SoccerWinners - EPL Week 10 picks (part 2)
Manchester City v Manchester United - The big game this weekend is the Manchester derby. City lost against West Ham last weekend, and dropped even further behind Chelsea in the title race. It adds pressure on them in this important fixture. United are also under pressure. Despite spending £170m they have only 3 wins so far this season, and their title challenge is more or less over. Their focus has to be on gaining a Champions League place, since it provides 10% of their revenue and helps to pay for their expensive players. City have usually struggled in the Champions League, and this season is no exception. They have drawn 2 and lost 1 of their group matches, and their prospects aren't good. City have also had cup action this week, but it was more bad news for them. They lost 0-2 at home against Newcastle in the League Cup. It is not an important competition for the top clubs, but again it shows City's inconsistencies. Despite gaining a very high percentage of possession, and putting in plenty of shots, they sometimes struggle to score, and often concede. They have only 2 clean sheets in the Premier League this season. Manchester United's problems are much bigger. Their defence has looked shambolic at times. They lost their League Cup place back in August, with a 4-0 defeat at MK Dons. They squandered a 0-3 lead at Leicester and lost 5-3. They were lucky against West Brom to escape with a 2-2 draw, and last weekend they were exceptionally lucky to get a 90th minute equaliser against Chelsea. Good sides are often lucky, but I don't think United are that good. Their best strategy today will be to copy Chelsea, and park the bus. This frustrated City so much that it nearly gave them a win. Head-to-head City have done far better in recent years. They have won 5 out of the last 6 Premiership games against United. That points to a home win, and so does the computer. The odds are fairly generous at 2.0, so I will back Manchester City, Home Win.
Aston Villa v Tottenham - Aston Villa haven't scored in their last 5 Premiership games, and they have conceded 13 goals in the same time. So its a surprise that they are as high as 15th in the table. Confidence must be particularly low. I would like to pick out some positive things to say about them, but it's difficult. Losing against Arsenal, Chelsea and ManCity is understandable, but Everton (3-0) and QPR (2-0) are less forgivable. I'm equally shocked by Tottenham's league position. They should be comfortably in the top half of the table, but instead they are down in 14th place, only a point ahead of Aston Villa. The middle of the table is very crowded, so they can restore their position with a win today. Unfortunately their recent results have not been good. They have lost against West Brom, ManCity and Newcastle, drawn with Arsenal and won against Southampton. Perhaps more significantly they have been putting in a lot of shots, but scoring remarkably few goals. In the last 5 games they had 39 shots, 18 on target, and only 4 goals. (The usual ratio is 4:2:1, so for 39 shots you should have about 20 shots on target, and 10 goals.) Despite their problems I still see Tottenham as a better side than Aston Villa, and they should be able to win today. The computer is unconvinced. It splits the %chance 3 ways, and picks out the away win only because it offers more value. So it is risky, and I will put only a small bet on Tottenham at 2.02, Away Win.
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