SoccerWinners - EPL Week 11 picks (part 1)
Liverpool v Cheslea - Liverpool still have a few problems to overcome. Sturridge will be out for a while, and Balotelli hasn't found the goal. Defensively the team has been ok, although not up to the level of last year. They are still very strong at home, and concede about 1 goal per game, but when you're not scoring that is enough to lose. They drew 0-0 with Hull, lost 1-0 at Newcastle, and during the week they lost 1-0 at Real Madrid. They get plenty of possession and shots on target, but somehow the goals just aren't coming. The same can't be said for Chelsea. With 26 goals scored so far this season they are the Premier League's top goalscorers. They have scored in every game so far. Defensively they aren't so impressive. They conceded late equalisers against both ManU and ManCity, and even weak teams like Crystal Palace and QPR have managed to score against them. Mourinho doesn't care much about possession, and it shows in the stats. Against top teams he sets out a defensive formation and waits for counter-attack. He will probably do the same again today, so I expect a low scoring game. The computer picks out 0-1 as the most likely score, but 0-0 or 1-1 also look plausible to me. I'm looking for a draw or away win. I'll put a small risky bet on Chelsea at 2.3, and hope they don't concede in injury time. Away Win.
Burnley v Hull - Burnley haven't won a game yet, and in the last 5 games they have drawn 1 and lost 4, so it's not looking particularly good for them. They're at the bottom of the table, with 4 points from 10 games. The problem seems to be that they are a counter-attacking side without an attack. They have scored only 5 goals. Defensively they did ok, keeping 3 clean sheets in the first 5 games, but since the end of September they have shipped an average of 3 goals per game. Hull are following the same trajectory as last season. They sit in 14 place, with 11 points. They have only won twice, and drawn 5 times, notably against Arsenal and Liverpool. The wins were against QPR and Crystal Palace, so I expect them to go for a win against Burnley. Judging from recent performances they should easily be capable of keeping a clean sheet, so the only question is whether they can score a goal. They average only 1 goal per game in away matches, which is obviously quite low, and it makes this a slightly risky bet. I'll put a small bet on Hull at 3.1, Away Win.
Manchester United v Crystal Palace - For once, ManU are near the top of my best bets list, but can I trust them to deliver? Their performances have been so erratic this season it is difficult to hold any confidence in them. That said, they did ok last weekend in the Manchester derby. Although they lost 1-0, they had to play half the match with only 10 men (Smalling sent off with a 2nd yellow), and it took an hour for ManCity's superiority to show. ManU have been a bit goal-shy this season. They have scored only 16 goals, which is good enough for a mid-table side, but not a title contender. The only times they scored more than 2 goals were against QPR (4-0) and Leicester (5-3) [Leicester won]. Otherwise, it's 1 goal here, 2 goals there. Crystal Palace have scored (14) almost as many goals as ManU. Their problem is at the other end of the pitch. They have conceded 19 goals, which makes their defence the 2nd worst in the Premiership. They have let in 2 or more in their last 4 games. Last weekend they lost 1-3 against Sunderland, so ManU have to be hot favourites, despite their continuing turmoil. The odds are terrible, but I'll back ManU at 1.33, Home Win.
Southampton v Leicester - Southampton continue their amazing success. 7 wins, 1 draw and 2 defeats from their 10 games puts them on 22 points, just 4 behind Chelsea. The goal tally is very good too, 21-5, giving them the 2nd best attack and the best defence by far. I'm still not ready to believe they can challenge for a top 4 place because they haven't faced many of the top sides yet. Liverpool and Tottenham are the only big clubs they have played, and they lost against both of them. Leicester are near the foot of the table, with 2 wins, 3 draws and 5 defeats. Their goal tally, 11-16, is consistent with a relegation battling side. They have lost 4 out of the last 5 games, and these were not top sides, so their looking very vulnerable today. The computer gives a big home win prediction, and I completely agree. The odds at 1.46 are good enough. I'll back Southampton. Home Win.
West Ham v Aston Villa - Recent results have lifted West Ham into 5th place. They won 3 out of the last 4 games, and drew the 4th. Beyond the headline the data doesn't look so special. The stats make them good enough for 6th or 7th place, but no better than that. They have played Spurs (lost), Liverpool (lost) and ManCity (won), so they still have some difficult games ahead. Today doesn't count. Aston Villa have lost 6 in a row. Since their surprising win against Liverpool in mid-September they have racked up impressive defeats against all of the top sides, plus QPR. They have scored only 5 goals this season, matching Burnley for the worst attack in the League. The computer gives a big Home Win prediction, and I agree. West Ham should win this. I'll back them at 1.78, Home Win.
QPR v Manchester City - I'll keep this one brief. It's a bit obvious really isn't it? QPR are 2nd from bottom, with 2 wins and a draw from their opening 10 games. They lost 4 out of the last 5 games and are clearly struggling in the Premier League. Manchester City are 3rd, with 6 wins, 2 draws, 2 defeats. They won 4 out of the last 5 games. The computer gives a massive away win prediction. I'll go with that! I'll back ManCity at 1.50,Away Win.
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