PL predictions: Liverpool, Chelsea, Man Utd all to slip

Our betting guru Jones Knows thinks Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United will all fail to win as he tackles this weekend’s predictions.

Watford vs Liverpool, Saturday 12.30pm

I’m expecting a barrage of the usual witty remarks like “you should change your name to Jones doesn’t Know – haha” at the full-time of this one – but I’m up for taking Liverpool on here at a very skinny 1/3 with Sky Bet.

For two main reasons.

The Claudio Ranieri bounce factor and Jurgen Klopp’s recent record with the Reds playing at 12.30pm on a Saturday.

One thing you can guarantee with appointing Ranieri is a positive mentality and an ability for players to increase their work-rate for him almost instantly. He has the bounce factor as seen by the fact he’s only lost one of his last eight games when taking charge of a team for the first time, including winning both his first matches in charge of Leicester (4-2 over Sunderland) and Fulham (3-2 over Southampton).

Meanwhile, Liverpool have only won two of their last six 12.30pm Saturday kick-offs. That may not sound too catastrophic, but all those fixtures came against teams that Liverpool were heavy favourites to beat. That’s a big loss if you’re backing them to level stakes, hence my willingness to take them on at odds-on here.

In that run, they drew with Everton, Newcastle and Brighton while losing 3-1 at Leicester City. Throw in the likely absence of Alisson in goal due to his international commitments with Brazil – they have suffered shock defeats to Aston Villa (7-2) and Brighton (1-0) when he’s been missing before – then, at the odds available, the 5/2 about Watford winning or drawing the game seem very reasonable.


BETTING ANGLE: Watford to draw or win (5/2 with Sky Bet)

Claudio Ranieri has been appointed as Watford's new manager
Claudio Ranieri has been appointed as Watford’s new manager

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

A fine margin game that reinforces what a tough gig it is predicting Premier League matches. Both teams are trending upwards in terms of their results but creating good quality chances and taking them seems to be an issue for both looking at their expected goals data, especially for Wolves. Despite winning two of their last three matches, they haven’t posted an expected goals figure above 1.00, which suggests a slight overperformance. On that basis, I’ll side with a narrow Villa win with no confidence whatsoever.

Since switching to a back three and encouraging their wing-backs in Matt Targett and Matty Cash to play more aggressively, Villa’s corner count is seeing a sharp increase. In their last four fixtures against tough opponents like Tottenham, Manchester United, Everton and Chelsea, they have averaged 7.25 corners per 90 minutes. I’d expect them to enjoy plenty of territorial advantage in this encounter and Wolves are averaging 5.5 corners against since Bruno Lage took charge. I’d be surprised if Villa don’t win at least six corners, which can be backed at Evens with Sky Bet. But for those that like a bigger price, the eight or more corners at 100/30 or even 10 or more corners a 9/1 is worth a look. They did win 11 corners at Chelsea after all.


BETTING ANGLE: Aston Villa to win six or more corners (Evens with Sky Bet)

Leicester vs Manchester United, Saturday 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!

It’s a make or break period for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. And with Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea all to come in the next 45 days, this fixture is arguably the easiest Premier League opponent they’ll face in the next month or so based upon Leicester’s current form. Just one clean sheet in 13 games doesn’t read well for Brendan Rodgers, whose side are on a run of four games without a win.

But I still don’t want to back Manchester United, who are favourites for the win at 21/20 with Sky Bet. They undoubtedly have the attacking firepower to take the game away from Leicester at any point but go into battle here with a weakened defence as Harry Magure and Raphael Varane are both missing. That will give Leicester plenty of hope.

In the last five matches where Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly have both started, United are winless.

Bailly filled in at full-back alongside Maguire and Lindelof in the 2-2 draw with Leicester in December 2020 but started at centre-back with Lindelof for the next four results shown in the above graphic, including the 1-0 defeat to West Ham in the Carabao Cup earlier this season. I’ll back a high scoring draw here.


BETTING ANGLE: Back the draw (12/5 with Sky Bet)

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

My aim through these prediction/betting snippets is to try and guide you towards a potential angle of profit that is drenched with value – but I’m really struggling with this one. Manchester City are available to back at 1/11 with Sky Bet for good reason – but you didn’t need to be told that.

Sean Dyche just doesn’t know how to stop them. Burnley have lost each of their last eight meetings vs City in all competitions by an aggregate score of 30-1 with Pep Guardiola’s side winning the last six Premier League games by a 22-1 aggregate score. For those playing the accumulators this weekend, perhaps a City win to nil is a shrewder way of boosting the price to a more respectable 4/6 with Sky Bet.

