Friday, April 30, 2021

EPL 20/21 - Week 33

Crystal Palace v Man City - Away

Brighton v Leeds - Away

Chelsea v Fulham - Home

Everton v Aston Villa - Home

Newcastle v Arsenal - Home

Man Utd v Liverpool - Home

Tottenham v Sheffield Utd - Home

WBA v Wolves - Home

Burnley v West Ham - Draw


Man Utd against Liverpool is one of the biggest matches of any season, if not the biggest. It is quite astonishing how the fortunes of those teams have been ebbing in the past seasons. Man Utd are enjoying their best spell of the post-Ferguson era and seem to have finally found a winning team under Solksjaer. Liverpool reached Nirvana last year after years of drought and while everyone was predicting years of upcoming domination for the Reds, it's more a case of everything un-ravelling and Klopp's men struggling to qualify for a UCL spot. I actually find it somewhat amazing that Liverpool is going into this match as favourites on the exchanges; they might have the greater urgency for the full points and Utd will certainly be feeling the ill-effects of their Europa League match against Roma but both teams are playing at a different tune at the moment. 

Man Utd are simply rocking currently and are able to beat any team, including Man City, over the course of 90 minutes. Solksjaer seems to have found his favoured system and starting eleven. The Red Devils won't win the league but they should be able to comfort their second league position and have an outstanding chance to lift the Europa trophy. The team looks solid all-round.

Liverpool are showing flashes of their old brilliance but not enough to annihilate a match as in previous years. Their main problem since the past months has their decimated backline as well as the profligacy of their forwards starting with Salah. I mean, he's no Tim Werner, but he still misses a lot of chances. Their fragility at the back gives the rest of the team no confidence to rock n roll their way forward. The absence of just one star player in Van Dyke has made a difference to Liverpool's fortunes. 

With their Europa final league spot almost guaranteed after the 6-2 thrashing of Roma in the first leg, the Red Devils should be fully focused on this local derby rather than being distracted by the upcoming second leg. That sets them well to unleash the likes of Cavani, Rashford and Greenwood against the Kop's depleted defence. They put 6 past Roma, they will surely put at least 1 against the visitors, who will realistically go for the jugular given that a draw does them no favours. I cannot see the home side losing this and think it will either end in a draw or home win.

Win: Man Utd

Friday, April 23, 2021

EPL 2020/21 - Week 32 + League Cup Final

Liverpool v Newcastle - Home

West Ham v Chelsea - Away

Sheffield Utd v Brigthon - Away

Wolves v Burnley - Away

Leeds v Man Utd - Home

Aston Villa v West Brom - Home

Leicester v Crystal Palace - Home


Liverpool will have to play their skin to capture that last 4th sport synonymous with UCL football next season. They have a golden opportunity for 3 precious points against visiting Newcastle. The Magpies have been in pretty decent form of late and have picked up their game (and points) since the return of forward Saint-Maximin from injury. Without the Frenchman, it's hard to see how Steve Bruce's men would made a quite stunning recovery given their poor form prior. However, going to Liverpool should be a step too far for them as there is an urgency to win full points for Klopp's men as well. This could be a high-scoring affair with Mo Salah probably on the score-sheet, having been profligate in the recent matches.

Sunday sees the final of the League Cup between Man City and Tottenham. It's quite unfathomable to think that Spurs fired Mourinho days before a final and a possible trophy that they have been so relishing for. I suppose things must have been pretty bad in-house given the timing of the firing; or could it have been a Levy decision to deflect from Spurs' participation in the European Super League fiasco? Could be a little of both, I think. Regardless, I think that Spurs would have had a better winning chance in the final with Mourinho in charge. Although it is a Cup final, Man City have hinted that they might not field their best team with next week's UCL match against PSG very much on their minds. So you get a scenario where the weaker team will play their season on this final while the favourite will have a UCL match as distraction. Obviously, that boosts Spurs' chances but will that be enough to stop Guardiola's men? I think not. Their second team is good enough to handle Spurs' first team and you've got to question interim manager Mason's seasoning for a final after 1 week on the job. This should end up in a City win unless the trio of Bale, Son and Kane can conjur up a masterful performance at the front end.

