SoccerWinners - EPL Week 15 picks (part 2)
West Ham v Swansea - I'm shocked to see West Ham as high as 5th in the Premier League. They have won 7 out of 14 games, and drawn 3, with a goal tally of 23-17. That indicates a team which is good enough for 7th or 8th, not 5th. They have had a few good results, such as a wins against ManCity and Liverpool, but they also lost against Spurs, Southampton and ManU. It's a real mixed set of results, which lacks consistency. The last couple of results have been wins against Newcastle and West Brom so they should come to this game with plenty of confidence. Swansea can also take confidence from their lofty position in the league. They're 8th, and a win would put them 5th, above West Ham. They have a similar set of mixed results, with wins against ManU and Arsenal, but defeats against Chelsea and ManCity. Over all their statistics are pretty similar, except that they score and concede fewer goals than West Ham. They've had 6 clean sheets this season, and failed to score in only 3 games. The inconsistent results for both sides makes this a tricky match to predict. The computer gives West Ham a slight edge, but not enough to make it worth betting on a home win. I also think that West Ham are slightly stronger than Swansea, but if Swansea score first I'm not confident that West Ham could come back. I think there is more value in the away win. It's very risky so I will make only a very small bet, and back Swansea at 3.3. Away Win.
Aston Villa v Leicester - Both teams followed a similar downward trajectory until the beginning of November, when Aston Villa managed 3 draws in a row. They followed up with a win against Crystal Palace earlier this week, and that was enough to raise them clear of the relegation zone, for the moment. Their stats are pretty awful really. Although they have won 4 games, drawn 4 and lost 6, it is the goal tally which is really worrying. They have scored only 8 goals, easily the lowest in the league, and conceded 18. For a struggling team that is a good defensive record, but if you can't score you're not going to win. Leicester are bottom of the table, with only 2 wins this season (Stoke and ManU) and 4 draws. In the last 7 games they have managed only 1 draw (and 6 defeats). The goal tally 14-24 is also very poor. Their ambition today must surely be for a draw. They could achieve it if Aston Villa are as reluctant to score as usual. The computer gives a small advantage to Aston Villa, but picks 1-1 as the most likely score. I think Aston Villa should win, and I'll put a small bet on them at 2.54, Home Win.
Southampton v Manchester United - 3rd v 4th. This looks like a good match to watch. But... I don't believe that Southampton are good enough for 3rd. Their early success has been built on good results against weak sides, but when they play the top team they lose. That was demonstrated earlier in the season when they lost against Liverpool and Spurs, and then underlined by the last 2 results, which were defeats against ManCity and Arsenal. Southampton are a decent side, probably good enough for 6th or 7th, but not top 5. ManU went through a rough patch at the start of the season, but now they've got their act together. They won 4 in a row in their most recent games, and it looks like they are on their traditional pre-Christmas winning spree. The computer gives an edge to Southampton. I'm sure there are still some significant problems for ManU to fix, especially in defence, but I'm not convinced that Southampton have enough to really take advantage. ManU should win. I'll back them at 2.68, Away Win.
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