PL hits and misses: Spurs cracks start to appear as Chelsea find spirit

Spurs’ performance slump comes home to roost

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League clash between Tottenham and Wolves

“It was similar to the last couple of games at home,” said Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou when quizzed in Saturday’s post-match press conference.

He admitted that Spurs have not been at the levels they want over the last few matches. Their last two at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium saw them beat Brentford and Brighton, but neither were easy or all that convincing.

And against Wolves, those nervous moments that Tottenham had been able to navigate over the last few weeks – or at least, find goals to paper over the cracks – finally came back to haunt them.

Despite having Heung-Min Son back in the XI alongside Richarlison, James Maddison and Dejan Kulusevki, they ended the first half without a shot on target. Worryingly, only four of their 15 shots in the game overall were.

But it was their inability to stop Wolves on the counter, added to some questionable defending for Joao Gomes’ opener, that was their ultimate downfall. While Postecoglou insisted Spurs’ defending had been ‘outstanding’ this season, it has not been their crowning glory in recent weeks.

Now, they have a fortnight before they take on Crystal Palace. The buzz words of ‘hard work’, ‘move on’, ‘be ready for the game’ are all well and good, but Tottenham need to pull themselves out of a performance slump.

Already slipping into fifth by two points after this defeat, that could widen even further by the time March 2 rolls around. There’s still plenty of football left to play, but Tottenham will want to have their fate in their own hands heading into the business end of the season.
Charlotte Marsh

Have Chelsea found their spirit?

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League clash between Manchester City and Chelsea.

Pep Guardiola had spoken of Chelsea’s quality beforehand, describing them as “an exceptional team” but the suspicion was that this might be the familiar sound of the City boss praising opponents only for them to leave the Etihad Stadium on the end of a beating.

But Chelsea had their tactics spot on. They knew that City would have most of the possession but if they were able to be composed when under pressure and play that extra pass rather than just clear it, the openings would appear. They managed it time and again.

Cole Palmer has that calmness, Malo Gusto has the energy from deep. Nicolas Jackson and Raheem Sterling have not always been as ruthless as they should have been this season – to say the least – and they missed chances in Manchester. But the goal was superb.

Mauricio Pochettino will be just as pleased by the resilience shown. Conor Gallagher ran himself into the ground. Axel Disasi came up with block after block. Chelsea lost the lead late on. But they have found their spirit recently. That could be more important in the long run.
Adam Bate

Haaland fluffs his lines for once

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Daniel Sturridge, Jamie Carragher and Micah Richards analyse Erling Haaland’s out of sorts performance against Chelsea, where he failed to convert numerous chances.

Erling Haaland is a fantastic player who is likely to end the season as the Premier League’s top goalscorer again, provided he remains fit.

But, having scored twice late on last weekend against Everton to signal his return following two months out, this was quite possibly his most frustrating evening in a Manchester City shirt. The life of a striker.

Daniel Sturridge told Sky Sports: “He goes onto the pitch with the expectation of scoring goals. He’s going to go home feeling down about himself, lower than a snake’s belly.”

Jamie Carragher added: “He’s probably not had a game like this in a Manchester City shirt.”

Haaland had nine shots and an xG total of 1.71
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Haaland had nine shots and an xG total of 1.71

Haaland had nine shots and an xG total of 1.71 against Chelsea, his most for both without scoring in a single game for Manchester City in all competitions.

It was so unusual to see the chances being squandered. Haaland has had his body language questioned by Pep Guardiola, he pushed away a camera on the pitch at the final whistle here, but what can never be in doubt is his mentality.

Guardiola isn’t concerned.

“I played 11 years and scored 11 goals so I can’t give too much advice to Erling [Haaland]. The next one he will score.”

City have now fallen behind in eight of their last 13 Premier League matches. Rodri again delivered a big moment, but here was a reminder that they cannot rely on one man to dig them out of a hole.
Ben Grounds

Gary O’Neil – the manager of the season?

