Friday, August 25, 2017

EPL 2017/18 - Week 3

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

One thing that I don't like with Spurs this year is that they will play all their home matches at Wembley and not at White Hart Lane. As last week's loss to Chelsea demonstrated, not playing on their real home turf could be detrimental to their title chances. They had an impressive record at White Hart Lane over the years, a place where it was tough for any opponent to go gather points. At Wembley, they are certainly less of a threat and they will lose points because of that. That said, against Burnley this week-end, they should be able to pick up full points. The Clarets shocked everyone by beating Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on opening week-end but it is hard to see them doubling on that. Home win.

Man Utd are firing on all cylinders and Leicester are visiting Old Trafford at an in-auspicious time. Zlatan is coming back for the Red Devils but it remains to be seen whether he will enhance and not hamper the growing team chemistry under development at the club. Leicester gave a ton of trouble in their visit to Arsenal a couple of weeks ago and are a team that never goes down without a fight. Vardy, in particular, can score any time. But it's hard to go against the home team here; they are playing with full confidence and will need the full points if they are to be taken seriously as title contenders. Home win.

For a value punt, I am again turning to West Ham.They almost got something out of their visit to Southampton last week and were it not for the Arnatauvic red card, they could well have sprung an upset. With Chicharito already proving his mark, their chances against newly-promoted Newcastle look good. I see the match ending either in a Hammers victory or a draw and it might be rewarding to go all out for the visitors to prevail. Away win.

Win: Spurs, Man Utd, West Ham

Friday, August 18, 2017

EPL 2017/18 - Week 2

Missed the opening week due to an extended holiday but with the dust firmly settled and the intentions of the teams on open display, we are better armed to gauge their actual capacities. Here's to a new season hopefully as profitable and successful as the previous one.

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

Man Utd are on high spirits after they opening day destruction of West Ham. The Red Devils should be live contenders this year. There is the Mourinho factor, of course; the Portuguese usually wins on his second season in charge of a new team. Their pre-season preparations have gone very well. And last but not least, they are a better squad than last season having been reinforced by the likes of Lukaku, Matic and Lindelof. Unless there is a meltdown from Mourinho, which you can never discount, the Red Devils should be in the Top 2. That said, they seem to be buzzing with confidence and provided they are not as overly-confident as they sound, they should come away with 3 vital points when visiting Swansea. Away win.

Liverpool's chances of Premiership glory seem to have been rocked at the very start with the imminent going-out of their best player, Coutinho. Without him, they are a lesser team, no doubt. Still, they should have too much for a Crystal Palace team that I believe is destined to play in the lower end of the table this season. Home win.

Spurs v/s Chelsea is already a 6-pointer early in the season. Title holders Chelsea were rocked last week in a shocking loss at home to Burnley. Many have already said it and I also believe it; Chelsea won't win the title this year. They won last year because of their 13-match unbeaten run which included snatching many lucky points. Conte is a top manager but his team does not look as good or motivated as last year. The loss of Matic and Costa will be felt. Spurs haven't had a great pre-season and they have been so far relatively quiet on the transfer market. Still, they are a formidable team and this could be the season they end years of hurt. No doubt that last year they would have won the league if Chelsea hadn't had that long winning run. There is bad blood between these 2 teams and at the end, I expect Spurs to prevail. Home win.

As a value proposition, pay attention to West Ham. True, they got hammered by Man Utd last week but this is a much better team than last season. Chicharito and Arnatauvic will score goals and Hart can bring stability at the back even though he will have his occasional blunders. Bilic just needs to keep everything together but they look set for some upsets. It could definitely come in the form of a positive result at Southampton.

Win: Man Utd, Liverpool, Spurs, West Ham