PL Predictions: Why Spurs can stop the Man City machine

It’s a busy weekend of Premier League football and Jones Knows thinks the odds surrounding Tottenham’s chances of avoiding defeat at Man City are too good to pass up.

West Ham vs Newcastle, Saturday 12.30

A Newcastle win at 4/1 with Sky Bet, you say? Oh, go on then.

Image: Khan v Brook – live on Sky Sports Box Office on Saturday night

West Ham performances are on the wane while the Toon are full of beans and packed full of confidence after back-to-back wins and clean sheets. I thought the Hammers lacked imagination and were second best for large periods in the 2-2 draw with Leicester and the same could be said in the edgy 1-0 win over Watford as the workload on Michail Antonio’s shoulders looks to be taking its toll.

When he’s not fully wound up, West Ham struggle to implement their forceful game on opponents.

“I have not seen the Newcastle defence as organised as this for some time,” said Gary Neville after Eddie Howe’s team beat Aston Villa last weekend. The numbers back that theory up. The Newcastle defensive final third was once an attackers paradise but now it’s a watertight structure. Since Christmas Day, Newcastle have conceded just three goals in five games – an impressive return backed up the expected goals against metrics. Only Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City have a better process than the Toon’s output of 1.04 expected goals against per 90 minutes.

Head-to-head records are not always a reliable medium to base an argument on but Newcastle’s strong recent results against the Hammers are relevant to their case of backing an away win. They have won three of the last five meetings, scoring 12 goals in the process. This looks a fantastic opportunity to back them at a very appealing price.

SCORE PREDICTION: 1-2 | BETTING ANGLE: Newcastle to beat West Ham (4/1 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)

Arsenal vs Brentford, Saturday 3pm – PLAY £1million SUPER 6 HERE!

Arsenal’s defence is not getting the rave reviews they deserve. Ben White, Gabriel and Aaron Ramsdale are an axis to be taken seriously when it comes to stopping an opposition attack.

Since that axis was formed, Arsenal have not conceded a goal before the 38th minute in 19 Premier League fixtures and have kept 11 clean sheets – only Manchester City have kept more in that period of time.

That defensive security is providing Mikel Arteta with a fantastic platform to work from and results are that of a team that should be qualifying for the Champions League. Brentford should not offer too much for Ramsdale to be worried about while Arsenal’s record under Arteta against relegation-threatened teams also should instil plenty of confidence in a comfortable win without conceding. They are unbeaten in 32 home Premier League games against promoted sides (winning 27), since losing to Newcastle in November 2010.

The Gunners beat all the relegated teams away from home without conceding last season to an aggregate score of 8-0 last season and have already seen off Burnley, Newcastle, Watford and Norwich (twice) while keeping clean sheets this season. The home win to nil is worth considering for those looking to back Arsenal outright for the match.

SCORE PREDICTION: 2-0 | BETTING ANGLE: Arsenal to win to nil (5/4 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)

Aston Villa vs Watford, Saturday 3pm – PLAY £1million SUPER 6 HERE!

The way Newcastle are motoring, Watford look likely to need a minimum of 23 points from their remaining 15 games to survive. Four of those games are away at Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool so theoretically they have 11 games to find 23 or more points from. That equates to registering at least six wins with a points-per-game ratio of 2.1 in games such as this one. In other words, 0-0 draws will no longer do, Roy. Watford have yet to score under Hodgson’s watch.

Roy Hodgson
Image: Watford have not scored in three games under Roy Hodgson

I’m not sure quotes like this from the Watford boss help matters: “The bottom line is that when they’re on the field, if they are very good players as everyone seems to think they are, when they get the ball at their feet, they’ve got to do something with it. We can’t unfortunately magic up ways in which they can score goals and create goal chances just by giving them a magic word in their ear.”

Aston Villa have scored in every home game this season, including against Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United. This looks an ideal scenario for the Villa attackers to show the Watford ones how to put the ball in the net.

SCORE PREDICTION: 2-0 | BETTING ANGLE: Aston Villa to win to nil (15/8 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)

The Super 6 £1,000,000 jackpot returns for one week only. Enter for free by 3pm Saturday.
Image: The Super 6 £1,000,000 jackpot returns for one week only. Enter for free by 3pm Saturday

Brighton vs Burnley, Saturday 3pm – PLAY £1million SUPER 6 HERE!

No need for painstaking research for this one, sometimes the most obvious angle is the smartest one. If it looks like a draw, smells like a draw and tastes like a draw, well, it’s probably going to be a draw.

Brighton have drawn 12 of their last 19 matches while Burnley’s matches have ended all square on 11 occasions this season. If you stretch the data back to 2017 when Brighton were promoted to the Premier League, no team have drawn more games than Brighton (62) with Burnley third in that particular table (48). Also, four of the last five meetings between these two at the Amex Stadium have ended in stalemate. The 11/4 with Sky Bet looks very fair.

Jakub Moder is still waiting for his first Premier League goal – it’s not for the want of trying. No player in the league without a goal this season has attempted more shots on goal than the Poland midfielder (27) and with a little bit more luck he would have scored twice in Brighton’s defeat to Manchester United in midweek where he was denied by a spectacular David de Gea save and then the crossbar.

