Written by Shahan Ahmed
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Week of Dec. 21, 2012
Premier League Round 20: Preview and Pick
Boxing Day provided plenty of thrills, but now, it is on to the weekend, and the Premier League has 10 new matches ready to kick off. The highlight fixtures of this round are Newcastle United paying Arsenal a visit at the Emirates and Chelsea traveling to Goodison Park to take on Everton.
The round also offers Liverpool traveling to Loftus road to face a Queens Park Rangers. Liverpool lost 3-1 at Stoke City after taking an early lead, and Brendan Rodgers’ side is sitting directly in the middle of the table after 19 rounds.
At the half-way mark, the two Manchester clubs sit atop the league, but United has a healthy seven-point lead after a late winner against Newcastle on Boxing Day. Sir Alex Ferguson’s deplorable side-line behavior hinted that the old Scot was not pleased with his Christmas presents. The Red Devils cheered up the gum chewing manager with a 90th minute Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez goal to end the match 4-3.
United now turns around and welcomes West Brom to Old Trafford on Saturday in an intriguing match considering the Baggies are unbeaten in their last three.
The other Manchester club fell on Boxing Day to a surging Sunderland side after former City player Adam Johnson scored the only goal of the match. Edin Dzeko expects to make a rare start as City travels to face Norwich on Saturday.
Sunderland hosts Boxing Day hat-trick hero Gareth Bale and Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs were head and shoulder above Aston Villa’s youngsters as the Villians have allowed 12 goals over the past two matches. Villa Park should be packed on Saturday as Wigan comes to pay a visit.
Reading and West Ham United lock horns, and Fulham takes on Swansea (our Director’s Pick of the week).
See all Premier League picks for Round 20
Director’s Premier League Pick – Round 20
Since it is the holiday season, and our Director of European Football (i.e. me) is coming off a perfect 2-0 weekend with 267 units of profit (assuming 100 units were placed on each pick), he’s feeling a bit generous and sharing this week’s pick for free. Usually, the picks and analysis are for members only, and you are welcome to look at the soccer picks archive and analysis .
Free Pick: Swansea versus Fulham: Over 2.5 Goals at 1.893
Swansea’s Spanish midfielder who plays in the middle of the attack, Michu for short, is joint-leader with 13 goals at the halfway point. With Michu present, betting on goals is usually a good call. Throw in that Dimitar Berbatov, Fulhams’ top striker, has another six goals in 14 starts, and the logic becomes slightly clearer.
Apart from a dreadfully lackluster match at Stamford Bridge, all other Fulham matches featured at least one goal. In 15 of the 19 matches, Fulham and its opponent combined for 3 or more goals. Further, Swansea is a high-scoring side.
However, the reason I’m picking the over 2.5 goals despite Fulham struggling to a 1-1 draw and Swansea staggering to a 0-0 draw on Boxing Day is simple: the computer says so. At AccuScore, we do trend analysis. The AccuScore computer has picked the Over in matches involving Fulham nine times this season, and the computer has a record of 8-1 in those matches. That’s a pretty good trend. Add in that the computer has Fulham and Swansea at 62 percent to go over 2.5 goals, and this pick is hard to say no to. Going even further into trend analysis, AccuScore is 3-2 on picking Overs with Swansea, so that adds to why this is a pick I could not pass up.