Jones Knows is back to provide Premier League predictions and betting angles and thinks backing Man City to win a low-scoring game vs Spurs is a smart play.
Leicester vs Liverpool, Saturday 12.30pm
When Liverpool meet Leicester, Liverpool usually win.
Liverpool have won the last three matches between these two and going further back, they have won six of the last seven meetings.
Leicester were tipped by many as the team to end Liverpool’s spectacular home record in November but fell to a convincing 3-0 defeat. Despite Liverpool’s problems, there is still a gulf in class, especially when analysing Leicester’s last two performances against Wolves and Brighton in the FA Cup. Jurgen Klopp has never lost three straight Premier League matches. Away win.
My betting angle for the match revolves around Roberto Firmino, who is a spectacularly gifted footballer but not a natural goalscorer. That is seen through his expected goals data according to actual goals. In the last three seasons, the chances falling his way should have equated to 35.63 goals yet he’s only recorded 27 – for a player playing at this level, that’s a huge underperformance.
However, one area of his game significantly underrated is his heading ability, nine of those 27 goals during that period have come via a header, that’s 30 per cent of his ratio. Only Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Chris Wood have scored more.
Interestingly, three of those goals have come in fixtures against Leicester, including the final goal in the 3-0 victory at Anfield in December. Brendan Rodgers’ team are susceptible from crosses – only Leeds, Wolves, West Brom and Southampton have conceded more goals from wide deliveries than them this season. Only Newcastle and Crystal Palace have conceded more headed shots on target than the Foxes (21).
Firmino looks overpriced at 14/1 to score his fourth headed goal vs Leicester.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-2
BETTING ANGLE: Roberto Firmino to score a header (14/1 with Sky Bet)
Crystal Palace vs Burnley, Saturday 3pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League (Play Super 6 to win £250,000)
These are the games Sean Dyche targets as “Cup Final” type matches. His side have taken 12 points from a possible 24 against teams in the bottom half this season including a 1-0 win over Palace in the reverse fixture. The shackles come off slightly in these games and Burnley are a tricky team to deal with when pummelling you from all angles. Palace are here for the taking too.
Their 2-0 loss at Leeds last night made it 17 defeats from Palace’s last 19 Premier League games without their talisman Wilfried Zaha. Without him, they are a tame team.
Burnley are a tempting price at 21/10 and I would not put anyone off included them in their weekend selections but I’d rather back Ashley Westwood to get an assist at a juicer 4/1 with Sky Bet. Charged with taking set pieces and possessing a clever pass in his locker, the Burnley midfielder is one of the most creative players in the Premier League – only Jack Grealish, Kevin De Bruyne and Bruno Fernandes have created more chances defined as “big” for their teammates this season (7) and his expected assists figure a 4.59 suggests he’s unlucky just to have two actual assists to his name this campaign.
Despite having some big lads in their ranks, Palace, who have conceded the most headed shots of any team this season (71), have looked suspect at defending set-pieces with Pascal Struijk missing two massive chances for Leeds on Monday. I’m not sure Ben Mee or James Tarkowski will be so forgiving from a Westwood delivery.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-1
BETTING ANGLE: Ashley Westwood assist (4/1 with Sky Bet)
Manchester City vs Tottenham, Saturday 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports
Don’t get carried away with recency bias in this one. Manchester City’s four-goal jamboree at Anfield isn’t a return to the sexy City of yesterday and Spurs’ madcap 5-4 with Everton is not Jose Mourinho finding himself after years of defensive-focused football.
Pep Guardiola’s men will remain playing controlled, even rather workmanlike, football with an emphasis on not allowing their backline to be exposed while Jose will be checking tyres of that bus.
Saturday 13th February 5:00pm
Kick off 5:30pm
All their key metrics point to a change in style for Manchester City this season. They are averaging fewer expected goals, fewer shots and fewer shots on target than previous seasons but that is counter-balanced by a sky-rocketing defensive output that is proving the backbone to winning this Premier League title. Since losing to Spurs in November, City have conceded just three goals in 14 games.
It’s been a masterstroke from Pep. City have won their last 15 games in all competitions, setting new English record of successive wins in all competitions by a top-tier team. It’s phenomenal.