However, tipping something at odds-on when it is fairly priced isn’t really my style.

Sometimes the best bet is no bet.


Norwich vs Brighton, Saturday 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!

Norwich haven’t scored in the last 235 minutes of Premier League football since Teemu Pukki’s goal vs Watford on September 18. I can see that being extended by a further 90 minutes this weekend.

Graham Potter receives plenty of admiration for the way his Brighton team play with such style on the ball but it’s their work without it that is seriously impressive. As a defensive unit, Brighton are one of the best in the Premier League and it’s hard to see how a confidence-drained attack like Norwich will find a way through.

This calendar year, only Manchester City and Chelsea have a better defensive process than Potter’s boys. That’s based on expected goals against (25.7) and actual goals conceded (26) – it’s a phenomenal achievement and has allowed Brighton to pick up points this season in games where their attacking process has failed. Norwich are bound to allow their visitors space to create chances and with the door shut at the other, I like the look of Brighton to win without conceding at 5/2.


BETTING ANGLE: Brighton to win to nil (5/2 with Sky Bet)

Southampton vs Leeds, Saturday 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!

Southampton have major problems in front of goal having not scored from open play since August 28 while Leeds look set to be missing their two most attacking weapons in Patrick Bamford and Raphinha. When it comes to an outright prediction, it’s hard to separate them. When that is the case, play the draw.

A more confident shout is found in the goalscorer markets. With Patrick Bamford still missing for Leeds, there is still juice to be had in Mateusz Klich’s price to score. One of the more underrated players in the Leeds team for a goal, Klich is given a huge amount of licence to drive into the box. Klich has had 19 touches in the opposition box in his last three matches and has posted an expected goal figure of 0.69 from his nine shots on goal. I’d recommend taking the 10/1 with Sky Bet for him to score the first goal with the added bonus that he’s likely to be on penalties in the absence of Bamford.


BETTING ANGLE: Mateusz Klich to score first (10/1 with Sky Bet)

Winners from last round of games:

  • Tottenham vs Villa over 11 corners at 11/10
  • Brentford to have more booking points than West Ham at 10/11
  • Manchester United 1-1 Everton at 9/1
  • Michael Keane to have 1+ shot at 11/8

Brentford vs Chelsea, Saturday 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports

Saturday 16th October 5:00pm

Kick off 5:30pm

Sky Sports Premier League HD
Sky Sports Premier League HD

Arsenal, Liverpool and West Ham have all been buzzed by Brentford – now it could be Chelsea’s turn.

Brentford’s process in terms of their performance metrics certainly backs up that taking 12 points from their opening seven Premier League matches is no fluke. The start they have made is pretty phenomenal. Only six newly promoted sides in Premier League history have taken more points at this stage, and it’s the most won after seven games since Hull City’s fast start in 2008. I covered the Bees’ clash with West Ham and their first 30 minutes was the most complete performance I’ve ever seen from a newly promoted team. They made the Hammers – a team that finished sixth last season – look like relegation candidates.

Brentford vs Chelsea

A look at the match prices for this west London derby certainly brings forward the argument that Brentford are still being underestimated by the markets. You can almost get 11/2 with Sky Bet for a home win and 5/2 for the Bees to avoid defeat – it’s a real tempter for a team that has only lost one of their last 19 league games across two seasons. And that defeat was a last-minute winner for Brighton in a game where there was nothing between the teams.

I have decided to play a shorter price to get Brentford on my side though as the Evens for both teams to score looks too good to turn down.

Chelsea’s defensive process remains strong but certainly it’s not at the levels of last season. They are offering up good chances to the opposition. A figure of 1.45 expected goals conceded per 90 minutes in their last eight fixtures showcases that, albeit it’s included matches against Liverpool and Manchester City.

In fact, Chelsea have the biggest difference between goals conceded (3) and expected goals against (8.6) in the Premier League after the opening seven games – at 5.6. Perhaps this Chelsea defence isn’t as watertight as the actual numbers suggest? That makes the possibility of Brentford scoring in this game more likely than the odds on offer. Get on the both-teams-to-score train – it’s best bet of the weekend material.


BETTING ANGLE: Both teams to score (Evens with Sky Bet)

Everton vs West Ham, Sunday 2pm, live on Sky Sports

Sunday 17th October 1:00pm

Kick off 2:00pm

Sky Sports Premier League HD
Sky Sports Premier League HD

This could be a slow burner. Both these two love to counter-attack and this one might not take off until the first goal is scored. A tight encounter is expected. My eyes have wandered to the shots market for a bet.

