SoccerWinners - EPL Week 17 picks (part 2)

by SHR

Newcastle v Sunderland - Newcastle were 8th at the start of the weekend. Their 23 points came mainly from a sequence of 5 wins in October and November, but December has not been so hot. They took a good win against Chelsea (2-1) two weeks ago. Steven Taylor picked up a red card in the process. Last weekend they lost 4-1 at Arsenal. The big scoreline put an end to the talk of crisis at Arsenal, but once again put Pardew under pressure at Newcastle. Over all stats are unimpressive, with 6 wins, 5 draws, 5 defeats and a goal tally of 18-22. It is only good enough for mid-table, which is where they finished last season. Sunderland have continued their Premiership survival plan,taking 5 draws in the last 6 games. It's boring, but it works. They took a point from Everton, Chelsea and Liverpool. ManCity were the only team to beat them (1-4). The secret is a solid defence. They kept clean sheets in 3 of the last 5 games, and in 6 of the 16 games this season. The stats don't look impressive because when the defence fails, it fails spectacularly. Southampton won 8-0 and ManCity 1-4, and that accounts for half of the 24 goals they have conceded. In attack they are one of the weakest teams, but scoring goals is not the No.1 priority. The computer predicts a win for Newcastle, but you have to seriously consider a draw whenever Sunderland play. It might be simpler to look at other bets, such as Under 2.5 goals @1.79, or even Under 1.5 goals @3.35. It's risky, but I'll put a small bet on the draw at 3.45, Draw.

Liverpool v Arsenal - Last season, Liverpool challenged for the title. This season they have fallen to pieces. They're down in 11th place, and too far behind the leaders to make any challenge for the title. They dropped out of this year's Champions League, but still have a Europa League place, and hope to qualify for the Champions League again next year. It could be a tough task. Looking at Liverpool's stats one thing really stands out. Their goal tally looks more like the teams below than above, and that is because of the number of goals scored. In previous seasons Liverpool has been better in defence too, but the lack of goals (for) is a much bigger problem. They score about 1 goal per game on average, which is far too low for a top team. Arsenal are 5 points and 4 places above Liverpool. They have also had a disappointing season. Wenger keeps promising success next season, but fans are tired of waiting. They cannot compete with the top 2, and they are also falling behind ManU so 3rd will be a stretch. They took too many draws early in the season, but more recently they have suffered defeats - 3 in the last 6 games (Swansea, ManU, Stoke). Even so, their stats are far better than Liverpool. They score almost 2 goals per game on average, and concede only 1. They also put in more shots, and shots on target than Liverpool. The computer splits the prediction 3 ways, giving a slightly bigger chance of a win for Liverpool, but picking out 0-1 as the best score to back. I would be tempted by the draw, since it appears to suit both teams, but I think Arsenal will go for a win. I will put a small bet on Arsenal at 2.66, Away Win.

Stoke v Chelsea - Sorry, I'm not going to cover this one in detail. Stoke are in fairly poor form, with 3 defeats in the last 5 games. Chelsea are far stronger and should win easily. Back Chelsea at 1.65, Away Win.

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