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By Lewis Jones, @_LJones_
Jones Knows explains why he thinks Leicester’s home clash with Arsenal on Saturday could be a high-scoring affair, but the points will be shared.
Everton vs Aston Villa, Saturday 3pm
Scoring goals are going to remain a huge problem for Everton despite back-to-back home wins. Just 17 scored this season – the fewest in the league along with Wolves – does make it very hard to trust them when carrying the favourites tag against a side like Villa that are filled with attacking talent. Unai Emery’s side have scored in each of their last 10 games – 17 in total – and Ollie Watkins could become the first Villa player to score in five straight Premier League games.
I’m siding towards an away win when assessing the match prices but there are chunks of value to snaffle up regarding the attacking output of Amadou Onana, who has been pushed into a more attacking role under Sean Dyche.
He has all the attributes to flourish into a midfield powerhouse but is a little rough around the edges as seen with his finishing from his three shots at goal when joining the attack from midfield in the win over Leeds. He is a whopping 7/4 with Sky Bet to post two or more shots at goal where he will be a threat not only from open play but set pieces too.
SCORE PREDICTION: 0-1
Leeds vs Southampton, Saturday 3pm
Javi Gracia will bring togetherness, diligence and discipline to Leeds United in the short-term. His Watford side that finished 11th and reached an FA Cup final were not overly easy on the eye but boy were they hard to beat. During his 56 games in charge of the club, Watford picked up more yellow cards than any other team and conceded the third most amount of fouls in the Premier League.
He is parachuted in straight into the fire of a relegation battle at Elland Road with Southampton, still bottom, in town. I would expect the foul count to be high in an intense atmosphere and referee Peter Bankes to be very busy with his cards. He is a referee that can lose control pretty quickly when things become heated with seven of his 21 games refereed this season seeing 50 or more booking points shown and five of them seeing 70 or more points shown. The 6/5 with Sky Bet for the game to go over 50 booking points looks very fair at odds-against.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1
Leicester vs Arsenal, Saturday 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!
I think you will find better 4/6 shots with Sky Bet this weekend than Arsenal. Leicester are a dangerous side but one that will afford space to Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka. Goals on the menu then.
Leicester may have drew a blank in their 3-0 defeat to Manchester United but their attacking process remains strong with the Foxes posting 19 shots on goal to an expected goals tally of 1.63. Brendan Rodgers will not be changing their fluid, risky style even for the league leaders so I am looking to back them to create plenty of action towards Aaron Ramsdale’s goal. In the last 11 games where James Maddison has played more than 45 minutes, Leicester have posted four or more shots on target in 10 of those matches with the only game falling foul of that run the defeat last weekend where they surprisingly only managed three on target from their 19 efforts.
With such confidence and quality in their attack the 4/5 on them with Sky Bet to post four or more shots on target certainly is a massive runner – as is the 7/4 for five or more.
SCORE PREDICTION: 2-2
West Ham vs Nottingham Forest, Saturday 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!
There will be no surprises about how David Moyes will approach this one. Rinse and repeat the tactics from the 2-0 win over Everton at home which was a classic Moyes gameplan of soaking up possession and hitting on the break. The problem is the opposing manager will not be Frank Lampard this time, it’s Steve Cooper – surely, he will not fall into the same traps Moyes set for Lampard. The 8/11 with Sky Bet on a home win looks easy to oppose.
I am going to roll out a staple bet on West Ham home games regarding their slow starting nature, especially when the atmosphere is flat. Opposition teams have managed to post two or more shots on target in eight of the last nine first halves of Premier League games at The London Stadium. The only team that failed to manage that was Everton in their final game under Lampard. Forest carry enough threat through Brennan Johnson and Morgan Gibbs-White to have confidence in the 5/4 with Sky Bet for the first half shots on target bet to land again on what could be a nervy occasion for the hosts.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1
Bournemouth vs Manchester City, Saturday 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!
Pep Guardiola has flirted with going big on blaming Manchester City’s slight decline this season on their travel schedule. He rather laughably labelled his side’s journey to Tottenham a few weeks back to like travelling to Europe, following City’s 1-0 defeat against Spurs. You could tell this exhausting run of fixtures was on his mind when questioned after the RB Leipzig draw on Wednesday night. This trip to Bournemouth is their fourth away game on the spin where they will have travelled 2,680 miles in 10 days – and there is Bristol City at Ashton Gate to come on Tuesday in the FA Cup fifth round.
I am expecting City to be in “job done” mode with an eye on reserving energy over their next two fixtures as they negotiate their way through this tricky schedule. When that is the case with a team like City who dominate the market and the goals expectancy is high, I am happy to oppose goals.
City’s attack is not exactly purring right now either, especially away from home. Erling Haaland has only scored in two of his last nine away appearances in all competitions while overall City have only found the net 11 times in their last 11 away games, only scoring two or more in just two of those matches – away at Leeds on Boxing Day and at Arsenal. Also, eight of those games have fallen under the 2.5 goal line. An away win with under 2.5 goals in the game looks the savvy play at 100/30 with Sky Bet.
SCORE PREDICTION: 0-2
Crystal Palace vs Liverpool, Saturday 7.45pm, live on Sky Sports
Liverpool have somehow clawed their way to being 6/4 shots with Sky Bet to finish in the top four. That looks a tad short to me considering this is a team that have shipped an average of 1.8 goals per game since the World Cup, including conceding three or more goals in five of those 13 games. With players returning in attack and Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah capable of taking games away from teams in a flash, Jurgen Klopp’s side could just blitz their way across the line.
But until we see evidence of the midfield and defence working efficiently without the ball, it’s safe to assume high-quality attacking players will restrict Liverpool’s progress up the table. Palace have that quality.
SCORE PREDICTION: 2-2
Tottenham vs Chelsea, Sunday 1.30pm, live on Sky Sports
Graham Potter would make a great gambler. His ability to stay so level-headed in the face of a tornado of criticism and noise at his door – while also trying to manage some of the world’s best footballers – is pretty remarkable. ‘Be more like Potter’, I’ll think during my next frustrating losing run. Chelsea will stick to their Potter process for this London derby and many will raise their eyebrows when seeing they are priced as short as 15/8 with Sky Bet for the away win.
This is a team that have won just once in their last 10 matches across all competitions and have scored just eight goals in their last 14 Premier League games. That price is based on the underlying numbers, which are keeping Potter in a job. His side have won five of the last six expected goals battles, pointing towards improved performances if not results. Joao Felix’s brilliance has flickered, Enzo Fernandez looks tailor-made for Premier League football and Chelsea’s defence is the second best in the league, measured by goals conceded. With the pressure of playing in front of an expectant Stamford Bridge crowd off their shoulders, I’m happy to play them on the draw no bet market at Evens with Sky Bet.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-2
Carabao Cup final: Manchester United vs Newcastle, Sunday 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports
Prediction to follow…