Friday, April 29, 2016

EPL 2015/16 - Week 36

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

Anyone out there still thinking that Leicester won't be champions? I think the football world has come to the evidence that the Foxes won't be denied; it really will be one of the greatest feats in the history of football. It's not a question where the minnows stunned some heavily-favoured team in a single match; they've been crushing the league for a good while now. Really deserving of winning the lot.

That said, I think they will go get a result at Old Trafford. The mood in the Red Devils camp will surely be up after winning their trip to the FA Cup final. They are still fighting for a UCL spot and don't have much margin for error. However, this Leicester team is resilient and will definitely have chances on the counter-attack against a team that relies all too well on ball possession. I can see the visitors either winning or drawing this match, so a draw-no-bet on them at current market prices looks great value.

I think Southampton have a great card to play against visiting Man City. Although the Citizens badly need the full points to secure a UCL spot, they will also have their eyes and minds on their pending trip to Madrid for the UCL semi-final return leg. Their chances to reach the final are live after a good 0-0 at home. So it will not be surprising if Pellegrini rotates his squad for Sunday's match. Southampton are on a good run and I've always said that Koeman knows how to prepare his teams against good opposition. I think the Saints can win this, and if they don't, it will surely end up in a draw match.

Friday, April 22, 2016

EPL 2015/16 - Week 35

Man City v/s Stoke - Home win
Bournemouth v/s Chelsea - Draw
Aston Villa v/s Southampton - Away win
Liverpool v/s Newcastle - Home win
Sunderland v/s Arsenal - Home win
Leicester v/s Swansea - Home win
Tottenham v/s West Brom - Home win

It is no secret that how well Leicester deal with the loss of superstar striker Vardy for the next 2 matches will determine their chances of title glory. Vardy not only scores goals, he also opens up defences with his pace. Ranieri does not really have another similar player up front with Okazaki and Ulloa not pacy-types. So, the Foxes will have to alter their usual game plan in their next couple of matches. Swansea have nothing to play for but they are pesky opponents. They definitely have the capability of spoiling the home party. With Vardy, a Leicester win would have been very probable. Without him, the Foxes will still prove difficult to break down but they need to get the odd goal to make the difference. Many will look to Mahrez to provide the inspiration and although the Algerian has been quiet in the last few matches, he has the quality to break down the visitors. I think the home team will win this match by the minimum score.

For a value punt, I am looking no further than Sunderland hosting Arsenal. Wenger's men will go as heavy favourites with Alexis Sanchez in red-hot form. But this is an Allardyce-Wenger matchup and the Sunderland manager will relish breaking the flow of the Gunners' play as usual. Sunderland have good form going into this match and they badly need the points as well to get out of their current relegation predicament. Arsenal will choke again, I think, and the home team will either draw or win this, so a draw-no-bet on them looks good value.

Friday, April 15, 2016

EPL 2015/16 - Week 34

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

Man City are on an absolute high after making their way to the semi-final of the UCL at the expense of PSG in mid-week. Let's put it this way; the return of Belgian superstar De Bruyne has simply lifted this star-studded team to another level. The ex-Chelsea player is a joy to watch; he can make incisive passes as well as score. It is no coincidence that Man City lost pace in the title run-in at the time of his prolonged injury setback. Since his return, he's bagged in important goals and the Citizens definitely need him in their UCL conquest and also for the run-in for the 4th vital EPL spot.

Chelsea definitely will be looking to play spoilers. They have been a transformed team under Hiddink and are a threat to any team. They will have several players back from injury and have the edge fitness-wise as they were idle during the week. I see a case of Man City players short of lasting the full 90 minutes of a high-tempo game and also suffering from their mid-week hangover.  City have shown limits on their travels and even having De Bryune in their ranks might not be enough against the Blues at Stamford Bridge. The hosts just won't lose this one.

Leicester are almost there. West Ham are a tough team to play against but they had a tough FA Cup match against Man Utd on Wednesday. I can't see many goals in this one but it's home advantage to the Foxes who can as ever rely on a stingy defence and one of Vardy or Mahrez to make the difference up front. The home team should just edge this.

Friday, April 8, 2016

EPL 2015/16 - Week 33

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

I am bullish on quite a few home selections this week. I think Crystal Palace will finally manage a win after their oh-so-long drought, and beat relegation-doomed Norwich. If the Eagles can't beat the Canaries at home, then they deserve to go down as well!

I also think that Southampton will easily beat Newcastle. There is a difference in class between the 2 clubs and I expect Koeman to come up on top after against his continental adversary Benitez. The Saints have been riding some good form lately and are pushing for a wishful top-4 finish, while Benitez is still trying to figure out the mess on Tyneside.

Swansea have a card to play against a Chelsea team that will be missing many regulars. At market prices, the home team are value to snatch at least a draw or even better still, a home win. I just don't see them losing this encounter.

Friday, April 1, 2016

EPL 2015/16 - Week 32

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

Arsenal are in no position to lose points if they are to keep their slim hopes of winning the league. They must beat the likes of Watford at home. The visitors seem to have plateau-ed with main striker Ighalo drawing consistently blanks of late. The Gunners should have too much firepower and bag the all-important 3 points.

I really like Stoke's chances at home to Swansea. Mark Hughes' team are always solid at home although they can throw the odd dull performance. Swansea are pretty much safe from relegation and don't have much to play for; they are really seeing out their under-performing season and gear up for next year. On the other hand, the Potters have a small chance of a European spot and will have the motivation to get the full points. I see the home team edging this.