Friday, January 12, 2018

EPL 2017/18 - Week 23

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

A Happy New Year to all the readers!

Apologies I missed week 22 New Year's Day matches, the festive mood caught up on me!

Man Utd to win against Stoke looks a banker. Although things seem a little agitated at the moment in the red side of Manchester with Mourinho going ballistic everyone, I expect the Red Devils to return to form after a below-par December. Stoke are a team in shambles and it remains to be seen whether getting rid of Hughes will solve their problems. More importantly, they are injury-riddled at the moment and I see them struggling in the short term at least. This should be a big win for Utd.

I also see a win for Watford as they entertain Southampton. The Saints are going nowhere under manager Pellegrino and the Argentinian is clearly running out of time to make his mark. Watford are capable of the best and worst but the visitors are really for the taking at the moment and the Hornets have a great opportunity to advance their chance for European football. Couple Watford and Man Utd wins.

Finally, Liverpool look juicy as they welcome Man City. Sure, they lost Coutinho to Barcelona but newcomer Van Dijk will bring much-needed stability to the defence in time. I like Liverpool here as their attack is potent even without Coutinho; more importantly, I see the time has come for the Citizens to stubble in the near future and Anfield is one of the most formidable places to go to. I cannot see a City win, so the recommendation is to go with either a straight Kop win or a draw-no-bet.

Accumulator: Man Utd/Watford
Win or draw-no-bet: Liverpool

Saturday, December 30, 2017

EPL 2017/18 - Week 21

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

Win Accumulator: Man Utd/Watford/Watford

Monday, December 25, 2017

EPL 2017/18 - Week 20

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

Can anyone stop this Man City juggernaught? They might not get beaten but a draw looks the realm of possibility. After all, not so long ago, they struggled to overcome the likes of Southampton, West Ham and Huddersfield in a string of 2-1 victories. It is reasonable to expect that they will drop points on some of their road travels. Their visit to Newcastle could be one of those. Benitez' men were on a wretched run and last weekend's win at West Ham brought some much-needed confidence to the club. The Magpies started the season reasonably well and have made it difficult for teams to break them down in many matches. If City go to St James Park in festive spirit, they could be in trouble. That's not to say that they won't go and blast their way to another dominant victory; they have the capacity for that in abundance, but any lack of focus could be lead to their first cock-up. At market prices, a double-chance (win or draw) on Newcastle might pay dividends.

Win or Draw: Newcastle

Thursday, December 21, 2017

EPL 2017/18 - Week 19

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

The way things are going it looks like Man City are sailing away comfortably to the title. But they will falter at some point. It will be stretching it too much to think they will throw it away though. There is actually more of a chance that they set the marker for killing the race in the earliest fashion. On Saturday, it will be a matter of how many goals they subject Bournemouth to for another dominating display.

Liverpool are going to the Emirates in a rich vein of form and I think there are chances that they won't get out of there empty-handed. Arsenal are far from having hit top gear so far and it seems they have been scraping through their matches for a while. Clearly, their best player Sanchez is not as inspired or commandeering as in previous seasons. I believe the Gunners will be caught out at home by some heavy-duty teams this year; Man Utd did the job a couple of weeks back and others will follow. The Kops are hammering opponents at the moment and will give any team, including Man City, some serious opposition. At current market prices, I see value in picking them either as straight winners or as a draw-no-bet selection.

Win: Liverpool

Friday, December 15, 2017

EPL 2017/18 - Week 18

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

I see a lot of home wins on Saturday and the away wins will come on Sunday. Arsenal should handily beat struggling Newcastle, Chelsea should prove too strong for Southampton and Watford should confirm their current form by beating Huddersfield.

On Sunday, Man Utd and Liverpool are strongly fancied to keep up with the pace at the top and they should have no trouble overcoming bottom-of-table teams such as West Brom and Bournemouth.

Accumulator: Arsenal/Chelsea/Watford/Man Utd/Liverpool

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

EPL 2017/18 - Week 17 (Wednesday matches)

Newcastle v/s Everton - Draw
Southampton v/s Leicester - Home win
Swansea v/s Man City - Away win
Liverpool v/s West Brom - Home win
Man Utd v/s Bournemouth - Home win
Tottenham v/s Brighton - Home win
West Ham v/s Arsenal - Home win