There is absolutely no way I can let Kurt Zouma – arguably the most dangerous attacker of a set piece in the Premier League – go off 6/1 with Sky Bet to have a header on target.

You can rest assured one of the main reasons West Ham decided to fork out £30m for his signature revolved around his threat in the opposition box. David Moyes has built a very powerful team that are hugely focused on causing problems from set pieces. Zouma almost opened his account in the 2-1 defeat to Brentford but headed wide from six yards out, posting a bulky expected goal figure of 0.13.

Zouma scored five times for Chelsea last season, a feat which made him the joint-top scoring defender in the Premier League along with Lewis Dunk yet his average of 0.22 goals per 90 minutes officially made Zouma the deadliest. His shots data backs that theory up. His average of 1.2 shots per 90 minutes and 0.4 headers on target per match put him top of the shops for defenders in both departments last season. Those figures make his prices of 11/10 with Sky Bet to have one or more shots in the match and the aforementioned 6/1 for a header on target huge value plays.

Here, he lines up against his former side (he actually scored for Everton vs West Ham in 2019), knowing Rafa Benitez’s boys have shown a weakness at defending set pieces this season, conceding three goals already via that route – something Burnley exploited very shrewdly at Goodison Park earlier this campaign where Ben Mee opened the scoring.


BETTING ANGLE: Kurt Zouma to have one or more headers on target (6/1 with Sky Bet)

Newcastle vs Tottenham, Sunday 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports

With so much uncertainty surrounding the manager situation at Newcastle, this encounter is a prediction nightmare from a match result perspective. Steve Bruce or no Steve Bruce, there should still be a revitalised atmosphere at St James’ Park and they possess an attack to seriously ask questions of the visitors. At 5/2 with Sky Bet, the home win looks a backable price.

Harry Kane is taking up a huge chunk of the first goalscorer market but he heads north out of form playing in this Tottenham side. Kane has yet to score in the Premier League this season. After missing the opening game vs Man City he has not scored in any of the last six – his longest run without a league goal since failing to score in the opening six games of the 15/16 season. His price of 3/1 in the first goalscorer market has to be taken on.

Allan Saint-Maximin is likely to continue in a central attacking role and the quotes of 15/2 with Sky Bet about him scoring the first goal significantly underestimate his talents. The flying Frenchman has had the most shots (14), shots on target (6) and opposition box touches (40) for Newcastle this season and has revelled being the main source of goals since Callum Wilson’s injury, scoring in the last two matches at St James’ Park. He can make it three in a row here.


BETTING ANGLE: Allan Saint-Maximin to score first (15/2 with Sky Bet)

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

Monday 18th October 7:00pm

Kick off 8:00pm

Sky Sports Premier League HD
Sky Sports Premier League HD

Arsenal have won five of their last six home games in all competitions. This has coincided with a much-improved defensive performance in recent weeks, keeping three clean sheets in their last four games with the defensive axis of Aaron Ramsdale, Gabriel and Ben White showing some promising early signs. I think they’ll have too much for Palace here.

Following Emile Smith Rowe in various shots and goalscorer markets has been a profitable strategy so far this season and there is no reason to ditch him just yet, especially with confidence flowing having netted three goals in his last five games for club and country. Despite playing in a very advanced role for Mikel Arteta, he is still being priced up by the markets as an inconsistent wide player with little end product.

Arsenal vs Crystal Palace

There is no way we’ll be getting prices like 10/11 with Sky Bet for him to have at least one shot on target in a few months. It’s a bet that would have won in nine of his last 10 appearances in all competitions both domestically and internationally with his only failure to hit the target coming in the defeat at Manchester City when Arsenal hardly ventured out of their own half. I’d expect the Gunners to dominate territory for large chunks of this encounter which should see Smith Rowe come to the fore in dangerous areas. He can hit the target.


BETTING ANGLE: Emile Smith Rowe to have at least one shot on target (10/11 with Sky Bet)

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Arsenal hit four past Hoffenheim for first WCL win

Arsenal Women got their first points in this season’s Women’s Champions League, strolling past Hoffenheim 4-0 in Borehamwood on Thursday night.

Arsenal took the lead midway through the first half through Kim Little’s penalty (21), before Tobin Heath doubled the advantage at the perfect time just before half-time with a far-post finish (45+2).

