Our betting expert Jones Knows thinks Leicester, Liverpool and Chelsea should all come away with maximum points on Sunday.
Chelsea vs Burnley, Sunday 12pm
Against Wolves on Wednesday Chelsea recorded 78.9 per cent possession and 832 successful passes, the most for the club in a Premier League home match since Opta began keeping these records in 2003. Whether that paints their new boss Thomas Tuchel in a positive light or not I’m not sure – but it is obviously far too early to be making any sweeping statements about what style of football he is likely to adopt.
This will be a similar test to the one he faced against Wolves with his attackers tasked with breaking down Burnley’s low-block. Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount impressed from the bench in the draw with Wolves and their trickery will surely be utilised from the start by Tuchel, who will be keen to learn more about his squad in the coming weeks.
Burnley will dig in but much of their chance will be based on the performance of Nick Pope, who has made the most saves of any goalkeeper in the Premier League over the last six weeks (41).
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-0 (8/1 with Sky Bet)
Leicester vs Leeds, Sunday 2pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League
Despite edging past Newcastle, there still seems to be something missing from Leeds compared to their early-season attacking shapes that blew away most defences. They scored from both their shots on target at St James’ Park in an underwhelming display, following up their lacklustre showing in the defeat to Brighton. The level of opposition goes up significantly for this encounter and if Leicester were at full-strength this would be a lump-on job for a home win.
The injuries to Jamie Vardy and Wilfred Ndidi put me off Leicester slightly, however, Leicester have won seven of eight Premier League games where they have had under 50 per cent possession this season. And here they face a team who have averaged over 50 per cent possession in every game they have played. It is a match-up likely to swing Leicester’s way.
Leeds also have taken just one point from six Premier League games against the current top six this season (D1 L5) as their exposed defence has been punished by quality forwards. James Maddison should revel in the space afforded.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 3-1 (14/1 with Sky Bet)
West Ham vs Liverpool, Sunday 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League
If West Ham beat Liverpool, they will have won seven games in a row for just the third time in their history.
David Moyes is now the second coming of Sir Alex Ferguson again.
But like with all football narratives that gather widespread attention, West Ham and their manager are being significantly overpraised, like, when things were going badly for Moyes his ability as a manager was never as rotten as many made out. It is the way of the world these days.
Does beating Crystal Palace, Doncaster, West Brom, Burnley, Stockport and Everton deserve praise? Of course. Has Moyes surpassed expectations? Of course. Does it deserve a statue being built outside the ground? Hardly.
If they come through this acid test, then I will start to take the Hammers seriously as top-six contenders.
Moyes has notoriously struggled against the red side of Merseyside, failing to win in his last 13 encounters with them. Between Sadio Mane’s goal vs West Brom on December 27 and Roberto Firmino’s goal vs Tottenham, Liverpool went 93 shots, 18 shots on target and 482 minutes without scoring, registering an expected goals figure of 7.8.
On Thursday they reminded everyone of their relentlessness. There should not be too many problems here.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-3 (12/1 with Sky Bet)
Brighton vs Tottenham, Sunday 7.15pm, Sky Sports Main Event
Here is some expert analysis for you: Tottenham will miss the powers of Harry Kane in this one. I know, I’m a football genius.
In four away games on the road without Kane in the Jose Mourinho era, Spurs have won just once, drawing twice in the Premier League. And in the 12 games where one of Kane or Heung-Min Son has not started in that period their win percentage drops from 50 per cent to just seven per cent away from home, winning just once in seven games. It is not surprising, considering the pair of them have scored 60.3 per cent of Spurs’ goals in the Premier League under Mourinho.
It is also worth pointing out that Mourinho has lost on both his visits to the Amex to play Brighton.
Unfortunately, the markets are religiously obsessed with Brighton, so we are getting absolutely no value on them to avoid defeat at 8/13. The play must be the draw at 23/10. Graham Potter’s men have drawn nine of 20 Premier League games this season.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-1 (6/1 with Sky Bet)
Everton vs Newcastle, Saturday 12.30
Newcastle are an easy team to formulate a prediction plan with. If Allan Saint-Maximin is fit, take them seriously, if not, find ways to get them beat. His introduction against Leeds in midweek changed the game. In just 26 minutes with him on the field, the Toon had 10 shots at goal and were unlucky not to get something out of the game.
However, Steve Bruce, whose 11 games without a victory is the longest winless run of his managerial career, has ruled out starting with their main man in this one: “We’ve still got one or two players, Allan, for example – we still can’t ask him to play 90 minutes because he’s been idle for eight weeks.”
That leaves the door open for Everton to make hay with Saint-Maximin warming the bench. Carlo Ancelotti has found a formula that is making them tough to play against and they are unbeaten in seven of their last eight Premier League games, winning five. Dominic Calvert-Lewin has scored five goals in the last four Premier League meetings with Newcastle and will fancy his chances of ending a six-game goal drought.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-1 (10/1 with Sky Bet)
ALSO LOOK OUT FOR: Everton to be winning at half-time (11/10 with Sky Bet)
CORRECT SCORE: 0-2
Man City vs Sheffield United, Saturday 3pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League (Play Super 6 here!)
Sunday 31st January 1:15am
The last top-flight English team to win 12 games in a row across all competitions was…..?
Fair play if you’ve got it: it was Arsenal in 2007. Well, Manchester City can join them with victory here.
In total, City are now unbeaten in 18 games in all competitions, their last defeat was the 2-0 reverse at Tottenham in November.
