Soccer

Premier League predictions: Arsenal to beat Liverpool, Manchester City to stumble vs Leicester

Upcoming Champions League fixtures leave both Man City and Liverpool vulnerable this weekend as Jones Knows returns with his predictions.

Chelsea vs West Brom, Saturday 12.30pm

Here, we have the clash of the best defence and the worst attack in the Premier League – going by numbers since Thomas Tuchel was appointed.

Across all competitions it’s been 687 minutes since Chelsea conceded – facing teams like Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester United and Atletico Madrid twice in that run – and Tuchel has seen his side ship just two goals in the Premier League. A title challenge could be on the agenda next season.

It doesn’t take a genius to know that a Chelsea win to nil at 5/6 looks the most likely outcome here.

There’s a touch more value in the goalscorer markets. Kai Havertz looks set to add to his Premier League tally for the season of just one goal in the coming weeks if Tuchel continues to see him as a central striker. The German has struggled to adjust to the Premier League since his £62m move from Bayer Leverkusen last summer but an arm around the shoulder from his new manager seems to be helping. He was very unfortunate not to score when leading the line against both Everton and Leeds, having five shots on goal in total and registering a combined expected goal figure of 0.86. If selected, he’s a fine price to open the scoring.

Trending

JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-0

BETTING ANGLE: Kai Havertz to score first (5/1 with Sky Bet)

Leeds vs Sheffield United, Saturday 3pm (Play Super 6 to win £250,000)

Sheffield United have gone from likable losers to an embarrassment in a matter of weeks.

Their adventure through the leagues with Chris Wilder at the helm is ending in calamitous and sad fashion. No goals in their last eight games is the definition of toothless and sums up their current plight. Leeds shouldn’t have too much to fear if bringing their usual intensity and relentless pace to the table.

A Leeds win to nil at 6/4 with Sky Bet will surely be popular with punters, as will the 13/2 about Raphinha opening the scoring. He is fast becoming the bargain of the season at just £17m.

We’re seeing a side to him over recent performances that make him more than just a nutmeg and stepovers merchant. There is genuine quality in his boots and unlike most maverick-type players, he consistently comes to the party at big moments in matches and has substance to back up the style.

Only eight players in the Premier League have scored more goals than him (5) since Boxing Day and he ranks 10th on the list during that period for most shots at goal from a player (33). In a match Leeds are expected to dominate with their superior quality, Raphinha should see plenty of opportunities to make his mark.

JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-0

BETTING ANGLE: Raphinha to score first (13/2 with Sky Bet)

Leicester vs Manchester City, Saturday 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports



Leicester City
Manchester City


Manchester City may have won 25 of their last 26 games and remain on course for an unprecedented Quadruple (can be backed with Sky Bet at 6/1) yet they look very skinny at 8/13 to leave with maximum points in this one.

After this trip to the King Power, Pep Guardiola’s side face Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their Champions quarter-final on Tuesday. It’s a relatively tight turnaround and this fixture will surely play second fiddle to the Dortmund game when it comes so soon after an international break. Ilkay Gundogan, Ruben Dias, Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden, Joao Cancelo, Bernardo Silva and Oleksandr Zinchenko all played in three games in six days for their countries while on duty. Surely Guardiola will rotate accordingly?

Of course, City’s squad is built robustly and is fully capable of beating a full-strength Leicester side but the freshness within Brendan Rodgers’ team makes them a dangerous opponent. Jamie Vardy and fit again James Maddison both will be raring to go.

Leicester are at their best when able to relinquish possession and hit on the counter. A scenario you can guarantee will play out here. The same scenario that occurred when Leicester stormed the Etihad Stadium earlier this year to win 5-2.

Should a team with such a hefty previous win over their opponent be such a big price to run out victorious again? The answer is no. Home win.

JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-1

BETTING ANGLE: Leicester to win and over 2.5 goals (9/1 with Sky Bet)

Arsenal vs Liverpool, Saturday 8pm, live on Sky Sports



Arsenal
Liverpool


The odds are just all wrong here aren’t they? When you factor in current form and Liverpool’s next fixture, why are Jurgen Klopp’s side favourites?