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Wolves boss Gary O’Neil says his team thoroughly deserved their victory at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

When Julen Lopetegui left Wolves in the lurch three days before the start of the season, not many gave them hope of surviving relegation let alone having a successful season. But they had an ace up their sleeve in Gary O’Neil, whose reputation is growing with every ‘big six’ team they swat aside. Beating Manchester City, Chelsea and now Tottenham twice is a sensational feat.

O’Neil has simply made so many of these Wolves players better. He hasn’t moaned about the lack of funds to strengthen – he’s just got on with his job. A tactical triumph all round.

He’s built a Wolves team that can be devastating on their day. Spurs saw this up close as they walked straight into the traps set by O’Neil. Pedro Neto dazzled once again, Joao Gomes scored twice, Craig Dawson led the defensive line majestically. The manager himself called their scintillating counter-attack “the one thing we know we can do”.

But he also added that Wolves now need to link differing styles of play together. Against Tottenham, they had just 29.1 per cent of possession, fewer shots and a lower xG – similar numbers, you’d imagine, against Manchester City and Chelsea too. It is clear these games are where they thrive.

However, last weekend in a home defeat to Brentford, the script was flipped. They had 71.1 per cent of the ball and almost twice as many shots. Adapting to how different opponents may play against them is the next step in O’Neil’s impressive Wolves evolution. With or without the ball, goals and wins are paramount.

But there is one thing that is in no doubt – the future under O’Neil’s watch is a bright one. Wolves have a gem.
Lewis Jones and Charlotte Marsh

Liverpool frightening regardless of the injuries

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Brentford against Liverpool in the Premier League

Liverpool could have up to nine absentees ahead of next Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Chelsea. Games against Man City and Everton follow soon after. Jurgen Klopp says he has problems ahead of a crunch period of the season as his side fight on four fronts.

The Premier League leaders definitely didn’t show that in Saturday’s 4-1 win at Brentford. Mohamed Salah stole the show on his return as he delivered a goal and an assist off the bench. Cody Gakpo, another substitute, produced the same feat.

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Sky Sports News’ James Green and Zinny Boswell analyse Liverpool’s convincing 4-1 win over Brentford

Few teams could lose their biggest threats, Diogo Jota and Darwin Nunez, and step up their performance. Klopp has a point, losing depth at this vital stage is potentially damaging, but he has a uniquely stacked array of forwards to cope with such an eventuality.

Liverpool managed to average three goals per game in the four matches Salah missed through injury and with Nunez unlikely to be out for long, there is no reason the forwards can’t step up again without Jota. Liverpool guarantee goals, whoever is playing.
Zinny Boswell

Is Mbappe needed? Arsenal looking complete

Arsenal began the weekend dreaming about Kylian Mbappe. They will end it questioning if they actually need him.

Since the winter break, when all the talk was about whether the Gunners needed to strengthen up front, Mikel Arteta’s side have 21 goals in five Premier League matches. That run includes five goals past Crystal Palace, six in the West Ham net, now five against Burnley.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League clash between Arsenal and Burnley

Still, some will claim Arsenal need that 30-goal-a-season striker. But three reasons suggest they don’t.

The first: among those 21 goals since January 20, there have been nine different goalscorers – showing a desire to spread firepower around the team through personnel. Arsenal don’t need an Erling Haaland if they have multiple players on 15 goals and defenders contributing from set-pieces.

The second: Arsenal have a starlet in Bukayo Saka who can take on the goalscoring mantle, if one star is needed. “I have no idea, I don’t think Bukayo needs much motivating,” said Arteta after the game when asked if Saka was affected by the Mbappe links.

The 22-year-old has 12 goals this season including seven in his last six league games and is right in the mix for the Golden Boot.

And the third: Arsenal aren’t conceding, meaning less is needed from up top. While they’ve scored 21 at one end, they’ve conceded just twice at the other. One was an own goal against Liverpool, the other a late consolation at Nottingham Forest.

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In short, Arsenal are looking complete.
Sam Blitz

Watkins continues to stake claim for place in Southgate’s Euro squad

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League clash between Fulham and Aston Villa

While England fans lick their lips at the prospect of the Three Lions’ chances at this summer’s Euros, given how many players are hitting top form, Gareth Southgate must have a perpetual headache.

