Jones Knows is back in the prediction chair to provide predictions and betting insights on an intriguing Premier League weekend that includes the North London derby.
Newcastle vs Aston Villa, Friday 8pm
Newcastle are now just Evens to be relegated – that’s a 50/50 chance. I doubt the Toon fans are surprised at this development. They have won two of last 16 Premier League games (losing 10), taking just 10 points from 48 available.
Things are going to get a lot worse before they get better with their three main attacking players still ruled out through injury. It’s very difficult to see how Newcastle are going to score the goals to pick up points with Callum Wilson, Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron missing.
Steve Bruce sent his team out with a needs-must performance at West Brom to secure a comfortable 0-0 draw but the toothless nature of their attacks, which equated to just a 0.47 expected goal figure, was a worrying sight. They now face a team with far greater defensive credentials. Villa have statistically the third-best defence in the league, conceding just 27 goals and keeping 14 clean sheets – that’s twice as many as last season.
A Villa win to nil at 9/4 certainly makes appeal. Villa’s last win at Newcastle was 3-0 in April 2005 – a game in which Newcastle had three players sent-off, including the infamous fight between Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-2
BETTING ANGLE: Aston Villa to win to nil (9/4 with Sky Bet)
Leeds vs Chelsea, Saturday 12.30pm
I am always wary of Leeds against the big boys.
Marcelo Bielsa’s team have not beaten a ‘big six’ opponent in seven Premier League meetings this season (D2, L5) – scoring nine and conceding 21 (conceded 16 in last four games). Leeds have also faced an average of 16.3 shots per Premier League game vs the sides currently in the top 10 this season (245 in 15 games). An away win should be on cards. Chelsea are unbeaten in 11 games under Thomas Tuchel in all competitions, winning eight, conceding just two goals.
Tuchel has proved to be a tricky man to second-guess when it comes to team selection, so that makes tipping up a selection in a player-focused market difficult, yet, Mason Mount is someone I want to back in the shots market for this fixture.
Since Tuchel took charge, Mount is averaging 2.9 shots per 90 minutes in a much more advanced role that sees him support the central striker. It’s an average which puts him in and around players like Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah and James Maddison in terms of getting shots away.
Twenty-one players have managed to fire four or more shots in a fixture against Leeds this season as their open football philosophy allows players like Mount to get into central shooting positions. Attacking midfielders such as De Bruyne, Bruno Fernandes, Jonjo Shelvey and Said Benrahma have all managed to fire four or more shots in a game against Leeds this season. Mount can add his name to that list, with 2/1 on offer from Sky Bet.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-3
BETTING ANGLE: Mason Mount to have four or more shots (2/1 with Sky Bet)
Crystal Palace vs West Brom, Saturday 3pm, live on Sky Sports (Play Super 6 to win £250,000)
When it comes to West Brom strikers leaving a legacy, Mbaye Diagne is closer to Markus Rosenberg than Geoff Horsfield on that particular spectrum.
Just one goal in eight games is a pretty wretched record but that only tells half the story – he has been the nearly man for the Baggies and could have been the next Horsfield with a bit more luck.
Since signing, no player in the Premier League has a higher expected goal figure than Diagne’s – in those eight games the quality of chance falling his way has accumulated 4.63 goals. That does not include the effort he had ruled out for offside by VAR in the 1-0 defeat to Everton, too.
In total, he has missed eight big chances since joining on loan and his confidence looked low vs Newcastle, snatching at chances and losing balance at critical times when his teammates found him in space.
However, I am willing to roll the dice one more time with Diagne – considering this weekend’s opponents. Palace will not be changing their game-plan of defending deep and soaking up pressure even against the all-but relegated Baggies. It’s a football philosophy that has seen them concede the most headed shots on their goal this season of any Premier League team (90) with nine goals conceded via a header. Diagne can star for the away side by scoring first at 7/1 with Sky Bet here in an overdue win.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-2
BETTING ANGLE: Mbaye Diagne to score first (7/1 with Sky Bet)
Everton vs Burnley, Saturday 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports
I am still having trust issues with Everton, especially in home games when the onus is on them to make the running.
