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Thursday 22 October 2020 23:26, UK
Premier League predictions – Gameweek 6
West Ham to shock Man City? A first 0-0 in four years at home for Arsenal? Our betting expert ‘Jones Knows’ makes his Premier League predictions to find some angles to consider for the weekend action.
Aston Villa vs Leeds, Friday – 8pm
The argument that 2020 may in fact be some sort of elaborate wind-up has legs if you’re of the Aston Villa persuasion. It’s pinch yourself time.
From the brink of a potentially crippling return to the Sky Bet Championship, they will go top of the Premier League with a win at Villa Park over Leeds United. Are they really the next Leicester City? It’s 66/1 for them to go all the way.
A foray towards the top four is a far-fetched theory at this early stage, but Dean Smith has found a smart balance, with the pace and creativity in attack now levelled out with a watertight defence, protected shrewdly by Douglas Luiz.
Confidence within their defensive unit gives them the edge against Leeds, who are brilliant to watch but I can’t rely on them to consistently make the most of their chances. They are outperforming their expected goals after five matches but signs against Wolves suggested it may start to re-correct itself. I’ve sided tentatively towards Villa.
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But those looking for a bet to follow should take advantage of the 7/2 on Luke Ayling picking up a card, who rates as my best bet of the weekend. He’s marking ‘foul me, please’ Jack Grealish and is an aggressive defender that should draw the attention of the referee.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-0 (8/1 with Sky Bet)
ALSO LOOK OUT FOR: Luke Ayling to get booked at 7/2 with Sky Bet – read the Jones Knows betting column here!
West Ham vs Manchester City, Saturday – 12.30pm
This match provides a bit of a conundrum for a betting focused fellows like myself when tasked with making a score prediction. Do I think Manchester City are the more likely winners? Of course. But 4/11 with Sky Bet is skinny up against the Hammers who are fast becoming a throwback to David Moyes’ impressive Everton side: powerful, direct and possessing quality in the right areas.
It’s the type of team City can struggle against.
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Furthermore, my eyes haven’t been completely taken with Pep Guardiola’s boys so far this season. Their intensity seems to be more ‘lemon and herb’ than ‘extra hot’ and an expected goals return of only 5.28 from their four games this season isn’t very Manchester City at all. A theory backed up by a very mediocre performance in the Champions League in midweek where a 3-1 win flattered them over Porto. Plus, the inspirational Kevin De Bruyne remains a doubt.
West Ham celebrate Manuel Lanzini's equaliser against Spurs
At 13/2, West Ham, who have beaten both Wolves and Leicester by an aggregate score of 7-0 this season, are a temping proposition to cause an upset. Oh, I’ve talked myself into it, you only live once. Home win.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-1 (18/1 with Sky Bet)
Fulham vs Crystal Palace (part of Super 6 – win £250,000), Saturday – 3pm
Tough one this. Many will be putting their faith in Palace, who are reliable travellers – they have recorded four more away wins in the last three seasons than Arsenal for example. However, Fulham looked quite bright and bubbly going forward at Sheffield United with their new recruits. Ademola Lookman grabbed the headlines but the influence of Ruben Loftus-Cheek in an advanced role is certainly an area of interest for those picking their Fantasy Football teams over the next few weeks or dabbling in the goalscorer markets.
This game has tied me in knots. In times of confusion with an outright prediction, go for the biggest price. In this case, it’s the draw.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-2 (14/1 with Sky Bet)
ALSO LOOK OUT FOR: Ruben Loftus-Cheek to score first at 9/1 with Sky Bet
Manchester United vs Chelsea, Saturday – 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports
“We’ve got our form back,” declared Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after his team came away from Paris with an impressive win in midweek. It’s hard to argue with him. They looked like a side back to their zippy best. Remember, it wasn’t long ago United were unbeaten in 14 matches after the resumption. Some people have short memories, including the markets it seems as United look a backable price to take maximum points.
I’ll be keeping them onside against Chelsea, who have kept just one clean sheet in 21 Premier League away games under Frank Lampard. My colleague Gerard Brand paints the picture here of Chelsea’s defensive woes perfectly if you fancy reading some intelligent analysis.
United won both league meetings vs Chelsea last season – and at odds-against on Saturday, there’s a strong case for them to continue that winning trend.
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United’s tweak to play Marcus Rashford more central has resulted in more emphasis on width being provided by the full-backs to the extent that Aaron Wan-Bissaka, usually about as dangerous as a puppy going forward, thundered home his first goal of his career last weekend. With Ben Chilwell certain to play very high for Chelsea, I’d be quite confident of Wan-Bissaka – at a juicy 9/4 – following in the footsteps of fellow right-backs Tariq Lamptey, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kyle Walker-Peters and registering a shot on Eduard Mendy’s goal.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 3-1 (16/1 with Sky Bet)
ALSO LOOK OUT FOR: Aaron Wan-Bissaka to have a shot on goal 9/4 with Sky Bet
Saturday 24th October 5:00pm
Kick off 5:30pm
Liverpool vs Sheffield United, Saturday – 8pm, live on Sky Sports Box Office
This is the last thing Chris Wilder and his likeable Blades team need. A trip to the champions, who haven’t lost at home since April 23, 2017.
Looking at their performance metrics, I’m certain Wilder will turn things around – getting a first goal in a football match will be crucial as they don’t really possess the players to go chasing a game but are superb at protecting a lead. This fixture will be about staying in the game for as long as possible. A tough ask, indeed, with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah in deadly form in front of goal.
