Friday, December 30, 2016

EPL 2016/17 - Week 20

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

"Stay with the same" is the motto for New Year's selections. There is a reunion of sorts at Old Trafford where Boro boss Karanka meets his ex-Real Madrid boss Mourinho. Man Utd should prove too good here and keep their running winning sequence intact.

Arsenal host Palace in what is another Wenger/Allardyce match-up. Arsenal worked hard to break down WBA in their last match but they fully deserved the 3 points. They will face the same type of challenge against an Eagles team that I expect to improve from the Pardew days from now on. However, Allardyce will need more than a few matches under his belt to get the team back rolling and on this basis, the Gunners should be able to win this based on their superior firepower.

Win: Arsenal, Man Utd

Sunday, December 25, 2016

EPL 2016/17 - Week 19

Watford v/s Crystal Palace - Home win
Arsenal v/s WBA - Home win
Burnley v/s Middlesbrough - Away win
Chelsea v/s Bournemouth - Draw
Leicester v/s Everton - Home win
Man Utd v/s Sunderland - Home win
Swansea v/s West Ham - Away win
Hull v/s Man City - Away win
Liverpool v/s Stoke - Home win
Southampton v/s Tottenham  - Home win

Man Utd to beat Sunderland is a banker home win, no other way to describe it. I see the Red Devils going on a very good run and Mourinho seems to be getting the better of his squad with every passing match. They might have left too many points on the table to be seriously considered a title contender but Man Utd will be very hard to beat against anyone. Safe home win.

Arsenal are on a 2-game losing streak and that is bound to stop as they welcome WBA. It's the same old story with the Gunners; their title aspirations are always cut short by a damaging losing streak. They will hope that they are not on one currently and although WBA are a tough team to break, the Gunners have enough firepower to get the much-needed full points at the Emirates. They won't lose this match and it might very well be worth chancing on a straight home win.

Win: Man Utd, Arsenal
Double Win: Man Utd/Arsenal

Friday, December 16, 2016

EPS 2016/17 - Week 18

Crystal Palace v/s Chelsea - Home win
Middlesbrough v/s Swansea - Draw
Stoke v/s Leicester - Home win
Sunderland v/s Watford - Home win
West Ham v/s Hull - Home win
WBA v/s Man Utd - Home win
Bournemouth v/s Southampton - Draw
Man City v/s Arsenal - Home win
Tottenham v/s Burnley - Home win
Everton v/s Liverpool - Away win

This week-end's matches look pretty even across the board and I am not expecting to reach Week 17's strike rate of 9 correct out of 10. I see quite a few home wins but a goal here and there can easily tilt the result in the other direction.

I expect Spurs to beat Burnley at home. Kane was uncharacteristically quiet against Hull on Wednesday as Spurs found it hard to overcome Phelan's stubborn side. The England striker can make amends against a lowly Burnley side with a poor away record. This should end in a home win that consolidates Tottenham's ambitions to stay firmly in the hunt for the league title.

Everton were poor against Arsenal, yet managed to get the win in the end. With that kind of display, I cannot see them overcome a Liverpool team that seems to be hitting top form at the moment. Klopp and his men demolished Middlesbrough in mid-week and are showing attacking intent from all corners even with the loss of Coutinho. I expect a high-tempo game for this Merseyside derby and the Kops should prove too strong in the end. An away win looks set on the cards here.

Win: Tottenham, Liverpool

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

EPL 2016/17 - Week 17

Bournemouth v/s Leicester - Home win
Everton v/s Arsenal - Draw
Middlesbrough v/s Liverpool - Away win
Sunderland v/s Chelsea - Away win
West Ham v/s Burnley - Home win
Crystal Palace v/s Man Utd - Away win
Man City v/s Watford - Home win
Stoke v/s Southampton - Draw
Tottenham v/s Hull - Home win
WBA v/s Swansea - Home win

Man City have a great opportunity to get back to winning ways as they host Watford. Pep Guardiola is finding how things are tough in the EPL; this is no La Liga or Bundesliga where only 2 or 3 teams matter. The Citizens are not as dangerous without Aguero but they still have the likes of de Bruyne and Toure who can make the difference at any point in the match. They cannot afford much slip-up at this time and they should come away with the full points against a Watford team with a suspicious away record.

