PL predictions: Liverpool to stumble vs Brighton

Fresh from correctly predicting Liverpool would score five goals at Man Utd, our betting guru Jones Knows is back to preview all 10 Premier League games.

Leicester vs Arsenal, Saturday 12.30pm

Arsenal looked like a top-four team for large parts of their convincing victory over Aston Villa last Friday. The tricky part of analysing a true performance level of a team though is to assess the strength of such a form-line. Were Arsenal absolutely savage? Or were Aston Villa just plain ordinary?

This Arsenal team aren’t to be trusted just yet as they are packed with inexperience and flaky players like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, who looked motivated to the max against Villa but are also equally likely to throw in a stinker the next week. But at prices like 7/4 with Sky Bet to win at Leicester, I’m happy to back Arsenal.

I don’t have any trust issues with Arsenal’s defence. The Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White and Gabriel axis has an impressive look to it. In six games, the trio have conceded just four goals with an expected goals against figure of 5.2 backing up their cohesive play. It’s the second-best defensive record of any Premier League team in that period, according to the expected goals against metrics.

They have also yet to concede a goal in the first half in those six matches.

With Leicester not exactly firing in the final third – all their key attacking metrics have them ranked as a mid-table team this season – there is a case to be made for backing an Arsenal win without them conceding at 4/1 with Sky Bet. Four of Arsenal’s last five wins on the road have been achieved with a clean sheet and since the start of last season only Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea have won more games to nil away from home than Arsenal (8).


BETTING ANGLE: Arsenal to win to nil (4/1 with Sky Bet)

Burnley vs Brentford, Saturday 3pm – Play Super 6 to win £250,000!

Burnley are without a win in 12 Premier League matches stretching across two seasons – it’s the longest current run without a win in English football. But there remains absolutely no panic at Turf Moor and if you asked 100 football fans whether they fancied Burnley to get relegated this season, I’d be surprised if over half of them answered yes. I’d be in that camp, too, and be far more confident backing them to stay up at Evens than backing them for relegation at 5/6 with Sky Bet.

Will their winless run end here? Probably not.

Brentford, despite their newly promoted tag, are a top-10 team according to all the important metrics and were very unfortunate to suffer defeats to Chelsea and Leicester in their last two games. A draw looks the smart play.

For a betting angle, I’ve got my eye on centre-backs charged with keeping a lid on Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbeumo picking up cards. The Brentford front two have been a revelation for the west Londoners this season, causing mayhem with their aggressive and powerful running across the front line. They are winning on average just under four fouls per 90 minutes between them with Toney the third most fouled player in the Premier League (23). James Tarkowski will fight fire with fire in terms of his approach to dealing with the dangerous pair and he looks fair value to pick up his fourth yellow of the season already at 16/5 with Sky Bet.


BETTING ANGLE: James Tarkowski to be carded (16/5 with Sky Bet)

James Tarkowksi is 16/5 to be carded this weekend
James Tarkowksi is 16/5 to be carded this weekend

Liverpool vs Brighton, Saturday 3pm – Play Super 6 to win £250,000!

Get Brighton on your side.

I don’t need to tell you how good Liverpool can be but they are easily ignored here at a very skinny 2/9 with Sky Bet when you consider the level of opposition.

The 12/1 for a Brighton win doesn’t float my boat due to their lack of top-six quality in the final third but the draw at over 5/1 with Sky Bet and Brighton with a +2 handicap start at 11/10 certainly have got my punting juices flowing.

In their last 21 games against teams that finished in the top-nine of the Premier League last season, Brighton have only lost three games by more than one goal. Included in that run is a 1-0 win at Anfield and a 1-1 draw with Klopp’s men at the Amex last season.

Of course, Liverpool are a more ruthless beast this season, dishing out thrashings to most teams they meet. They have scored at least three goals in nine of their last 11 matches. Frightening.

However, Brighton are a defensively shrewd side capable of keeping the match tight. Since the turn of the year, Brighton’s expected goals against figure of 30.07 is only bettered by Chelsea and Manchester City ranking them higher than Liverpool and they have kept just as many clean sheets as the Reds (13).

Along with taking a positive view on Brighton’s chances in the match markets, I also want to invest in the amount of shots they have at Anfield. Graham Potter’s men have little fear when tasked with taking on the big boys. In their last two fixtures with Man City, Potter’s side have managed an average of 14.5 shots per 90 minutes. That’s an amazing effort when you consider City usually average around 6.5 shots per 90 minutes in the Pep Guardiola era. And in four fixtures against Liverpool, Brighton have posted shots totals that read: 11, 13, 12 and 12.

