Fresh from some midweek winners, Jones Knows takes aim at the five Premier League matches this weekend and wants to take on Arsenal at Leeds.
Aston Villa vs Burnley, Saturday 3pm
Aston Villa have taken more points in six games under Steven Gerrard than they did in Dean Smith’s last 11. Those 12 points won under Gerrard’s watch have been achieved with a backdrop of a watertight defensive process that has seen them concede just five goals with an expected goals against figure of 6.3. When you factor in that they’ve played Manchester City and Liverpool in that time, it’s a very encouraging record and bodes well for Villa’s chances of breaking into the top-10 this season.
Meanwhile, Burnley have only one win to their name in their last 18 Premier League matches but have drawn 12 of their last 30 league fixtures which does show they remain a hard team to put away. With Nick Pope, Ben Mee and James Tarkowski all fit and firing in the backline, Villa may take their time to find a way through. Second-half goals are something Villa are accustomed to producing though with 17 of their 23 Premier League goals scored after the break this season. The 7/2 with Sky Bet for the game to be level at half-time and Villa to be winning at full time makes sense.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-0
BETTING ANGLE: Draw/Aston Villa in half time/full time market (7/2 with Sky Bet)
Any midweek winners for Jones Knows?
- Aston Villa to win 2-0 vs Norwich at 8/1
- Antonio Rudiger to have two or more shots vs Everton at 7/4
- Arsenal to win 2-0 vs West Ham at 9/1
- Southampton to win five or more corners at 5/4
Leeds vs Arsenal, Saturday 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports
If Arsenal can start transferring their home form to their away days then a top-four finish just might be within their capabilities. That is easier said than done though for a team who lack experience and clearly relish playing with the home comforts at The Emirates.
Since losing to Chelsea in August, Mikel Arteta’s team have taken 22 points from a possible 24 at home. However, they have lost their last three Premier League away games, winning just two of their last eight on the road. The performance metrics back up their struggles away from home, too. Their shots on target, expected goals, shots faced and shots on target faced are all trending in the wrong direction when not playing at The Emirates.
With that in mind, I can’t back them here at 23/20 with Sky Bet.
However, I also don’t want to trust Leeds without Kalvin Phillips. Since their promotion to the Premier League, Leeds have a worrying record when the England international doesn’t play, losing 11 of their 14 fixtures. The draw stands out like a sore thumb at 13/5 with Sky Bet.
SCORE PREDICTION: 0-0
BETTING ANGLE: Back the draw (13/5 with Sky Bet)
Wolves vs Chelsea, Sunday 2pm
Chelsea are out to 8/1 with Sky Bet to win the Premier League title. They were 15/8 in November.
To some that might look an attractive price for the Champions League holders who are just four points off the top spot. However, over the past month there have been signs emerging that Thomas Tuchel’s boys are just a level below Manchester City and Liverpool, to the extent now that I’d be very surprised if they don’t finish third.
Tuchel was at a loss to explain how they didn’t comfortably beat Everton on Thursday, calling it a freak result. It’s true they found Jordan Pickford in top form but what worried me was their lack of sustained, quality attacks in the final 20 minutes when they were chasing a winner. It was the same in the 3-2 win over Leeds where two Jorginho penalties got them out of jail. Chelsea are seemingly finding it tough to break through low block defences without the influence and natural goal instincts of Romelu Lukaku.
And, well-organised low blow defences don’t come tighter than Wolves, who could be set to send Tuchel’s frustrations levels off the scale in this one. Bruno Lage’s team have conceded only 14 goals this season – only Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool have shipped fewer.
I can see this game going down a familiar low scroing path. Wolves took four points off Chelsea last season, coming from behind to win 2-1 in this fixture. And at the prices, I’m happy to back them to win or draw on the double chance at 6/4 with Sky Bet.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1
BETTING ANGLE: Wolves to win or draw (6/4 with Sky Bet)
Newcastle vs Manchester City, Sunday 2pm, live on Sky Sports
Trying to wow you with a value-soaked bet for a Manchester City match is such a tricky task. Such is their complete dominance in matches, almost every potential betting angle for anything positive regarding goals, shots or match outcomes is just too obvious to seriously make a case for at such skinny odds. Will they win? Of course. Do I want to advise punters getting on a 1/7 with Sky Bet? Absolutely not.
Kevin de Bruyne looked back to his best in midweek, perhaps his shot lines are worth a play? Nope. He’s 8/13 to have four or more shots. It’s a ridiculously short price.
Live Renault Super Sunday
Sunday 19th December 1:00pm
With a routine, job-done type of performance expected from City, my eyes have wandered to the cards markets with the likelihood of Allan Saint-Maximin being ruled out for this one. The French winger picked up a muscular injury at Liverpool and hobbled off and with him unavailable, the chances of cards drops significantly.
Manchester City’s fixtures against bottom half teams have a tendency to produce a low card count anyway due to the one-sided nature of the match where the game could be over by 60 minutes. In six of their eight meetings with bottom-10 teams this season, there has been less than three cards in the match. When you throw a lenient official into the mix in the shape of Martin Atkinson, who has shown less than three cards in five of his last seven matches and averages just 2.3 cards per 90 minutes this season, then the under 30 bookings points looks worth taking at 6/5 with Sky Bet.
SCORE PREDICTION: 0-2
BETTING ANGLE: Under 30 booking points (6/5 with Sky Bet)
Tottenham vs Liverpool, Sunday 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports
A well-rested Spurs will pose a challenge for Liverpool to break down under Antonio Conte, who has overseen an incredible defensive process since he was appointed. In four games, Spurs have conceded just once with their expected goals against figures and shots faced numbers only bettered by Manchester City and Liverpool during that period.
Spurs clean sheets are on my radar for the rest of the season but you’d need to be brave here to back Liverpool not to score at 6/1 with Sky Bet. They have found the net in all of their last 32 matches in all competitions, scoring 85 goals in that period. Plus, Liverpool have had almost double the amount of shots, chances created and touches in the opposition box than Tottenham have had this season. Tottenham currently rank in the bottom three for shots and chances created.
Live Renault Super Sunday
Sunday 19th December 4:00pm
Perhaps a Liverpool clean sheet is the way to play this then? It’s 13/8 if you want to go down that route. But in truth, I’m finding it tough to confidently put forward a bet without knowing the team news.
I’m very keen on the chances of Liverpool bookings in this one as Tottenham have the ability to counter and could take advantage of some tired Liverpool legs. But there is an unknown about which players are available. Heung-Min Son, Harry Kane and Lucas Moura all have the ability to draw cards on the counter but if one or even two of them are unavailable, then the possibility of Liverpool cards drops. Thiago at 15/4 with Sky Bet to be carded is my main point of interest. Since the start of last season, he averages just over two fouls per 90 minutes and will be tasked with stopping any dangerous Spurs attacks.
SCORE PREDICTION: 0-1
BETTING ANGLE: Thiago to be carded (15/4 with Sky Bet)