Fresh from banging in winners last weekend, Jones Knows is back with his Premier League predictions and thinks Everton can reignite their top-six push at Arsenal.
Arsenal vs Everton, Friday 8.00pm, live on Sky Sports
Having the carrot of something to play for has to be factored into decision-making punting processes at this time of the season. This opens up the possibility that Everton just might have been seriously underestimated looking at their price of 14/5 with Sky Bet to record their 10th Premier League away win of the season at Arsenal.
Arsenal’s biggest game of the season vs Villarreal is six days away, so Mikel Arteta won’t be too concentrated on resting his first-choice players. But, does it really matter to the club if they finish ninth or eighth? Motivation will be thin on the ground, you feel. The same can’t be said for Everton, who do still have an outside chance of finishing in the European spots: 8/1 with Sky Bet for a top six finish and 33/1 for a top four finish. It isn’t a hard run-in either for Carlo Ancelotti’s men. Two fixtures against Aston Villa, meetings with Sheffield United and Wolves all look winnable against teams with little to play for.
That 8/1 could be worth a swing, especially as a final day trip to Manchester City, who will already be champions, won’t be as daunting as usual.
And, they do still have to play West Ham on May 9 which could be a top-six shootout so five wins from their remaining seven matches might be enough depending on other results.
They can start that march here with an away win.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-2
BETTING ANGLE: Back Everton for a top six finish (8/1 with Sky Bet)
Liverpool vs Newcastle, Saturday 12.30pm
Should Liverpool really be this short in the betting? Sky Bet are offering 2/9 on a home win – not one for the accumulators is it?
Jurgen Klopp’s men have had real issues finding a way past well-organised teams that rock up at Anfield, winning just six of their 15 matches with teams in the bottom half this season. That includes home defeats to Burnley, Fulham and Brighton. At 11/1 with Sky Bet Newcastle are well worth a swing to follow suit and leave with maximum points.
One area Newcastle will look to hurt Liverpool will be on the counter attack with Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron eager to have a run at the Reds centre backs. Thiago will be tasked of stopping those threats but has shown he’s not very graceful with the way he goes about his business off the ball. Of players to have played a minimum of 1,300 minutes this season, no player in the Premier League averages more fouls per 90 minutes than the Liverpool midfielder (2.64 fouls). A fifth booking of the season could be about to come his way at a very generous 5/1 with Sky Bet.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-2
BETTING ANGLE: Thiago to get carded (5/1 with Sky Bet)
West Ham vs Chelsea, Saturday 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports
Is the worrying defensive data starting to catch up with West Ham at the most critical stage of their season? Up until last weekend’s defeat at Newcastle, David Moyes’ men had been rallying against poor metrics, showing a tremendous ability at scoring at the right times in matches.
Along with Leeds, West Ham have faced the most amount of shots in their last six fixtures, at an average of 16.6 per 90 minutes, including 15 last weekend vs Steve Bruce’s side.
The metrics told a similar story in the defeat at St James’ Park to that of their victories in recent weeks but this time they came out on the wrong side of the result. There is a huge upgrade in opposition this weekend, too. It’s tough to see Moyes’ men getting anything out of this one as their struggles in matches against fellow top four chasers has been clear to see this season. It’s seven defeats from 11 matches against the so called «big six» including a 3-0 reverse at Stamford Bridge when Chelsea were managed by Frank Lampard.
Chelsea have gone up a level since Thomas Tuchel walked through the door. If you calculate expected goals and expected goals against figures from the past 12 matches to produce an expected points metric, only Manchester City have a better return. And even their actual haul of 25 points from those fixtures is an impressive record, plus, they’ve beaten Atletico Madrid and Manchester City in cup competitions.
I would advise ignoring the 8/11 with Sky Bet and concentrate on the Chelsea to win and under 3.5 goals in the match (Chelsea to win 1-0, 2-0, 2-1 or 3-0) at an odds-against price of 11/8.
Every win Chelsea have had under Tuchel, bar the win at Palace, (12 of them) have been accomplished with the one of the aforementioned scorelines. So, if you fancy the away win, it’s certainly the way to go rather than just simply take a very skinny price.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-2
BETTING ANGLE: Chelsea to win and under 3.5 goals (11/8 with Sky Bet)
Sheffield United vs Brighton, Saturday 8.00pm, live on Sky Sports
Those that like to chance their arm at the devilishly difficult weekend accumulators will be quick to stick Brighton in, no doubt. They look rock solid here, but you knew that already.
My advice would be to boost a Brighton win from an odds-shot to a 6/4 chance with Sky Bet by backing Graham Potter’s team to win without conceding.
Sheffield United have failed to score against much leakier defences than Brighton’s this campaign, so Graham Potter’s men must be confident of shutting them out in this one. The Blades have only managed to score 17 Premier League goals, which is the fewest of any side in English League football this season. Interestingly, Derby hold the record of the fewest Premier League goals scored in a season in 2007/08 (20).
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-2
BETTING ANGLE: Brighton to win to nil (6/4 with Sky Bet)
Wolves vs Burnley, Sunday 12.00pm
Burnley are a big price here. Sky Bet are dangling a very temping carrot at 3/1 for the away win.
Sean Dyche’s boys might be arriving on the back of three straight defeats but performances have been arguably up there with the best they’ve produced this season.