I can’t foresee too many problems for Jurgen Klopp’s men even without Virgil van Dijk as Fabinho looks a very reliable understudy – as explained here by my colleague Peter Smith, who was suitably impressed by his performance in the 1-0 win over Ajax on Wednesday. Home win to nil.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-0 (11/2 with Sky Bet)
Southampton vs Everton, Sunday, – 2pm, live on Super Sunday
This should be a fine way to start your Sunday of live sport.
Both teams are playing with bags of confidence in forward areas and seemingly have plenty of faith in what their respective managers are trying to achieve.
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Since beating Watford at the end of November, only Liverpool, Man City and Man Utd have won more points than the Saints while Everton have won 43 points from Carlo Ancelotti’s 25 Premier League games in charge – again only Liverpool, City and United have taken more.
So, this could be defined as a ‘top six’ clash based on current form.
Richarlison, James Rodriguez and Seamus Coleman have all been ruled out for Everton though which does slightly tip the scales in favour of Saints but once again then it’s the price of the draw that makes most appeal at 12/5.
One area Everton will find joy will be from set-pieces. No team has scored more goals than them from corners and free-kicks this season (6) and no team has created more chances from such situations (12).
Michael Keane and Yerry Mina are big threats, especially Mina, who is one of the best in world football at attacking a high ball. The 18/1 for him to score with a header is an insult to his prowess and is firmly on my betting radar this weekend.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-1 (5/1 with Sky Bet)
ALSO LOOK OUT FOR: Yerry Mina to score a header at 18/1
Wolves vs Newcastle, Sunday – 4.30pm, live on Super Sunday
When Newcastle took an early lead against Manchester United last weekend, they shot up to fourth in Premier League table.
Yet, at the full-time whistle after a 4-1 defeat, #BruceOut was trending across social media.
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It’s a narrative that will be shot down by ‘football people’ within football circles but there is a reason the Toon are fourth favourites to get relegated this season despite a healthy return of seven points. The performance metrics show that Newcastle have faced the most shots on target (38) and shots per game (17.2) in the Premier League this season.
Can Steve Bruce defy the data once again? Only time will tell.
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But for this weekend, Wolves look a reasonably solid proposition to take maximum points at around 4/5 with Sky Bet. No team has won more Premier League games since February 23 than Wolves, who are the kings of getting the job done in their pragmatic style. An edgy 1-0 win with a winner coming in the second half makes sense.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-0 (5/1 with Sky Bet)
Sunday 25th October 4:00pm
Kick off 4:30pm
Arsenal vs Leicester, Sunday – 7.15pm, live on Sky Sports Box Office
This fixture just screams low scoring.
Mikel Arteta is without question a shrewd cookie and is getting the best out of the players at his disposal. But I’m yet to fully buy into the long-term prospects of this controlled style of football that doesn’t result in many big chances being created. For example, only Crystal Palace and West Brom have had fewer shots than Arsenal this season. And as Adam Bate wrote earlier this season regarding shot data: “The reality is that shot volume matters. It is an excellent predictor of future performance, far more so than conversion rates.”
A developing angle to keep in mind too is the drop off in the performance levels of Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang in front of goal. In four matches since signing his new deal, he’s yet to find the net and his expected goals data is also underperforming against his usual standard.
Meanwhile, Leicester could still be without their four best players for this one, with Wilfred Ndidi, Ricardo Pereira, Caglar Soyuncu and Jamie Vardy, who could pass a fitness test, all in the treatment room. It’s certainly affecting their attacking process. Against West Ham, they mustered just an expected goal figure of 0.57 and followed that up with a 0.61 return in the defeat to Aston Villa.
At the prices, I’m happy to side with a goalless draw, which would be the first 0-0 in an Arsenal home league game for exactly four years!
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-0 (12/1 with Sky Bet)
Brighton vs West Brom, Monday – 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports Box Office
I’d be worried for West Brom’s defence through the middle in this one.
Branislav Ivanovic coped relatively well on his Premier League comeback against the brutish Burnley attack but will face a completely different test up against Neal Maupay, Aaron Connolly and Leandro Trossard. At 36, he may lack the pace to stop a talented Brighton front-line. Plus, West Brom have yet to register an expected goal figure above 1.00 in any of their first five games. This looks a straightforward home win if Brighton turn up.
An angle to note is the likely match-up between Grady Diangana and Tariq Lamptey as the West Brom man is the most fouled player in the Premier League this season. Lamptey isn’t afraid of a challenge, shown by his 11 fouls conceded this season which is the fourth most in the league. The 4/1 on him to be booked looks juicy.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 3-1 (12/1 with Sky Bet)
ALSO LOOK OUT FOR: Tariq Lamptey to get booked at 4/1 with Sky Bet
Burnley vs Tottenham, Monday – 8.00, live on Sky Sports
Burnley have started the season slowly, but their performance metrics are still similar to last season where they were a solid mid-table team. Defensively, there has been encouragement for Sean Dyche’s men – only three teams have faced lower expected goals in the Premier League, while they are top for duels won and aerial duels won.
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The problem for them this Monday will be the current form of Harry Kane, who performed like the best striker in world football against West Ham. Kane has seven goals in eight Premier League appearances against Burnley – it’s hard to see Dyche’s men stopping him.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-2 (13/2 with Sky Bet)