Win: Man City/Liverpool  

Friday, April 16, 2021

EPL 2020/21 - Week 31

Newcastle v West Ham - Away

Southampton v Crystal Palace - Home

Wolves v Sheffield Utd - Home

Arsenal v Fulham - Home

Man Utd v Burnley - Home

Leeds v Liverpool - Home

Chelsea v Brighton - Home

Tottenham v Southampton - Home

Aston Villa v Man City - Away

The relegation battle is heating up and the one thing for sure is that Sheffield Utd are going down. Not yet mathematically but it is a question of time. This team is longing to start the new season already; they are totally dreadful. Wolves will eat them this week-end. Nuno's team are not in great form but it's been getting better since the afterdays of losing striker Jimenez when the team started to fall apart. Losing their goalscorer has had the expected dramatic impact on the Molyneux side as they had to learn scoring with makeshift forwards. Their defence is solid enough to keep them in their matches and they should have enough firepower to overcome the league table laggards. This should end up in a home win.

I expect the Leeds against Liverpool match to be a high-scoring affair. Both teams can be adventurous and have major firepower at the front end of the pitch. The Kops have all to play for to secure a UCL spot next year at the end of the season after having been dumped out by Real Madrid in mid-week. Got to say that Klopp's men played with a lot of swagger in that match and deserved at least a couple of goals. The problem is that they haven't been able to replicate that kind of play consistently all year long. Leeds won an unbelievable match at Man City last week-end while playing with 10 men. Biesla's men play like they have that belief in them that they can go toe to toe with any team in the league. I think they will expose the weakened Liverpool back four in a gun slinging match. I see the home team edging this one.

Win: Wolves/Leeds

Monday, April 12, 2021

UCL Quarter Finals Return - PSG v Bayern

PSG absolutely stole a win at Bayern last week; the Germans thoroughly outplayed them and would have scored more if they had superstar striker Lewandowski. Their main achilles tendon however remain their uber-slow defence, which Mbappe took full advantage like a kid in a candy store. \

For Tuesday's match, Lewandowski will still not be there, which is a big blow to the Bavarians. PSG will in turn be missing Marquinhos, their rock at the back and whose withdrawal from injury in the first leg thoroughly exposed the French defence. Bayern are clearly the better team and have it in them to win at the Parc des Princes but winning by a 2-goal margin could prove a step too far without their Polish striker.

The way to play this match is to seek out a win for the Germans but a qualification to the semi-finals for the French champions.

Win: Bayern Munich
Qualify: PSG


Friday, April 9, 2021

EPL 20/21 - Week 30 (And the Clasico!)

Man City v Leeds - Home

Liverpool v Aston Villa - Away

Crystal Palace v Chelsea - Away

Burnley v Newcastle - Home

West Ham v Leicester - Home

Tottenham v Man Utd - Draw

Sheffield Utd v Arsenal - Away

West Brom v Southampton - Away

Brighton v Everton - Away

Real Madrid v Barcelona - Home


A fantastic week-end of sports coming up with the usual EPL, the Clasico in Spain and the Masters for golf aficionados. Liverpool look vulnerable to Aston Villa and I fancy taking a shot with the Villains here at over 6/1. The Kops have lost all aura of invicibility at home this season and Anfield is no longer the fortress it used to be the last couple of years. But more importantly, Liverpool have an important return UCL match against Real Madrid next week with the hope of overturning a 3-1 deficit. No doubt this will be floating on the team's mind and I wouldn't be surprised to see Klopp rotate his starting eleven a bit. Truth be told, the Kops were horrendous in Madrid and were lucky to come away with just a 2-goal margin. They are definitely lacking confidence at the moment and Villa can certainly pounce as they are very comfortable on their away matches and they have an in-form stopper in Martinez, although star playmaker Grealish will miss the match through injury. Villa can definitely cause an upset here.