Friday, December 8, 2017

EPL 2017/18 - Week 16

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

A huge 6-point match decider is on the cards at the Theatre of Dreams on Sunday for the Manchester Derby. Most people think that this season's champion will come out of Manchester and I could not agree more; if there is any team that will stop the Guardiola juggernaut of Man City, it will be the Red Devils. I disagree with the markets on this one, though; Man City's odds are way too short in my opinion. For all their dominance since the start of the season, their last 3 league matches have resulted in 3 tight wins of 2-1, all won in the closing stages. That means that the Citizens have laboured whenever teams have shut the door. Against Man Utd, they will go against a manager known for parking the bus extremely well. That is Mourinho's forte when he is playing more talented teams. Man Utd have recently proven lethal when soaking up the pressure to deliver the knockout blow; ask Watford and Arsenal. Sure, they will be missing suspended Pogba in midfield but they have played without the Frenchman to good effect before his return from injury. Man City's defence is there for the taking, particularly on the counter-attacks and I believe the crowd will roar the home side to victory on Sunday. If they don't win, a draw-no-bet on the home side looks very enticing as well.

Sam Allardyce will right the ship at Everton but they are travelling to Anfield in the worst possible moment as Klopp's team are the hottest in the league. Goals can come anywhere from the quartet of Mane, Salah, Coutinho and Firminho. No doubt Sturridge needs to go elsewhere to find playing time. The most the visitors can look for is a hopeful draw but I think the Kops are just too strong at Anfield. Home win.

Finally, I see Crystal Palace getting another rare win against visiting Bournemouth. Their form has sharpened considerably in recent weeks with the arrival of Hodgson and the return of Zaha. Their unfortunate problem is that they have the most profligate striker in the league in Benteke. The Belgian international can score beauties when on fire but he has a record of spurning good goal scoring opportunities as well. Bournemouth look like a team on the wane and it is a massive opportunity for the Eagles to ramp up some much-needed points.

Win: Crystal Palace, Liverpool, Man Utd

Friday, December 1, 2017

EPL 2017/18 - Week 15

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

If Man City were unable to extend their lead after the midweek matches, they have another great crack at this over the week-end. They have the easiest task on paper given that they host the Hammers that are quite simply a team in disarray right now. It seems the only hope for Moyes' team is to maximize points at home because they are simply atrocious on the road. Although the Citizens' have won their last 2 matches at the death, they should find Sunday's match an easy offering on paper and should come out on top even in first gear.

The value of the week-end looks to be Leicester who will look for consecutive home wins after dispatching Spurs in midweek. Visitors Burnley are in good form and are sure to keep the match close. Many expect the match to be close, explaining the juicy odds on offer for a straight Foxes win or a draw-no-bet on them. I believe either one will pay at the end of ninety minutes.

Finally, Southampton could finally be getting an away win consolation after coming close to causing an upset at the Etihad. Not only did they succumb with the last kick of the match, they also hit the crossbar and had excellent chances to score against the Citizens. Bournemouth should prove a somewhat easier affair for Pellegrino's men and a draw-no-bet looks decent value at current prices.

Win: Leicester, Man City, Southampton

Monday, November 27, 2017

EPL 2017/18 - Week 14

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

I think Man City will extend their lead at the top after this set of mid-week matches. They are almost a banker to handily beat the visiting Saints as there seems nothing stopping them at the moment. Sterling cannot secure a a place in the first team, yet he delivered them victory in their tough last encounter at Huddersfield Town. Their squad is so deep that the winner can come from anyone from the bench. Although they managed to tire off Everton in their last match, the Saints are still finding their feet under new manager Pellegrino and I cannot see them causing an upset here.

I also see City rivals Man Utd struggling as they visit in-form Watford. The Hornets are my surprise team of the season so far and last week's dismantling of Newcastle at St James Park confirm them as outside contenders for a European spot at the end of the season. They are well managed under manager Silva and always have at least a goal in them. As he often does, Mourinho will be parking the bus and hope for effective counter-attacks and set-pieces. This means a paucity of goals and the odd goal making the difference in the end. This match could go either way but it would not be surprising that the Red Devils will be losing costly points at the end this encounter. A draw-no-bet on the Hornets looks value here.

Liverpool look a happier team away from Anfield. I think this has to do with the way their system works, relying on the speed of Salah, Mane and Firmino. Their dynamic play should play wonders against a team like Stoke that tend to impose themselves in slow tempo matches. At market prices, going for a straight Kop win looks the best value.

Win: Liverpool, Man City
Draw-no-bet: Watford

Thursday, November 23, 2017

EPL 2017/18 - Week 13

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

Everton is the team to focus on again. Even their staunchest supporter would agree that they were let go out of jail against Crystal Palace last week-end. Not counting a dubious penalty and the numerous occasions the Eagles wasted to secure the win, David Unsworth would be reeling on yet another defeat as caretaker manager. That they got thrashed in their next game in the Europa League 5-1 against visiting Atalanta only reinforced the sentiment that this club is in big trouble. So their trip to Southampton comes at a good time for the hosts who themselves are in a spot of bother. Manager Pellegrino is under fire having won only 3 out of the first 12 EPL matches. The manager probably needs more time to get his team to perform and it does not come easier than to start with the Toffees. Got to go for the straight home win here as they have enough quality to overcome a team on the verge of meltdown.