Brighton's Jakub Moder celebrates his equaliser (AP)
Image: Brighton’s Jakub Moder has yet to score in the Premier League

These chances are all adding up in terms of his expected goals data which suggests he should have had almost three goals from the chances dropping his way this season. His return of 2.92 ranks him as the second higher player for xG without a goal this season – only Trincao of Wolves has higher (3.47). Trust the process is what he would have been told regarding his finishing ability and a goal is surely due.

A player with that type of expected goals metrics really should not be 14/1 to open the scoring at home to the league’s bottom team. Get on.

SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1 | BETTING ANGLE: Jakub Moder to score first (14/1 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)

Crystal Palace vs Chelsea, Saturday 3pm – PLAY £1million SUPER 6 HERE!

There are plenty of reasons to leave Chelsea well alone at 8/13 with Sky Bet. Despite winning the Club World Cup, they were stodgy and unimaginative in the final third in both of their matches in the UAE – a theme which has restricted their progress domestically too in their pursuit of Manchester City and Liverpool. The emotional hangover from a cup final and travel schedule also is not ideal heading back into the heat of Premier League battle. Going further back, they have also won just five of last their last 14 Premier League games, dropping 20 points in that time.

Yes, if it was a gun to head scenario they would be the pick but ‘price, price, price’ is a mantra I’m fully sticking to – and, 8/13 is just too skinny.

The problem is, I am not that keen on investing in the chances of Crystal Palace either. Only two wins from their last 13 matches, in home games against lowly Norwich and Everton, have taken the sparkle out of Patrick Vieira’s start to life as a Premier League manager. Plus, Conor Gallagher, so crucial to the way Palace play, is unavailable due to his loan contract from Chelsea. That leaves the draw at 14/5 with Sky Bet as the play.

SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1 | BETTING ANGLE: Back the draw (3/1 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)

Liverpool vs Norwich, Saturday 3pm – PLAY £1million SUPER 6 HERE!

Liverpool are hunting their eighth win on the spin in all competitions – and are playing the perfect opposition to achieve it.

Norwich have improved under Dean Smith but they remain the weakest team in the Premier League when it comes to producing the goods in both boxes. Manchester City were gifted their goals last weekend courtesy of Norwich mistakes and Smith’s side are now facing a team that have scored two ore more goals in 32 of their last 38 games in all competitions.

Liverpool are 1/12 with Sky Bet for victory for good reason. My eyes have wandered elsewhere for a bet.

I’m reproducing the low card count argument for when Liverpool play a relegation-threatened team.

Liverpool games against lower-ranked teams are usually low-card affairs due to opposition teams unwilling or unable to make the game an open affair – that happened again last weekend at Burnley where just one card was shown.

That means, in the last 23 fixtures against teams that finished the season or are currently in the bottom four, Liverpool’s games have averaged just 1.8 cards per 90 minutes.

Interestingly, eight of those fixtures produced no cards for both teams which is becoming a common theme in these type of fixtures as five of the last nine have seen the game end with the card count at zero.

This one could go the same way with 12/1 available on the chances of no cards.

SCORE PREDICTION: 3-0 | BETTING ANGLE: No cards shown (12/1 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)

Southampton vs Everton, Saturday 3pm – PLAY £1million SUPER 6 HERE!

Whether in the longer-term Everton can slip away from their midtable malaise with Frank Lampard is unclear but what looks likely is that games will be fun and full of goals under his watch. I’m taking the view his style of full-throttle football that can leave the defence exposed will be very well suited to Goodison Park but not so away from home.

As Chelsea boss, Lampard’s team conceded the second-most goals of any team in the Premier League away from his home during his tenure (50) at an average of 1.7 goals per 90 minutes. That was with a team that went on to win the Champions League in the same season after he was sacked.

His Everton defence shipped three at Newcastle and a similar situation could be on the cards against a confident Southampton side whose games are full of goals. There have been two goals or more in their last 15 games across all competitions, with an overall average of 3.5 goals per game and both teams have scored in their last 10 fixtures.

All that equates to the 11/10 available on both teams scoring and the game to produce over 2.5 goals as a fantastic opportunity to double your money. It’s bet of the weekend material.

SCORE PREDICTION: 3-2 | BETTING ANGLE: Both teams to score and over 2.5 goals (11/10 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)

JONES KNOWS BEST BET: Both teams to score, over 2.5 goals, Southampton to have 14 or more shots and Everton to have 11 or more shots (4/1 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)

Manchester City vs Tottenham, Saturday 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports

Man City vs Spurs
Image: Man City vs Spurs – live on Sky Sports

I want to get with Tottenham here. Yes, I know, you are a fool, Jones.

The only team to stop Manchester City from winning in the Premier League since November 1 are Southampton. But I simply cannot have them at 1/4 with Sky Bet against such a dangerous counter-attacking side like Spurs that have beaten City in three of the last four meetings and who, despite losing three on the bounce, have their best central defender available again.