Harry Kane still can’t stop scoring for Bayern Munich, Ivan Toney is back from his ban and firing for Brentford, while Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden are just going from strength to strength.

Ollie Watkins has not had too many chances to show what he’s capable of on the international stage. He has earned nine caps since his debut in March 2021, but only started three times and played for more than an hour just twice.

He was left out of the Euro 2020 squad and the World Cup 2022 squad, too – but there’s no doubt it’s time to start looking at him for this summer’s squad.

Against Fulham at Craven Cottage, it was his finishing masterclass that helped Aston Villa to their second Premier League win of 2024 and helped them take control of the intriguing battle to reach the top four. Another hat-trick escaped him on this occasion, but his double took him to 18 goals – his best return in four seasons in a Villa shirt.

Granted, he will not be the main man. But the opportunity to take an in-form player, capable of playing as a No 9, but also out wide, to Germany should be one Southgate does not pass up.
Dan Long

Performances just as damaging as results for Moyes

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League clash between Nottingham Forest and West Ham

David Moyes’ supporters will point to that Europa Conference League win at the end of last season, as well as the fact that West Ham are still eighth in the Premier League despite a miserable 2024.

But Moyes can’t trade off that magical night in Prague forever. The reality is that his side haven’t won in eight games. Their push for Europe is seriously faltering, while the style of football leaves plenty to be desired.

West Ham fans must look at their contemporaries – Aston Villa and Brighton, for example – and wonder why their team can’t play with similar ambition.

Villa, Brighton and the like won’t win every week, but they at least go down fighting. At the moment, West Ham don’t even do that.

With Jarrod Bowen, Michail Antonio and Mohammed Kudus leading the attack, the visitors managed just three shots on target at the City Ground.

The trouble with playing the more conservative brand of football favoured by Moyes is that, when results turn, fans don’t even have entertaining football to cling onto.

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Despite their top-half position, West Ham are comfortably in the bottom half for goals conceded, expected goals and possession percentage.

That helps to explain why so many Hammers fans want to see change in the dugout. It’s not just the defeats, but the manner of them that is so damaging.
Joe Shread

Bruno unleashed into exciting new role

Bruno Guimaraes and Lewis Cook battle for the ball
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Bruno Guimaraes excelled in a more attack-minded role

As Eddie Howe referenced after another chaotic St James’ Park draw, Newcastle aren’t at their best. Performances are disjointed. Howe’s team charged to the Champions League last season playing a very controlled game – they have no control at the minute. There have been 41 total goals scored in their last nine games across all competitions.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League clash between Newcastle and Bournemouth

It’s exciting, yes, but they are stagnating in the Premier League table. Someone who is on the up is Bruno Guimaraes. He once again flourished playing further forward, contributing hugely to Newcastle’s chance creation. He officially made three chances for his team-mates and it was his cross – that didn’t count as a key pass – that was smashed home at the second attempt by Ritchie for the equaliser.

He’s looked a little rash and unmotivated this season in his role playing at the base of Newcastle’s three-man midfield but the switch to play him closer to the attackers has unleashed an exciting version of the Brazilian. He’s made 23 runs into the box across his last three games, which is more than he’s made in his previous 14 games combined in the Premier League, highlighting his added attacking licence. This new role is right up his street.
Lewis Jones

Arsenal put five past Burnley – and they wanted more

Bukayo Saka’s double helped Arsenal earn a classy 5-0 win over lowly Burnley as the Gunners again closed the gap on Premier League leaders Liverpool to two points.

The Gunners controlled matters from start to finish as Martin Odegaard blasted the Gunners into a fourth-minute lead, before Saka doubled the lead from the spot after Leandro Trossard was fouled by Maxime Esteve.

Saka blasted in a third moments after half-time to make it seven goals in his last six Premier League games before Trossard curled in a fourth after the hour mark.

There was even time for Kai Havertz to get in on the act with a solo run and finish – as Arsenal made it 21 goals in five Premier League matches since the winter break.

Kai Havertz scores Arsenal's fifth goal at Turf Moor
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Kai Havertz rounded the scoring with Arsenal’s fifth

Despite their dominant form at the moment, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said his team wanted even more from the fruitful afternoon.