The markets have Barcelona as favourites for the Clasico and I am definitely looking the other way. Real Madrid are finding serious form at the moment as witnessed by their demolishing of Liverpool in mid-week. The manner of their win was very convincing. Sure they will also be distracted at the prospsect of the return leg, something that Barcelona do not need to worry as they are out of the UCL, plus they will be missing the central defensive pair of Ramos and Varane. But Barcelona have hardly shown that they are the kind of force they were the past decade and their odds certainly look overly short. I am not convinced with their system of having Dembele in the striker role and look more to Ascensio, Benzema and Vicinius to do damage at the other end for the Whites. Might be worth going for the outright win for the home team.

Win: Aston Villa, Real Madrid 

Friday, April 2, 2021

EPL 20/21 - Week 29

Chelsea v West Brom - Home

Leeds v Sheffield Utd - Home

Leicester v Man City - Away

Arsenal v Liverpool - Home

Southampton v Burnley - Home

Newcastle v Spurs - Away

Aston Villa v Fulham - Away

Man Utd v Brighton - Home

Everton v Crystal Palace - Home

Wolves v West Ham - Draw


The gameweek following the international set of matches is always tricky and there are bound to be surprises this week-end. Man City look set to resume where they left off, i.e in winning ways, although they have a tough encounter at third place Leicester. The big news obviously coming out of the Etihaad this week has been the announcement of Aguero's departure at the end of the season. The guy has been a legend since his arrival at City but it has been plain clear this year that he was not part of Guardiola's future plans, particularly with the spate of injuries that he has had to deal with. It is quite possible that City already have lined up another big name striker to have made the departure overtly public. That bodes really well for the EPL. Back on Sunday's match, the return from injury of De Bryune has given the Citizen's new impetus in their quest for the quadruple. Leicester will put up a good fight but Guardiola has an abundance of quality at his disposal to tilt the match the visitors' way. 

Everton are on a 3-match losing streak and I expect them to show more tooth coming back from the break. The form of Calvert Lewin is pivotal to the success of the Toffees and the return of James Rodriguez to the line-up will certainly boost up their attacking front. I think they'll overwhelm Crystal Palace which is very much a one-dimensional team that relies too much on Zaha. The Eagles are enjoying a relatively good sequence, coming to this match, having lost only one of their last 5 matches but at current odds, it might be value to side outright with the home team.

Win: Everton, Man City 

Friday, March 12, 2021

EPL 20/21 - Week 28

Leeds v Chelsea - Home
Crystal Palace v West Brom - Home
Everton v Burnley - Home
Fulham v Man City - Away
Southampton v Brighton - Draw
Leicester v Sheffield Utd - Home
Arsenal v Tottenham - Away
Man Utd v West Ham - Draw
Wolves v Liverpool - Home

Sheffield Utd lost their manager today and increasingly look doomed for the drop. Going to Leicester is not easy but going there without a proper manager will be like being unleashed in a lion cage. I cannot see the Blades repeating their exploit of Old Trafford where they stunned the hosts who were rather hapless on the night. This is a glorious opportunity for Leicester to firm up their 3rd position and score the full points.

The North London Derby looks to be a heavily contested affair and I see lots of goals in the offing there. Surely, Mourinho usually parks the bus when playing a top team but Arsenal are vulnerable at the back and Spurs will definitely go for the jugular in their attempt, however remote, to secure the 4th spot for Champions League football next season. Gareth Bale is in sparkling form and having been rested in mid-week Europa League action, should create havoc inside the Gunners' defense. Kane and Son form a fantastic trio with the Welshman and have enough firepower in them to outscore the hosts. 

Win: Tottenham, Leicester

Friday, March 5, 2021

EPL 2020/21 - Week 27

Burnley v Arsenal - Home

Sheffield Utd v Southampton - Draw

Aston Villa v Wolves - Home

Brighton v Leicester - Away

WBA v Newcastle - Home

Liverpool v Fulham - Home

Man City v Man Utd - Draw

Tottenham v Crystal Palace - Home

Chelsea v Everton - Home

West Ham v Leeds - Home


As I see it, the last 3 matches should be home wins. Spurs are being buoyed by the resurgence of Gareth Bale and should have too much for visiting Crystal Palace. The Eagles are just a terrible team without Zaha and Mourinho should be able to exploit its many weaknesses. 

