Week of August 16, 2014 – Premier League Picks

16-Aug-14  
Arsenal3-1Crystal Palace
Leicester City1-1Everton
Manchester United0-2Swansea City
Queens Park Rangers2-2Hull City
Stoke City2-1Aston Villa
West Bromwich Albion1-1Sunderland
West Ham United0-1Tottenham Hotspur

Arsenal come into the new season looking like the same old Arsenal. Good but no good enough. In this game they have a great advantage – they have the same manager before the game that they had 3 days ago. Not sure what “mutual consent” means in the case of a departure but I’m assuming that it has something to do with two people agreeing a mutual lack of friendship. The only risk in predicting such a lop-sided victory is that Arsenal are likely to start YaYa… and that’s Sanogo, not Toure. Expect Alexis to be the new Walcott – fast and with a crap final delivery. Aaron Ramsey will start the campaign as their best player because he is and will be for the next few years.

Everton were better under Martinez than Moyes because he’s a better analyst of the game. Unfortunately, that means he spent most of his summer watching the world cup for ESPN. Expect a slow start from the Everton team that lost their young phenom and only added a player they already had. Leicester just game up – always a lot of heart at the start of the campaign.

The turtle, LVG, or whatever you want to call him. He’s a task master and that’s what Moyes was. Why there is an expectation that one taskmaster is better than another is strange. The 3-5-2 formation may work early on but will break down so the first game should be a breeze against the Swans but it won’t be. Garry Monk has been at Swansea for over a decade and has seen how to play. The team will be rampant the first half of the season and probably get their manager fired early 2015.

QPR are terrible and run by an owner who doesn’t really care about football. Hull are not bad and run by an owner who doesn’t seem to care about the City his team play in. Should be an easy win for the “Tigers” but Hull City will find a way to not win.

The Potters are good. Aston Villa are my pick to go down. Aston Villa should not be a bottom 3 team but they insist on underperforming. Nervous on this one because last year Villa opened with a win against the Gunners before going on to be a bad team.

Love West Brom and hate Sunderland – it seems a match of good football played averagely vs bad football played well. Likely a good draw or bad draw depending on who you like.

Spurs have the best signing of the year in their new manager. He will take them well into the Top 6 if he can find a way to replace Soldano with someone who can score, get Adebayor to care, and get Dembele to focus. The Hammers are going to be awful this year. Or, I should say, AWFUL with a capital A-W-F-U and L. I’m giving Spurs only one goal because no doubt there will be some antisemitic chanting going on and that might be distracting to all their non-jewish players.

17-Aug-14  
Liverpool3-1Southampton
Newcastle United1-2Manchester City

Southampton are the Liverpool bogey team and always cause problems for the Reds. I think this was the previous coaching that allowed for open play, counter attacking which works against the opposition that wants to play as well. This year things will be different as Southampton have had an exodus of talent. Sturridge is the pick for top scorer and will get off to a good start. Coutinho will add one from the middle.
Gerrard tries to stay out of trouble because one bad tackle and he may not be able to get up – give the old man a life-alert.

Newcastle are either good or bad and you never can tell. Manchester City are either really good or good. I have a feeling this will be two “good” teams kicking off. This YaYa will score more than the Arsenal YaYa… but not as many as last year as he’s still miffed by not getting a birthday cake. Dzeko won’t score because he’s still in shock that he is still there. Aguero and Jovetic will score.

18-Aug-14  
Burnley0-3Chelsea

Burnley start against one of the odds on favorites to go down and because they aren’t good Mourinho will put the bus in 2nd gear. It will be an easy victory and we will hear about Burnley struggling this year and Chelsea being unbeatable – neither is true as it will be mostly up from this point for the Turf Moor newcomers. Eden and Cesc spend much of the game passing the ball to each other once they go up by 3. Yawn.

BET OF THE WEEK:

Tim Sherwood 16-1 as next West Ham manager.

Pre-Season Cups and Awards

Top Scorers

Daniel Sturridge 26
Sergio Aguero 24
Robin Van Persie 23

Lukaku might be worth a punt at 20/1

FA Cup

cup

Winner will be Tottenham Hotspurs.  Too good a manager to not deserve something.

PFA Player of the Year

Daniel Sturridge

Wouldn’t be surprised to see Mesut Ozil in the mix now that he’s had time to adjust (if he’s not lazy).

PFA Young Player of the Year

Andre Schurrle

Wouldn’t surprise me to see Aaron Ramsey there again as well.

 

 

Picks for the EPL 2014-15

At the Top

Last time Manchester City set about defending their title they disappointingly allowed the competition from just outside the city win comfortable.  This year with Aguero being healthy it’s hard to see them not banging in another 100 goals.

Arsenal have made moves.  Aaron Ramsey is at full strength and is the key to them maintaining a good showing through the year.  New signings are about speed and flair – but do they have the grit to win the big games? They’ll probably lose to Liverpool, Manchester teams but will pick off more than most against the lower teams.  Arsene keeps his job for one more year.

Everyone’s favorite and my second favorite… team to hate.  If Schurrle leaves I think they’re done.  Fabregas is not as good as Mata so its hard to see how Mourinho will work him into the team.  Will he repeat his old Arsenal form?  Well he was also too slow off the ball for me so I don’t see the impact like others do.  Chelsea are still too good to fall.

Liverpool without Suarez.  It’s hard to know what to think – Sturridge will be a real break out, Sterling will improve and Brendan Rogers has built some depth… they can’t keep Gerrard too long – send him to a team he can help not hinder.   Enough pieces to finish high but could surprise as again by making a title run.  Would that be a surprise?

Manchester United are relying on another old seasoned manager with a young Giggsy in-waiting.  The turtle, LVG, already throwing his weight around and I’m unsure how that will work with the likes of Rooney who has enough poundage to shove back.  If they’re still playing Cleverly it’s hard to see them doing much… and with the wingback system it’s asking a lot of a few.. can they maintain that for the entire season?

Spurs made the best off season move of all. Pochettino is one of the best managers in the country- I love how he defends the deep free kicks and he likes to play the classic game.  Has a lot of talent at Spurs but a lot of dead weight.. can they pull themselves higher up the table?  Hard to know.

At the Bottom

The table is a right old mess of junk and pieces that we can be sure about.  Crystal Palace are favored my many to go down with no manager but then the have the big Scot Malky ready to step up.    Could be a good race to the bottom and an exciting finish like last year.

West Ham – I just don’t like West Ham.  They are newly promoted and have the most overrated brown paper bag collector of all time in Big Sam.

Aston Villa – in Kieran Richardson, Joe Cole.  Enough said.  I know QPR have Rio Ferdinand.. but the Villains have to run out of luck.

Leicester – not good enough.  Leicester are a small team and should be playing other small teams… like Burnley and Hull… oh wait… erm Watford, then.

# Team
1 Manchester  City  mancity
2 Arsenal  arsenal
3 Chelsea  chelsea
4 Liverpool  liverpool
5 Manchester United  manutd
6 Tottenham Hotspur  westbrom
7 Everton
8 Newcastle United
9 Swansea City  
10 Sunderland
11 Burnley
12 Stoke City
13 Hull City
14 West Bromwich Albion
15 Crystal Palace
16 Southampton
17 Queens Park Rangers
18 West Ham United  westham
19 Aston Villa  astonvilla
20 Leicester City  leicester