With fewer dangerous attacks up their sleeve this could prove an evening where patience is key against a team like Spurs that will set up to frustrate. Guardiola will be aware how City were ripped open by the Spurs counter in the previous fixture and will not be allowing that to happen again.
Harry Kane has only scored two goals in his previous 11 appearances vs City, so that does not bode well for those thinking Spurs can breach the City defence. In terms of a correct score, a 1-0 or 2-0 City victory certainly looks an avenue to consider. Nine of City’s 15 Premier League wins this season have been via either of those two scorelines, which is a very unusual winning Guardiola scoreline as shown by the table below.
This game has all the hallmarks of a cagey and tactical affair most probably settled by one or two moments of inspiration by a City player.
That player could be Joao Cancelo.
He has rapidly become an integral part of Guardiola’s strategy at Man City – as my colleague Adam Bate wrote this week, his creativity when stepping into midfield from his full-back role has been crucial to City’s success. His importance increases when coming up against a low-block defence.
In such games, he revels in the space afforded to him just outside the box and becomes a live runner in terms of his shooting threat. In recent fixtures at Burnley and West Brom, Cancelo fired four shots at goal from outside the box, with the one hitting the target resulting in a goal. Mourinho will employ similar ultra-defensive tactics which should see Cancelo move into those areas from where he likes to strike from. I like the 5/2 that one of those shots hits the target.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-0 or 2-0 (11/4 with Sky Bet)
BETTING ANGLE: Joao Cancelo to have a shot on target from outside the box (5/2 with Sky Bet)
Brighton vs Aston Villa, Saturday 8pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League
Saturday 13th February 7:45pm
Kick off 8:00pm
This should be an entertaining watch this one. Both teams like to get the ball down and have managers that encourage players to express themselves. Brighton have found consistency in their defensive play for Graham Potter and although they still remain a team to be wary of in terms of converting chances into goals, opposition teams are finding it hard to find a way through.
With Lewis Dunk marshalling his troops, Brighton have shipped just one goal in their last five league matches, a remarkable achievement considering they’ve faced Leeds, Liverpool and Tottenham in that run. They have also faced just 222 shots in the Premier League this season – only Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea have faced fewer.
With the match markets offering little way of betting opportunities with almost identical prices for both teams, finding an angle in has proved difficult. The draw has to be the play for an outright tip, advised with no confidence.
So, when stuck for inspiration, stick to a winning formula. Last weekend Ollie Watkins ran Arsenal ragged and landed our suggestion of him having a header on target at 9/2 with Sky Bet. Only Patrick Bamford (25), Aleksandar Mitrovic (19), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (18) and Tomas Soucek (17) have had more headers on goal than the in-form Watkins this season with six of those hitting the target.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-1
BETTING ANGLE: Ollie Watkins to have a header on target (9/2 with Sky Bet)
Southampton vs Wolves, Sunday 12pm
Wolves were absolutely second best in every department in the meeting between these two on Thursday in the FA Cup but with Pedro Neto, Adama Traore and Willian Jose all likely to return, this should be a tighter encounter with Wolves actually possessing a threat in the final third.
So, what happens when fast starters meet fast finishers? Well, we will find out in this fixture.
Southampton have scored the first goal in eight of their 10 home matches this season, highlighting Ralph Hasenhuttl’s energetic philosophy of pressing until players can press no more.
However, this does have a consequence on their finishing kick. Saints regularly run out of steam towards the latter stages of matches. Only West Brom, Newcastle and Crystal Palace have conceded more goals than the 16 Southampton have shipped on or after the 61st minutes in matches this season. Their lack of energy in their 3-2 defeat at the Toon last weekend where they failed to score playing against 10 men for 28 minutes and nine men for 15 minutes was a worrying sign.
Having put so much physical excursion into the FA Cup victory, a 72-hour turnaround is a worry for Saints. I would fully expect Wolves, who are a notorious second-half team (they have failed to score in the first half in 69 of 99 games since returning to the Premier League), to be packing a powerful punch in the latter stages of this one.
There are betting angles to take advantage of with that theory in mind. Southampton to be winning at half-time and Wolves at full-time is a 33/1 shot but those who like doubling money should be alerted to the Evens about Wolves being the last team to score in this fixture. It looks a cracker.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-1
BETTING ANGLE: Wolves to be the last team to score (Evens with Sky Bet)
West Brom vs Manchester United, Sunday 2.15pm, live on Sky Sports
West Brom have conceded 54 goals this season and there has been no sign of Sam Allardyce sorting their problems out. The record under Allardyce (all comps) reads: P11 W1 D2 L8 F7 A26.