They secured a first win in six home Premier League games against Southampton, having picked up just one point from their previous 15 points available.
Quite staggeringly, Everton have not won the shots count in all of their matches since drawing with Burnley on December 5. That’s a 16-game run. I cannot back them here against a team that has lost just one of their last seven. I will play the draw.
The dynamic between Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin as a front pairing should continue to prove a fruitful tactic for Carlo Ancelotti though. Since switching to play as a centre-forward – he moved back to a more left-sided role in a formation switch at Chelsea – the Brazilian has scored four times in five games. His clever movement, dovetailed with Calvert-Lewin’s physicality is an exciting formula for Everton not only for the remainder of the campaign but in the long-term too.
I want to back Richarlison to score first in this one. He looks a shade overpriced at 5/1 with Sky Bet in comparison to Calvert-Lewin, who despite having his best goalscoring season with 18 has only managed two goals in his last 13 games and is being priced up as the 13/5 favourite.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-1
BETTING ANGLE: Richarlison to score first (5/1 with Sky Bet)
Fulham vs Manchester City, Saturday 8pm
With the title all-but won for Manchester City – they are 14 points clear at top of table and 1/500 with Sky Bet – their games could be quite fun to watch between now and the end of the campaign as the shackles could come off in forward areas. In between their defeat to Manchester United, they have fired nine goals past Wolves and Southampton. With confident Fulham likely to play with their usual attacking intent, this encounter should be one for the purists.
Backing goals looks a strong angle but Fulham may not hold up their end of the bargain – Scott Parker’s team have only scored two or more goals in a game twice in the last 17 games and City will not be offering up many clear-cut chances, will they? Fulham are also the lowest home scorers in the Premier League with just eight goals scored from 14 games.
That leads me to the total match shots market. Despite not scoring many, Fulham do get into shooting positions as showcased by an average of 13 shots per game in their last seven games. No team has had more shots on goal than Pep Guardiola’s side this season (458), working at an average of 16 per game. Combining those two averages certainly makes the 5/4 with Sky Bet for 26 shots or more very appealing in what should be a high tempo game.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-3
BETTING ANGLE: 26 shots or more in the match (5/4 with Sky Bet)
Southampton vs Brighton, Sunday 12pm
I am surprised to see Brighton as favourites with Sky Bet for this one. The markets remain fascinated and obsessed with Graham Potter’s team turning their form around. They have a point in terms of their relegation chances and surely they will have too much to get involved in that scrap, but Southampton – to my eye – are well-equipped to win this game.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have put impressive back-to-back performances together in the win at Sheffield United and a harsh 5-2 beating at Manchester City, where they played with great bravery and confidence for large parts but were eventually just outclassed. Plus, under Hasenhuttl, Saints are unbeaten in four games vs Brighton, winning three, including the reverse fixture 2-1 at the Amex despite Brighton having fans back inside the stadium. The Evens for Southampton Draw No Bet (meaning we get a full return if Saints win and our stake back if it’s a draw) looks best bet material for the weekend.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-1
BETTING ANGLE: Southampton draw no bet (Evens with Sky Bet)
Leicester vs Sheffield United, Sunday 2pm, live on Sky Sports
I am not completely trustworthy of Leicester as an attacking force at the moment without James Maddison.
To his credit, Brendan Rodgers has got his team grinding out results which has kept them firmly in control of their top four finishing destiny. Since beating Liverpool 3-1, Leicester’s attacking numbers have declined. In four games against Arsenal, Aston Villa, Burnley and Brighton, the Foxes have posted a total expected goal figure of just 3.57 – the third lowest of any Premier League team in that period. If you throw in the two games vs Slavia Prague, their average expected goal figure per game has been a worrying 0.77.
That drop-off has coincided with a lack of goals for Jamie Vardy, who only has one goal in his last 14 games. Going further back, Vardy only has five non-penalty goals in his last 22 Premier League appearances at King Power Stadium.
Sheffield United have scored just 16 Premier League goals this season – the fewest in the top four English divisions and joint-fewest in major European Leagues (with Schalke). When you throw in the shot-shy Blades into the mix for this match then under 2.5 goals at 4/5 with Sky Bet looks a worthy shout.
