Will the same old problems hold back Tottenham this weekend? Jones Knows thinks Wolves stand a chance of causing an upset in his weekly predictions.
Tottenham vs Wolves, Saturday 12.30
Wolves fans and Bruno Lage aren’t panicking despite no wins in their last nine Premier League games.
My pre-season take on them was to oppose them at every opportunity but we must trust our eyes in this game and I’m starting to see shoots of hope, much like the fanbase are obviously seeing such is the backing for Lage. They remain a team that are hard to score against and may prove a frustrating animal for Tottenham to break down.
Let’s not forget they beat Antonio Conte’s team 2-0 away from home as recently as February and have a fine overall record against teams that finished in the top nine last season. If you collate all of those nine results, Wolves only lost the aggregate score 10-8 and were only beaten by more than one goal in the 3-1 defeat to Liverpool on the final day.
Wolves will play a similar attacking system to Chelsea in terms of not playing with a centre-forward and that completely bamboozled Eric Dier and Ben Davies last weekend who were being dragged out of their comfortable deep-lying defensive positions. Cristian Romero also being unavailable is a massive loss.
Wolves with a +2 goal start at 8/11 with Sky Bet, meaning the bet lands if Wolves win, draw or lose by one goal, seems a sensible play for those that like a shorter price. Those who have won bravery awards should consider the 15/2 on the away win.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-2
Crystal Palace vs Aston Villa, Saturday 3pm
Striking the balance between trusting the numbers and believing in your own judgement is one of the trickiest aspects of making correct betting decisions. This match is a prime example of such contrasts when looking at the data.
A Crystal Palace vs Aston Villa fixture doesn’t exactly strike as a match involving too much needle and violence but when assessing the card data from the past three seasons, this fixture is the dirtiest of all Premier League fixtures. The last six meetings have produced a total of 35 cards (32 yellows, three reds). That’s an average of 65 booking points per 90 minutes when converting into betting terms.
So, although we have a traditionally lenient referee in charge in Andy Madley, there is a significant value play in taking the 5/4 on offer with Sky Bet for the game follow the same fiery nature and produce 50 or more booking points in what is a devilishly difficult game to call from a match result perspective.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1
Everton vs Nottingham Forest, Saturday 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!
Despite two straight defeats, Everton do look a team harder to beat this season. They restricted Aston Villa to just one shot in the first 30 minutes at Villa Park, playing with defensive assurance and a more cohesive structure with Conor Coady and James Tarkowski. The Danny Ings strike came out of nowhere which opened the game up and it’s doubtful whether Forest carry the same attacking weight judged on their first two games back at the top level.
Goodison Park remains a very tough place to play for the opposition and 29 of Everton’s 39 points won last season came at home (74 per cent) – the highest proportion in the Premier League. I’d make them strong favourites to get three points here.
Don’t expect any home to win be comfortable though as Everton’s problems in front of goal are clear to see. Just look at their front three. Dwight McNeil is 49 games without a goal, Anthony Gordon has scored once in his last 18 games and Demari Gray has tasted the scoring feeling just once in his last 19 games.
That’s why the Everton win and under 2.5 goals angle at 100/30 with Sky Bet is worth a second look.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-0
Fulham vs Brentford, Saturday 3pm
In what is a very tight betting heat, I would just about side with Brentford owing to their power in the forward line that might just be too much for Fulham to handle in the heart of their defence.
A better angle in for those looking for a punt is in the cards markets. This is a west London derby of course and there is a recent history between the two with Fulham beating Brentford in the 2020 Championship play-off final in extra-time.
Peter Bankes is a referee that likes to flash his cards, too. He averaged 4.50 cards per 90 minutes last season in the Premier League from a pretty big sample size of 12 matches – only one referee that oversaw 10 or more games last season averaged a higher rate (David Coote).
The 5/4 with Sky Bet for 50 or more booking points is worth following.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-2
Hands up, my pre-season hopes for a unexpected great season from Leicester might be way off the mark.
