PL predictions: Back title contenders to draw at Anfield

Our betting guru Jones Knows was in the winners last week with his profitable betting angles and predictions. What’s he backing this weekend?

Manchester City vs Arsenal, Saturday 12.30pm

Just when you thought Arsenal have been kicked while they’re down enough, Manchester City come calling.

At least the expectation level could not be lower. They are 12/1 with Sky Bet to leave with maximum points – that must be the biggest price an Arsenal team have ever been in the last 25 years to win a Premier League football match.

Manchester City have won each of the last eight Premier League meetings between the two, scoring 19 and conceding just two goals. Arsenal have never lost eight consecutive league games against any opponent but it’s just 2/9 with Sky Bet for that to happen on Saturday lunchtime. Those quotes of 12/1 for a team that possess such quality players like Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka probably is a little insulting to the Gunners, but they meet a City team that relish keeping clean sheets and defending properly. It remains an underrated part of their game. A low-scoring City win looks the smartest play.

My punting pulse has been drawn to the cards market though, where I really rate the 2/1 with Sky Bet on the chances of City being shown more cards than Arsenal.

The match scenario and pattern is an obvious one to work out. Arsenal will try to soak up pressure by defending deep and springing through quick transitions – in a similar vein to what Tottenham did on the opening weekend vs City. Smith Rowe, Saka, Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are all speedy customers to deal with on the break and City are well-versed and seemingly encouraged to break up those attacks with cynical challenges.

Despite their poor red card record, Arsenal are relatively well behaved, ranking 17th for total bookings last season and teams that defend deep rarely commit yellow-card-worthy fouls.

This is a bet that would have won in four of the last five City home games and would have romped home during this fixture last season where City racked up four cards to Arsenal’s one. The 2/1 with Sky Bet looks incredibly generous.


BETTING ANGLE: Manchester City to have more booking points (2/1 with Sky Bet)

Last week’s winners!

  • Chris Wood to be offside three or more times (7/2 with Sky Bet)
  • Chelsea to win to nil (2/1 with Sky Bet)
  • Mason Greenwood to score first (7/2 with Sky Bet)
  • Lucas Digne to be carded (4/1 with Sky Bet)
  • Eric Dier to have a shot (10/11 with Sky Bet)
  • Liverpool to win 2-0
  • Chelsea to win 2-0

Aston Villa vs Brentford, Saturday 3pm, PLAY SUPER 6 TO WIN £250,000!

Despite Villa’s 2-0 win over Newcastle last weekend, I’m still not convinced Dean Smith has got his team anywhere near the standards he demands. There remains a Jack Grealish hangover in forward areas. Villa aren’t creating enough. In their two fixtures, despite scoring four goals, their expected goals non-penalty figure is just 1.16 – the second lowest in the Premier League. That backs up the statistic that Villa have scored with all four of their shots on target this season. That’s obviously unsustainable.

And, Brentford won’t fear this trip to Villa Park. They were unlucky not to take maximum points at Crystal Palace as their early season momentum and complete faith in the way Thomas Frank is instructing them to play should carry them to more points over the next few months. Their unbeaten run is now at 14 league games, stretching over two seasons.

Backing Brentford to win or draw at 5/6 with Sky Bet is a solid play but I like the play to oppose goals with both teams struggling to create quality chances. Keep it simple and back under 2.5 goals at Evens.


BETTING ANGLE: Back under 2.5 goals at Evens with Sky Bet

Brighton vs Everton, Saturday 3pm, PLAY SUPER 6 TO WIN £250,000!

I’m yet to be completely convinced that Brighton have turned a corner from last season. Admittedly, they were excellent for 45 minutes in their win over Watford, but they did only post three shots on goal during that spell of dominance, two of which resulted in goals. There were still occasions of overplaying and a lack of ruthlessness around the box.

Brighton will create their way into good territorial positions but I’ll need to see a bigger sample size than just two games to completely trust that the conversion rate woes of last season are a thing of the past.

Everton’s style is notoriously one that Brighton can struggle against. The Toffees are happy to defend deep and soak up pressure – not a match scenario Graham Potter’s men are comfortable in, as shown by defeats to the likes of West Brom and Sheffield United last season.

Everton’s quality in forward areas with Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin could be the difference between these two. And at the prices, I’m with an Everton win.


BETTING ANGLE: Everton to win and under 2.5 goals in the match (9/2 with Sky Bet)

Newcastle vs Southampton, Saturday 3pm, PLAY SUPER 6 TO WIN £250,000!