Chelsea surprised me in getting a terrific away win at Anfield last Sunday. Tuchel has them firing on all cylinders and I cannot see Everton, an in-form team, stopping them. Richarlidson has been carrying the goal-scoring load magnificently in the last 4 matches but the Blues defence has tightened lately and the Brazilian might not get the required breakthrough. Everton don't go beaten in advance but Chelsea look strong at the moment. 

Finally, it looks like Leeds is in a need of a breather at this stage. They seem to be scraping by in the last few matches and West Ham is not an easy side to play against. Moyes has done unbelievably well with the Hammers and the addition of Jessie Lingard from Man Utd has given impetus to both club and player. He is the new danger man for the Hammers and I see them exposing the visitors' defensive line which is the main Achilles heel of Biesla's team.

Win: Tottenham/Chelsea/West Ham


Saturday, February 27, 2021

EPL 2020/21 - Week 26

Man City v West Ham - Home

WBA v Brighton - Away

Leeds v Aston Villa - Away

Newcastle v Wolves - Draw

Crystal Palace v Fulham - Draw

Leicester v Arsenal - Home

Tottenham v Burnley - Home

Chelsea v Man Utd - Away

Sheffield Utd v Liverpool - Away

Everton v Southampton - Home


Mourinho is on the brink at Spurs and it won't be a surprise if the Portuguese is sacked if results do not improve soon. It is well-known that his meltdowns, and eventually his sacking, happen on his 3rd year on the job, and the fact that it's only his second season at Spurs can give the fans hope that things can get better this season. Bale is starting to have an impact and the return of Kane at the front should lead to better results upcoming, I believe. Burnley are no push-overs and will give the home team all they can handle. Sam Dyche's team are now a well-organized and solid team to play against, after a difficult debut to the season where they were hit with quite a few injuries. It will be tight but Spurs have enough winners in the side to tilt the match in their favour. Home win.

It will be interesting to see how Leicester cope with the loss of playmaker James Maddison. The England midfielder has been in sparkling form of late and no doubt that the Foxes will miss his creativity. Havey Barnes has been in fantastic form as well and always seems to create chances to score; and he has been in furious scoring form as well. Coming to the Power stadium are an Arsenal team that is seriously looking for some momentum at the moment. Manager Arteta is under fire already in his second season as things have not improved as much as hoped under his tenure. Both teams had tough matches in Europa mid-week but I expect Leicester manager Rodgers to come up with the proper tactics to shackle any offensive threat the Gunners might possess. Much of Arsenal's offence revolves around Aubameyang and the Gunners have proved very toothless when the Gabonese is off his game. I see a home win here.

Win: Tottenham, Leicester 

Friday, February 19, 2021

EPL 2020/21 - Week 25

Southampton v Chelsea - Draw

Burnley v WBA - Home

Liverpool v Everton - Home

Fulham v Sheffield Utd - Home

West Ham v Tottenham - Draw

Aston Villa v Leicester - Draw

Arsenal v Man City - Away

Man Utd v Newcastle - Home

Brighton v Crystal Palace - Home


Man Utd have been through a rather barren spell lately but their authoritative win in the Europa League against Real Sociedad looks to have brought them back to form. They were firing on all cylinders in that match and the four nil victory rather flattered their opponents. The Red Devils host Steve Bruce's Newcastle and unless I am mistaken, I don't think the ex-Man Utd captain has ever beaten his old side in his managerial career. I don't expect things to change on Sunday, particularly that Newcastle is one of the worst teams to put any confidence into. I think they are very probable for the drop actually. This should be an easy 3 points for Solksjaer's men as they try to bridge the gap with Man City at the top.

Brighton rarely win at home but they won't have a much easier chance to do so as they host Crystal Palace, one of the worst performing teams at the moment. Brighton play good organized football and are pleasant to watch actually. They do create chances and welcoming the Eagles is an excellent way to rectify their poor home record. On paper, this should be a home win alright.