It’s early days, mind, but Brendan Rodgers could really do with the transfer window shutting soon. I’d be staying well clear of their odds-on quotes for a home win this weekend.
Professional footballers are absolute masters at using excuses in and around a club to mask their drop in levels of performance. That atmosphere seems be lingering at Leicester at the moment in a backdrop of a fanbase that seem to be seriously torn on whether Rodgers is the right man to lead them forward.
At home, in a game the fans will be expecting them to comfortably win, things may get tough for the players to perform to their maximum, especially against a Southampton side who have a deadly record at starting games fast. If you mock up a league table involving just first-half results from last season, Saints would be sixth having gone in at the break ahead in 13 of their 38 Premier League matches. They also took the lead at Tottenham before their capitulation in the second half on the opening day.
If the Foxes fall behind, I’d have serious doubts about the players in the current atmosphere being able to show the required mentality and bottle to turn the game around. Rodgers’ side have won just one of the last 14 Premier League games when conceding first, losing nine. That’s why at 13/2 with Sky Bet, Southampton are worth a crack to be winning at half time and full time.
Bournemouth vs Arsenal, Saturday 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!
Arsenal are looking to win their opening three Premier League games for the first time in 18 years and are 4/11 with Sky Bet to do so. On the face of it I’ve been a tad harsh on them over the opening two weeks, tipping against them, but as with everything I analyse it’s all about the odds available and Crystal Palace and Leicester are teams that do tempt me in against the big boys.
Bournemouth are certainly not.
Arsenal are an improved beast this season in forward areas with Gabriel Jesus a monumental upgrade on Alexandre Lacazette. To go along with his two goals and two assists, the energetic Jesus had 15 touches in the opposition box vs Leicester last week, that is more than Bournemouth have had this season (14). He scores, he assists, he occupies defences. It’s an amazing purchase from Arsenal.
My eyes have been drawn for his price to finish as the Premier League’s top goalscorer such has been his impact.
The 7/1 with Sky Bet looks a bet with legs. Erling Haaland takes up a huge slice of the market at 13/8 but I’m still adamant City will share the goals out this season so the Golden Boot might not be the cakewalk many are predicting. And remember, no foreign player has won it in their first season in the Premier League.
Jesus has the experience, quality of team-mates and finishing ability to make him a serious runner in that market. After scoring this weekend, that 7/1 might not be available.
SCORE PREDICTION: 0-2
Leeds vs Chelsea, Sunday 2pm, live on Sky Sports – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!
Chelsea were outstanding last weekend, producing a level of performance that may just give Manchester City and Liverpool something to think about this season. With additions to the playing squad to come, Thomas Tuchel may just get more out of Chelsea than expected this campaign.
Leeds shouldn’t give them too many problems, especially without Patrick Bamford. Chelsea won nine of their 10 Premier League away games last season against teams who finished in the bottom half, conceding just four goals in those games.
Marc Cucurella’s intelligent, aggressive and classy performance against Tottenham caught my eye as he looks more than capable of proving an outlet from the left wing-back role for Thomas Tuchel. His link play with Mason Mount completely tore Spurs apart at times.
He isn’t perhaps as explosive in that position as Ben Chilwell or Marcus Alonso but his positional awareness and ability with the ball should see his attacking numbers spike over the course of the season.
Players that are selected in Tuchel’s left-wing back role are given plenty of attacking licence. Last season that player averaged a goal just over every four games and registered 2.5 shots every 90 minutes. Cucurella has all the hallmarks to match that average, so there does seem to be juice in both his goalscoring and shots prices over the coming weeks.
A player that is likely to score every four or so games shouldn’t be 18/1 to score at anytime against a team they are ½ to beat in the match market while the 11/4 on Cucurella to hit the normal shots average of two shots for a Chelsea left-wing back is as a very appealing value play too.
SCORE PREDICTION: 0-2 | JONES KNOWS BEST BET: Marc Cucurella to score (18/1 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)
West Ham vs Brighton, Sunday 2pm
I wouldn’t be rushing to back West Ham as favourites in this one. Brighton have put in impressive back-to-back performances against Manchester United and Newcastle and Graham Potter’s men are very reliable when playing with such great rhythm and confidence. It should be a close game.