“I see certain behaviours on the pitch that they want more still – and they are not satisfied with certain things. And that’s a great sign I think,” he told Sky Sports after the game.

“They wanted more, the way they tracked back on the 95th minute is just incredible. It shows the desire everybody has in the squad – the finishers, starters – the players that are not there. It was a really good afternoon.”

Burnley, meanwhile, have got eight games without a win and remain seven points from safety.

Player ratings

Burnley: Trafford (4); Assignon (5), O’Shea (5), Esteve (4), Delcroix (5); Ramsey (6), Berge (6), Brownhill (5), Odobert (6); Fofana (5), Amdouni (4)

Subs used: Gudmundsson (6), Taylor (6), Rodriguez (5), Vitinho (n/a), Bruun Larsen (n/a)

Arsenal: Raya (7); White (7), Saliba (7), Gabriel (7), Kiwior (8); Rice (8), Odegaard (8), Havertz (8); Saka (9), Trossard (8), Martinelli (7)

Subs used: Nketiah (6), Cedric (6), Nelson (6), Jorginho (n/a), Smith Rowe (n/a)

Player of the match: Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)

How Arsenal made the Clarets blue

Burnley actually held most of the ball and did the early running in the opening five minutes – but Arsenal hit them on the break for their first attack.

Team news headlines

  • Burnley named an unchanged line-up from the team who lost 3-1 to Liverpool on Saturday. Charlie Taylor returned to the bench and came on at the hour mark.
  • Arsenal also named an unchanged team from their 6-0 win over West Ham, with Emile Smith Rowe returning to the bench after injury.

Declan Rice fed Gabriel Martinelli down the left and he cut the ball back to Odegaard on the edge of the area. The Arsenal captain, completely unmarked and under no pressure, took a touch before firing past James Trafford at the near post.

A sweet strike by Martin Odegaard gives Arsenal an early lead at Burnley
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A sweet strike by Martin Odegaard gives Arsenal an early lead at Burnley

Minutes later, it could and should have been two. Trossard was released by Saka for a one-on-one and instead of shooting, the Belgian cut inside in an attempt to round Trafford, who got a palm on the ball towards safety.

Gabriel headed a Saka corner over, while Burnley’s only chance of the first half came from Wilson Odobert – whose cross-cum-shot was parried by David Raya.

But it was Arsenal who made it two before the break. Trossard was clipped by Esteve in the box and that allowed Saka to beat Trafford from 12 yards.

Bukayo Saka celebrates after doubling Arsenal's lead at Burnley from the penalty spot
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Saka celebrates after doubling Arsenal’s lead at Burnley from the penalty spot

Seconds after half-time, Saka was at it again. Odegaard played him in down the right and the England winger blasted a right-footed shot high into the roof of the net.

Burnley’s afternoon went from bad to worse as Aaron Ramsey limped off with an apparent knee injury, with the young midfielder needing oxygen before being stretchered off the pitch.

Trossard missed two chances from Martinelli passes before getting Arsenal’s fourth – pouncing on a loose ball in the area before curling in with his left foot after Havertz’s shot was blocked.

Leandro Trossard celebrates after scoring Arsenal's fourth goal at Burnley
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Leandro Trossard celebrates after scoring Arsenal’s fourth goal at Burnley

The German eventually did get in on the act as Havertz latched onto Jakub Kiwior’s quick long throw before taking the ball down in the box and slotting home.

Arsenal rang the changes ahead of their Champions League last-16 tie at Porto in midweek, with Burnley’s agony compounded by 10 minutes of stoppage time. Arsenal used it to parade their advantage in the rain.

Arteta: I expected a different afternoon

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Mikel Arteta reacted to Arsenal’s 5-0 win against Burnley at Turf Moor and said that they need to maintain the momentum they have set in recent weeks.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta to Sky Sports: “Today was a really tricky game – a difficult place to come and win. Burnley have been really good, competitive and consistent against the top sides and I expected a very different afternoon.

“It’s true with the early goals we scored, we made it easier and the game flowed better for us. But I still think they’re a really good side.