Jurgen Klopp’s men do allow space for the opposition which does normally lead to shots on their goal. Burnley (9), Crystal Palace (13), Norwich (14) and Brentford (12) have all managed to post numerous attempts on Alisson’s goal this season and Brighton have a greater attacking process than those four teams. Sky Bet have dangled a big carrot with 11/8 on offer about Brighton having 10 shots or more.


BETTING ANGLE: Brighton +2 handicap and to have 10 or more shots (11/2 with Sky Bet)

Man City vs Crystal Palace, Saturday 3pm – Play Super 6 to win £250,000!

The Jack Grealish-Joao Cancelo dynamic down Manchester City’s left is quickly becoming a thing of beauty.

They have passed to one another 169 times this season – the most produced by a City combination in the opposition half. Cancelo’s willingness and intelligence to move inside from full-back whilst Grealish takes two defenders out of the game out wide is almost impossible to defend against – as Brighton found out last weekend.

The pair have yet to link up for a goal but it’s only a matter of time. Cancelo has assisted three Grealish shots and Grealish has assisted four Cancelo shots, including two in last weekend’s 4-1 thrashing of Brighton. Palace’s Joel Ward has a big job on his hands trying to stop these two with the 18/1 with Sky Bet about Cancelo scoring from a Grealish assist worth a small interest in a game where it’s hard to see the away side causing too many problems.


BETTING ANGLE: Jack Grealish to assist Joao Cancelo for a goal (18/1 with Sky Bet)

Jack Grealish to assist a Joao Cancelo goal can be backed at 20/1
Jack Grealish to assist a Joao Cancelo goal can be backed at 20/1

Newcastle vs Chelsea, Saturday 3pm – Play Super 6 to win £250,000!

My theory that the odds surrounding both teams to score in Chelsea matches is overpriced has yet to bear any fruit.

But I’m not jumping off the wagon yet.

On paper, Chelsea have the best defence in the Premier League with just three goals conceded – but I will be flabbergasted if that remains the case over the course of the season. They are offering up good chances and shooting opportunities to the opposition. A figure of 1.62 expected goals conceded per 90 minutes in their last 10 fixtures showcases that. Southampton created 2.14 worth of expected goals in the 1-1 draw in midweek.

I’ve referenced this before, but it’s still relevant, Chelsea have the biggest difference between goals conceded (3) and expected goals against (10.7) in the Premier League after the opening eight games – at 7.7.

This is the week we should cop a return on the both teams to score bet as the Blues travel to the both teams to score gurus. Eight of Newcastle’s nine games this season have seen both teams bag a goal and in Callum Wilson they have a player of breaching elite defences. The evens should be snapped up.

Personally, I’ll be cheering on a home win having invested in the chances of Graeme Jones getting the Newcastle job at 14/1 with Sky Bet. I’m not confident though. Chelsea have a knack of finding ways to win.


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

Watford vs Southampton, Saturday 3pm – Play Super 6 to win £250,000!

Tough one. Watford were absolutely appalling in the defeat to Liverpool but bright, inventive and deadly against Everton.

It’s hard to know which Watford will turn up.

Meanwhile, Southampton are most certainly a team on the upgrade. They were excellent in midweek against Chelsea, the better side in fact, backing up their improved results and impressive expected goals metrics in October – only Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool have a posted a total combined higher expected goals scored figure this month. Yet, they remain a team I can’t trust at key moments in matches. I’ll play the draw.

The appointment of card-happy referee Peter Bankes for a meeting between the two teams that have committed the most fouls this season has taken me to the cards market. Bankes has averaged a whopping 5.1 cards per 90 minutes this season – the highest average of any Premier League referee. With players like Ismaila Sarr, Che Adams and Valentino Livramento all ranking high for fouls won, the 50+ bookings points (10 for a yellow, 25 for a red) looks very solid 11/10 shot with Sky Bet.


BETTING ANGLE: Back 50+ bookings points (11/10 with Sky Bet)

Tottenham vs Man Utd, Saturday 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports

Tottenham vs Man Utd
Tottenham vs Man Utd live on Sky Sports

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer doesn’t have the tactical nous or managerial experience to make Manchester United hard to beat. That is exactly what good teams do when confidence is low: play for a clean sheet and try to install a bit of belief back within the camp. I’m convinced it will be the same ‘go and out have a go, lads’ message from the United boss for this intriguing encounter and if Tottenham don’t defend properly, it might just work as United’s power and quality in attack has the ability to win matches.