My eyes have wandered to the goalscorer market for a bet.
Solly March, even at the age of 28, looks to be the next player to be taken to the next level by Graham Potter judging by his performances and goal threat over the first two matchdays. With Tariq Lamptey currently out of form and favour and Pascal Gross playing more advanced and central, March looks to have made the right wing-back position his own.
Predominately left-footed, March fits the bill for my “wide players cutting in onto their stronger foot” theory that has led to some profitable bets when following Kyle Walker-Peters at Saints and Neco Williams when playing for Wales in the shots and goals markets. March has generated an expected goals tally of 0.32 in two games, firing the shot that David de Gea palmed out to Gross in the win at United before twice being denied by some last-ditch defending and goalkeeping against Newcastle last weekend.
It’s been almost two years since his last Premier League goal but that has had too much baring on his price to score at the London Stadium.
He should not be 33/1 to score first or 14/1 to score this weekend. And it’s a bet to follow over the coming weeks while he remains in that position and in such great nick.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1 | JONES KNOWS BEST BET: Solly March to score (14/1 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)
Newcastle vs Manchester City, Sunday 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!
I’ll be seriously surprised if Newcastle have the attacking capabilities to create enough big moments to put pressure on Manchester City. I was really disappointed with their quality in their 0-0 draw with Brighton last weekend with Eddie Howe’s side creating an expected goals figure of just 0.22 from five shots on goal.
Newcastle may have averaged two points per game this year – the most of any calendar year in the club’s Premier League history – but their attacking numbers are seriously underwhelming when digging into the data – surprisingly so.
Of all the ever-present Premier League teams since Howe’s appointment, no team have created fewer big chances (defined by Opta) than Newcastle (27) and only Wolves and Everton have posted a lower total expected goals than Newcastle’s (35.36). No wonder Howe is hunting for a creative player in this window. A solid defence can only take you so far.
And, not only has Howe lost every single one of his 10 games as a manager against Pep Guardiola (being the only manager to face him 10+ times and lose every game) his record against the elite teams since moving to Tyneside is pretty wretched. Against Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham with Howe in the dugout, Newcastle have lost 19-2 on aggregate in six matches.
A Manchester City win without conceding at 11/8 with Sky Bet looks very generous to me.
SCORE PREDICTION: 0-2
Manchester United vs Liverpool, Monday 8pm, live on Sky Sports – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!
The current state of Manchester United can be seen through the match odds for this one. United are almost 5/1 with Sky Bet – and were bigger earlier this week – to beat Liverpool. It is the second-biggest price they have ever gone off at in a Premier League game at Old Trafford – only trumped when going off 6/1 against Manchester City in 2019.
Liverpool’s price of 4/7 with Sky Bet is one you would usually see them go off when playing a mid-table team away from home. That is the reality of United’s market expectation. They are now competing and jostling for position with the likes of Aston Villa and Crystal Palace.
How the mighty have fallen. At first it was quite funny. Now their demise is becoming a bit tedious.
Shall I blow the trumpet? Go on then. I tipped a Liverpool 5-1 win in the corresponding fixture which overestimated United as they lost 5-0. I’d happily back the same outcome here but Liverpool aren’t quite finding the same level of shot conversion in front of goal and do have three of their finishers missing in Roberto Firmino, Diogo Jota and Darwin Nunez.
For those wanting to get Liverpool on-side, backing them to be winning at half-time at Evens with Sky Bet looks a smart way of finding a reasonable price on a home-based bet. Yes, they’ve fallen behind in their last six Premier League matches but they were incredibly unlucky not to have scored early in the eventual draw with Crystal Palace, creating 1.47 expected goals in the first half to no avail.
Jurgen Klopp will be sending his team out to take full advantage of the nervousness within the United ranks and his boys scored within the first five minutes in both meetings vs United last season.