SoccerWinners - EPL Week 8 picks (part 2)
QPR v Liverpool - QPR are at the bottom of the Premier League table, with 1 win, 1 draw, and 5 defeats in their first 7 games. They don't score much (only 4 goals in 7 games), but their home record is a lot better than the away results. At home they have scored 3 goals and conceded 3, in 3 games, and their only win (so far) was at home against Sunderland. They are clearly going to struggle throughout this season. Liverpool are also a long way down the table, although in no danger of relegation. Life without Suarez has been a lot tougher, and Balotelli has not proved his worth. I suspect they will need to bring in another striker in the mid-winter transfer. The last 4 games have done little to boost confidence in the team. They lost against Aston Villa and West Ham, drew with Everton and then narrowly beat West Brom. Liverpool need a convincing win against QPR, and they are good enough to do that. The computer predicts an easy away win, and I agree. I will back Liverpool at 1.6, Away Win.
Stoke v Swansea - Stoke have a mixed bag of results (w2, d2, l3) and remarkably few goals (for 6, against 8). Worryingly they only managed a draw against QPR (2-2) and although they beat Newcastle (1-0) they followed up with a defeat at Sunderland (3-1). In that match they held 60% of possession and put in 5 shots on goal, which might suggest they have some attacking capability, but they only scored once. Swansea played Newcastle and Sunderland in the opposite order, and they drew against both teams. So it is difficult to compare the performances. The Sunderland match looked like a bore draw to me, except for Angel Rangel's red card. They were the better side against Newcastle, leading twice, holding more possession and putting in more shots, but they conceded an equaliser in the final 15 minutes. Despite their lofty league position I don't think Swansea are much better than Stoke. The head-to-head is equal. The computer gives a split prediction, and the odds are very slightly in Stoke's favour. It is probably best to avoid this match, but I'll make a very risky small bet on Swansea at 3.3, Away Win.
West Brom v Manchester United - (Monday) West Brom have a couple of wins and a couple of draws from their opening 7 games, and that puts them in the lower half of the table, which is where I expect them to stay. At the end of September they had a great 4-0 win against Burnley. The result stands out, not just because of the scoreline, but also because the stats show much higher possession and shots than any of their other games. Normally they hold only about 45% possession, and put in maybe 2 or 3 shots on goal, which is fairly low, and consistent with a relegation candidate team. The computer predicts they will finish in 15th place, and that looks right to me. ManU have recovered some of their form, with 2 wins on the trot. They beat West Ham 2-1 and then Everton 2-1. It isn't as convincing as I would hope to see, but certainly a step in the right direction. Their league position (5th) is slightly flattering since they haven't played many of the top teams yet. They are a long way behind Chelsea and ManCity. A win is essential. I'll take a chance on ManU at 1.76, Away Win.
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