“Individually we are in a really good moment and Bukayo is in a good moment. We need to maintain that. We have that momentum and it’s a case of still doing it. There are still things we can do better so we keep going.

“The only bad side to the game was Aaron Ramsey who I think had a really bad injury so I would like to wish him the best and hopefully it’s not a bad one.

“We have to believe we can win every game. We are approaching every game in that way. When the team has that belief and confidence, something good can happen.

“But we know the standards and what it will require, we have to keep elevating those standards. I believe we can do that as I see them in training every single day. Let’s go for it.”

Kompany: We felt we turned a corner recently

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Vincent Kompany admitted that Burnley were not good enough against Arsenal as they were beaten 5-0, but they can not dwell on the defeat.

Burnley manager Vincent Kompany to Sky Sports: “Not good enough. I think in moments like this, you take it on the chin. They were better than us but we didn’t perform to our best possible level.

“For many games now, the last 14 of 15 of them, we didn’t question the performance. But today was a bad performance which can happen sometimes.

“We can’t let it affect the next games. This week will be one where we focus on the next game and make sure we stick together and show what we want to be about.

“My goal is to always be there with the players. In tough times, even more. We felt we were building to something positive and felt we could turn a corner. In a day like today, you probably find other people around you will doubt about this, but it’s important to stay our course and be ready for the next game.

“The belief is there of course. But our priority now is: we can’t dwell on this game. We played against a very good side, we have to move on and all eyes on Palace now.”

On understanding fans leaving early: “Of course. It’s 5-0 for the opposition. I haven’t been at any club in the past where the fans are standing and clapping for you at the end of a game like this.

“It’s tough, it’s part of the difficult moments when you lose a game. But you can be top of the league and lose a game. It’s the same as everyone else.”

On Aaron Ramsey’s injury: “It didn’t look good. I don’t know the extent of the injury yet. I wish him well, hope he recovers and that it’s not as bad as we think.”

Analysis: Arsenal are looking complete

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Sky Sports’ Sam Blitz:

Arsenal began the weekend dreaming about Kylian Mbappe. They will end it questioning if they actually need him.

Since the winter break, when all the talk was about whether the Gunners needed to strengthen up front, Mikel Arteta’s side have 21 goals in five Premier League matches. That run includes five goals past Crystal Palace, six in the West Ham net, now five against Burnley.

Still, some will claim Arsenal need that 30-goal-a-season striker. But three reasons suggest they don’t.

The first: among those 21 goals since January 20, there have been nine different goalscorers – showing a desire to spread firepower around the team through personnel. Arsenal don’t need an Erling Haaland if they have multiple players on 15 goals and defenders contributing from set-pieces.

The second: Arsenal have a starlet in Bukayo Saka who can take on the goalscoring mantle, if one star is needed. “I have no idea, I don’t think Bukayo needs much motivating,” said Arteta after the game when asked if Saka was affected by the Mbappe links.

The 22-year-old has 12 goals this season including seven in his last six league games and is right in the mix for the Golden Boot this season.

And the third: Arsenal aren’t conceding, meaning less is needed from up top. While they’ve scored 21 at one end, they’ve conceded just twice at the other. One was an own goal against Liverpool, the other a late consolation at Nottingham Forest.

In short, Arsenal are looking complete.

What’s next?

Burnley travel to Crystal Palace in the Premier League next Saturday in what could be key in the battle against relegation; kick-off 3pm.

Arsenal resume their Champions League campaign on Wednesday as they travel to Porto in the last 16 first leg; kick-off 8pm. They are back in Premier League action next Saturday as they host Newcastle; kick-off 8pm.

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PL Predictions: Brentford set to sting Liverpool’s title bid

Our tipster Jones Knows sprinkles his analysis and betting advice across an exciting Premier League weekend, tipping Liverpool to slip up at Brentford.

Watch free Premier League highlights on the Sky Sports app
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Watch free Premier League highlights on the Sky Sports app

Brentford vs Liverpool, Saturday 12.30pm

Run away as fast as you can from the 4/7 with Sky Bet on a Liverpool away win.

