The Premier League is back and tipster Jones Knows thinks the backdrop of the unusual schedule may bring shocks aplenty this festive period.
Brentford vs Tottenham, Boxing Day 12.30pm
It’s time to awake from your Premier League slumber. Wait, Brentford beat Manchester City away from home 2-1 in their last game? I’m going to need more coffee.
From a betting view, adjusting back to the domestic fare after what was a whacky World Cup that was distinctly low on quality but packed full of drama is going to take a bit of refreshing. Remember, we still have 23 matchdays to make our money. It’s a time to watch, recharge and let the flow of the season take shape again before getting too heavily invested with perhaps a few educated guesses thrown in for this card with the hope of trying to anticipate some winning trends.
With so many unknowns regarding player fitness and the recent formbook probably being pointless, I’m anticipating slow starts to matches and fancied teams at odds-on struggling to deliver for punters, much like it does on the first weeks of a new season.
That is relevant for this clash where Spurs look dangerously vulnerable hovering just around an odds-on price at 19/20 with Sky Bet. Antonio Conte’s men are without Rodrigo Bentancur, Cristian Romero and Richarlison – three very physical and reliable players that you need when heading into battle at Brentford, who you’d imagine will be at their full-throttle best after the break.
The Bees have only lost to Arsenal in seven home matches this season and notoriously have a habit of staying in games when the pressure is turned up their goal. Since promotion, they have only lost two of their 26 home games by more than one goal. I’m anticipating Spurs to have a strong second half to the season but at the prices, this fixture just may catch them a little cold. Brentford double chance (to avoid defeat) at 5/6 with Sky Bet looks a fair price.
SCORE PREDICTION: 2-1
- Whatever your predictions, make sure you don’t miss the deadline of 3pm boxing Day for your chance to become a millionaire with Super 6.
Any winners for Jones Knows in the World Cup knockout stages?
- Morocco vs Spain to go to penalties (11/2)
- Seven or more South Korea shots vs Brazil (Evs)
- USA to have two or more first half shots on target (5/6)
- Argentina to win & under 3.5 goals (5/6)
- Manuel Akanji to have one or more shots vs Portugal (11/10)
- Argentina vs Netherlands to go to penalties (9/2)
- Over 2.5 goals in France vs England (Evens)
- Argentina to win to nil vs Croatia (13/8)
- Morocco to have nine or more shots vs France (Evens)
- Over 2.5 goals in Argentina vs France (5/4)
Crystal Palace vs Fulham, Boxing Day 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 TO WIN £1M!
This is Palace’s first home competitive game for almost two months. Those in the Holmesdale End will have been plugged in, charging, for this one – and ready to unleash the noise in what is a London derby.
Palace are usually a reliable beast when it comes to playing teams outside the top echelons of the league at home. In their last 17 home fixtures against teams that finished outside the top seven in the Premier League last season, they have lost just once. The slight problem is that eight of those results have ended in draws but I’m happy to put faith in the Palace firepower to burn through a leaky Fulham defence. Marco Silva’s side have the highest expected goals against record (28.58) in the Premier League this season despite five teams facing more shots than them. This points to high probability chances being offered up by Silva’s side. Home win.
SCORE PREDICTION: 2-1
Everton vs Wolves, Boxing Day 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 TO WIN £1M!
I’ve tried to analyse these set of Boxing Day fixtures as if it was the start of a new season. So, what trends or patterns can we use from Gameweek One’s from the last 10 seasons to potentially point us towards a profitable path?
From my digging, it revolves around slow starts to matches. Some teams can burst out of the blocks on the opening day but traditionally games are cagier in nature with players taking fewer risks and keeping it simple with a lack of match practice in the locker. When analysing the last 10 opening weekend sets of matches – a 100-game sample size – the data is showing that goals per game and shots per game are slightly down on the overall average we’d usually see.
The timing of the first goal in a game during the opening weekend fixtures also comes later than the norm. The average we’ve been seeing this season for the average minute a goal is scored is on 28 minutes, however, when assessing those 100 Gameweek One matches, the opening goal average rises to 31 minutes – that is aligned with the theory that games potentially take longer to explode into action with players not quite at full-pelt. This has led me to wanting to invest in first halves of games falling under the market expectation of goals this weekend and this game looks the banker material for a 0-0 at half-time.
Everton are averaging just 0.80 total goals in their first halves this season – the lowest of any side – and have failed to score in 11 of their 15 first halves. Meanwhile, they are facing a Wolves team that have gone in at the break at 0-0 in 72 per cent of their fixtures (13 of 18) with non-big-six teams away from home since the start of last season. The 13/8 with Sky Bet for it to be goalless at the break is certainly a bet to consider.
