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EPL Week 13: Bleacher Report Writers Make Their Expert Picks

Dan TalintyreSenior Analyst IINovember 23, 2012

EPL Week 13: Bleacher Report Writers Make Their Expert Picks

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    After a week dominated by the UEFA Champions League and the subsequent managerial circus that has taken place at Chelsea, the English Premier League returns once more.

    It returns with another week of interesting matchups—many of which could go either way—as teams look to improve or continue on their current performances to date.

    And whilst there might not be as much at stake except ultimate bragging rights, the Bleacher Report writers' tipping competition is also starting to gather some good momentum, as we look to see who is the "greatest" Premier League writer on the site.

    Okay, so that might be a little far, but there is certainly still a lot to play for this weekend—both in terms of the tipping and well, in terms of the actual Premier League football.

    Read on to see who our writers have tipped in Week 13 of the EPL.

Leaderboard

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    For those not familiar with the way this works, each writer has to pick a team and a score for every match in the Premier League that week.

    A correct pick (e.g. Chelsea win) will earn them one point, and a correct score (e.g. Chelsea win 3-0) sees them earn three points.

    Also, for the next few weeks or so, our writers will try and predict the highest-scoring game of the weekend (the game that produces the most goals). Should there be two or three games that have the same highest total, then we will give out points to whoever picked any of those games. A correct pick will earn them five points.

    Let's take a look at our Bleacher Report experts and how their predictions have held up through the opening weeks of the competition.

     

    Mohamed Al-Hendy World Football Featured Columnist 96 points
    Dan Talintyre World Football Featured Columnist 89 points
    Michael Cummings World Football Lead Writer and Blogger 80 points
    Karl Matchett World Football Featured Columnist

    79 points

    Joe Tansey EPL Featured Columnist 75 points
    Sam Tighe World Football Featured Columnist 69 points
    Will Tidey World Football Lead Writer and Editor 65 points

Sunderland vs. West Bromwich Albion

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    Saturday, 24th November, 2012 at 7:45 a.m. ET

    West Bromwich Albion have been the surprise of the Premier League so far—currently holding down an elusive top-four spot—and will be eager to continue their strong run of form against Sunderland this week.

    The Black Cats haven't been anywhere near as strong this year as they were the year before, and with Steve Clarke's men beating defending European champions last week, they will no doubt head into this match full of confidence.

    Sunderland, however, have one of the toughest home grounds in the Premier League to get a result at—the Stadium of Light—and always play well in front of their home fans.

    Despite currently sitting 15th, they have only lost once at home all year and have taken points off the likes of Liverpool and Newcastle United when they've come to town. They average less than a goal against per game at home—the fewest in the Premier League—and will no doubt be a tough side to break down here for the Baggies.

    Will West Brom continue their strong start or will the Black Cats' home ground advantage simply be too much for them to overcome this week?

    Dan Talintyre West Brom win 1-0
    Joe Tansey West Brom win 3-1 
    Karl Matchett Draw, 1-1 
    Michael Cummings Draw, 1-1 
    Mohamed Al-Hendy Draw, 2-2* 
    Sam Tighe West Brom win 2-1 
    Will Tidey Sunderland win 2-1

    * denotes highest scoring game of the week.

Manchester United vs. Queens Park Rangers

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    Saturday, 24th November, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. ET

    The most recent club to fire their manager—Queens Park Rangers will square off against legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson as last-placed QPR seek to pull off the upset of the season to date.

    The London club haven't won a game yet this season and have just four points through the opening 12 games of the season—not a club that you would expect the high-flying Manchester United to drop points to given the fact they've beaten Chelsea and Arsenal already this season.

    On top of that, QPR are currently managerless having sacked Mark Hughes just a day before traveling to Old Trafford to take on last year's runners-up.

    However, the Red Devils were heavily favoured last week when they took on Norwich City, and we all know what happened there.

    With that in mind, though, this one seems like it will not be about whether United will win or not but rather how much they will end up winning by. And for a side that boasts the likes of Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney, that could end up being quite a lot.

    Dan Talintyre Manchester United win 3-0
    Joe Tansey Manchester United win 5-0* 
    Karl Matchett Manchester United win 5-0* 
    Michael Cummings Manchester United win 3-1 
    Mohamed Al-Hendy Manchester United win 2-0 
    Sam Tighe Manchester United win 3-0 
    Will Tidey Manchester Untied win 4-0

    * denotes highest scoring game of the week.


Everton vs. Norwich City

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    Saturday, 24th November, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. ET

    Everton suffered a surprise loss last week to Reading and will be looking for a strong performance against Norwich City to re-install confidence in their ability.

    The Merseyside club have been strong this year and are on the brink of challenging for that elusive top-four spot in the league, and if they want to be considered in any European discussion at the end of the season, then these are the games they must start winning.

    Norwich have picked up big wins lately over Arsenal and Manchester United, but both of those did come at Carrow Road, while this is being played at Goodison Park.