Brentford’s direct, to the point style always causes issues for the big boys at home, especially Liverpool. The Bees have found the net six times against Jurgen Klopp’s men in their two meetings at the Gtech, winning 3-1 and drawing 3-3.

Liverpool may have only conceded 13 goals on the road – the second-best defensive record in the Premier League – but the underlying metrics point to an overachievement on that front. The chances they’ve shipped, using the expected goals against model, shows a result of 19.11 – an overperformance of six goals. That per 90 average of 1.59 expected goals against is only the fifth best in the Premier League – even Everton (1.54) sit above them on that front.

A regression could be on the horizon, so Brentford are capable of scoring twice, especially with their main man Ivan Toney back and amongst the goals.

Of course, it’s hard to keep the Liverpool attack quiet too – they’ve scored three or more goals in 11 of their last 24 Premier League games. Goals look on the menu so backing both teams to score and over 2.5 goals around 4/5 with Sky Bet looks a winner in waiting.

SCORE PREDICTION: 2-2 | JONES KNOWS’ BEST BET: Both teams to score & over 2.5 goals (4/5 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)

Any winners last weekend for Jones Knows?

  • Best Bet: Darwin Nunez +1 offside (10/11)
  • Best Bet: BTTS & Over 2.5 in Luton vs Sheff Utd (11/10)
  • Best Bet: Enzo Fernandez 2+ shots (10/11)
  • Best Bet: 13/2 weekend treble
  • Manchester United to beat Aston Villa (9/5)
  • Correct score: Liverpool 3-1 Burnley (11/1)
  • Correct score: Aston Villa 1-2 Man Utd (9/1)
  • Tottenham to win & BTTS vs Brighton (7/4)
  • Chelsea to beat Crystal Palace (4/5)

Burnley vs Arsenal, Saturday 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!

Burnley will be quaking in their boots at trying to stop the Arsenal set-piece machine. Vincent Kompany’s men are a shambles from such situations, shipping 12 goals and a league-high 11.16 worth of expected goals.

Meanwhile, Arsenal have scored a league-high 16 goals from set-pieces, including netting twice in the 3-1 win over Burnley from corners. My colleague Sam Blitz broke down Arsenal’s set-piece prowess earlier this week – well worth a watch below.

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Ron Walker is joined by Sam Blitz to discuss what makes Arsenal so good at set-pieces, with Mikel Arteta’s side leading the way in the Premier League this season.

Declan Rice has become a key part of Arsenal’s strength from dead balls. Rice only took three corners in the first 20 Premier League games, but since then, he has taken 12 corners in four games and provided three assists from set-pieces, two of them coming against West Ham.

His inswinging deliveries from the left are usually on point. Burnley goalkeeper James Trafford has been exposed by such tactics this season under the high ball so I’m firmly expecting Rice to provide opportunities for William Saliba, who scored in the corresponding fixture, and the bulldozing Gabriel, who has scored four times in the Premier League this season.

Arsenal

Rice is 11/4 with Sky Bet for an assist whilst Saliba (9/1) and Gabriel (11/2) are both runners in the goalscorer markets.

For a best bet though I’m looking to combine both angles and would advise taking the 11/1 on Rice providing an assist for either Saliba or Gabriel.

SCORE PREDICTION: 0-2 | JONES KNOWS’ BEST BET: Declan Rice to assist William Saliba or Gabriel (11/1 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)

Fulham vs Aston Villa, Saturday 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!

Unai Emery is doing a magnificent job at Aston Villa. To get them firmly in the hunt for the Champions League considering some of the injuries they’ve been rocked with this season is worthy of praise. Boubacar Kamara is the latest long-term absentee now after suffering ‘significant’ knee damage against Manchester United, joining Ezri Konsa, Emi Buendia and Tyrone Mings in the treatment room, all of whom have knee injuries.

Emery has shown he can find solutions when key players are missing, so I’m not overly worried for them at Fulham.

One player that is fighting fit is John McGinn, who is set to start his 40th straight Premier League game.

