Frank Lampard can release the shackles of the underperforming Chelsea attack vs Wolves while West Ham and Bournemouth can grab priceless wins.
Manchester United vs Everton, Saturday 12.30pm
Without an aggressive focal point in attack or a consistent goalscorer, my confidence is low surrounding Everton getting big results away from home. So, even though Manchester United are vulnerable, a home win does look the most likely outcome.
However, Sean Dyche’s direct style does offer up betting opportunities in the player shots market. Since his appointment, Everton are averaging 11.8 shots per game and 23.1 touches in the opposition per game – both those metrics are up around 20 per cent under Dyche compared to Frank Lampard’s spell.
Michael Keane should be bouncing with attacking verve following his last-gasp goal against Tottenham on Monday and he looks a great bet to register at least one shot at Evens with Sky Bet. It’s a bet that would have landed in his last four matches, where he has racked up a total of eight shots.
An opposition centre-back has managed to register a shot on United’s goal in seven of their last eight Premier League games, meaning Keane should find opportunities once again.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-0
Aston Villa vs Nottingham Forest, Saturday 3pm
Nottingham Forest are on a slippery slope, with no real signs from their performance metrics that things are about to change, losing the expected goals battle in eight of their last nine Premier League encounters. It’s why they have been backed in to 8/13 with Sky Bet for relegation. Villa shouldn’t have too many issues swatting them aside.
In their last eight home Premier League games since the World Cup restart, opposition teams have been caught offside 34 times by Villa, working to an average of 4.25 per game. It showcases just how aggressive the defensive high line is under Unai Emery and it’s that bravery at the back which is providing the base for such an impressive set of results. Forest only rank 13th in the Premier League for being caught offside, but the price of 11/10 with Sky Bet for them to rack up three offsides does make small appeal.
SCORE PREDICTION: 2-0
Brentford vs Newcastle, Saturday 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!
What happens when two teams meet that are ferociously difficult to beat? Newcastle have lost just three games all season in the Premier League, while the Bees are on a run of two just defeats in their last 19 home games. Combined, both teams have drawn 24 league games this season, so that is probably the coward’s answer to my earlier question. You can get 12/5 with Sky Bet on the stalemate.
My eyes have been drawn to the corners market, where I’m expecting Newcastle to dominate the count. Since switching to a back five, Brentford have been soaking up lots of pressure, which can be seen through their corners against data after conceding 12 against Manchester United and 14 at Brighton.
Plus, their general record against top-six chasing teams points towards Newcastle being able to rack up plenty of opportunities for corners. In nine matches against the top six this season, Brentford have lost the corner count 70-29. There are a couple of ways to attack this angle with either the Newcastle to win six or more corners standing out at Evens with Sky Bet – it’s a bet that would have landed in seven of their last eight matches. Those who like a shorter price should consider Newcastle to win more corners than Brentford at 4/6 with Sky Bet.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1
Fulham vs West Ham, Saturday 3pm
Having been on reporting duty for West Ham’s 5-1 capitulation to Newcastle, I was hoping there might be an overreaction in order to get a chunky price on the away win for this game. But the markets are shrewder than that. They say the league table never lies, well it does. West Ham, 12 points and five places behind Fulham, are favourites to beat them away from home with 13/8 with Sky Bet the price on offer. That is fair enough.
When a team is on the end of a bit of a hiding, there is a theory that their next game will be all about being defensively secure. I’m willing to forgive the Hammers for their very bad day at the office vs Newcastle, where individual errors were the catalyst for the 5-1 defeat rather than collective issues.
David Moyes, who yet again looks to be in a win-or-be-sacked situation, will be demanding safety-first defending. That should set the tone for a scrappy affair where the Hammers will hope to play in moments and rest on their attacking quality to win them the game, like it did in victories over Everton (2-0), Nottingham Forest (4-0) and Southampton (1-0). The 7/2 with Sky Bet for West Ham to win without conceding again looks a temping proposition.
SCORE PREDICTION: 0-1
Leicester vs Bournemouth, Saturday 3pm
While their relegation rivals dominate headlines with managerial changes, sloppy performances and heavy defeats, Bournemouth are quietly going about their business. Gary O’Neil’s side are expected go down so are playing without the shackles of expectation that face the likes of West Ham, Wolves and Leicester. That freedom is coming across in their performance levels, which remain trending in the right direction.
Despite losing 2-0 at home to Brighton, O’Neill’s side created an expected goals total of 1.74 and posted 14 shots at the Brighton goal – that’s difficult to do against Roberto De Zerbi’s team. It’s the highest expected goals figure and most shots Brighton have faced in their last 11 Premier League fixtures.
This improved attacking output can be seen over Bournemouth’s last 10 games, where their total of 14.48 worth of expected goals is the eighth-best record of any Premier League team in that period. With such high chance creation figures and recent wins over Wolves, Liverpool and Fulham to their name, it is baffling to see them at 3/1 with Sky Bet for the away win against a Leicester team that has lost six of their last seven games.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-2
Tottenham vs Brighton, Saturday 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!