The hosts didn’t slow down in the second half as Vivianne Miedema bundled the ball over the line after fine work from Jordan Hobbs (52), while Arsenal goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger made several excellent stops to keep the clean sheet.

Leah Williamson put the icing on the cake with a near post header from a corner (86), meaning the Gunners move to second in Group C, level on points with Hoffenheim after two games.

How Arsenal strolled to first WCL points

After losing 4-1 in Barcelona in their opener, Arsenal couldn’t afford to lose ground on the top two spots in Group C, taking a deserved lead in the first half.

After Beth Mead was brought down by Michaela Specht in the box, Little stepped up to send Hoffenheim goalkeeper Martina Tufekovic the wrong way.

Tobin Heath is congratulated by her team-mates after giving Arsenal a two-goal lead
Tobin Heath is congratulated by her team-mates after giving Arsenal a two-goal lead

Arsenal were wasteful on the beak for the remainder of the half, until the final minute when Miedema headed down Nobbs’ cross into the path of Heath, who got her feet right to direct the ball back into the far corner from eight yards.

Jonas Eidevall’s side picked up where they left off, making it 3-0 just seven minutes into the second half; Nobbs’ brilliant first-time, curling effort from the edge of the box deserved better, but after Tufekovic tipped the ball away, it fell to Miedema on the line to force home.

Vivianne Miedema celebrates after putting Arsenal 3-0 up against Hoffenheim
Vivianne Miedema celebrates after putting Arsenal 3-0 up against Hoffenheim

Hoffenheim had their fair share of chances – Sarai Linder headed a big chance high and wide, while Zinsberger saved superbly from Jule Brand twice, and Katie McCabe cleared another Linder header off the line – but Williamson topped off a brilliant personal performance with a goal late on.

Arriving at the near post to meet McCabe’s excellent corner, the defender squeezed the ball past Tufekovic.

What’s next?

Arsenal’s next WSL game is against West Ham at home on November 6 at 3pm, while they go to Danish side HB Koge in their next Champions League group game on November 10 at 5.45pm.

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Arteta: Henry doubts over Arsenal progress ‘another opinion’

Mikel Arteta has dismissed doubts from Thierry Henry over Arsenal’s progress under his management as “just another opinion”.

Arsenal have won 10 points from their last four Premier League games but Henry has questioned this week whether things are going in “the right direction” under the Spaniard.

Arteta came under pressure after the Gunners started the season with three successive league defeats which left the club in the relegation zone, however, an upturn in form lifted them to 11th before the international break.

Asked whether he had read Henry’s comments, Arteta, named manager of the month for September, said: “I haven’t. I am just hearing them from you.”

Henry, Arsenal’s record goalscorer, also said Arsenal had “suffered” in their goalless draw at Brighton in their most recent league game.

Pressed on whether it was helpful for a former player to make such remarks, the Arsenal manager added: “It’s just another opinion. You have to respect that.”

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Arsenal’s draw at Brighton in their last Premier League match prior to the international break

Despite their improved run of results, Arteta says his squad can improve their scoring form having netted five league goals.

“It’s something that certainly we can do better,” he said. “We can improve our efficiency in front of goal. When we get that balance right it will help us to win more games.”

Monday 18th October 7:00pm

Kick off 8:00pm

Sky Sports Premier League HD
Sky Sports Premier League HD

Arteta expects former captain Patrick Vieira to receive a warm reception from the home fans when his Crystal Palace side visit Emirates Stadium on Monday, live on Sky Sports.

Vieira captained Arsenal to three league titles and four FA Cup triumphs as a player, famously leading the ‘Invincibles’ who went a full Premier League campaign unbeaten in 2003-04.

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Mikel Arteta urges Arsenal fans to give Patrick Viera the welcome he deserves when Crystal Palace visit Arsenal on MNF

“He’s an Arsenal legend and I hope he gets the reception he deserves for what he did as a player and a person,” Arteta said.

“He was the captain of the club in the most successful era and it’s great to have him back.”

After ending his playing career following a stint with Manchester City in 2011, Vieira managed New York City and French side Nice before replacing Roy Hodgson at Palace in July.

“He has had a couple of experiences and knows the league really well and you can see what he is trying to implement at Palace,” Arteta added.

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Wilshere training with Arsenal as club show support

Jack Wilshere is training with Arsenal as his former club support him with his future in the game.

The 29-year-old has been a free agent since his deal at Bournemouth expired at the end of last season.