John McGinn flexes in celebration after opening the scoring for Aston Villa at Sheffield United
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John McGinn is 9/2 to score with Sky Bet

He remains a driving force in the Villa midfield, a position that does allow him to venture into some dangerous attacking positions. A haul of five goals – his best ever Premier League return – showcases the attack-minded role he’s playing, as does his return of 11 shots on target in his last 10 Premier League games. Both the 9/2 with Sky Bet on him scoring and the 10/11 for him to have at least one shot on target are betting angles of note.

SCORE PREDICTION: 1-2

Newcastle vs Bournemouth, Saturday 3pm

Bruno Guimaraes has always struck me as a player that would relish playing further forward – and we got to see it in action at Nottingham Forest last weekend.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League match between Nottingham Forest and Newcastle.

He’s looked a little rash and unmotivated this season in his role playing at the base of Newcastle’s three-man midfield but the switch to play him closer to the attackers and drop Lewis Miley into the holding role unleashed an exciting version of the Brazilian. He scored two fine goals at the City Ground, backing up his impressive performance towards the end of the 4-4 with Luton where he played with more freedom and registered an assist.

He made 18 runs into the box across those two games, which is more than he’s made in his last 14 games combined in the Premier League, highlighting his added attacking licence. All this equates to the 15/8 with Sky Bet available on Guimaraes either scoring or assisting a goal being a bet to keep on your radar.

SCORE PREDICTION: 2-2

Nottingham Forest vs West Ham, Saturday 3pm

When a David Moyes team gets walloped, a reaction is almost guaranteed. You just know the preparation all week on the training ground for this trip will have been about defensive shape. Drill after drill. Drill after drill. Drill after drill.

Those lads probably haven’t seen a football for seven days. It’s monotonous but it tends to work when assessing the evidence.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Arsenal’s win against West Ham in the Premier League.

On the three previous occasions his West Ham side have conceded five or more goals in a game, the very next game has seen West Ham win without conceding a goal. For that trend to continue you can get 9/2 with Sky Bet on a Hammers away win to nil.

Keeping along those lines, my eyes have been drawn to the 6/5 with Sky Bet on offer on ‘no’ in the both teams to score market which does seem generous when you factor in the likely ultra-defensive approach on show from West Ham. They won’t allow Forest to unleash many counter-attacks. It’s a bet that would have copped in nine of West Ham’s last 13 fixtures. I think it’ll go in again.

SCORE PREDICTION: 0-1 | JONES KNOWS’ BEST BET: ‘No’ in the both teams to score market (6/5 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)

Tottenham vs Wolves, Saturday 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!

Tottenham might be 1/2 with Sky Bet to secure a top four finish but I’ve still got trust issues with them. Just one clean sheet in their last 15 Premier League games isn’t a great look and their overall defensive process when it comes to expected goals against (41.34) still has them ranked as the sixth worst in the league. Wolves are smart and streetwise enough to extend Tottenham’s run without a clean sheet and I can’t resist the 5/1 with Sky Bet on offer for Pedro Neto to score anytime.

Pedro

His ability to move with great electricity with the ball is bound to expose Spurs in wide areas and no Premier League player is averaging more shots from fast breaks per 90 than Neto this season (0.65). In his last five game since returning from injury he’s posted 12 shots, six of them on target and scored two goals. With Matheus Cunha out, he’ll be tasked with the responsibility of leading the Wolves charge in forward areas and chances should fall his way against this type of opponent.

SCORE PREDICTION: 3-2 | JONES KNOWS’ BEST BET: Pedro Neto to score (5/1 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)

Manchester City vs Chelsea, Saturday 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!

Just let this sink in: Chelsea made 420 passes in the first half against Crystal Palace and managed to register just one shot.

It was the poorest passes-to-shots ratio in the first half of a Premier League game since Opta started collating data in 2003. They improved their tempo after the break but it still took two injury-time goals to beat a Palace side without their four most influential players.

This strange, disjointed Chelsea team could be in for another rude awakening – like they suffered at Liverpool.

Everton showed how you restrict City, by defending as a unit showing exemplary and rigorous organisation. And they lost 2-0 despite almost being almost perfect defensively.

