Predictions and insight ahead of the latest round of Premier League games; watch Burnley vs West Brom, Liverpool vs Everton, Fulham vs Sheff Utd, West Ham vs Tottenham, Aston Villa vs Leicester, Arsenal vs Man City and Brighton vs Crystal Palace live on Sky Sports
Saturday 20 February 2021 18:15, UK
After tipping two 33/1 winners last week, including Declan Rice to score first, Jones Knows is back with his Premier League predictions and betting angles.
Southampton have lost each of their last six Premier League games and the market has strongly sided with Thomas Tuchel's boys here, who have picked up 13 points from his first five Premier League games in charge.
Ralph Hasenhutt's team are running out of steam, for sure, but they remain capable of making life very difficult for any team that ventures onto their patch. In their four meetings at St Mary's with teams currently in the top six, they've beaten Liverpool, lost by just a single goal to Manchester City and Manchester United and drawn 0-0 with West Ham. A fast start will be absolutely crucial to their chances of getting a result - Southampton have scored the first goal in nine of their 11 home matches this season, so the 7/4 for them to score the first goal makes sense. I'll play the draw.
A betting angle to consider is Cesar Azpilicueta to pick up a booking - it's a bet I recommended with confidence against Newcastle but Allan Saint-Maximin never looked interested at testing the Spaniard one on one, avoiding being fouled when starting a Premier League game just for the third time since arriving in England.
Azpilicueta remains vulnerable to a team that like to play at a high tempo with the ball. He's 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 Son Heung-min have all got Azpilicueta booked this campaign. With Danny Ings, Nathan Redmond, Ryan Bertrand and Stuart Armstrong buzzing around him, another wild lunge surely awaits.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-1
BETTING ANGLE: Cesar Azpilicueta to receive a card (4/1 with Sky Bet)
Newcastle +2 goal handicap, Newcastle to have nine or more shots & Sheffield United to be caught offside three or more times vs Fulham
The market has sided with a pretty low goal-line for this one based upon these two being two of the lowest-scoring teams in the Premier League. However, of late, the attacking processes on show from both are trending in the right direction. That makes me want to back goals.
In three matches against teams in the bottom half under Sam Allardyce, the Baggies have scored six goals with an expected goal figure of 4.89 backing that improving attacking process up. Plus, they created the better chances in their 1-1 draw with Manchester United, even winning the xG battle.
Meanwhile, Burnley have netted five in their last three games vs teams holding a bottom half position with an xG figure of 4.12 produced. Both teams seem confident in the way they attack and with West Brom really requiring maximum points in this one, the both teams to score and over 2.5 goals price at 6/4 looks one of the more solid short priced options ahead of the weekend.
In terms of an outright prediction, I'm happy to side with Burnley, who did us a favour last weekend strolling past Crystal Palace, showcasing their ability at winning matches against similarly ranked teams.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-1
BETTING ANGLE: Both teams to score and over 2.5 goals (6/4 with Sky Bet)
This is where Liverpool come roaring back to form, isn't it?
They threatened it last weekend in the first 70 minutes against Leicester but hit the implosion button as individual mistakes cost them points yet again. Liverpool have made the most errors leading to goals (8) this season and rank second for most errors leading to shots (13). I still believe the process of this Liverpool team remains strong but it's a case of errors and a significant drop in conversion rate to blame for a quite horrendous run of results.
Talking of conversion rate, Everton have the best shot conversion rate (15.56 per cent) in the Premier League and the third best shooting accuracy (53.4 per cent). This explains how they've managed to get on the coattails of Liverpool despite just a goal difference of +2 this season.
That statistic can be looked at two ways, but I'm very much happy to file it under the unsustainable category. Liverpool should have too much firepower with Everton close to running on empty having been tasked with playing four games in 10 days.
This is officially the dirtiest fixture in Premier League history, with 22 red cards in 57 Premier League meetings and there might be significant needle even without fans considering the prolonged fallout from Jordan Pickford's challenge on Virgil van Dijk in a spicy 2-2 draw at Goodison Park. A sending off is 4/1 with Sky Bet if that floats your boat.
