SoccerWinners - EPL Week 10 picks (part 1)

by SHR

Newcastle v Liverpool - Newcastle have notched up 2 wins in a row, and suddenly the pressure is off Alan Pardew and the team. The wins were against Leicester (1-0) and Tottenham (1-2), but beneath the headline there is still some bad news. Possession and shots/on target are very low, and this could point to more problems against the big teams. For the moment, they can glory in 14th place. Liverpool put in a very disappointing performance lase weekend, drawing 0-0 against Hull. They had plenty of chances, and 66% possession, but as The Guardian so subtly put it Balotelli is firing blanks. They need Sturridge back, and fully fit. Prior to the Hull bore-draw they managed a lucky 2-3 win against QPR, and 2-1 against West Brom. Last year's Premiership contenders are not impressing this season. Although Liverpool should win today, a draw is a distinct possibility. The computer splits its prediction 3 ways, but I don't see much reason to back Newcastle. The bookies favour Liverpool, and I'll put a small and risky bet with them at 2.14, Away Win.

Arsenal v Burnley - Arsenal are in 5th place, after a straightforward 0-2 win at Sunderland last weekend. Alexis Sanchez scored both goals, and his record this season is looking good (5 goals from 8 games) although he is still a long way behind Costa and Aguero (9). Arsenal have won only 3 games so far this season, and drawn 5, lost 1. They get a very high percentage of possession, and plenty of shots/on goal, but the conversion rate is not impressive. Defenisively they aren't much different to Chelsea, but they have score only 15 goals this season compared with Chelsea's 24. Burnley Are right at the bottom of the table, and looking increasingly certain to be in the drop at the end of the season. They haven't won a game yet, and I don't fancy their chances today. A draw is realistically the most they can hope for. They are not likely to get much possession, and even if they do their conversion rate is woefully poor. They have scored only 5 goals this season. It's no surprise that the computer gives Arsenal a big advantage for this match. The odds are obviously quite low, but I'll back Arsenal at 1.29, Home Win.

Chelsea v QPR - I predicted a draw for Chelsea against ManU last weekend, so I'm very pleased with the 1-1 result, but for Chelsea it was another lost opportunity. They conceded the equaliser in the 90th minute. It's only their second draw this season, and the other one was against ManCity and they conceded the euqaliser in the 85th minute. The strategy today won't involve parking a bus. They should go all out for a win. QPR are second from bottom in the Premier League table. They picked up their first win of the season last weekend, 2-0 against Aston Villa. "First win" normally implies there will be more, but in QPR's case I don't think you can make that kind of assumption. They have conceded, on average, 2 goals per game, and scored only 1. The goal tally is likely to look even worse after today's game. The computer predicts a very easy win for Chelsea. I agree. The odds are terrible, but I'll back Chelsea at 1.19, Home Win.

Everton v Swansea - Two wins in a row have lifted Everton into the top half of the table. The wins were against Aston Villa and Burnley, so I'm not going to get excited about their improving form. The record is now w3,d3,l3, which is consistent with a mid-table side. If they didn't give away so many goals (17in 9 matches) then they'd be higher up the table. Swansea are 3 places above Everton. They have a far better defensive record; only 10 goals conceded, but they aren't so hot in attack. They took 3 wins at the start of the season, and since then they have had a mixed set of results. The last 3 results were draw, lose, win. The win was against Leicester, so again it's nothing to get excited about. Today's game is a little bit tricky to predict because you have one team that can score goals against a team that can defend. My hunch is that Everton are the better side, and with home advantage they should be able to get a win. The computer gives a confident home win prediction. I'll back Everton at 1.74, Home Win.

Hull v Southampton - Hull are in mid-table at the moment. They've had 2 wins and 5 draws in their 9 games so far. The last couple of results were creditable draws against Arsenal and Liverpool. They kept a clean sheet at Liverpool (0-0), spoiling my bet in the process! They are unspectacular in attack and competent in defence, which is why they are in mid-table. Southampton have been the big surprise of the season. They're in 2nd place, just 4 points behind Chelsea. The record is w6, d1, l2, which is impressive enough, but I'm more interested in the goal tally: 20-5. This may be a little bit flattering since they haven't played many of the big teams yet, and 8 of those goals were scored against Southampton, but it's far better than I expected at the start of the season. The computer predicts a very narrow advantage for Southampton, and I think that is right. If Hull can put in a decent defensive performance they could escape with a draw, but Southampton have shown a great ability to score and to defend, so they must have an edge. I'll go with a bet on Southampton at 2.0, Away Win.

Leicester v West Brom - Leicester are now sitting on 3 defeats in 4 games, and the other game was a draw. They have fallen a long way down the table, to 17th, and they need to stop the rot. Today's game is a perfect opportunity, but they cannot come into it with any confidence. Defeats at Crystal Palace (2-0), Newcastle (1-0) and Swansea (2-0) have erased the pride of beating ManU (5-3) in mid-September. Their stats are actually not that bad. Possession, shots, shots on target, goals scored and conceded, all point to this being a mid-table side. They just need to win a few more games. West Brom are only 1 point ahead of Leicester. Their recent form is a lot better. They have 1 win and 2 draws in their last 4 games. The win was against Burnley, so it can be ignored, but the draws were against ManU and Crystal Palace. For today's match they may play for a draw. The computer splits its prediction 3 ways, with a very slight preference for a home win. I understand that, even if you don't. A draw is a distinct possibility, but I'm going to put a small risky bet on Leictester at 2.32, Home Win.

Stoke v West Ham - Stoke have been alternating between wins and losses. They win at home. They lose away. The home wins were against Newcastle and Swansea. They play quite a defensive game, and try to hit on the break. This strategy hasn't been so successful in away matches, but generally they have a pretty good defence. They have conceded only 10 goals this season. However, they have only scored 8, which marks them in my book as a lower table side. West Ham are way up there in 4th place. I'm surprised. Their goal tally is not great (17-12) but somehow they have notched up 5 wins and a draw. They have 3 wins in a row, but the first 2 in the sequence are QPR and Burnley. The last is much more impressive, ManCity. Despite getting only 31% of the possession they put in 10 shots, 4 on target, and won 2-1. My gut feeling about this match is that it should be a draw. The computer prediction is split evenly, 3-ways. It's risky, but I'll put a small bet on a draw at 3.4, Draw.

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