I’m all over Newcastle here at the prices on offer.

To my eye and when assessing all the key performance data metrics, they are simply a better team than Southampton and carry much more of an attacking threat in the final third. When you also factor in home advantage and the way Saints defended set-plays last weekend in the draw with Manchester United, the 6/4 with Sky Bet has got my name all over it.

Newcastle are strongly fancied to beat Southampton

Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side conceded a whopping 1.36 expected goal figure via United’s corners and free-kicks last weekend with Paul Pogba, Harry Maguire and Nemanja Matic all squandering good probability chances. Richarlison also managed to score via a recycled corner that Southampton didn’t deal with in their opening weekend defeat at Everton. I have big reservations about the Saints in that department and if Newcastle can get their delivery right through Matt Ritchie and Jonjo Shelvey, good opportunities should drop their way.

It’s worth keeping across the Newcastle teamsheet as Federico Fernandez (28/1 with Sky Bet) and Ciaran Clark (12/1 with Sky Bet) are both runners to score via a header.


BETTING ANGLE: Newcastle to win (6/4 with Sky Bet)

Norwich vs Leicester, Saturday 3pm, PLAY SUPER 6 TO WIN £250,000!

It’s quite tough to judge Norwich too conclusively on what we have seen so far. Most teams in the bottom eight will rack up an aggregate heavy defeat to Manchester City and Liverpool, so I’m willing to take the view that their season starts from here on in. However, their style of pressing forward into space should suit Leicester’s counter-attacking style. An away win is slightly preferred in the match market.

However, one area where I’m certain they will continue to post high numbers is the amount of fouls their style of football produces. Norwich have won 27 fouls already this season, the second-highest total of any team despite playing Manchester City and Liverpool. It backs up their data from last season where they were the second-most fouled team in the Sky Bet Championship and drew 70 fouls that led to an opposition booking – the third-highest total in the division.

Ilkay Gundogan and James Milner both have already been booked vs Norwich this season, showcasing that centre-midfielders dealing with Norwich’s quick transitions are prone to bookings. In that case, I’m happy to back Wilfred Ndidi – statistically the sixth dirtiest player in the Premier League last season judged on fouls – to have his name taken by the referee at 4/1 with Sky Bet.


BETTING ANGLE: Wilfred Ndidi to be carded (4/1 with Sky Bet)

West Ham vs Crystal Palace, Saturday 3pm, PLAY SUPER 6 TO WIN £250,000!

The Hammers were superb on Monday night in repelling Leicester and didn’t get anywhere near enough praise for the way they attacked very cleverly when down to 10 men. This might be a little trickier against a team that is likely to defend in numbers though.

Yet, it’s very hard to make a case for Palace with such little evidence of improvement so far under Patrick Viera – even with the carrot of 5/1 with Sky Bet for the away win.

West Ham certainly are a confident bunch with excellent threat in forward areas, but they are happy to allow plenty of territory and possession to the opposition. This can be seen through the amount of shots they face per 90 minutes. At home, they faced an average of 13.5 shots per game last season and in seven of their last nine home games, they’ve allowed their opponents to have 15 or more shots. I’m still a little wary of Palace as an attacking force but there were positive signs in midweek at Watford, where they created good opportunities and got 11 shots away.

The 11/10 with Sky Bet to repeat the feat and register 11 shots has got my attention with a couple of the higher lines worth a look, especially if they have to chase the game.


BETTING ANGLE: Crystal Palace to have 11 or more shots at goal (11/10 with Sky Bet)

Liverpool vs Chelsea, Saturday 5.30, live on Sky Sports

Saturday 28th August 5:00pm

Kick off 5:30pm

Sky Sports Main Event
Sky Sports Main Event

A proper game. Two legitimate title contenders going at it – who will lay down an early marker? That is a stupendously tough question as I’ve got these two almost identically matched. You could play this game 10 times at a neutral venue and there’s a strong chance we’d see five wins apiece.

I would slightly favour Liverpool with the Anfield crowd but the odds mirror that with Jurgen Klopp’s men slight favourites at 29/20 with Sky Bet and the away win a 15/8 chance with Sky Bet. Liverpool have won four of the last five Premier Leagues meetings between the two but the one Thomas Tuchel was in charge of, Chelsea won 1-0 last season. But then Tuchel has lost more games vs Klopp than against any other manager. As you can tell I’m going around the houses with this one. I have no angle in for the match outcome.

Instead, I’ll be playing the cards market.

