SoccerWinners - EPL Week 9 picks (part 1)

by SHR

West Ham v Manchester City - West Ham have won 3 of their last 4 games, and risen to 4th in the League. That's well above what we would normally expect from them. The wins were against Liverpool, QPR and Burnley, and the other game was a defeat at Manchester United. Although they get plenty of shots, the shots on target and goals scored are below average. Their last game, at Burnley, was exceptional for them. They had 15 shots, 6 on goal, and scored 3 (score:1-3). They won't get much possession today, so their chances will only come on the break. Man City also won 3 of their last 4, and priot to that they had 2 draws. The draws were against Arsenal and Chelsea, and the wins were Hull, Aston Villa and Tottenham. The last game, against Tottenham was feisty, and featured 4 penalties and a red card. Most of this worked out in Man City's favour. Aguero scored 4 goals (4-1). City are 5 points behind Chelsea, and looking like the most likely challengers. They will need a long run of wins to catch up, but they have not been as consistent as Chelsea. They should win today. The computer predicts a narrow victory, and I think that is right. The odds are a bit short, at 1.61, so if you are looking for value then this is not a good match to bet on. I'll put a small bet on Man City to win at 1.61, Away Win.

Liverpool v Hull - Liverpool have relied a little bit too much on luck. In their last match, against QPR, they won in injury time, thanks to an own-goal by Caulker. A win is a win, so they say, but there are many Liverpool fans who are very worried about the team's performance this season. Balotelli has had a lot of criticism, not all of it fair. The team is underperforming. Despite that, they are in 5th place, and if they build some stability they can still compete for a top 3 position. At home they have a very strong record. Hull are holding their position in mid-table, relying rather heavily on draws. They drew against West Ham, Newcastle and Arsenal. Wins have been harder to find, although they beat Crystal Palace at the beginning of October. They tend to get less possession, and take their chances in counter-attack. They score plenty, but they concede just as many (13-13). The computer gives a farily strong Home Win prediction, and I completely agree. Liverpool should win. Once again the odds aren't great, but I'll back Liverpool to win at 1.45, Home Win.

Southampton v Stoke - The computer is now predicting a top 3 finish for Southampton. I'm not ready to believe that yet. Southampton have certainly had a great start to the season, with 5 wins, 1 draw and 2 defeats in their first 8 games. Last weekend they devastated Sunderland with an 8-0 tonking. They also beat Newcastle 4-0 back in September, so they are capable of big scorelines. Tottenham and Liverpool were the 2 teams that beat Southampton, so there is an indication that they are not yet ready to take on the best teams, and they keep their firepower for the minnows. Stoke are a mid-table side, with a mixed set of results to back up their position (w3, d2, l3). They lost 3-1 against Sunderland at the beginning of October, so that might be a sign that they will struggle today. Historically they have been equal with Southampton. The last 4 encounters have been draws, with honours shared before that. It may be different this time. Southampton seem to have built a strong team, capable of big scores against lesser teams. The computer predicts a fairly straightforward Home Win. I agree. I'll back Southampton at 1.62, Home Win.

Sunderland v Arsenal - Sunderland are a long way down the table, and likely to be dragged into the relegation battle. They have been relying on draws to keep their Premiership chances alive. They have 5 draws from their 8 games, and a single win (3-1 Stoke). Last weekend they put in their worst performance yet, with an 8-0 defeat at Southampton, which featured 3 own-goals. Normally Sunderland can park the bus, and that is good enough. They will surely try to do that again today. Arsenal have also been drawing a lot of games (5), but that is bad news for them. They need more wins to keep their (remote) title aspirations alive. Last weekend they managed only a draw against Hull (2-2) and that was only thanks to an injury time equaliser. The signs are not good. They are, however, a much better side than Sunderland, and they should win. The computer gives them a very small advantage, so it's risky. I'll put a small bet on Arsenal at 1.8, Away Win.

West Brom v Crystal Palace - Both teams are sinking towards the relegation zone, and need to pick up some points soon. West Brom picked up a very useful point against ManU, drawing 2-2, but it could have been even better. They led 2-1 with 3 minutes remaining. ManU had most of the possession and put in far more shots, and shots on target. That is fairly typical for West Brom. The exceptions are the games they won against Burnley and Tottenham. Crystal Palace are a point behind West Brom. They lost their last 2 games, against Hull and Chelsea, but won the 2 before that, against Leicester and Everton. They gain very little possession, and rely heavily on counter-attack. I think that will be an advantage for West Brom. The computer gives a very slight advantage to West Brom, but not enough to pick out a home win score. I think West Brom's chances are better than that, and I'll back them to win at 1.91, Home Win.

Swansea v Leicester - Swansea, 8th, had all 3 of their wins at the start of the season, and more recently they have struggled against relatively weak sides. If the don't start winning again soon then they will quickly find themselves in the relegation battle. Leicester are already in that battle. They have only 2 wins and 3 draws from 8 games, which puts them 15, and only 2 points above of the relegation zone. Their results are very mixed. There was a 5-3 win against ManU, and a 2-0 defeat at Crystal Palace. I think this is a difficult match to predict. A draw or home win, maybe? The computer predicts a home win. The odds are 1.93, which isn't good enough to tempt me. I'll give this one a miss. AVOID.

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