I also like Leicester's chances against West Ham. I think Claude Puel is a decent manager who will somewhat get the Foxes back on track towards the middle of the table. They visit the Hammers who arguably were unlucky not to score on a few chances against Watford last week. Moyes has to score an early win in his Hammers managerial career but I am not sure it can come against the resilient visitors. At current odds, I would go for a visitors' draw-no-bet.

I see wins for both Manchester teams. Man Utd were pretty awful in mid-week but it was expected that Mourinho would field a defensive team to secure the draw. What they did not expect was Basle to score in the waning minutes of the match. The Red Devils are still in control of qualifying and I doubt Mourinho would still be sleeping on this match. At home, their record is strong and I cannot see Brighton winning one at Old Trafford. With Pogba and Zlatan now back, the ammunition is aplenty in the Red Devils' camp and they should have enough to secure the win. Same for Man City, who were pretty poor in the UCL win against Feyenood. That match almost put me to sleep. But with their first team restored, Guardiola's men should have too much firepower against the hosts.

Finally, Spurs should see off a manager-less West Brom easily in a match where Harry Kane could be having a field day. An accumulator involving Man Utd, Man City and Tottenham should reap dividends.

Accumulator: Man Utd/Man City/Tottenham
Win: Southampton
Draw-no-bet: Leicester

Friday, November 17, 2017

EPL 2017/18 - Week 12

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

Call it Everton-bashing or whatever but unless the evidence shows otherwise, it seems rewarding to go against the Toffees these days. In the last weekday, we opted for Watford to pull a good result at Goodison Park and they came oh-so-close, letting go of a 2-goal lead and missing a penalty on top of that. Whether that win has rejuvenated David Unsworth's team remains to be seen but for that, they will have to show more than their 3-goal spurt and lucky win against the Hornets. They visit a Crystal Palace team on the upside, a club which I believe Roy Hodgson will improve as the season progresses. At this juncture of the season and based on form, the home team appears to have all the favors here and at current market prices, look a value win punt.

Man Utd welcome back Ibra and Pogba and should have too much firepower against the visiting Magpies. It's Mourinho against Benitez yet again but this time the Spaniard does not have much in his arsenal to realistically oppose the deep Red Devils. The home team must win this to keep tabs with their cross-town rivals Man City and should bag the 3 points.

Can David Moyes turn things around at West Ham? Maybe, but he is in with a tough baptism for his first match at Watford. It is not uncommon that players will give 110% to make a first good impression for their boss' first game but the Hammers are a talented pool of players with no chemistry. I see Moyes turning on a defensive display here but in the end Watford have enough in them to pull away with full points.

Win: Crystal Palace, Man Utd, Watford

Friday, November 3, 2017

EPL 2017/18 - Week 11

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

Man City served up another terrific display in mid-week by dominating a highly-talented Napoli team in the UCL. The 4-2 score might be a little flattering given that Napoli had chances to make the difference during a tight match but the win reflected nonetheless that the Citizens are for real in both domestic and European league this season. I cannot see Arsenal beating them this week-end for many reasons and I'll just name 3: better squad, Guardiola, and fitness.

City have the deepest and most talented squad in the EPL and they are on form. Arsenal have in-out players like Ozil and Ramsey that can drift out of matches when the going gets tough. The home team will have the non-negligible advantage of an extra day rest from their mid-week exertions. But the balance mainly tilts to the Citizens at the managerial level. Guardiola is more tactically astute than Wenger and will know how to exploit whatever team Arsenal have to offer. At the end, this could end in a drubbing. Arsenal will feel great coming away with a hard-earned point in this one but I think City will prove too strong and secure another full points.

It's Mourinho back to Chelsea again. The champions are reeling at the moment and injuries haven't helped their cause. The return of Kante last week was a big plus though, as the Frenchman protects his defence like no other in the league. It's hard to see Red Devils winning this though as Mourinho's tactical approach to those big games has traditionally been to park the bus unless scored upon. Maybe if they get a lucky opening goal, they can hold on for the win. But chances are that Chelsea will do most of the heavy lifting and create the goalscoring chances. This could very well end up in a drub draw but I see value going for a draw-no-bet with Conte's men.