Based on the match prices, Brighton are rated as the better team in this one – it’s a common theme of Roberto De Zerbi’s fantastic side being rated so highly by the smart money. If they are to seriously challenge for those Champions League places over their last 11 games, De Zerbi will know three points is a must. And I like the look of the 17/10 with Sky Bet, not only based on Brighton’s monstrous numbers but Tottenham’s worrying nosedive.
Brighton should take heart based on their recent record against Arsenal, Man City, Spurs, Man Utd, Newcastle, Chelsea and Liverpool.
In their last 14 matches across all competitions against the aforementioned opponents, Brighton have won eight of those fixtures, winning the aggregate score 27-19 while also winning expected goals battle 18.24-17.94. That is a phenomenal set of results for a team outside the so-called elite. Away win it is.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-2
Wolves vs Chelsea, Saturday 3pm
Is Frank Lampard a good manager? I have no idea. Despite some bright moments, Lampard couldn’t solve the Everton puzzle and bringing in Sean Dyche has without question been an upgrade. Yet, Lampard’s style of being more of a “just go and play lads” type of boss – who can put an arm around a player – weirdly tends to be a winning formula the higher you go up the ladder. That injection of confidence might just spark this Chelsea squad into life. There is so much potential, especially in forward areas.
Just nine goals scored in their last 12 games doesn’t back that theory up – but digging deeper does as their chance creation metrics are strong, having put up a 19.59 expected goals tally in that period. Unsurprisingly, no team has underperformed their expected goals more output in that period.
With no real Premier League target or pressure on the table for Lampard, the shackles just may come off this Chelsea side. He’s a very-attack minded manager when possessing the tools, as shown by his previous spell where in 29 away Premier League games the total goals average per game was a staggeringly high 3.6. Those goals flowed at both ends, too, and his overall record as a manager away from home in league games is horrendous, winning just 22 of 71 games. It could go spectacularly wrong at Molineux but the chances of Chelsea cutting loose also seem quite probable.
That leads me to the total goals market where over 2.5 goals is priced up at 11/10 with Sky Bet and over 3.5 is a 3/1 chance with Sky Bet. Chelsea could cover the line on their own or if the game becomes end-to-end Wolves could get in on the act too. Backing goals looks one of the best bets of the weekend.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-3
Southampton vs Manchester City, Saturday 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!
With no angles in the main markets, it’s time to profit from Southampton’s weakness at defending set pieces again – like we did last weekend when tipping up Nayef Aguerd to score for West Ham at 28/1. My eyes have been drawn to Rodri, who is the usual first point of contact when Manchester City launch a set piece into the box. He is only 6/1 with Sky Bet to score, though, so has been well-sourced by the market, but his shots prices are where the chance for some value lies.
He is averaging 1.67 shots per game in the Premier League this season, with his mix of being a threat from set-pieces added to his liking for a strike from outside the box beefing up his shots output. He has had 17 shots in his last eight league appearances, landing two more shots in six of those matches. All that equates to the Evens with Sky Bet on him firing two or more shots being a fantastic play against the league’s bottom team, who can’t defend set pieces properly.
SCORE PREDICTION: 0-2
Leeds vs Crystal Palace, Sunday 2pm, live on Sky Sports- PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!
Going back to basics has certainly worked the oracle for both of these clubs over the past week. Overcomplicating football can be wonderful to watch but it’s also a dangerous risk – as seen at Leeds with the Marcelo Bielsa and Jesse Marsch reigns. This game screams draw – a result both camps will probably take if you offered it now.
Even without the injured Wilfried Zaha, the Palace forward line that will look to play on the counter-attack are full of trickery customers that draw a healthy amount of fouls. Eberechi Eze (2.08), Michael Olise (2.37) and Jordan Ayew (2.73) all are averaging over two fouls drawn per game over the last 50 matches for Crystal Palace.
The man tasked with putting out fires in the Leeds midfield under Javi Gracia is Marc Roca, who has started five of the last six games in the holding role. In four of those appearances he made two or more fouls, suggesting he’ll be deployed to stop the Palace creativity at source. It’s 11/10 with Sky Bet for Roca to make two or more fouls again. That’ll do nicely.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1
Liverpool vs Arsenal, Sunday 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!
Arsenal are running the gauntlet remarkably well – but boy will they need to stand strong at Anfield.
Since losing 3-1 to Manchester City, the Gunners have put together seven straight Premier League wins, showing confidence, professionalism and an abundance of attacking skill. This one will all be about mentality. Liverpool, out of form but still devilishly dangerous at Anfield, will be armed with big hitters. Jurgen Klopp’s side have lost just three times at home across all competitions in their last 55 home matches and spanked Manchester United 7-0 in their last Anfield encounter.
Can Arsenal stand up in the cauldron? I think the prices are about right, with Arsenal 7/5 with Sky Bet for the away win, so I’ll perch myself on the fence and get involved in the offsides market.
There have been 5.7 total match offsides per game in nine matches between Klopp’s Liverpool and Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal in all competitions, including nine in the corresponding fixture at the Emirates Stadium earlier this season which ended 3-2. I’m foreseeing a similar free-scoring encounter, which should lend itself to an offside frenzy with both teams employing a high line. The 13/8 with Sky Bet for six or more match offsides and the 5/2 for seven or more both appeal.