Win: Man Utd, Brighton 

Saturday, February 13, 2021

EPL 2020/21 - Week 24

 

Leicester v Liverpool - Home

Crystal Palace v Burnley - Away

Man City v Tottenham - Home

Brighton v Aston Villa - Away

Southampton v Wolves - Home

WBA v Man Utd - Away

Arsenal v Leeds - Home

Everton v Fulham - Home

West Ham v Sheffield Utd - Home

Chelsea - Newcastle - Home


After being totally wrong about Southampton the past couple of weeks, could the Saints finally end up in the right end of my predictions? Sure they stopped their rotten losing record this past week but that was in the FA Cup. If all is going back to normal for Ings and co, then they might be worth a punt against a visiting Wolves side that is also going through a nonchalant patch at the moment.  Truth be told, since they lost Jimenez in that horrifying injury at Arsenal, Wolves haven't been the same team at all. They just have no-one in their roster to terrify defences as their star Mexican striker. I expect a home win here.

Man Utd are, in my mind, overachieving at the moment. Their away record is absolutly ridiculously good and if it weren't for their home misfortunes, they would be running away at the top. They are just not the finished article but they can play any team in this league with no fear. They should have too much for West Brom and it looks like another away win on the cards for the Red Devils.

Win: Southampton, Man Utd

Friday, February 5, 2021

EP 2020/21 - Week 23

Aston Villa v Arsenal - Home

Burnley v Brighton - Draw

Newcastle v Southampton - Away

Fulham v West Ham - Draw

Man Utd v Everton - Home

Tottenham v West Brom - Home

Wolves v Leicester - Away

Liverpool v Man City - Away

Sheffield Utd v Chelsea - Away

Leeds v Crystal Palace - Home


Southampton got clobbered at Old Trafford in the last game week but they lost the match in the first minute after the expulsion of Jankewitz. They will certainly in a different disposition when they visit St James Park. Newcastle are one of the most favourable teams to play against these days and there does not seem to be any room for improvement for them with Steve Bruce at the helm. They look like a team devoid of any new ideas or spark. If the Saints of a few weeks shows up, it will be a cake walk for them. I see them winning this match convincingly.

What kind of Spurs will show up against West Brom will determine their chances against West Brom. It is clear that they are missing Kane but their last couple of matches have been mediocre at best. They need goals from Son to pick up the void left by Kane. There is a huge amount of pressure for Mourinho to deliver results at the moment and this is a make or break moment for him at Spurs; under similar circumstances in his career, his teams have engulfed themselves further eventually leading to his sacking. The match against West Brom is important for Spurs to stop the rot and given West Brom's current problems, I expect the home team to prevail.

Win: Southampton, Tottenham

Monday, February 1, 2021

EPL 2020/21 - Week 22

Sheffield Utd v West Brom - Home

Wolves v Arsenal - Away

Man Utd v Southampton - Draw

Newcastle v Crystal Palace - Draw

Burnley v Man City - Away

Fulham v Leicester - Home

Leeds v Everton - Home

Aston Villa v West Ham - Home

Liverpool v Brighton - Home

Tottenham v Chelsea - Home


Southampton are missing a beat at the moment and were somewhat unlucky not to salvage a draw in their latest loss to Aston Villa on Sunday. I think they will be all pumped up to at least get a point during their trip to Old Trafford. The hosts are also in suspect form at the moment being winless in their past 2 matches. I believe this barren patch will be what cost them the title in the end as I can really see the Saints getting at least a point out of this encounter. Their first-leg match at the Saint Mary's was a tight-knit affair and the Red Devils were somewhat lucky to come back from 2 goals down but the tables could be turned here. At current prices, I see a draw-no-bet on Southampon to be the value punt of this gameweek.

