Friday, April 28, 2017

EPL 2016/17 - Week 36

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

Although Hull have raised their heads above water lately, they have a tough task going to the St Mary's where the Saints have rock-solid form. The Tigers have some great home form of their own which could very well save them from the drop but they have shown difficulties getting points on the road. Both teams are well managed and organized but Southampton have much more firepower at their disposal. Although they lost their last match against league leaders Chelsea, they still managed to score two at Stamford Bridge to keep the match close for a long while. Hull will probably play for the draw here in order to suck an important point out of this encounter but I think Southampton have enough in them to make the difference in the end.

I cannot see Arsenal getting a win against arch-rivals Totteham at White Hart Lane. The Gunners were arguably lucky to down Leicester in mid-week after a freak Huth own-goal. They were muted for much of the match by the champions. It seems Wenger's team is just running out of steam and ideas for a while now. Spurs were also lucky to bag the full points against Crystal Palace on that day. They are contending for the league and that definitely gives them an extra spring in their step. They have strong form at home and several match-winners with the likes of Kane, Ericksen, Ali, Son to name a few. A draw-no-bet is the safest way to go here but going all-out with a Spurs win might be more rewarding in the end.

Win: Southampton, Tottenham

Monday, April 24, 2017

EPL 2016/17 - Week 35 (Part 2)

Chelsea v/s Southampton - Home win
Arsenal v/s Leicester - Home win
Middlesbrough v/s Sunderland - Home win
Crystal Palace v/s Tottenham - Draw
Man City v/s Man Utd - Draw

After booting Spurs out of the FA Cup over the week-end, Chelsea are bound to land a double blow to their London rivals by distancing themselves further in the race to the league title. Conte's men will certainly have a spring in their step after their qualification to the FA Cup final. Southampton are no slouch and will make their chances to score at Stamford Bridge but it is hard to see the Blues not bagging the 3 all-important points. They have been hit by injuries with the likes of Alonso and Cahill but managed to win without starting their best eleven against Tottenham. That says a lot about their frame of mind for the remaining matches. The result might be close but I see Chelsea edging this encounter.

I also see Boro getting a much-needed win against Sunderland. This is a 6-pointer for 2 teams battling relegation; Sunderland look doomed in my opinion but Boro still has a ray of hope as long as they win these kinds of matches. Much will depend on Negredo and Defoe to make a difference at both ends of the pitch. I give Boro home advantage here and can't see them losing this.

Win: Chelsea, Middlesbrough

Friday, April 21, 2017

EPL 2016/17 - Week 35

Bournemouth v/s Middlesbrough - Home win
Hull v/s Watford - Home win
Swansea v/s Stoke - Home win
West Ham v/s Everton - Draw
Burnley v/s Man Utd - Home win
Liverpool v/s Crystal Palace - Home win

It looks the best way for Man Utd to get a UCL spot next year is by winning the Europa League where it has currently secured a semi-final spot. Their remaining league fixtures look very challenging and their struggles will be compounded by the fact that they seem to have lost leading goal-scorer Ibrahimovic for an extended period of time, if not for the season. I see them losing points at Burnley this week-end for many reasons. The hosts have strong form at home, which is what will probably secure them from relegation. The Red Devils will feel the effects of their hard-fought over-time Europa League win and will be without their top striker as mentioned above. Mourinho will definitely ring the changes and his best XI will definitely not start the match. I see value in going with Burnley as draw-no-bet at current market prices.

I also see Hull overcoming Watford. I mentioned last week that Watford have nothing to play for and will show vulnerability in the remaining fixtures. Hull have the urgency to keep fighting to stay up and they need full points in these types of encounters. It might be worth going for the all-win with the Tigers.

Win: Hull
Draw-no-bet: Burnley

Friday, April 14, 2017

EPL 2016/17 - Week 34

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

Spurs have a great opportunity to close the gap with Chelsea this week-end. I see lots of goals in their match against Bournemouth, a team they should over-power to snatch the 3 points. The Cherries can give back a battle of their own and have goal scoring abilities but their weak defence will give Ali, Kane and Son nothing to fret about.

I can see Swansea getting a shocker result at Watford. The Swans are still in the bottom three but they have produced combative matches lately and they have a sense of urgency about them. The same cannot be said of the Hornets who basically have nothing to play for and that has been translated in their recent matches.

Another shocker in the cards could be West Brom against Liverpool. The Kops were oh-so-lucky to come away with a win at Stoke thanks to 2 glorious minutes from their Brazilian superstars. I doubt lightning strikes twice for Klopp's men who are certainly not firing on all cylinders. West Brom are a tough nut to crack at home and it would not surprise me a bit if they overcome the favoured Kops.

Finally, I see Man Utd putting a brake to Chelsea's run to the title on Sunday. It is clear that there is a deep animosity between Mourinho towards Conte and Chelsea. The Red Devils are playing for the 4th UCL spot and although they don't win enough, they are a tough team to beat. If they were less profligate at the net, this team should be in second place right now. Chelsea are not plain-sailing at the moment; they are overly reliant on Hazard to turn matches around while striker Costa seems to be stuck in some lull on and off the field. I don't see the hosts losing this and their odds of a win look very enticing. At the very least, they will get a draw.

Win: Tottenham, Man Utd, West Brom, Swansea

Friday, April 7, 2017

EPL 2016/17 - Week 33

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

What Spurs achieved last week against Swansea was not short of spectacular; banging in 3 goals from the 85th minute when a goal down, and reigniting their title hopes in the process. Without Kane, they are less of a goal-scoring threat but the likes of Son, Eriksen and Ali have shown that they have goals in them as well. Spurs' confidence will be sky-high as they host Watford and I can see the three above carrying them again to victory. The visitors are a mid-table team that are safe from relegation and too far for a European spot; in other words, they don't have much to play for and their form has been rather indifferent. Spurs' urgency towards catching Chelsea should give them the necessary boost to bag the important 3 points here.

I like Man Utd's chances as they visit Sunderland. The Red Devils have been draw-match specialists under Mourinho but they have the ability to make the difference by the odd goal on the road. Having Ibrahimovic up front definitely gives them more confidence and chances to score. On the other hand, Sunderland seem to be going on the way down and Moyes' mid-week off-field antics haven't helped with the drama with the Black Cats. The Red Devils are very much in the hunt for a UCL spot and they need full points here. I think they will.

Win: Man Utd, Tottenham

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

EPL 2016/17 - Week 32

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

Champions Leicester are on fire since Ranieri's sacking. They host a Sunderland team in shambles. Vardy could bang in a few here. Hard to see any result other than a home win.

I also see home wins for Liverpool and Arsenal. The Kops seem to have gotten their swagger back after the derby demolition of Everton on Saturday. They could be missing Mane but the likes of Coutinho, Firmino and Wijnaldum could prove too handy for the likes of Bournemouth's errant defence. Arsenal need to pick up their form one way or another soon and the fact that they managed to come back and tie Man City over the week-end will have them some confidence. Wenger has a bulls-eye on his back right now but the Frenchman has proven before that his team could get results when it looked really down. The coming of West Ham seems an ideal opportunity for the Gunners to gather some much-needed momentum.

Win: Leicester, Liverpool, Arsenal