The fact this is an early-season clash between two title rivals does open the possibility of a somewhat cagey encounter if the scores are level at 60 minutes. A point is a perfectly acceptable result for both. That could lead to a low foul count involving two teams that rank low for yellow cards anyway. In the period since Thomas Tuchel took charge, Chelsea rank 16th for yellow cards and Liverpool 18th. Also, this fixture produced zero cards last season. With referees seemingly happy to let the game flow more this campaign, Anthony Taylor may want to reinforce that point in what is the highest-profile Premier League game so far. I like the look of the game to produce two or fewer cards at 6/4 with Sky Bet.


BETTING ANGLE: Under 30 bookings points (6/4 with Sky Bet)

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Spanish Football expert Alvaro Montero says that Real Madrid are confident of luring Kylian Mbappe away from Paris Saint-Germain, but they are wary of possible competition from Liverpool

Burnley vs Leeds, Sunday 2pm, live on Sky Sports

This should be an entertaining watch.

Burnley are struggling for form, it must be said. Sean Dyche’s men have lost nine of their last 11 Premier League games, including the last five. However, they aren’t performing like a team posting relegation numbers. In those 11 games, they have racked up the eighth-highest expected goals figure of teams in the Premier League, showcasing the threat they still pose when entering opposition final thirds. It’s a higher figure than Leeds have posted over the same period. That does make the 2/1 on a home win with Sky Bet quite appealing.

But for a confident betting angle, I’d rather take a look at the goals line, predominately the chances of goals before half-time.

Burnley have a tendency of making fast starts. They dominated Brighton in the first half of their 2-1 defeat on the opening weekend, creating 1.2 of their overall 1.25 expected goal figure before the break and gave Liverpool a few problems in the early stages last weekend. A quick run of the numbers show they scored 60 per cent of their goals in the first half last season – the highest percentage of any side. With Leeds happy to play at a high tempo and swing for the ropes at every opportunity, the chances of this one sparking early seem pretty likely to me. I’m happy to play the first half to produce two or more goals at 13/8 with Sky Bet.


BETTING ANGLE: Over 1.5 first half goals (13/8 with Sky Bet)

Tottenham vs Watford, Sunday 2.00

I got my first glimpses of Watford up close when covering their 2-0 defeat at Brighton. It was a very “meh” type of performance. It was all about organisation and doing the basics right, which they didn’t. And when Brighton went ahead they were very slow to change style and didn’t have much firepower in the latter stages to seriously trouble the hosts.

It seems if you keep Ismaila Sarr quiet, you keep Watford quiet.

Nuno Espirito Santo is a tactically shrewd coach when it comes to a defensive plan and he’ll be all over keeping a lid on the talents of Sarr. From there, Spurs’ quality in the final third should end what has been a hugely successful week with the Harry Kane news on a high. The stage is set for him to score in a home win.


BETTING ANGLE: Harry Kane to score and Tottenham to win (23/20 with Sky Bet)

Wolves vs Manchester United, Sunday 4.30, live on Sky Sports

Sunday 29th August 4:00pm

Kick off 4:30pm

Sky Sports Main Event
Sky Sports Main Event

Manchester United showed last weekend against Southampton why they won’t be winning any Premier League titles anytime soon with their current set-up.

Yes, they created plenty of danger and goalscoring opportunities early in the game but the lack of oomph and tactical know-how on show in the final 20 minutes when a winning goal was there for the taking was worrying.

To have just one shot on goal during that period against a relegation-ranked team – a blocked long-range effort from Scott McTominay at that – proves they have plenty to find in order to trouble Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City this season. All three of those teams would have been peppering that goal with three points on offer.

I’m still adamant United will finish fourth or worst this season with the current manager in employment.

Come the end of the season I’d be very confident that Wolves will finish at least six places higher than Southampton in the Premier League, so United will be facing stiffer opposition than last weekend. If Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s boys play with the same stodginess in the final third, Wolves have a proper chance for the upset.

The Bruno Lage era has just been bubbling under the surface so far. Good performances, a more fluid style of playing but back-to-back defeats is what he has to show for their work. To post 37 shots on goal in games against Tottenham and Leicester is an impressive feat though and although those efforts have equated to a pretty mediocre expected goals figure, the message from the manager of a more attack-minded approach is getting across. Positive signs, indeed.

Remember, United are on the verge of setting a new all-time Football League record with 28 away league games unbeaten.

I think that run will end here. Home win.


BETTING ANGLE: Wolves to win (18/5 with Sky Bet)

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