Draw-no-bet: Southampton


Saturday, January 30, 2021

EPL 2020/21 - Week 21

Everton v Newcastle - Home

Crystal Palace v Wolves - Draw

Man City v Sheffield Utd - Home

West Brom v Fulham - Home

Arsenal v Man Utd - Draw

Southampton v Aston Villa - Home

Chelsea v Burnley - Away

Leicester v Leeds - Home

West Ham v Liverpool - Home

Brighton v Tottenham - Home


The team with the worst form in the EPL right now is Newcastle and it is a terrific moment for any team playing them. Steve Bruce's team are winless in their last 11 matches and playing some dreadful football at the moment. The return of Saint Maximin back from the sidelines will help improve the team but one cannot do it all alone and the Frenchman will need a few matches to get back in the groove. Carlos Ancelloti and Calvert-Lewin are probably rubbing their hands for this encounter; any less than 3 points will be disappointing for the home team. Surely an easy home win.

I can see the Gunners and Red Devils playing a drab draw. The latter were oh-so-awful against Sheffield Utd in mid-week; they are not yet the finished article and rely heavily on Fernandes to be in inspired form. Arsenal is starting to pick up some form but are not yet at a level where they can dominate the leading teams. Typically this match would have been the highlight of the season in the Keane v Viera days but not anymore; I would not be surprised it ends in a goal-less draw.

Win: Everton

Draw: Arenal v Man Utd

Monday, January 25, 2021

EPL 20/21 - Week 20

 

Crystal Palace v West Ham - Draw

Newcastle v Leeds - Away

Southampton v Arsenal - Home

WBA v Man City - Away

Burnley v Aston Villa - Draw

Chelsea v Wolves - Away

Brighton v Fulham - Home

Everton v Leicester - Away

Man Utd v Sheffield Utd - Home

Tottenham v Liverpool - Home


Champions Liverpool are on a terrible run and they finally scored against Man Utd in the FA Cup on Sunday but still lost the match. They will win again sooner than later but I don't think it will happen during their visit at Spurs. This match is coming too soon for their shaky confidence. Mourinho will surely have a plan for them and Harry Kane and Son will be oh-so-happy to confront the depleted Livepool centre-backs. This should end either in a home victory or at best a draw for the visitors, so a draw-no-bet on Spurs looks very good value.

Chelsea have just sacked manager Lampard and will most likely be manager-less for their match against Wolves. Or they might have reeled in Tuchel just soon enough for the match. Regardless, Wolves will relish the uncertainty prevailing at Stamford Bridge at the moment and can very well eke out a draw. A draw-no-bet on Wolves looks excellent value as well.

Draw-no-bet: Tottenham, Wolves


Saturday, January 16, 2021

Week 19 - EPL 2020/21

 

Wolves v West Brom - Home

Leeds v Brighton - Home

Wet Ham v Burnley - Draw

Fulham v Chelsea - Away

Leicester v Southampton - Home

Sheffield Utd v Spurs - Away

Liverpool v Man Utd - Draw

Man City v Crystal Palace - Home

Arsenal v Newcastle - Home


Spurs lost 2 precious points to Fulham in their mid-week match but their display showed that they are not far off top form. Korean superstar Son could have bagged a hat-trick in the first half with some luck. Their profligacy in front of goal eventually cost Mourinho'a men the win as the Cottagers tied in late in the game. The fact that Tottenham created enough winning chances convinces me that their machinery is well-oiled at the moment and should have enough in them to overcome the worst team in the league in Sheffield Utd. The Blades finally got their first win of the season, courtesy of a visit of hapless Newcastle. Spurs will be an entirely different proposition and the visitors will be distraught not to bag the 3 points there. They should win this.

Liverpool v Man Utd has usually been the match of the season for so many years and it is great to see the rivalry stoked up again with the recent revival of the Red Devils. The latter are the surprising leaders of the EPL at the moment and certainly have improvement into them. Whether that is enough to overcome the champions remains to be seen but Man Utd deserve some recognition going into the match. Although they are unbeaten on their travels so far in the league, I don't think they quite have what it takes to win at Anfield at the moment but they can certainly pick up a draw. This one should end either in a home win or draw, would be my take.

Win: Tottenham

Draw-no-bet: Liverpool