During that time someone will have been surely chipping away nicely backing City to win to nil every week? They would have copped a return on a price around evens in eight of those 11 victories as the unity shown by City at the back is quickly becoming one of the meanest in Premier League history. You’d be a brave punter to back Sheffield United being able to break them down. They are the lowest scorers in the Premier League (12).
Surely the City to win to nil cops again, doesn’t it?
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-0 (6/1 with Sky Bet)
CORRECT SCORE: 1-0
Crystal Palace vs Wolves, Saturday 3pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League (Play Super 6 here!)
The world looked a scary place for a while with Crystal Palace soaring above 14th place in the Premier League, a position they have held since football was invented. OK, I jest. It’s been 170 days since the start of the 2018/19 season.
Their stint at the giddy heights of 13th lasted only a few days. Palace and 14th are a match made in heaven.
I’m sure many Palace fans will bite your hand off for a 14th place come the end of the season now. Roy Hodgson has got his team playing relegation-standard football again, showcased by their limp performance in the 3-2 defeat to West Ham which flattered the Eagles. Only West Brom (48) have conceded more Premier League goals this season than Crystal Palace (36). The myth surrounding them being defensively sound is now very much in the bin.
This looks a fine opportunity for Wolves to kickstart their season. Nuno Espirito Santo’s boys have won the last three meetings in all competitions and all without conceding. It will be a tough watch with them reverting to a more restrictive style of late, but their quality in forward areas with the likes of Pedro Neto and Adama Traore should see them edge ahead. One goal will be enough.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-1 (5/1 with Sky Bet)
CORRECT SCORE: 1-0
West Brom vs Fulham, Saturday 3pm (Play Super 6 here!)
Fulham have been strong in the market for this six-pointer which will be full of bite in the tackle and tension. They are now approaching evens for the away win but look a ludicrously short betting proposition considering they are a hugely unreliable side at winning football matches.
Yes, Scott Parker has got them playing some silky stuff through midfield, but they remain shoddy in both boxes. It has been 10 games since they won a match in the Premier League, scoring just four goals in their last nine games.
It is harsh to define West Brom by their defeat to Manchester City, who would have ripped through almost every team in the division playing at that performance level. These are the types of matches Sam Allardyce was installed for. The one-off relegation scraps where all that matters is the result.
It is worth reminding onlookers that the Baggies looked relatively well-organised and attacked with great cohesion in the win over Wolves and the narrow defeat at West Ham. I think the 9/4 underestimates their chances of victory.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-1 (8/1 with Sky Bet)
ALSO LOOK OUT FOR: West Brom to avoid defeat, Jake Livermore to be booked and West Brom to receive most cards (10/1 with Sky Bet)
CORRECT SCORE: 2-2
Arsenal vs Manchester United, Saturday 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League
I think my Manchester United to win the Premier League ticket at 25/1 may have peaked. Did I trade out for a profit? Nope, I decided to dream.
There could be trouble ahead for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, whose team looked devoid of inspiration, ideas and energy in the Sheffield United defeat. There is a blip on the way.
Yes, United are unbeaten in their last 17 Premier League away games but individual quality has been getting them out of some sticky situations. Wins at West Ham, Southampton and Brighton were all games that could have easily swung the other way.
Arsenal look in the mood to stifle United’s key players and move closer to the top four. Mikel Arteta’s side have picked up 15 points from the last available 18, keeping clean sheets in four of their last five Premier League games. It is also relevant that United have failed to win any of their five Premier League games vs traditional ‘big-six’ sides this season (D2 L3), failing to score from open play in any of those games (scored one penalty).
I think Arsenal are a fair price at 9/2 to win to nil.
Rob Holding is fast becoming Arteta’s rock at the heart of the Arsenal defence.
He has started the last 10 games for the Gunners, performing excellently as the club have climbed the Premier League. But one thing is missing: a Premier League goal. He has never scored one.
However, the signs are very positive in that regard. Since Arsenal’s defeat to Tottenham, Holding has developed intoa massive threat at set-pieces. In that period he has registered 10 shots at goal, posting an expected goal figure of 0.61 – now, that may not seem high but it is a return akin to the likes of Harry Maguire, Lewis Dunk and Aaron Webster, all of whom trade around 20/1 most weeks to score first. We’re able to get 100/1 on Holding, highlighting a huge edge in terms of probability in our favour.
United have conceded five goals from corners this season, including one in the defeat to Sheffield United on Wednesday. It is an area Arsenal should find some joy from, with hopefully Holding the man to take full advantage.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-0 (9/1 with Sky Bet)
ALSO LOOK OUT FOR: Rob Holding to score first (100/1 with Sky Bet)
CORRECT SCORE: 0-0
Southampton vs Aston Villa, Saturday 8pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League
I’m all over Aston Villa here at 11/8 with Sky Bet in what should be a fantastic game to watch.
We look to have a case of two teams going the opposite way in the Premier League table. Southampton’s overperformance in the first half of the campaign now looks to be catching up with them. In their first 13 Premier League games this season, they had the best conversion rate in the league at 17 per cent. However, they have scored just two goals in their last six Premier League matches with their conversion rate dropping to 4.2 per cent. In fact, Saints have not scored from open play in that time – Danny Ings’ goal vs Liverpool and Stuart Armstrong’s goal vs Arsenal both came from James Ward-Prowse assists from set-plays.
Villa’s recent results may suggest a similar pattern to Southampton’s drop-off, but their performance data still ranks them as a top-six team, especially their patterns in forward areas. Villa have created the most chances per game in the Premier League this season (12.4) and have had the most shots on target per game this season (5.9). Burnley’s smash and grab on Tuesday should not deter punters from losing faith in Dean Smith’s exciting side.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-2 (8/1 with Sky Bet)