The Premier League is back and tipster Jones Knows thinks the backdrop of the unusual schedule may bring shocks aplenty this festive period.
Chelsea vs Bournemouth, Tuesday 5.30pm
I wouldn’t back Chelsea at 1/3 with Sky Bet with your money, let alone mine.
Even against a team I still think will finish bottom of the Premier League come the final day.
There have been moments of incisive play under Graham Potter, who I’m sure will get it right once working out all the parts to this Chelsea machine. Yet, without the natural width and creativity of Reece James, who could be back for this one, and industry of N’Golo Kante, Chelsea are looking a little lost in this transitional period.
And, I’m not sure how having 12 players away from the training ground at the World Cup for six weeks will help in terms of the manager getting his ideas across. Things may stagnate for a few more weeks yet.
This will be a fiddly game for them in front of an expectant crowd that aren’t used to showing patience with their managers. Plus, Bournemouth have won three of their five Premier League visits to Stamford Bridge. This just might be another great opportunity for them.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-2
Manchester United vs Nottingham Forest, Tuesday 8pm
This is the first meeting between these two legendary football clubs for 23 years. In that clash Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – remember him – scored four goals as a substitute in United’s 8-1 Premier League win at the City Ground.
Solskjaer managed to score those four goals in 19 minutes which makes Forest’s goal-getting efforts on the road this season of scoring just once in 630 minutes of action look quite laughable. They are the lowest away scorers in English football this season.
However, Forest’s season won’t be defined by these games on the road. At the City Ground it’s now five unbeaten at home in all competitions – an impressive run considering they’ve faced Liverpool, Tottenham and Crystal Palace. That shows Steve Cooper has made them much tougher to beat – and United may actually find problems in this encounter.
For all their improvements this is still a transitional period for United and there have been periods of struggle trying to break down a well-drilled defence. Just three goals scored in their last three home league games against Newcastle, Tottenham and West Ham despite having 59 shots on goal does point to a lack of quality chances being created.
With so many unknowns regarding player fitness and no confidence in trusting previous form, I’m anticipating fancied teams at odds-on shots struggling to deliver for punters across this fixture list.
Manchester United at 2/7 with Sky Bet could be one of those teams that will underperform.
SCORE PREDICTION: 0-0
Leeds vs Manchester City, Wednesday 8pm
We haven’t got much evidence to work with but Leeds’ games against the top-six at Elland Road should be fun under Jesse Marsch. His team are playing with a clear identity now albeit one that has a backdrop of chaos.
It’s a brave style of football that has seen them score eight goals in fixtures against Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham but one leaves them woefully exposed if smart and intricate teams break their press. That’s what you get with risk-reward type of football.
Manchester City are probably the smartest and most devastating attacking outfit in the world, so you do fear for Leeds here a tad, especially how sharp City looked against Liverpool for 60 minutes on Thursday. However, as per, the markets completely agree with my strong City view so backing them at 1/4 with Sky Bet is one to let slide.
Goals is where the value sits as Leeds can play their part in adding to the overall tally. Marsch’s team play with little fear and should play their part in a potential goal-fest where both teams to score and over 3.5 goals at 7/4 with Sky Bet is likely to provide a good run for your money.