Finally, how about taking Watford to pile more misery on Everton? The Toffees played to another loss in the Europa league and Watford have proven to be no easy fodder since the start of the season. The visitors will relish playing an out-of-sorts Everton team that seems devoid of direction under caretaker manager David Unsworth. Watford for the win or draw-no-bet look good value.

Win: Man City, Watford
Draw-no-bet: Chelsea

Friday, October 27, 2017

EPL 2017/18 - Week 10

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

Through the Ferguson times, Man Utd were hand and heels above Spurs. How times have changed since the Scot has left asTottenham have bettered the Red Devils in the final standings of the past seasons. This year, they look on a dead-even keel as far as squad strength is concerned, as both are considered the likeliest to catch Man City, should the latter falter, that is. It looks like Saturday's match at Old Trafford will have consequences not just in table standings but also on the mental well-being of both squads as they chase Guardiola's men. A Man Utd win will appease the possible un-rest that has seeped through the club after their defeat at Huddersfield. Mourinho's post-match comments could be seen as throwing the players under the bus and it seems another negative display in his eyes will send the Portugese in unravel mode, with the all too familiar destructive consequences as seen during his Chelsea days. Once Mourinho loses it, the team falters as well. A convincing win however will put the Red Devils back on the strong march they have forged since the start of the season. For Tottenham, losing Kane for this match is a big blow. The England star has been the best striker on earth for the late while and in the form of his life. Without him, Spurs are not the same team. However, they have come close in their recent visits at Old Trafford and there is the best Spurs squad coming to Manchester in years. Pochettino has the tactical acumen to happily get a draw out of this match. I don't think Man Utd will lose this and on all accounts, a draw-no-bet on them sounds value. Even better value could be going for the straight draw match.

An accumulator with Winx winning the Cox Plate will bring in 20% extra. The superstar mare from Down Under looks a banker to notch her 3rd straight Cox Plate. I just cannot see anything in the field at Mooney Valley getting close to her. Only my opinion, but I rate her higher than Enable or Cracksman or anything the turf world has to offer over middle distances. I just can't wait for her possible Royal Ascot visit next year.

Accumulator :(Win: Winx Draw: Man Utd/Spurs

Friday, October 20, 2017

EPL 2017/18 - Week 9

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

It is not far-fetched to think that, the way that Man City are playing, it will not be a matter whether they will beat Burnley but rather by how many goals will win. They have been on a tear and although their goal spree will come to an end sooner than later, it is hard to fathom anything other than another dominant display from Guardiola's men here. A City win has to be in any accumulator.

Newcastle look to be a team on the upside and will be looking for full points as they welcome Crystal Palace. Roy Hodgson's men shocked champions Chelsea last week-end and the return of their talisman Zaha was more than ominous as the former Man Utd player bagged in the winning goal. Sure, the Eagles are better than their current standing and Zaha will play a big part in their resurgence as the season progresses. However, Newcastle are in good vein of form and Benitez has his players playing with such confidence that it will be a negative outcome for them not to bag the 3 points here. I certainly cannot see them lose this match and it looks best value to go for the all-out win with the hosts.

Win Double: Man City/Newcastle

Friday, October 13, 2017

EPL 2017/18 - Week 8

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

Liverpool against Man Utd is always high up there among the biggest matches of the season, no matter that the Kops haven't tasted titled glory in decades and managers have come and gone over the years. The hosts have had their ups and downs since the start of the season but this will be the first real test for the rampant Red Devils. The big thing for Liverpool these days is that Coutinho has been back with a bang since the "Barcelona" episode. Even though rumors of his departure for Catalonia for the January deadline are persisting, the Brazilian has been banging in goals lately, which would have brushed off any misgivings the Red fans might have held towards him. The unfortunate thing for the Kops is that they are without Mane due to injury. When the Senegalese is back, Liverpool will truly be kicking from all corners. Man Utd are unbeaten so far but it is no secret that that their opponents so far have been of lesser quality. Still, getting the points and goals as they have been doing, should help in their quest for another title. Mourinho will most probably park the bus at Anfield and rely on counter-attacking forays with the likes of Rashford, Martial and Lukaku to sneak one or more goals at the other end. I very much see a scenario where the hosts find it hard to break down the Utd defensive wall and the Red Devils chancing their luck on rapid counters. The Liverpool defense has yet to show any kind of stability or robustness and the Red Devils have ample quality at the front end to score. I think the value punt here is to go for either a Utd win or a draw-no-bet.

For accumulators, I see easy wins for top guns such as Man City, Spurs and Chelsea. I see the Blues prolonging Palace's woes even further although the bright light for Roy Hodgson's men is the return of Zaha. It will help them in later games but not against Chelsea.

Win: Man City, Tottenham, Chelsea
Draw-no-bet: Man Utd