    The Toffees haven't been beaten at home all season, but with only win to speak of from their last six EPL matches, could be in for a tough time against Norwich.

    Everton should win the midfield battle given their superiority in class and talent, but this Canaries side is proving to be more than expected this season, and could well cause some headaches this week.

    Dan Talintyre Everton win 3-1 
    Joe Tansey Everton win 2-1 
    Karl Matchett Everton win 2-1 
    Michael Cummings Everton win 2-1 
    Mohamed Al-Hendy Everton win 2-1 
    Sam Tighe Everton win 2-0 
    Will Tidey Everton win 3-1

Stoke City vs. Fulham

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    Saturday, 24th November, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. ET

    At the Britannia Stadium, Stoke City have been one of the strongest (and most boring) teams in the Premier League this season—conceding just one goal and not suffering a single defeat to speak of.

    They've held the likes of Manchester City and Arsenal to draws, and look good for at least another point against Fulham this week, though the Cottagers have been somewhat of a surprise under Martin Jol this season—especially given their summer transfer activity.

    Fulham sold arguably their two best players in Clint Dempsey and Mousa Dembele, but with former Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov at the helm, have proven that they still are a competitive force in the Premier League this year.

    Their form has dipped late—winning just one their past seven league matches—but with draws against Everton and Arsenal, have shown they can still cause a few waves.

    Will it be more of the home-field dominance for Stoke this week against the Cottagers, or will Fulham finally end the Potters' streak?

    Dan Talintyre Draw, 1-1
    Joe Tansey Draw, 1-1 
    Karl Matchett Draw, 0-0 
    Michael Cummings Draw, 1-1 
    Mohamed Al-Hendy Fulham win 2-1 
    Sam Tighe Draw, 1-1 
    Will Tidey Draw, 1-1

Wigan Athletic vs. Reading

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    Saturday, 24th November, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. ET

    Reading picked up a huge win at home last week over Everton to claw themselves out of the relegation zone; now they'll need to play incredibly well this week at Wigan Athletic if they want to remain out of the dreaded drop zone this year.

    The Royals are in interesting form line of late, having only lost one of their last seven Premier League matches, but have only managed one win in that time—coming last week over Everton.

    They'll travel to the DW Stadium to take on the 16th-placed Wigan Athletic, who have already experienced a tumultuous season in the Premier League.

    The Lactics picked up consecutive wins over West Ham and Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane to leave many (including myself) thinking they were the real deal. However, since then they've lost at home to West Brom and were spanked by Liverpool at Anfield last week.

    Will Wigan bounce back to the winners' circle with a result here, or will the Royals build on last week's victory with another unlikely win here?

    Dan Talintyre Wigan win 2-0 
    Joe Tansey Wigan win 2-1 
    Karl Matchett Wigan win 2-0 
    Michael Cummings Draw, 2-2 
    Mohamed Al-Hendy Wigan win 1-0 
    Sam Tighe Wigan win 2-1 
    Will Tidey Wigan win 1-0

Aston Villa vs. Arsenal

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    Saturday, 24th November, 2012 at 12:30 p.m. ET

    Aston Villa sit inside the relegation zone with just two wins to speak of all season—fresh off heartbreaking losses against Manchester Untied and Manchester City over the past two weeks.

    In contrast, Arsenal booked their place in the final 16 of the Champions League mid-week and picked up a huge 5-2 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the North London Derby last week in the Premier League—moving them up to sixth overall this year.

    The gap between the two teams could not seem greater, with the Gunners being clear favorites heading into this one—and rightly so.

    However, Villa aren't to be underestimated at home this year and have pushed the likes of United, West Brom, Everton and Swansea at Villa Park this season.

    They'll be desperate to make amends for their 5-0 drubbing last week by reigning champions City, and are likely to be a much stronger side this week because of it.

    But this Arsenal side is running hot at the moment and look set to continue their winning streak with another result here. Barring a minor miracle by Villa, that is.

    We all know at least one Bleacher Report writer who thinks so.

    Dan Talintyre Arsenal win 3-0
    Joe Tansey Aston Villa win 2-1 
    Karl Matchett Aston Villa win 2-1 
    Michael Cummings Draw, 1-1
    Mohamed Al-Hendy Arsenal win 2-1 
    Sam Tighe Aston Villa win 1-0 
    Will Tidey Draw, 1-1

Swansea City vs. Liverpool

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    Sunday, 25th November, 2012 at 8:30 a.m. ET

    Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers returns to Swansea to take on his old club this week for the first time in the Premier League since he moved to Merseyside at the beginning of the season.

    The Swans currently sit one spot ahead of the Reds on the Premier League ladder, but with a result here, Liverpool could jump into the top half of the table—a remarkable result given their atrocious start to the 2012/13 season.

    Swansea have only lost once in their last six matches; Liverpool haven't been defeated since that fateful day against Manchester United back in September—giving strong form lines heading into this match at Liberty Stadium.