Tottenham’s defending in the defeat at Wolves left Antonio Conte speechless but on the whole, Spurs have looked a far more organised unit under the Italian. The common denominator in that could be Eric Dier, who has been missing since the middle of January. Conte has heralded Dier as “world class” and his importance to this Tottenham side looks clear to see. In eight games where Dier has started in the Premier League as the central defender in a back three, Spurs are unbeaten (W5, D3) and have conceded just four goals, keeping five clean sheets.

I am very edgy about Manchester City after they have played a Champions League knockout match, too.

There is a pattern emerging of them being vulnerable. After 13 knockout games where the tie was realistically in the balance, they have lost on five occasions in the next domestic match to Leeds (1-2), Chelsea (0-1), Chelsea (1-2), Wigan (0-1) and Manchester United (2-3). They have conceded a goal in 10 of those 13 encounters, too. Of course, the sample size is pretty small but there does seem a drop in levels after a big midweek effort in Europe. This might be a great time for Spurs to catch them cold and do Liverpool a favour.

So, what is the bet then? I have toyed with plenty of angles. Tottenham +2 (5/6 with Sky Bet), 0-0 at half-time (5/2) and Heung-Min Son – who has scored seven goals in all competitions against Pep Guardiola’s City – to score first (9/1).

All of those make perfect sense but the one I have landed on is both teams to score at Evens with Sky Bet while siding with Spurs to nick a draw.

SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1 | BETTING ANGLE: Both teams to score (Evens with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)

Leeds vs Manchester United, Sunday 2pm, live on Sky Sports

Leeds vs Man Utd
Image: Leeds vs Man Utd – live on Sky Sports

Investing in Manchester United peppering the Leeds goal looks like an angle to exploit and I have headed towards the individual player markets on a hunt for some value.

I’ll be stunned if Paul Pogba is not unleashed at Elland Road after being rested in midweek. He has looked fighting fit and motivated to impress since returning from injury – yes, his contract is up soon. The France midfielder ripped Leeds apart at Old Trafford earlier in the campaign, grabbing four assists as their man-to-man style failed miserably to contain him. He will be a big threat driving from midfield in this one and the 4/5 with Sky Bet for him to register two or more shots is very fair considering he has averaged 2.7 shots per 90 minutes in his 830 minutes of action this season.

Paul Pogba has frequently been linked with a move away from Man Utd
Image: Paul Pogba has frequently been linked with a move away from Man Utd

It’s also about time Harry Maguire started chipping in at the top end of the pitch.

Unbelievably, despite scoring six goals in his last 13 caps for England he has not scored for United for over a year. The signs are there that might be about to change though as he has registered three shots on target in his last three matches.

Now he faces a team who just love conceding from set pieces. Leeds have shipped 11 Premier League goals from set plays this season, excluding penalties. United’s run of 138 corners without scoring in the Premier League could be about to end. I will be backing Maguire to have a shot on target at 5/2 with Sky Bet and for him to score a header at 20/1.

SCORE PREDICTION: 1-3 | BETTING ANGLE: Paul Pogba to have two or more shots (4/5 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)

JONES KNOWS BEST BET: Paul Pogba to have two or more shots & Harry Maguire to have a shot on target vs Leeds (11/2 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)

JONES KNOWS BEST BET: 1pt on Harry Maguire to score a header (20/1 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)

Wolves vs Leicester, Sunday 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports

Wolves vs Leicester
Image: Wolves vs Leicester – live on Sky Sports

What happens when one of the best defences meets the worst? Probably a home win.

Bruno Lage’s team have conceded the fewest goal from open play in the Premier League this season (10) – conceding just one in the last 12 league encounters. Meanwhile, Leicester have not kept a clean sheet in their last 17 Premier League away games and have conceded 41 Premier League, goals which is 16 more than at this same stage last season.

Wolves have not lost a game when they have scored this season, either. Home win it is, then.

Wolves are a powerful side and it does not take a genius to discover that Leicester are most probably going to struggle keeping them at bay from set pieces. Whatever the Foxes try in terms of their defensive set up, just keeps on failing. Craig Dawson’s winner for West Ham last weekend means Leicester have conceded a Premier League-high 14 goals from set-pieces (excludes penalties) and 11 goals from corners this season.

Leander Dendoncker celebrates giving Wolves a 2-0 lead at Tottenham
Image: Leander Dendoncker celebrates giving Wolves a 2-0 lead at Tottenham

The anytime goalscorer odds surrounding Max Kilman (10/1), Roman Saiss (13/2), Conor Coady (11/1) and Leander Dendoncker (13/2) are all worth a look but I am more focused on the shot market surrounding Dendoncker as a confident play.

Joao Moutinho’s absence has also opened the door to Dendoncker to play in midfield and his strength is driving into the box, picking up loose balls as seen by his goal against Tottenham. He has had five shots on goal and six touches in the opposition box in his last three games which has triggered my interest in the 11/8 with Sky Bet for him to have two shots on goal in this one.

SCORE PREDICTION: 1-0 | BETTING ANGLE: Leander Dendoncker to have two or more shots (11/8 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)

Jones Knows best bets…

P+L for the season = +46

Source : Sky Sports