa are in a state of urgency to pick up full points and they won't come much easier than Norwich. This is another 6-pointer at the other end of the spectrum with both teams destined to battle it out to avoid the drop until the last day. Both are dreadful and have no good form to rely on, and the fact that Norwich has been leaking in the bucket-loads recently leads me to think that the hosts can edge this with the odd goal.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

EPL 2015/16 - Week 24

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

The big question for title favourites Man City is how the departure of Pellegrini at the end of the season has affected the morale of the players. Sure, Guardiola is regarded a better manager, but Pellegrini is a well-liked among the squad. For one, Yaya Toure is probably sulking at this moment as his rift with Guardiola dates back from his Barcelona days. If the manager switch has managed to disturb him, this could spell trouble for City, particularly with de Bruyne out for an extended period of time. The good thing about the Citizens right now is the form of Aguero. The Premier League's best striker is in top form at the moment and will be keen to exploit the many weaknesses of the Sunderland defence. City don't have the best record on the record but Sunderland is as easy a prey as they will get and they should come away with the 3 points.

I cannot see Everton lose at home to Newcastle. The Toffees have found it hard lately to score as needed despite creating first-rate chances. Their last defeat at home to Swansea saw them squander gilt-edged goal-scoring opportunities yet again. They might be apt to remedy on this with the arrival of Newcastle who have a dismal defensive record. The Magpies have strengthened lately prior to the transfer deadline but I don't expect things to turn overnight for Mc Laren's men. Everton won the first fixture at the death at St James Park but I think it will be a more comfortable with this time.