Thankfully for Rodgers’ team this weekend, one goal probably will be enough to land the points here. The Blades remain competitive in matches but confidence now looks back to levels of their woeful run at the start of the season. They will just want this season to be over now and to regroup.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-0
BETTING ANGLE: Under 2.5 goals (4/5 with Sky Bet)
Arsenal vs Tottenham, Sunday 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports
If you like your football matches with a dollop of dirtiness – then fill your boots with this one.
Predicting an outright result in this one looks a tough ask when assessing the odds – the bookmakers have got it spot on. This has the look of a very tight affair with a moment of madness or magic likely to be where this is won or lost. My eye is drawn to the cards markets as we have all the ingredients for a very spicy encounter.
These two teams have drawn the most yellow cards off opposition players this season. Tottenham (60) and Arsenal (53) are the Premier League kings in that regard with both teams possessing a liking for attacking with pace and power.
Traditionally, this is also a fixture where cards are thrown around like confetti. When looking at fixtures with a minimum of 20 meetings, this game sits joint-third in the list of most cards produced with an average of 4.2 cards per game – only Chelsea vs Manchester United and Sunderland vs Newcastle averages higher on the dirty ratio.
There’s two ways to attack card angles – whether you pinpoint a particular player be carded or play an outright card count involving both teams. With Thomas Partey (17/10 with Sky Bet), Granit Xhaka (21/10 with Sky Bet) and Pierre Emile-Hojbjerg (2/1 with Sky Bet) well found in the market, I am looking towards the outright card count for my bet.
I like the look of over 50 booking points at 5/4 with Sky Bet (10 points for a yellow, 25 points for a red) – so, we are looking for five bookings with the added chance of a red card – there’s been 13 in this fixture – potentially boosting our chances. With that in mind, backing Arsenal to receive a red card at 7/2 with Sky Bet also makes appeal. No team have seen red more times in the Premier League (9) since Mikel Arteta took charge in 2019.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-1
Manchester United vs West Ham, Sunday 7.15pm, live on Sky Sports
The home win looks a big price here. I was surprised to see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team trading around 4/5 with Sky Bet.
West Ham have only lost four of their last 20 Premier League games but those did come against the elite with defeats to Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United. There seems to be an air of fear when they come up against one of the big boys with their deep defensive line likely to be opened up by a quality piece of play from a top player. United have an array of those.
The unavailability of Jesse Lingard will also be a big miss. He has knitted West Ham’s clever counter attacks together in recent weeks – the only game he has missed was the 1-0 FA Cup defeat at Old Trafford where West Ham had just three shots at goal and posted an expected goal figure of 0.11.
It’s very difficult to see West Ham scoring against a United defence that is on the improve, managing to keep out Chelsea and Manchester City over the last two weeks.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-0
BETTING ANGLE: Manchester United to win to nil (9/4 with Sky Bet)
Wolves vs Liverpool, Monday 8pm, live on Sky Sports
You might want to go get a household chore done in the first half of this one or take the dog out. Tune in for a bit of pre-match Jamie Carragher, of course, but do not worry about watching the first 45 minutes as the two lowest scoring first half teams in the Premier League (since 22 January) meet. Both teams have scored just one goal apiece in their nine respective fixtures in that period.
Taking it further back, Jurgen Klopp’s side have scored one first half goal in their last 13 Premier League games while Wolves have only managed one in their last nine opening 45 minutes. When you factor in the likely make-up of the game too, it has to bring the 15/8 with Sky Bet for the score to be 0-0 at the break onto your radar. Nuno’s side will be happy to sit and frustrate Liverpool by defending deep and breaking down a defensive block is proving an impossible task for Klopp’s team at the moment.
Chances will probably flow with a bit more regularity in the second half if Wolves decide to open up – but the longer the game stays 0-0, the more likely they will be happy with a point. The 10/1 for a 0-0 at full-time also is worth a look.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-0
BETTING ANGLE: Half-time correct score to be 0-0 (15/8 with Sky Bet)