He spent a short time last month training with Serie B outfit Como having spoken about his lack of offers and the impact it was having on his mental health.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was then asked if Wilshere would be welcome back to the club to train, replying “the door is always open”.

Now Wilshere, who played 197 games for Arsenal over 10 years, is training predominantly with the under-23s at the club’s London Colney training centre.

Mikel Arteta and Jack Wilshere
Wilshere played alongside Mikel Arteta at Arsenal

The PA news agency understands he will occasionally join in with the first team and use the opportunity to study coaching approaches in an agreement that will run until the end of January.

“What you should believe is that we want to help Jack prepare for his next stage, physically, mentally,” Arteta told the club’s official website.

“He wants to do his coaching badges again and we are prepared to fulfil all the needs that he wants. That is basically the idea and it is no further than that.

“I am very happy to have him back.

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Former Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere highlights the importance of speaking out about mental health and how talking to others has helped him

“We had a conversation with Jack and understand the needs that he has, the period that he is going through and I think everyone at the club agreed it was the right moment to help him.

“We sat down with him and we listened to what he wanted to do and what stage he is and we are prepared to do anything we can to help him.

“He is going to be training sometimes with us. He is going to be around the place. He is going to be continuing his coaching badges that he is very interested in.

“(We will) try to get him fit, try to get his experiences across to our players, our young players, our academy and I think it is a great influence to have around.”

When speaking about a potential link-up with Wilshere last month, Arteta played down any chances of him signing for the club.

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Barca breeze past Arsenal in WCL opener

European champions Barcelona produced a dominant display by beating Arsenal 4-1 in their Women’s Champions League opener on Tuesday night.

Barcelona were utterly in control in the first half, taking the lead through Mariona Caldentey’s rebounded finish (32), before Alexia Putellas turned home Asisat Oshoala’s cut-back (43).

Against her old club, Oshoala slipped Barca 3-0 ahead early in the second half (47) before Arsenal found some rhythm and grabbed a goal back through Frida Leonhardsen Maanum, bundling home at the back post (74).

Sub Lieke Martens made it 4-1 with a deft finish late on (84), while Putellas saw a stoppage-time penalty saved by Manuela Zinsberger after Jordan Nobbs’ foul on her in the area.

Barca had a total of 35 shots on Arsenal’s goal in the game, with Arsenal’s Zinsberger making 10 saves on a humbling night for the Gunners, albeit with a much-improved second-half display.

How Barca blew Gunners away

Alexia Putellas celebrates with Asisat Oshoala after scoring Barcelona's second goal against Arsenal
Alexia Putellas celebrates with Asisat Oshoala after scoring Barcelona’s second goal against Arsenal

Barca proved why they were European champions and favourites to retain their crown this year in a dominant first-half display, registering 19 shots on goal to Arsenal’s none.

They were camped in Arsenal’s defensive third for almost the entire half, going close through Caldentey and Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic, who both forced good saves from Zinsberger.

But the hosts had to wait until just after the half-hour mark to take the lead through Caldentey, who pounced after Zinsberger had stopped Oshoala’s effort from the edge of the box, composing herself before slotting home.

And it was 2-0 before the break as Oshoala got to the byline with ease, before cutting back for Putellas to turn into the net.

Barca picked up where they left off in the second half as Caldentey played Oshoala through on goal, before the Nigerian slotted under Zinsberger for 3-0.

Arsenal improved after bringing on Tobin Heath, Nikita Parris and Caitlin Foord after the third goal, and got one themselves with a rare attack as Maanum converted at the far post from Heath’s free-kick delivery, just moments after Parris had seen an effort cleared off the line.

But it proved to be a fleeting moment as Barcelona got their fourth, Martens brilliantly dinking over Zinsberger from Patricia Guijarro’s through ball.

It should have been five in stoppage time as Nobbs tripped captain Putellas in the box, but her own spot-kick was saved well by Zinsberger to her left to keep a respectable limitation on the damage.

Analysis: Spirited from Arsenal

Laura Bassett on Sky Sports News:

“A lot of positives can be taken from the second half. What really knocked Arsenal out their stride was conceding just before half-time and straight after in the second half. That really caused them to stumble.

“But surely on the review and analysis they will see passages of play which will make them think they can get at this Barcelona team in the return fixture.

“They certainly put on a spirited performance They’ll know they can get at them.”

What’s next?

Arsenal now host Everton Women at 3pm on Sunday in the WSL, live on Sky Sports Premier League, before their second Champions League clash at home to Hoffenheim on October 14 at 8pm in Borehamwood.

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