SoccerWinners - EPL Week 24 picks (part 2)
Burnley v West Brom - Two struggling sides battle it out. Burnley can lift themselves out of the relegation zone with a draw today, and a win would put them above West Brom in 15th place. Looking at the stats it is very difficult to find anything positive to say. They shoot less, score less and concede more. It is no surprise they have won only 4 times this season. The teams they beat were Hull, Stoke, Southampton and QPR, so perhaps they have enough to beat West Brom too. They have no new injury problems, and no new players since the transfer deals collapsed. West Brom have a very similar record to Burnley. They are 2 points ahead, with an additional win instead of a draw. Defensively they are slightly better, but that isn't really saying much. They have a couple of useful wins, 0-1 against Spurs and 4-0 against Burnley, so they should fancy their chances today. The computer gives Burnley a very small advantage, but I would say West Brom are slightly better. I don't think there is much between the, and the obvious thing to do is to split the difference and go for a draw. I'll put a small bet on a draw at 3.25.
Newcastle v Stoke - Two mid-table teams battle it out. Newcastle had a terrible start to the season, but then from mid-October to the end of November they put 5 straight wins, and everything was fine again. They even managed a 2-1 win against Chelsea. But after that, the wheels fell off again, and they lost 5 out of the next 7. Last weekend they took a valuable 0-3 win at Hull. Their stats are as mixed as their results, but I would say they are on an improving trend and the second half of the season is likely to be better. Stoke alternated between wins and defeats for the first couple of months, and then started to skip the wins. Since Christmas their form has improved again. They won 4 out of the last 6, and also took a draw off ManU. Although they are only 1 place above Newcastle, their stats look a lot better, mainly due to the defence. The goal tally is 26:28, compared with Newcastle's 29:35. The computer gives Newcastle a very small advantage, but again I think the away side is slightly better, so a draw is the natural conclusion. I will put a small bet on a draw at 3.4.
West Ham v Manchester United - West Ham have established themselves as one of the stronger teams in the Premier League, although they are not good enough to compete with the top 5. Recent results make it look like their bubbles have burst, with 3 defeats and 2 draws in the last 6 games. The defeats were against Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool, which is why I made the comment about the top 5. Against slightly weaker teams you can expect them to win. They are reasonably good in attack and defence, but not outstanding. Manchester United started the season terribly, but they got their act together, and now look good enough for a top 3 finish. There was a minor blip after Christmas, when they drew against Spurs and Stoke and then lost at home against Southampton, but easy wins against QPR and Leicester have put them back on course. The stats show they are slightly better than West Ham in both attack and defence, but this is slightly misleading since ManU are exceptionally good at Old Trafford. If you look only at away results they are fairly ordinary (W3, D6, L2, 14:9). They might play for a draw. The computer splits the %chance 3 ways, and this time I agree. Although ManU are definitely the stronger team I'm not sure they have enough confidence to go all out for a win, so a draw is again a strong possibility. With odds of only 2.0 for ManU to win I don't think they are worth backing, so I will again put a small bet on a draw at 3.7.
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