However, it’s simply impossible to fancy United in their current unorganised state. Their vulnerability in allowing space for opposition attacks is something Tottenham will look to exploit. They have the players to do so too – Harry Kane, despite being nowhere near his best, had more attempts from fast breaks than anyone else last season. Heung-min Son, Lucas Moura and Tanguy Ndombele are all smart players and will be focused on dominating United in transitions. I have no evidence to suggest Solskjaer has the tools to stop them.

The home win is fancied, but maybe not five this week eh?

All of Tottenham’s wins in the Premier League (5) under Nuno have come by a one-goal margin, including the opening day victory over Manchester City.

He’s not a manager to go for the throat once his team are ahead, he likes to suffocate a match. Since the start of last season, of his 17 wins as a manager at either Wolves or Tottenham, 15 of them have come with just one goal separating the teams. That statistic, added to Spurs being inferior man-for-man up against United, argues the chances of Spurs winning by one goal is underestimated with the 7/2 with Sky Bet available. I’d much rather play that bigger price than just the straight up 15/8 with Sky Bet for the win.


BETTING ANGLE: Tottenham to win by one goal (7/2 with Sky Bet)

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

Norwich vs Leeds

In fixtures like these where Leeds face off against a genuine relegation-threatened outfit, it’s most certainly worth backing them. Since promotion, in 12 fixtures against teams in the bottom five of the Premier League, Leeds have won nine scoring 24 times in the process. Plus, with Kalvin Phillips back, Leeds are a different animal. The England midfielder has missed 13 Premier League games since Leeds returned to the top table and the club have lost nine of those and only just avoided defeat last weekend without him vs Wolves.

And, there is no doubting Norwich’s tag as ‘relegation threatened’ – that might even being a bit kind. Daniel Farke’s team have made the worst start to a season in club’s history, taking just two points from their opening nine games – albeit three of those games have been against Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool. They are the lowest scorers in English football with just two goals. No side has ever scored fewer at this stage of a top flight season.

Leeds always give you a chance so Norwich could improve their woeful goals return but the extra quality in the final third for Marcelo Bielsa’s side, spearheaded by Raphinha, should lead them to maximum points.


BETTING ANGLE: Leeds to win and over 2.5 goals (2/1 with Sky Bet)

Aston Villa vs West Ham, Sunday 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports

Villa vs West Ham

“Qualifying for European football is very much part of our strategic plan,” Aston Villa’s chief executive Christian Purslow said in pre-season.

That may sound a tall order for a club in just their third full season back in the Premier League but owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens are ambitious – outlined by a net spend of over £200m in the transfer market since promotion. Performances like the one at Arsenal and the collapse against Wolves, certainly don’t bode well for Dean Smith, who must be a runner in the next manager to be sacked market at 14/1 with Sky Bet.

A repeat of the Arsenal showing here and West Ham, who are a better team than the Gunners according to all known metrics, will roll over Villa. As David Moyes said after the win over Spurs, he expects them to be challenging for the top-four this season and the performance metrics suggest he’s right to have that lofty target.

Since the start of last season, their haul of 82 points is only bettered by Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United. A statistic backed up by all the expected goals data. West Ham, helped by having arguably the best midfielder in the Premier League on current form in Declan Rice, are among the elite, yet, they are not priced up like it by the markets in games such as this one. The 6/4 for an away win is too big to ignore.


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

Wolves vs Everton, Monday 8pm, live on Sky Sports

Wolves vs Everton

It must have been a long, hard week for the Everton players on the training pitch. You can imagine Rafa Benitez drilling them over and over again in defensive drills to get them absolutely organised for this game. The Everton boss will be demanding a clean sheet here after such a laughable defensive showing against Watford. He does usually get a reaction too. On the last seven occasions where a Benitez team in the Premier League have conceded three or more goals in a game, the next game has always seen an improved defensive showing with just five goals conceded in total across those seven games. In all seven of those fixtures his team didn’t concede more than one goal.

When you mix a defensively focused and motivated Everton with a Wolves team that are struggling to create chances, a low-scoring encounter is on the cards. The under 2.5 goals angle has been covered by the bookmakers with just 8/13 available, so I’ve gone fishing for a bigger price. I’m happy to back the most likely outcome, the draw, with the chance of under 2.5 goals in the game at 3/1 with Sky Bet. Basically, meaning we’re hoping for a 0-0 or a 1-1.


BETTING ANGLE: Back 0-0 and 1-1 correct scores (3/1 with Sky Bet)

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