When Burnley are in a rut, it’s easy to tell as they become very ponderous in the final third. This is not one of those occasions as Dyche’s men are causing huge problems for teams with their direct approach into Chris Wood reaping lots of reward.
They looked firmly in control at 1-1 at Manchester United last weekend until an unfortunate deflected Mason Greenwood goal knocked the stuffing out them. Burnley’s metrics over the last six fixtures in terms of shots, expected goals and big chances created have them performing alongside the likes of Leeds in the top 10.
With their backs against the wall and points still required to stay up, Burnley are at their most dangerous. Away win.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-2
BETTING ANGLE: Burnley to win (3/1 with Sky Bet)
Leeds vs Manchester United, Sunday 2.00pm, live on Sky Sports
Leeds remain a fantastic team to watch but boy do they offer up space for the opposition, especially in central areas where Kalvin Phillips has the job of three players. Twenty-four players have managed to fire four or more shots in a fixture against Leeds this season from central shooting positions. John Stones and Fernandinho both managed to have four shots on goal in the recent fixture with Manchester City, while Jonjo Shelvey and Said Benrahma have both managed to fire four or more shots when lining up against Marcelo Bielsa’s men.
As seen in the corresponding fixture, Scott McTominay, who scored twice, isn’t afraid of pulling the trigger when given licence to roam and he is of interest in the player shots market offered up by Sky Bet. Of course, there’s also the added bonus of McTominay being strong in the air – an area where Leeds are significantly vulnerable from set pieces. There’s an array of bets to consider – McTominay to have two or more shots at 13/8 with Sky Bet and his price of 7/1 for two shots on target fit the bill – but I’m happy to follow the recent trend of players racking up four shots against Leeds, so will jump on the 14/1 with Sky Bet.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-3
BETTING ANGLE: Scott McTominay to have four or more shots (14/1 with Sky Bet)
Carabao Cup final – Manchester City vs Tottenham, Sunday 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports
Ryan Mason is in at the deep end. Here he meets Pep Guardiola in a major cup final in just his second game as a boss and he has to try and plot Pep’s downfall, probably, without his best player. Gulp.
Guardiola, who is taking charge of his 694th senior game as a manager, has won 13 of his previous 14 finals, conceding just five goals in those games and never conceding more than twice in any of those encounters. With Harry Kane a major doubt, finding a killer route to goal will be a huge problem for Spurs against this City defence, who haven’t managed a clean sheet in their last five but are still restricting oppositions to low probability chances. In their last nine matches only Chelsea (1.01) have amassed an expected goals figure higher than 1.00 when facing Manchester City. And City’s combined total of 1.39 from their last four league games in terms of expected goals against is still by far makes the tightest defence in the Premier League. The process remains brick-wall-like.
However, City haven’t scored more than twice in their last eight games, scoring just 13 goals in that period. This ‘job done’ mentality is especially relevant in one of game scenarios like this one. It points to a low-scoring – yet probably comfortable – Manchester City win.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-0
BETTING ANGLE: Manchester City to win by exactly one goal (5/2 with Sky Bet)
Aston Villa vs West Brom, Sunday 7.00pm
West Brom were really vulnerable to Leicester’s clever movement in attack on Thursday with Kyle Bartley and Dara O’Shea particularly uncomfortable at having to defend a yard higher in what was a must-win game for the Baggies. When the balance isn’t right between their attack and defence, West Brom are an easy team to create good chances against. Villa should be confident of finding the in-form Ollie Watkins in dangerous areas even without Jack Grealish to call on.
There aren’t many better strikers around when it comes to pulling defenders out of position with expert off-the-ball movement and I can foresee Watkins following in Kelechi Iheanacho’s footsteps from Thursday. The Nigerian had eight shots on goal vs the Baggies, scoring once. Watkins, who has three goals in his last four games, should be backed to have a good night. I’m chancing my arm and giving the 66/1 for him to score a hat-trick a go.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 3-0
BETTING ANGLE: Ollie Watkins to score a hat-trick (66/1 with Sky Bet)
Leicester vs Crystal Palace, Monday 8.00pm, live on Sky Sports
This is a big night for Leicester. When you look at their fixtures to come nothing less than maximum points will do up against yawn-inducing Palace. Brendan Rodgers won’t want to be going into the final three fixtures – Manchester United (a), Chelsea (a) and Tottenham (a) – with work to do.
I’m still keen to take Crystal Palace on between now and the end of the season. There’s a huge amount of uncertainty at the club. Who will be in charge next season? Roy Hodgson’s contract is up and there doesn’t seem to be much movement on that front. Added to that, up to 10 first-team players are also coming to the end of their deals, so with the club all-but safe from relegation a similar scenario to last season where Palace lost eight of their last nine games could be on the cards.
This match has the same make-up as their Thursday night game with West Brom, although you’d expect Palace to defend with much more authority than the Baggies. An area of betting interest for me will revolve around James Maddison, who looked fit and firing in midweek on his return from injury playing in a free role behind two strikers – his perfect position. No player in the Premier League averages more shots from outside the box per 90 minutes than Maddison (2.16) and with Palace likely to defend deep, he’s going to get ample opportunities to work the goalkeeper. The 3/1 for him to register two shots on target from outside the area looks a fair bet.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-0
BETTING ANGLE: James Maddison to have two or more shots on target from outside the area (3/1 with Sky Bet)