SCORE PREDICTION: 0-0
Leicester vs Newcastle, Boxing Day 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 TO WIN £1M!
Callum Wilson is a dangerous prospect when fresh, to the extent he’s almost advised to be backed blind to score when he’s well rested up. This theory comes from his form at the start of a season.
Wilson has a history of scoring goals early on in a campaign. In the last nine seasons when he has been fit enough to start a season (eight out of nine), Wilson has scored on average five goals in the first eight matchdays of that season – and that’s not including his two-goal haul in the first three matchdays this season before he suffered a hamstring issue.
Overall it works out at an average goals scored per 90 minutes of 0.6 in the first eight matchdays of a season. That compares to a 0.3 average in games over the course of the rest of the season. His body seems to peak when he’s had a good break from competitive action – as he has over the past six weeks with his role with England being restricted to cameo appearances when a game had been already won.
Despite not getting many minutes, I’d expect his confidence to be high now he’s a fully-fledged member of the England party. And he can return to the Premier League by scoring the first goal at 9/2 with Sky Bet in what has the look of a low scoring away win for the tremendous Toon.
SCORE PREDICTION: 0-1
Southampton vs Brighton, Boxing Day 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 TO WIN £1M!
Roberto De Zerbi has done the smart thing at Brighton and kept most aspects of the football on show very similar to Graham Potter. None more so than their wasteful nature in front of goal, especially against teams that the market expects them to beat.
In fixtures against Brentford, Nottingham Forest, Charlton and Aston Villa, Brighton have created an expected goals figure of 6.05 yet scored just once in those fixtures, winning none of them.
This is in contrast to their goalscoring exploits against Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool under De Zerbi where they have scored 11 goals from 6.37 worth of expected goals.
It’s a weird one to assess – but it certainly files them in the untrustworthy category when assessing them from a prediction perspective especially when they are favoured in the market. That’s the case here with Brighton available at 21/20 with Sky Bet to beat Southampton on the road. Not for me, Geoff.
Even though we’ll need a few games to assess what a Nathan Jones team looks like at Southampton, his man-management skills should trigger an instant lift in terms of energy and vibrancy with performance levels. Jones Knows and all that.
His boys can get a result in this one with 8/11 with Sky Bet on offer on the double chance market.
SCORE PREDICTION: 2-1
Aston Villa vs Liverpool, Boxing Day 5.30pm – PLAY SUPER 6 TO WIN £1M!
Such is the unknown of what level of intensity and cohesion teams are working at after this break I’m staying clear of trusting teams at short prices this weekend. Liverpool are odds-on at 7/10 with Sky Bet to maintain a ferociously strong record at Villa Park but I can let that price slide as Unai Emery does love playing the underdog tag with his teams at home.
Emery is changing many things at Villa Park but one area we can profit from as bettors is his emphasis to play with a higher line in defence which in turn is going to see opposition players caught offside at a higher rate than what has gone before.
During his spell in charge of Villarreal, Emery’s team ranked second in La Liga for catching teams offside and Aston Villa are going the same way looking at the first three fixtures he has overseen against Manchester United and Brighton. The Villa defence caught opposition players offside 14 times in those matches with each team defying the expectation of the market. Liverpool have been priced up at Evens with Sky Bet to be caught three or more times offside in this one and when you factor in the likelihood of them dominating territory, I’d be very surprised if they don’t seriously threaten that line. Four or more at 2/1 and five or more at 4/1 also could be worth a second look.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1
Arsenal vs West Ham, Boxing Day 8pm – PLAY SUPER 6 TO WIN £1M!
The World Cup break came at a good time for David Moyes, just as pressure was starting to build following three defeats on the bounce. However, it does feel like change is brewing at a club that are signing a more expansive and technically gifted type of player that doesn’t usually fit the criteria of what Moyes is best at working with.
Surely the West Ham hierarchy have a sexier, long-term, option in mind?
Despite his overall success in the job, Moyes isn’t going to change style though and that is a worry for this game. In 25 away games against the ‘big six’ as West Ham manager, Moyes has recorded zero wins, four draws and a hefty 21 defeats.
Since losing at Old Trafford in September, Arsenal have dropped just two points from eight Premier League games – a remarkable run. It’s been a run based on resolution rather than razzmatazz though as over the past 10 matches, they’ve only managed to score more than two goals in one of those encounters – the 5-0 win over Nottingham Forest. One goal just might be enough for Arsenal here.
Another ‘job done’ win ticked off.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-0
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.