After this trip to the Emirates, the Reds travel to face Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions quarter-final on Tuesday. Klopp will talk of taking each game as it comes, but his eye will surely be on that fixture. Is Klopp going to ask Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, who both have been on international duty, to play in both games? There must be a strong chance of one or both being rested for this weekend with Madrid in mind.

And even if Liverpool were at full-strength, can you confidently say there’s a 45.5 per cent chance of the Reds winning this match as the odds mirror? This is a team whose form over the past eight Premier League matches would put them in the relegation zone, scoring just five goals and losing six matches. Yes, key players are returning to sure up the defence, but it’s the attack that has been holding Liverpool back. That inability to create big chances and finish them will prove problematic against Mikel Arteta’s improving side, whose results over the past six matches put them among the top-six in terms of form.

Performances to the eye also back that up.

They outclassed Tottenham in every department in their 2-1 victory, beat Leicester 3-1 in great style and not many teams would have managed to come back to draw from 3-0 down against the expertly organised West Ham. Arteta has got the Gunners moving in the right direction.

A positive Arsenal result will be providing the bedrock of my betting activities this weekend with the 21/10 with Sky Bet certainly making plenty of appeal. And for those that like a bit of insurance with their punting, the 6/5 draw no-bet angle (winner if Arsenal win, stakes returned if a draw) represents a fantastic opportunity to double your money plus a little extra.

JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-1

BETTING ANGLE: Arsenal to win (21/10 with Sky Bet)

Southampton vs Burnley, Sunday 12pm, live on Sky Sports

The last thing Burnley needed after their win at Everton was the international break. A 22-day break without a game screams ‘momentum loser’ but they were supremely impressive at Goodison Park with Chris Wood and Matej Vydra linking up impressively in attack. And Vydra has got my attention this weekend.

The 28-year-old has struggled since arriving at Turf Moor and has been considered fourth choice for much of his time at Burnley. However, a prolonged run in the team has worked wonders not only in terms of confidence but his ability to play an all-action style that Dyche demands from his front two. His quality and hold-up play was outstanding in the 2-1 win at Everton, providing the assist for Dwight McNeil’s spectacular goal. He has created nine chances for his team-mates in his last six starts, so considering the form he showed at Everton, I’m happy to back him for another assist this weekend at 9/2 in what is likely to be a tight game.

JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-1

BETTING ANGLE: Matej Vydra to assist a goal (9/2 with Sky Bet)

Newcastle vs Tottenham, Sunday 2.05pm, live on Sky Sports



Newcastle United
Tottenham Hotspur


Many people have relegated Newcastle already, prematurely in my mind. The Magpies head into the fixture two points clear of Fulham but know they will end the weekend in the bottom three if they fail to beat Tottenham and the Cottagers beat Aston Villa.

They are bang in trouble, of course, but with key attackers returning to fitness they possess a team capable of picking up points in this league. All things considered, those looking to back Tottenham at odds-on should look elsewhere.

With Allan Saint-Maximin, Miguel Almiron and Callum Wilson on the pitch since Steve Bruce decided to play a higher-tempo game which coincided with Graeme Jones joining the club, Newcastle have looked a dangerous attacking outfit. In those 296 minutes, Bruce’s men scored seven goals, beaten both Everton and Southampton and were very unfortunate to lose to both Crystal Palace and Leeds.

But it’s their shot data that not only backs up those strong performances and results but also opens the opportunity to play a strong betting angle when Spurs visit. With Saint-Maximin, Almiron and Wilson on the pitch, Newcastle are averaging a whopping 15.6 shots at goal per 90 minutes – a huge increase on their overall average which is 10.2 per 90 minutes since Bruce took the job.

Jose Mourinho’s team are happy to soak up pressure and invite shots on their goal, even against bottom-half teams, conceding 16 vs Crystal Palace and 15 against Fulham, Sheffield United and Southampton.

I’m happy to back the Toon to fire 17 or more shots at Mourinho’s goal at 6/1.