    Interestingly, Liverpool have only won one match away from Anfield this season—a 5-2 win against lowly Norwich City—while the Swans have only been beaten at home once all year, with their most recent match yielding a 1-1 draw against European champions Chelsea.

    The Reds suffered a heartbreaking last-minute draw in the Europa League during the week, and will no doubt be fired up because of that to get a result here. However, Swansea will no doubt be eager to impress also in front of their former manager; leaving us with what should be one cracking game of football in the process.

    Dan Talintyre Liverpool win 3-1 
    Joe Tansey Draw, 2-2 
    Karl Matchett Liverpool win 2-1 
    Michael Cummings Draw, 2-2 
    Mohamed Al-Hendy Draw, 2-2 
    Sam Tighe Liverpool win 3-0 
    Will Tidey Draw, 2-2

Southampton vs. Newcastle United

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    Sunday, 25th November, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. ET

    The good news last week for Southampton was that they won another Premier League game of football—doubling their win total for the season.

    The bad news was that they still sit inside the relegation zone, and with Newcastle United coming to town, will be in a tough spot to graduate from the dreaded bottom three at the end of this week.

    The Magpies haven't been their best this season and are crippled by injuries to key players at the moment, but you would have to think they'll be too good for the newly-promoted Saints here—even if they haven't managed to win away from home this year.

    They haven't won much away from home, but haven't lost many either, with their only defeat coming back in August when they traveled to Stamford Bridge—a venue that few clubs in world football can boast about winning at this season.

    Alan Pardew's men should win here, and it should be one-sided. However, having watched Newcastle play this year, what should happen isn't always what does happen, and Southampton must be considered as a little bit of an upset chance in this one.

    Dan Talintyre Newcastle win 2-1
    Joe Tansey Newcastle win 2-1 
    Karl Matchett Southampton win 2-1 
    Michael Cummings Southampton win 3-2* 
    Mohamed Al-Hendy Draw, 1-1 
    Sam Tighe Draw, 2-2* 
    Will Tidey Newcastle win 2-0

    * denotes highest scoring game of the week.


Chelsea vs. Manchester City

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    Sunday, 25th November, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. ET

    Easily the match of the round sees two of the best teams in world football square off, with the top spot in the Premier League up for grabs as Chelsea take on Manchester City.

    The Blues could not have had a bigger week in the lead up to this—firing manager Roberto Di Matteo and then hiring Rafa Benitez, all of which came after a 3-0 Champions League loss to Juventus—but they'll be keen to start their "new" season with a strong performance against the current league leaders.

    City's away form has left much to be desired in the past few seasons, but they still haven't been beaten at all this year in the league, and considering they were bundled out of the Champions League mid-week, will be desperate to bounce back into the winners circle again this week.

    Whose spending power will prevail in the Premier League's match of the week—Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich or City owner Sheikh Mansour?

    Will it be success or heartbreak for new manager Rafa Benitez and can Roberto Mancini instill that winning-feeling back at the Manchester club following the heartbreak of being eliminated in the Champions League?

    This one is going to be great.

    Dan Talintyre Chelsea win 4-1
    Joe Tansey Chelsea win 3-1 
    Karl Matchett Draw, 2-2 
    Michael Cummings Draw, 2-2 
    Mohamed Al-Hendy Manchester City win 2-1 
    Sam Tighe Manchester City win 3-1 
    Will Tidey Chelsea win 3-1

Tottenham Hotspur vs. West Ham

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    Sunday, 25th November, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. ET

    Our final match of the Premier League this week sees another London derby for Tottenham Hotspur—this time against newly-promoted West Ham at home.

    Spurs were embarrassed by rivals Arsenal at the Emirates last week and will be looking to rebound with a strong showing this week against a Hammers side that has surprised many this season to currently sit seventh on the league ladder—above the north London club, in fact.

    The Hammers haven't yet won against a team in the top eight of the Premier League this year and haven't beaten a side inside the top half of the table either, but must still be considered somewhat of a chance here given Spurs' inconsistency this year.

    Andre Villas-Boas' men have let leads slip on five occasions this year and in their last two consecutive matches, and will be desperate to not let the same happen here.

    Tottenham have lost their past two matches at White Hart Lane whereas West Ham have won two of their past three matches on the road. 

    Is there a possible upset brewing for the Hammers against their old foes here, or will Villas-Boas' side bounce back on to the winners list this week with the three points?

    Dan Talintyre Tottenham win 4-2*
    Joe Tansey Tottenham win 2-1 
    Karl Matchett Tottenham win 2-1 
    Michael Cummings Tottenham win 2-1 
    Mohamed Al-Hendy Tottenham win 2-0 
    Sam Tighe Tottenham win 2-0 
    Will Tidey Tottenham win 4-2*

    * denotes highest scoring game of the week.

     

    What did you make of the B/R writer's tipping this week?

    Comment below or hit me up on Twitter:  

    All statistics courtesy of SoccerStats.com

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