Blades to get win in six pointer
Sheffield United vs West Brom
A big game at the foot of the table as bottom side Sheffield United take on the team directly above them. The Blades had a fruitful week in Manchester, beating United before holding City to just a 1-0 win. Their position isn’t a fair reflection of just how good this team is, and their process at home isn’t at all bad (1.2 xGF, 1.5 xGA pg). West Brom blew a great opportunity to beat rivals Fulham, going 2-1 ahead before having to settle for a point. Away from home this term they have been woeful, allowing 2.0 xGA per game, and they could again struggle here. Sheffield United are fancied to get the win (52%), in a game of goals (63% U2.5, 60% BTTS ‘no’) – 1-0.
Back the 1-0 @ 6.86/1
Wolves to hold Arsenal
Wolves vs Arsenal
Wolves continue to have a poor transition season, as they were beaten by Crystal Palace in a game they created very little (xG: CRY 1.5 – 0.7 WOL). I was surprised to see Nuno go with a back five in that game, as they are much more effective in attack when playing in a back four (1.4 xGF pg) than when operating his trusty system (0.8 xGF pg). Arsenal got away with one against Manchester United on Saturday, as Edinson Cavani missed two gilt-edge chances for the visitors (61%, 51%). The Gunners rarely threatened in that game (xG: ARS 0.9 – 1.8 MUN), and continue to struggle in attack. Wolves have got a good process at Molineux (1.3 xGF, 1.2 xGA pg), so can get something from this match in which the Infogol model is not able to split the two. A low-scoring game is in store though (62% U2.5) – 1-1.
Back the 1-1 @ 7.413/2
United to edge to home win
Manchester United vs Southampton
Manchester United were unfortunate to have to settle for a point at the Emirates, creating by far the better chances while keeping Arsenal at arm’s length (xG: ARS 0.9 – 1.8 MUN). They have played their best football away from home so far, but this is a good opportunity to bounce back from their 2-1 loss to Sheffield United last week. They create chances at Old Trafford, but are gettable (1.8 xGF, 1.5 xGA pg). Southampton were beaten by Aston Villa on Saturday, but it was one of their best performances for some time, racking up 2.5 xGF in the game. A defeat was an unfair reflection of that match, but they are now on their travels, where their process is concerning (1.0 xGF, 1.6 xGA pg). This has the potential to be an entertaining game (54% O2.5), but Manchester United are taken to edge it (64%) – 2-1.
Back the 2-1 @ 9.28/1
Newcastle’s rally to continue
Newcastle vs Crystal Palace
Newcastle were brilliant at Goodison Park, thoroughly deserving the three points as they were much the better team against Everton (xG: EVE 0.8 – 1.9 NEW). That followed an improved attacking performance against Leeds, so it will be interesting to see if they can continue in this manner. At St. James’ Park, Steve Bruce’s side have been solid this season, despite what the results suggest (1.2 xGF, 1.3 xGA pg). Crystal Palace edged out Wolves in a dull encounter on Saturday, though the win was deserved (xG: CRY 1.5 – 0.7 WOL). However, the Eagles have had struggles on the road this term, finding it difficult to create and to keep their opponents out (1.1 xGF, 1.7 xGA pg). Newcastle can eek out another win here (40%), in a typically low-scoring game (59% U2.5) – 1-0.
Back the 1-0 @ 9.617/2
No stopping City
Burnley vs Manchester City
Burnley couldn’t replicate their Anfield heroics at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, as the Clarets were brushed aside by Chelsea. The visitors took until the 94th minute to register a shot. That result followed a hugely fortunate win over Aston Villa (xG: BUR 0.8 – 3.0 AVL), but, nonetheless, they are eight points above the drop zone. Manchester City won their eighth straight Premier League game, and extended their unbeaten run to 12 with a narrow win over Sheffield United. In that 12-game stretch, Pep Guardiola’s side have allowed an average of 0.5 xGA per game, a staggering defensive performance that means it would be a surprise to see Burnley score here. City are performing at juggernaut levels, and should win again here (67%), though I expect this to be another low-scoring victory – 0-2.
