Watch Watford vs Norwich, Southampton vs Manchester City, Crystal Palace vs Liverpool and Chelsea vs Tottenham all live on Sky Sports
Sunday 23 January 2022 12:18, UK
It’s a busy weekend of Premier League football and Jones Knows is here to provide the latest insight, predictions and betting angles on the action.
If Ben White, Gabriel and Aaron Ramsdale are fit to play, I’m backing Arsenal to win without conceding. It’s a simple strategy but one that has led to plenty of profit this season.
Since that axis was formed, Arsenal have not conceded a goal before the 38th minute in 18 fixtures. It’s providing Mikel Arteta with a fantastic platform to work from and results are going their way. The home defeat to Man City was their first loss in 12 home games in all competitions and Arteta’s boys certainly deserved more than they got.
Arsenal’s record under Arteta against relegation-threatened teams also should instil plenty of confidence in a comfortable win without conceding. The Gunners beat all the relegated teams away from home without conceding last season to an aggregate score of 8-0 and have already seen off Burnley, Newcastle, Watford and Norwich (twice) while keeping clean sheets this season. Some will argue Burnley will be fresher than the Gunners but such is the lack of firepower within Sean Dyche’s ranks – Maxwell Cornet is away at AFCON and Chris Wood has been sold – Arsenal probably won’t need to be at maximum capacity to land the spoils.
SCORE PREDICTION: 2-0
BETTING ANGLE: Arsenal to win to nil (6/5 with Sky Bet)
Liverpool won’t be the only team at Selhurst Park missing crucial inside forwards.
Palace are without Wilfried Zaha and although their drop-off in terms of overall performance isn’t as drastic as Liverpool’s without Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, it certainly has an effect on Palace’s ability to win corners. That’s my angle in for this game.
Jordan Ayew and Zaha offer Palace plenty of direct-line dribbling that gets them to the byline to force corners. Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze are two talents, but both are completely different types of players that like to cut inside and get into central positions. Without Ayew – who is back from AFCON but unlikely to start – and Zaha, Palace failed to win a corner at Brighton – and considering Palace don’t play with any aggressive width from their full-backs either, their corner-count is likely to be very low in this game, too. Liverpool only concede an average of 3.1 corners per 90 minutes – the joint-best record along with Manchester City.
Without Salah and Mane, Liverpool may take longer than usual to break through teams so the pressure on the Palace goal could be more sustained, therefore increasing the likelihood of Liverpool’s corners. Sky Bet have set the handicap corner line at four, meaning Liverpool will need to win five or more corners than Palace for the bet to cop at 11/8. That looks fair enough to me.
SCORE PREDICTION: 0-1
BETTING ANGLE: Liverpool (-4.0) on the corner handicap (11/8 with Sky Bet)
Two good footballing teams are likely to cancel one another out here. The draw is a serious runner at 11/5 with Sky Bet.
After their 1-1 draw Crystal Palace, where they created enough to win three matches, Brighton’s tag as the kings of underperforming their expected goals data was accurate yet again. They have won the xG battle in five of their last six fixtures but have won just two of those matches. All the metrics suggest a run of positive results are on the horizon – but we’ve been here so many times with Brighton.
Against such a dangerous, attack-minded team as Leicester, who have scored 29 goals in their last 12 games and possess, arguably, the hottest player in the Premier League at the moment in James Maddison, Brighton are easily swerved at the prices.
Leicester have the edge in attack but Brighton are supremely more organised at the back. I’d fully expect Graham Potter’s team to get into some fantastic positions at the King Power but not make the most of them. Back the draw.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1
BETTING ANGLE: Back the draw (13/5 with Sky Bet)
Thomas Tuchel has been a fantastic addition to the Premier League: engaging, a deep-thinker and most importantly a master of organising a team. However, his deflection technique of blaming Chelsea’s current malaise in attacking areas on fatigue is getting a little tiresome. I’ve not enjoyed watching Chelsea’s attacking process for two months now and if you read between the lines on Tuchel’s recent comments, he would agree.
In their last 11 Premier League games, Chelsea have averaged just 1.5 expected goals per 90 minutes – a relatively strong figure but not for a team that is supposed to be challenging Manchester City and Liverpool, who are both averaging north of 2.1 per 90 minutes. Chances created from open play are also trending badly downwards for Chelsea – in those 11 matches, Chelsea have had just 8.4 shots from open play per 90 minutes, which is the 11th-best of all the teams in the Premier League. Spurs sit joint-top of that particular metric with Manchester City (13.4).
It’s that lack of fluidity in forward areas that makes Tuchel’s side very vulnerable at 8/13 with Sky Bet. Chelsea have won just four of their last 13 Premier League games, dropping 20 points in that time. And, against a flowing attacking opponent like Tottenham, who are averaging 2.5 expected goals per 90 minutes over their last seven fixtures and were dangerous from all angles in their amazing 3-2 success at Leicester on Wednesday, Chelsea simply have to be taken on at the prices.
Many of you will be screaming at me right now to point out that Chelsea have lost just one of the last 31 league meetings at home with Spurs, winning 20, and won rather comfortably 3-0 on aggregate in the two-legged Carabao Cup semi-final. Yet Spurs shot themselves in the foot in the cup tie, making basic errors to help Chelsea on their way and most importantly, we’re able to get 9/2 on an away win here. That’s a price which is just begging to be snapped up for a team carrying such a threat going forward and led by, arguably, the best striker in world football. With Chelsea’s defence still performing amongst the best in the Premier League and Spurs very unlikely to run away with the game, I’m happy to be greedy and up the price by backing Antonio Conte’s men to win by one goal at 7/1.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-2
BETTING ANGLE: Tottenham to win by one goal (7/1 with Sky Bet)
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