Southampton’s improving defensive axis can lead them to win a without conceding at Aston Villa on Friday Night Football, predicts tipster Jones Knows, who previews all seven Premier League fixtures across the weekend.
Aston Villa vs Southampton, Friday 8pm, live on Sky Sports
Armel Bella-Kotchap and Mohamed Salisu are a defensive duo to take very seriously. It’s an exciting prospect for Southampton as Ralph Hasenhuttl, a very attack-minded manager, has never truly had a quality base to work from.
In four games since playing as a centre-back pair, Saints have conceded an expected goals figure of just 3.59 and that includes playing Chelsea and Manchester United. Only Arsenal and Tottenham have recorded a better defensive figure in that period. The markets however are pricing up Southampton on their long-term defensive data under Hasenhuttl which ranks them as one of the worst defences in the Premier League.
A run of no clean sheets in their last 12 Premier League games is surely going to end shortly on the basis of their newfound defensive solidity, potentially at Villa Park against a very tame Aston Villa attack. Only Bournemouth have had fewer shots and created a lower expected goals figure per game than Steven Gerrard’s team this season.
This defensive improvement at Saints is changing my usual betting attack when it comes to Southampton games. Both teams to score and over 2.5 goals has been a profitable angle over the past year but with this Bella-Kotchap and Salisu axis having a massive effect on their defensive output, it’s time to oppose goals.
A Southampton win to nil does it for me at 11/2 with Sky Bet. It’s worth throwing into the mix Bella-Kotchap having a shot in the match too at Evens with Sky Bet. The imposing centre-back has fired seven efforts at goal in his five games and can cause a threat against a Villa side that are looking shaky at defending set pieces this season.
SCORE PREDICTION: 0-2 | JONES KNOWS BEST BET: Southampton to win to nil & Armel Bella-Kotchap to have one or more shots (12/1 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)
Nottingham Forest vs Fulham, Friday 8pm
Don’t overthink it: but what are the two most important positions on the football field?
If you first thought was, goalkeeper and striker, well done.
It makes sense doesn’t it? Those players are the ones that are closest to the goal so therefore will have more of an influence on the result of a match. Absolute ground-breaking stuff, I know.
The point I am trying to make is that Fulham have got those positions absolutely sussed.
In goal they have Bernd Leno. The summer signing from Arsenal has been excellent this season and kept Spurs at bay almost single-handedly at times in their last fixture. He has now made 19 saves since becoming first choice, conceding seven times in his four appearances so far, but Opta’s expected goals model says he should have conceded nine, based on the quality of shots he has faced.
Then you have Aleksandar Mitrovic, who is firing on all cylinders wherever he’s needed on the pitch, be that in the opposition box or defending his own. If you gave me him or Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang to lead my line, I’m picking the Serb.
His six goals this Premier League season means he’s now scored 27 goals in last 29 appearances for the Cottagers. The 5/2 on him scoring in a Fulham with Sky Bet does make slight appeal.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-2
Wolves vs Manchester City, Saturday 12.30pm
Backing Wolves with a +2 handicap against the big teams is like getting into bed on a cold winter’s night. I feel comforted and comfortable. My confidence of it landing at 10/11 with Sky Bet was only heightened watching Manchester City on Wednesday against Borussia Dortmund. As Pep Guardiola said, they lacked intensity and aggression until the last 15 minutes. They can turn the taps on at any point against any team but Wolves are a very difficult team to create big chances against.
Bruno Lage’s side have a fine overall record against teams that finished in the top nine last season. If you collate all of those 10 most recent results, Wolves only lost the aggregate score 11-8 and were only beaten by more than one goal in the 3-1 defeat to Liverpool on the final day of the Premier League season.
Wolves with a +2 goal start at 10/11 with Sky Bet (a bet that landed for us in their away defeat at Spurs) meaning the bet lands if Wolves win, draw or lose by one goal, seems a sensible play for those that like a shorter price.
SCORE PREDICTION: 0-1
Newcastle vs Bournemouth, Saturday 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!
Eddie Howe spent 19 years in total as a player and manager with Bournemouth, leading the club to three promotions as the boss, and this will be the first time he has faced the club as a manager. How that will translate to the outcome or finding a betting angle is a tough thing to navigate but I am pretty sure he will be showing his former employers little mercy.
Newcastle are pretty trustworthy at home when it comes to swatting away lower-ranked teams. Since February, they have delivered the goods at home to Aston Villa, Everton, Brighton, Wolves, Leicester, Arsenal and Nottingham Forest, losing just one of their last 13 Premier League matches at St James’s Park and that was to Liverpool. A home win at 4/9 with Sky Bet should be good for those looking to build some short-priced angles this weekend.
Those that like a bigger price should consider Adam Smith picking up his fifth booking of the season already at 5/2 with Sky Bet, especially if Allan Saint-Maximin returns from injury. The flying French winger has been responsible for 32 yellow cards from the opposition since the start of the 19/20 season – ranking him as the eighth biggest card magnet in the Premier League. And 65.6 per cent of those yellows have come when playing at St James’s Park.