Back the 0-2 @ 6.611/2
Foxes to bounce back at the Cottage
Fulham vs Leicester
Fulham are 10 without a win in the Premier League after a 2-2 draw with relegation rivals West Brom at the weekend, a fair result in the end (xG: WBA 1.0 – 1.3 FUL). Across that period, while gaining plaudits for performances, the process Scott Parker’s side have put up has been very poor (1.0 xGF, 1.8 xGA pg). Leicester saw their seven-game unbeaten run come to an end at home to Leeds on Sunday, a frustrating loss in an even game based on xG (xG: LEI 2.2 – 2.0 LEE). Brendan Rodgers’s side have had more joy on the road than at home this season, so will be looking forward to this game (1.9 xGF, 1.2 xGA pg). The model thinks the Foxes will get back to winning ways here (49% LEI), with both teams expected to score (52%) – 1-2.
Back the 1-2 @ 9.617/2
Leeds to make it three in a row
Leeds vs Everton
Leeds made it back-to-back wins with victory at Leicester, an enthralling game with chances at both ends. They are now 15 points clear of the relegation zone, and are looking up as opposed to down for the remainder of the campaign. At home this term, Leeds have been unfortunate not to have collected more points (1.8 xGF, 1.6 xGA pg). Everton succumbed to a bad defeat at home to Newcastle, a poor performance made even worse given the opportunity that presented itself. They are now six points off the top four with two games in hand, but they have slipped to 14th in our xG table, showing how fortunate they are to be in such a strong position. Their process this term has taken a turn for the worst (1.3 xGF, 1.5 xGA pg). Leeds can make it three in a row here (40%), with both teams expected to net (54%) – 2-1.
Back the 2-1 @ 9.89/1
Another fun Villa game
Aston Villa vs West Ham
Having been on the end of an unfortunate result in midweek at Burnley (xG: BUR 0.8 – 3.0 AVL), Aston Villa were on the right end of one of those results at the weekend, beating Southampton 1-0 (xG: SOU 2.5 – 0.8 AVL). Dean Smith’s side do, though, boast a sensational process at Villa Park (2.5 xGF, 1.2 xGA pg), so will be looking forward to this one. West Ham saw their winning run brought to an abrupt end by Liverpool on Sunday, deservedly losing 3-1, but again they created a few decent opportunities (xG: WHU 1.2 – 2.2 LIV). David Moyes’ side are actually a better road team this season, with their process away from home the fifth best in the Premier League (1.7 xGF, 1.2 xGA pg). This should be a hugely entertaining game between two strong attacking sides, but Villa are taken to win (46%) a high-scoring game (58% O2.5, 59% BTTS) – 2-1.
Back the 2-1 @ 9.28/1
Reds finding their form
Liverpool vs Brighton
After a five-game winless run, Liverpool have bounced back impressively, winning at Tottenham and West Ham by 3-1 scorelines. In both games the Reds created an abundance of chances (2.4 and 2.2 xG) and took them, which is a huge positive after recent attacking struggles. This game is their first back at Anfield since their incredible unbeaten run was brought to an end, but their home process suggests they can get another unbeaten run going (2.2 xGF, 1.0 xGA pg). Brighton pose a real test for Liverpool though, coming into this on the back of three excellent performances and three clean sheets in the league. In games against Leeds, Fulham and Tottenham, Brighton have created a total xGF of 5.1 while allowing a total xGA of just 1.4, showing just how impressive they have been. On the road, the Seagulls have a process of a mid-table team, allowing 1.5 xGA per game, so expect this resurgent Liverpool attack to create a few opportunities (66% LIV). Goals should flow at Anfield though (58% O2.5, 52% BTTS) – 3-1.
Back the 3-1 @ 12.011/1
Tuchel’s Blues to hold Spurs at bay
Tottenham vs Chelsea
Tottenham have been exceptionally poor in their last two Premier League outings, losing to both Liverpool and Brighton while creating a combined 0.5 xGF. Harry Kane’s absence is obviously huge, with him having contributed to 52% of Tottenham’s xGF total this season, but defensively they don’t look very strong, allowing an average of 1.4 xGA per game this term. Chelsea have looked extremely solid ever since Thomas Tuchel’s appointment as manager, keeping two clean sheets against albeit struggling attacking sides. In those games they have allowed a combined 0.8 xGA, but have created a combined 2.2 xGF, so have been far from prolific. It is clear that Tuchel’s Chelsea are set-up to dominate the football and be patient in attack, and I think they will frustrate Spurs while also being able to deal with their counter attacking threat. This should be a low-scoring game, but one the model thinks Chelsea will win (46% CHE), as the Blues aim to climb back into the top four – 0-1.
Back the 0-1 @ 9.08/1