The United attackers will be licking their lips at the prospect of feasting here.
With such little beef to feast on in the match result markets my eyes have been drawn to the player shots market with the increased attacking licence given to Aaron Wan-Bissaka highlighting him as a player to back this weekend. The full-back has managed more touches in the opposition box in his last five games (10) than he produced in the previous 13 games combined. That points to an increased confidence in joining attacks, an area of his game he spoke to my colleague Jack Wilkinson about in a recent exclusive interview. He said: “This club is capable of helping me with that [attacking]. I want to become a better player every year.”
His shots data backs that up. He has managed to get a shot away in three of his last four Premier League appearances, including scoring in the 9-0 win over Southampton. Coming up against West Brom, who have faced 370 shots this season – 41 more than any other club – Wan Bissaka should be a great deal shorter than 10/1 to unleash two effort at goal.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-3
BETTING ANGLE: Aaron Wan-Bissaka to have two or more shots at goal (10/1 with Sky Bet)
Arsenal vs Leeds, Sunday 4.30pm, Sky Sports Premier League
You cannot beat a bit of Leeds on Super Sunday.
Sunday 14th February 4:00pm
Kick off 4:30pm
They head to The Emirates will their tails firmly up, too, having won three of their last four matches. Patrick Bamford, Raphinha and Jack Harrison are all playing with confidence and you feel the Arsenal back four is going to get a significant workout in this one. Arsenal faced 25 shots in the 0-0 draw at Leeds in November – four more than they have in any other Premier League game this season. How that game remained 0-0 is still a mystery, even when it was 11 vs 11 Leeds were the dominant side.
A quick look at the table shows that Leeds are above Arsenal with a game in hand. The eye in terms of performances backs that up – there really is not much between these two. With no home advantage at play still in the Premier League, the 3/1 with Sky Bet for an away win does look very generous.
One thing to consider though is Leeds’ organisation at the back – it still worries me. This means my Rob Holding to score project will hopefully take a profitable turn on Sunday.
Holding is becoming a key player for Mikel Arteta, but one thing is missing: a Premier League goal. He has never scored one.
However, the signs are very positive in that regard, so much so I am happy to invest in his chances against a team that are notoriously terrible at defending set-pieces. Leeds have conceded a Premier League high 11 goals from set-pieces (excluding penalties), a Premier League high eight goals conceded from corners, a Premier League high 11 goals conceded from crosses and conceded a joint Premier League high nine headed goals.
Since Arsenal’s defeat to Tottenham in December, Holding has developed into massive threat at set-pieces. In that period he has registered 12 shots at goal – only Lewis Dunk has had more efforts on goal of every centre-back in the Premier League. He’s showing an ability to get into dangerous areas and it’s only a matter of time before he knocks one in.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-3
BETTING ANGLE: Rob Holding to score (22/1 with Sky Bet)
Everton vs Fulham, Sunday 7pm
Opposing goals looks the play here.
Everton – in the Premier League – have had problems scoring goals at Goodison Park without their fans. They can be easily stifled if an opposition team are well-organised and clever with the ball – as shown in the 2-0 defeat to Newcastle.
In their last eight league games at home, Carlo Ancelotti’s side actually have the worst expected home goals figure in the league, recording just 6.37 goals in that period from eight games with only seven actual goals scored. With no Dominic Calvert-Lewin to call upon on here either, big chances surely will be hard to come by – as they will for Fulham too. They are the third lowest scorers in the division with just 17 goals scored in their 22 games and haven’t scored in four of their last five matches.
Under 1.5 goals at 11/5 with Sky Bet certainly makes sense.
Ademola Lookman will be playing to prove a point in this one. The former Everton player was sold to RB Leipzig for around £22.5m in 2019 having never really been given the opportunity at Goodison Park. He returns a more complete player albeit one that still has a certain amount of rawness to his game. I want to back him to make his mark though.