Chelsea don’t possess the defensive unity to survive any sort of onslaught as shown by conceding four goals to Wolves, Newcastle, Liverpool and City in the reverse fixture this season. Finding a way to boost the 1/3 with Sky Bet for a home win looks the play so adding City to be winning at half-time and full-time is how to get there at 10/11. In the last six seasons from February onwards, City have been winning at half-time in 69 per cent of their home fixtures meaning there’s an edge in that 10/11 price.


Saturday 17th February 5:00pm


Kick off 5:30pm

Sky Sports Premier League HD
Sky Sports Premier League HD

SCORE PREDICTION: 4-1

Sheffield United vs Brighton, Sunday 2pm, live on Sky Sports – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!

Sheffield United have conceded 10 goals in their last two home games – five of those to Brighton in the FA Cup. They have conceded goals at an unparalleled rate this season – their record currently stands at 60 conceded, the most by any team at this stage of a Premier League season. That average of 2.5 goals conceded per game means they are on course to concede 95 goals this season which would be a new Premier League record in a 38-game season.

But here’s the plot twist: I’m keen on them to get a result here at 11/8 with Sky Bet.

Brighton, who have kept just two clean sheets in the Premier League this season, are just too short. It’s now just four wins from their last 18 Premier League games and they’ve won just one of their last six Premier League games against teams starting the day in the relegation places, conceding 15 goals. There the 1-1 with the Blades amongst that run, too.

This isn’t the Brighton of last season where their attacking output was up there with Manchester City’s – it’s dropped like a stone and their defensive process is taking a hit too. Even in that 5-2 win over the Blades in the FA Cup, Brighton lost the non-penalty expected goals count 1.02 vs 2.28. I wouldn’t put you off the upset.

SCORE PREDICTION: 3-2

Luton vs Manchester United, Sunday 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports


Sunday 18th February 4:00pm


Kick off 4:30pm

Sky Sports Main Event HD
Sky Sports Main Event HD

It’s very difficult to back against Manchester United in these types of matches when you consider their near-perfect record away from home against teams that finished in the bottom 11 places of the Premier League last season or are predicted to be there this season. Since the start of last season, they have taken 40 points from 48 available against such opposition and conceded just eight goals in those 16 matches.

It’s rarely pretty on the eye or convincing, though, meaning Luton are fancied to cause United problems with their unique style. We can profit from this by heading to the corner markets. Rob Edwards’ team look a fantastic bet to win more corners than United at a juicy 11/8 with Sky Bet.

Regular readers will know all about how the Luton corner lines have spiked recently to the extent that they’ve won more corners than the opposition in seven of their last eight matches across all competitions. The aggregate corner count over those fixtures reads Luton 64-29 Opposition. A pummelling.

Luton corners xxx

United’s low corner count in away fixtures against bottom-half teams also offers further confidence behind a Luton corner win. In their last 15 matches against bottom-half teams on the road, United have won just four of the corner counts with the aggregate score reading Man Utd 64-88 Opposition. They’ve also only won six or more corners in just two of those 15 fixtures. The lines look all wrong, so there’s huge value to be had backing Luton to win the corner count.

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Manchester United defender Harry Maguire is expecting a ‘positive effect’ from the arrival of Jim Ratcliffe at Manchester United.

SCORE PREDICTION: 1-2 | JONES KNOWS’ BEST BET: Luton to win more corners than Man Utd (11/8 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)

Everton vs Crystal Palace, Monday 8pm, live on Sky Sports


Monday 19th February 6:30pm


Kick off 8:00pm

Sky Sports Premier League HD
Sky Sports Premier League HD

At the time of writing, there’s so many unknowns regarding Crystal Palace’s team news and managerial situation. That makes putting together a sensible and measured prediction almost impossible. If the likes of Marc Guehi, Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze are all out and the manager situation remains up in the air, Everton should be taking advantage at 7/10 with Sky Bet for the home win but if an announcement comes that ex-Eintracht Frankfurt boss Oliver Glasner taking over, as reported by Sky in Germany, then it changes everything. Unless the picture becomes clearer, I’ll be sitting it out.

SCORE PREDICTION: 2-0

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