  • Sky Sports’ 2 for 1 channel offer offer
  • Get a NOW TV Sky Sports pass for just £25

JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-1

BETTING ANGLE: Newcastle to have 17 or more shots (6/1 with Sky Bet)

Aston Villa vs Fulham, Sunday 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports

Aston Villa are probably going to have to do something they’ve not managed in the last 10 games to win this one: and that’s score two or more goals in a game of football. Fulham, despite losing three of their last four matches, are a dangerous team in transition in forward areas and are likely to find the net at Villa Park. I’m happy to swerve a home win here. Villa just aren’t the Villa from earlier in the season that almost convinced me to back them for a top four finish.

Dean Smith’s side have scored only six goals in their last 10 Premier League games – a statistic that will be argued by the unavailability of Jack Grealish for seven of those matches. However, he’s unlikely to be back at full Grealish throttle for this one having missed over a month of action. Plus, he’s coming up against a Fulham side that have kept four clean sheets in their last six away games, conceding only three goals. Scott Parker has built a team capable of playing without fear, racking up an run of eight games unbeaten on the road.

Goals do remain a problem but Fulham have the biggest difference between expected goals (34.1) and goals scored (23) in the Premier League this season, highlighting an underperformance which may just correct itself between now and the end of the campaign. If it does, they’ll stay up.

A low-scoring, away win looks the play here at 5/1.

JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-1

BETTING ANGLE: Fulham to win & under 2.5 goals (5/1 with Sky Bet)

Manchester United vs Brighton, Sunday 7.30pm

This fixture won’t be one Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is relishing. Brighton are a dangerous team. The unpredictability factor is hard to prepare for.

However, Graham Potter’s team aren’t one to trust at getting the job done.

Instead of taking the odds-on quotes for a home win, my advice would be to chance your arm with United to win by one goal in the winning margin market. This weekend could prove to be a problematic one for managers who have had lots of players away playing international football, some will have played three games in six days. That brings forward the possibility of workmanlike performances from teams such as United, who do have a habit of settling for a one-goal margin of victory as seen in their previous two wins over West Ham and AC Milan.

JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-1

BETTING ANGLE: Manchester United to win by one goal (5/2 with Sky Bet)

Everton vs Crystal Palace, Monday 6pm, live on Sky Sports

My advice when it comes to punting on Crystal Palace in the next few weeks is to take them on. There’s a huge amount of uncertainty at the club. Who will be in charge next season? Roy Hodgson’s contract is up and there doesn’t seem to be much movement on that front. Added to that, up to 10 first-team players are also coming to the end of their deals, so with the club all-but safe from relegation a similar scenario to last season where Palace lost eight of their last nine games could be on the cards.

Any team facing Palace right now will be putting a ring around that fixture in the calendar to go all-out for the points. This looks a fantastic opportunity for Everton to improve a wretched home record. Goodison Park has been the location for six of their last seven defeats in all competitions.

I do feel Richarlison’s goal threat is being underrated by the betting markets. The Brazilian has scored four of Everton’s last six goals from his more advanced central role and has found the net in his last two appearances against Palace. The 11/2 for him to score first seems very fair.

JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-0

BETTING ANGLE: Richarlison to score first (11/2 with Sky Bet)

Wolves vs West Ham, Monday 8.15pm, live on Sky Sports



Wolverhampton Wanderers
West Ham United


This is a tough one to predict. All three match result outcomes can be easily argued at the prices available. West Ham are 22 points better off than at this stage last season – the club’s best return after 29 games of a Premier League season. However, Wolves now look far more comfortable again in their own skin since reverting to a back three and will provide a stern test for the Hammers to break down.

Instead of the match result market, my eyes are drawn to the ‘method of the first goal’ market. A niche one, granted. I like the chances of the first goal coming via a header.

Set pieces are bound to play a huge part. Both sides have scored 36 per cent of their Premier League goals from set pieces this season (10 of 28 Wolves, 16 of 45 West Ham) – the joint-highest proportion in the league. West Ham are the top scorers from set pieces overall, Wolves sit fifth in that particular table.

With Tomas Soucek, Michail Antonio, Craig Dawson and Willy Boly all dynamite in the air, the 9/2 for the first goal to be a header looks overpriced.

JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-1

BETTING ANGLE: First goal method to be a header (9/2 with Sky Bet)

Source: Read Full Article