The odds surrounding his chances of firing an effort on target from outside the box look generous at 9/2. He averages just over one shot per game from outside the box but strangely has only found the target three times from such distance this season. He has got more ability than that. Everton do not mind soaking up pressure by playing deep and have allowed 103 shots on goal from outside the box this season – the fifth most of any Premier League team.
When Lookman gets space, he will be taking aim.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-0
BETTING ANGLE: Ademola Lookman to have a shot from outside the area (9/2 with Sky Bet)
West Ham vs Sheffield United, Monday 6pm
Ah, West Ham, how you trouble me. Trying to predict match outcomes and results in the Premier League is a tough job at the best of times but West Ham make it an impossible one.
With Valentine’s Day upon us, my relationship with them must be what it’s like to be single and dabbling on dating apps – it’s been a while for this married man. It’s pure mind-games when it comes to the Hammers. One week, they flutter their eyes at me and rip through teams like Aston Villa and Crystal Palace with no problem. Do they want something long-term?
Then, they blank me. Putting in turgid displays like the one at Fulham last weekend where they looked a run of the mill mid-table team that are not capable of scoring many goals. I do not know where I stand.
My gut is telling me to take them on at 4/6 here with improving and now reliable Sheffield United at the door, who have won six of their last nine games in all competitions. But to save more heartache, I will play the draw.
One area of interest from a punting perspective revolves around Declan Rice’s chances of scoring. Despite playing every minute of every game this season for the Hammers, Rice has yet to find the net and you can tell it’s something that is bothering the West Ham skipper, who has admitted he wants to become a goalscoring midfielder. He’s good enough, too.
The England midfielder goes up for every set-piece, has had seven shots in his last seven Premier League games and there is an outside chance he just might be on penalties in the absence of Mark Noble and maybe Michail Antonio, although West Ham have yet to be awarded one this season. I think 28/1 underestimates his chances of opening the scoring here.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-1
BETTING ANGLE: Declan Rice to score first (28/1 with Sky Bet)
What’s it like to get a penalty?? We’re still waiting for one at West Ham this season??
— Declan Rice (@_DeclanRice) February 7, 2021
Chelsea vs Newcastle, Monday 8pm, live on Monday Night Football
Newcastle and Thomas Tuchel had a big sliding doors moment in 2015. Tuchel – then manager of Mainz – was linked with the vacant Newcastle job in January 2015.
But the decision-makers decided to appoint John Carver until end of season. Newcastle were subsequently relegated and Borussia Dortmund came calling for Tuchel. The rest is history.
Six years later and Tuchel now faces Newcastle as Chelsea boss with a squad packed with quality and one that may have title ambitions this time next season. I am yet to be fully convinced though as they have yet to face an attack capable of asking them severe questions. If Callum Wilson was fit for Newcastle, I would probably have had a swing at the 12/1 for an away win. Chelsea should not be touched at 1/5 with Sky Bet but the match result and correct score market represent no strong betting angles in this one as I’m not convinced Newcastle will be ruthless enough with their finishing without Wilson.
Monday 15th February 7:00pm
Kick off 8:00pm
I certainly think they will give Chelsea a scare though playing their new-found brave pressing game that allows their defence to push up the pitch.
Since switching to this diamond-like formation halfway through their defeat to Leeds with Miguel Almiron playing in the pocket, Newcastle are averaging nearly two goals a game and 14 shots a game. This makes the 5/4 for them to have nine or more shots at 5/4 very interesting and even the 12 or shots line at 11/2 should be given consideration.
Another betting angle to consider is Cesar Azpilicueta to pick up a booking. He has been an ever-present for Tuchel in the Premier League on the right of a back three but is prone to a late challenge on a speedy opponent. Eberechi Eze, Ademola Lookman, Anwar El Ghazi and Heung-Min Son have all drawn bookings off the Spaniard this season and here he has to deal with the frightening prospect of keeping a lid on Allan Saint-Maximin.
Since the start of last season no player to have played more than 800 minutes averages more dribbles per-game than the winger (9.14) with 14 opposition players in that time picking up a booking for fouling the flying Frenchman.
At 11/2 Azpilicueta looks ripe for a card.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-1
BETTING ANGLE: Cesar Azpilicueta to get carded (11/2 with Sky Bet)
BETTING ANGLE: Newcastle to have nine or more shots (5/4 with Sky Bet)