Smith is just one game away from suspension after picking up four bookings in his first six games and it might be worth him getting that fifth one in sooner or later so he can play without the shackles of being one card away from a ban.
SCORE PREDICTION: 2-0
Tottenham vs Leicester, Saturday 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!
This a game bursting with betting opportunities as a free-flowing, open encounter that should play out with most of the action coming towards Danny Ward’s goal.
For a manager whose team had just lost 5-2, Brendan Rodgers was surprisingly mellow when I attended his post-match press conference after the Brighton defeat.
Saturday 17th September 5:00pm
Kick off 5:30pm
He has a contract with Leicester until June 2025 and is due a reported mammoth pay-off if sacked. So, Leicester have a manager they cannot really afford to sack and a manager that is not going to walk away. It’s a pickle.
Rodgers spoke of low confidence levels within his squad being the main source of issues. Of course, that is a factor but how about the structure of the defence? Only Leeds and Southampton have conceded more Premier League goals (75) since the start of last season than Leicester, whose expected goals against data of 81.47 suggests they have been lucky to concede just 75. They could have conceded that many in the second half at Brighton.
It’s the second half to produce the most goals market that has triggered my interest here at Evens with Sky Bet. These kinds of markets that are not really priced up on any sort of data or opinion are ones that do possess sustainable edges to explore. It’s the same prices offered most weeks on every Premier League. Well, second half to produce the most goals should be a hot favourite here.
Since Antonio Conte took charge of Spurs, only Manchester City and Liverpool have scored more goals in the second half of matches than Spurs’ tally of 40. During that same period, only Leeds have shipped more second-half goals than Leicester’s 31.
Spurs are notorious slow starters, too, with the second half producing more goals than the first in all three of their last three fixtures in all competitions. Meanwhile, Leciester have conceded two or more goals in five of their six second halves this season in the Premier League. I’m anticipating a cagey beginning before Spurs put their foot down after the break when the Leicester defence is likely to wilt – as it always does.
SCORE PREDICTION: 4-1 | JONES KNOWS BEST BET: Most goals in the second half (Evens with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)
Brentford vs Arsenal, Sunday 12pm, live on Sky Sports – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!
The match prices look about right to me in what should be a competitive encounter that the away side should edge. Arsenal are favourites at 4/5 with Sky Bet which will tempt many in but it could be time for the Gunners to end their weird run without a draw. It’s been 24 Premier League games since one of their games ended all square – the current longest run by any Premier League team. That trend will be broken soon, maybe here at when the price is almost 3/1 with Sky Bet.
For a stronger fancy, I have gone looking in the player shots market for a potential play.
Brentford’s desire to defend deep without the ball does leave them exposed to facing shots on their goal from outside the box. They have conceded 38 shots on their goal from range this season – six more than any other side with 12 of those efforts hitting the target. This brings Gabriel Martinelli into the equation of having a shot on target from outside the box at 100/30 with Sky Bet.
Playing off the left and cutting in onto his right foot does open up the space for potential shots from range as seen from his eight efforts from such situations this season – no Arsenal player has had more. Only two of those have hit the target but at the prices offered it should certainly be a bet that will give you a good run for your money.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1
Everton vs West Ham, Sunday 2.15pm, live on Sky Sports – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!
Yes, Everton have yet to win this season but Frank Lampard deserves more praise than he’s receiving. I’m sure that is going to come and he will be flavour of the month soon as this Everton side now look a side capable of moving up the table and causing problems for opposition teams – even ones as well-drilled and talented as West Ham.
According to my eyes and the key performance data, this match should be a closer encounter than the markets say.
Lampard has built a strong spine at the heart of the defence and a midfield that plays with aggression, tenacity and a sprinkling of ability. They ended the game vs Liverpool with Alex Iwobi, Idrissa Gueye and Amadou Onana in there – that’s an exciting blend. I’m also not convinced still about West Ham having the required legs in midfield to consistently make their mark in games.
Sunday 18th September 2:05pm
Kick off 2:15pm
Lampard’s side are posting encouraging attacking metrics.
Only Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham have posted more shots on goal in the last five Premier League matchdays than Everton, who racked up a very healthy expected goals tally of 1.72 against Liverpool. They have in fact registered an expected goals figure greater than 1.00 in their last five fixtures. A repeat of those chance creation metrics should see them get on the scoresheet against West Ham, who have lost 10 of their last 17 Premier League games which makes their tags as the 7/5 favourites with Sky Bet look rather skinny.
Additionally, for an unexplained reason at this stage, it’s seemingly harder to win away from home in the Premier League this season. Yes, the sample size is small but away teams have won just 20 per cent of their games which is a big drop to the average away win percentage of around 35 per cent over the last five seasons.
This gives me confidence to play Everton grabbing their first win of the season at 2/1 with Sky Bet.
SCORE PREDICTION: 2-1 | JONES KNOWS BEST BET: Everton to win (2/1 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)
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Premier League predictions: Jones Knows is backing Southampton to beat Aston Villa on Friday Night Football
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