I expect West Brom to beat Swansea at the Hawthorne. Pulis' men are very strong at home and the visitors will find it tough to score against them. The Baggies were arguably unlucky to concede a late goal and defeat at Chelsea last week-end but they should have an attack-minded team against a Swans team that can concede by the bucket load. At current odds, a West Brom outright win makes great appeal.

Win: Man City, West Brom

Friday, December 9, 2016

EPL 2016/17 - Week 16

Watford v/s Everton - Home win
Arsenal v/s Stoke - Home win
Burnley v/s Bournemouth - Away win
Hull v/s Crystal Palace - Home win
Swansea v/s Sunderland - Home win
Leicester vs Man City - Draw
Chelsea v/s WBA - Home win
Man Utd v/s Tottenham - Draw
Southampton v/s Middlesbrough - Draw
Liverpool v/s West Ham - Home win

After their rather astounding collapse in Bournemouth last week, I expect Liverpool to get back to winning ways when they host the Hammers. It is true that the Kops have a vital cog in their attack missing with Coutinho out, but they can still score by the bucket load with the system that Klopp has put into place. Their weakness is their defence, which showed its weaknesses against the Cherries. West Ham are toiling and it seems there is no end to their problem. They were totally hapless against the Gunners last week and I cannot see them rebound that easily from that debacle. Bilic is really in trouble as far as job security is concerned. Liverpool will win this.

Sunderland have gotten some nice points on the board lately but Swansea will be looking to score some much-needed points as well. I believe for Swansea to stay up they will have to get most of their points at home and beat fellow struggling teams. The Black Cats definitely fit in that category. A failure to beat Sunderland will say long about their ability to avoid the relegation zone and any progress or regress made under new manager Bradley. I believe they will not lose this match and so side with them as an outright win or a draw-no-bet.

Win: Liverpool
Win or Draw-no-bet: Swansea

Friday, December 2, 2016

EPL 2016/17 - Week 15

Man City v/s Chelsea - Home win
Crystal Palace v/s Southampton - Home win
Stoke v/s Burnley - Draw
Sunderland v/s Leicester - Away win
Tottenham v/s Swansea - Home win
WBA v/s Watford - Home win
West Ham v/s Arsenal - Home win
Bournemouth v/s Liverpool - Away win
Everton v/s Man Utd - Draw
Middlesbrough v/s Hull - Home win

Man City against Chelsea is without doubt the highlight match of the week-end. For all their irresistible form of late and their winning run sequence, I think Chelsea will dive right back to reality after this road trip. I cannot see them win this match, and if they get lucky they might sneak out a point. But there is a big chance that Man City will overpower them in all departments and get the all-important 3 points. The thing with the Blues is that they are dominant at Stamford Bridge where they suffocate their opponents with their fluid football from start to finish. They cannot perform at the same level when visiting top-level teams. They need control and possession of the ball as they rely on incisive through balls to beat defenders. They will not get those kinds of opportunities against Guardiola's men. The one weakness of the home team is the unsettling of their central defending positions; Kompany is crocked yet again and Otamendi is the only reliable rock there. Still, I see an outright home win here.

I see West Ham snatching something out of their match against Arsenal. The Gunners fielded a totally unrecognizable second-string team in their midweek league cup match against Southampton and there is no doubt that Arsene Wenger wants his team totally fit and focused on the Premier League. With main man Sanchez having been on a non-stop run since the summer, it is clear that concerns regarding his freshness are legit. The Gunners are not as potent when the Chilean is not firing on all cylinders. The Hammers definitely have the capacity to match the visitors. With Payet, they are supremely dangerous on dead-ball situations. Their form has improved slightly of late but it is more a matter of urgency for them to earn points in order to get out of their precarious league position. I really like the outright win and double chance value on the Hammers in the exchange markets as they cannot see them lose this match.

Win: Man City, West Ham
Double Chance: West Ham