I was interested in attacking the booking points lines as Liverpool have picked up 17 cards in their last nine games - a big upturn from their usual numbers. In comparison, before that they had received just 12 cards in 19 games. However, Sky Bet are on the ball with three or more Liverpool bookings only a 3/1 shot so I'd rather back their most persistent foul merchant to pick up a card.
Thiago will be charging around in usual reckless fashion in midfield, especially in a derby. No player has made more fouls than him in 2021 in the Premier League (22) and at 100/30 he looks a nice spot of value to be carded for the fourth time this year.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 3-0
BETTING ANGLE: Thiago to pick up a card (100/30 with Sky Bet)
To coin a horse racing phrase, Fulham are best fresh.
When they've been given eight days or more between matches they've picked up impressive victories at Leicester and Everton. However, results dip when the schedule catches up with them, as seen by their limp showing in the 1-1 draw with Burnley on Wednesday. A third game in six days will be a tough ask and their continued flaky levels can be seized upon by the battling Blades, who have been well found in the market for this one with only 5/2 available on the away win. I thought they'd be bigger but I'm happy to put faith in them.
A better angle to attack actually lies in the offside markets. Now, certain teams like the Blades are always worth a look in the offside markets when facing Fulham. Only Liverpool have caught more players offside this season than Fulham (61) with Burnley falling foul of their offside trap six times in the 1-1 draw on Wednesday night.
This weekend's opponents like to work the space in behind defences through their marauding wide players and aren't afraid to go long straight into their front men, hence more likely opportunities to be caught offside. Only Manchester United, Burnley, Southampton and West Ham have been caught offside more this season than the Blades (48).
In the reverse fixture at Bramall Lane, Chris Wilder's men were caught offside five times against Fulham as they gave the Fulham back five a good workout with their clever movement down the channels.
I'd expect similar numbers for this weekend's meeting, especially as both teams will be going for maximum points and there should be plenty of opportunities for the Blades to break. Punters should be pointed towards the very generous 10/11 for three or more offsides. As short prices go, it's one of the most tempting ones I've seen all season, especially if Billy Sharp keeps his place in attack. He gets caught offside 1.4 times per-game.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-1
When I see the words West Ham, I come over in the same reaction as to when someone asks me to do some algebra. My head just goes to jelly. West Ham are my unsolvable equation.
When I fancy them, they lose. When I take them on, they turn into the Brazil team from the 1970s.
Deep down my gut and the numbers are telling me they are overperforming still and coming out on the right side of some fine margins but David Moyes has created a well-oiled machine and has invested shrewdly in players with points to prove in forward areas.
Saying that, I'm not sure Moyes has the tools to beat the elite teams. There is of course an argument to suggest whether Tottenham should be included in that category after picking up just 11 points in their last 11 Premier League games. But, Hammers fans rejoice, I'm happy to play the away win here.
Moyes has never beaten a Jose Mourinho side in 15 attempts - the most he has faced a manager in his career without winning and surely Mourinho has to let his side off the leash here.
And when the boss allows his front players to licence to play, there's a good chance Harry Kane and Heung-min Son are going to link up to devastating effect. Kane has assisted a Son goal nine times this season and I'm happy to take a punt on the 8/1 for another.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-2
Has Aston Villa's season peaked? Midway through January, I was seriously close to backing them for a top-four finish but their performances have stalled in the last four games. In fact, Dean Smith's side can count themselves quite fortunate to come out of that run with seven points when assessing their attacking data. In that period, they actually sit bottom of the expected goals scored table in the Premier League, registering a figure of just 2.65. Before that, they had ranked third in the division for total expected goals scored. Only West Brom have had fewer shots than them in their last four games too with just 33 registered.
I've got to be against them this week where that lack of attacking threat comes up against a brick wall of a Leicester defence.
Brendan Rodgers's side have conceded just one goal in their last five games - Mohamed Salah managed to break through in the win over Liverpool, but that's been it. It's no coincidence this fine run has developed with Caglar Soyuncu back to full fitness. The fact that Leicester have coped so smoothly without the Turkish international this season is a testament to the management of Rodgers and the potential shown by Wesley Fofana.
It was only less than six months ago that Soyuncu was being talked about as a potential Manchester City target after a formidable season with the Foxes where he helped them ease the burden of losing Harry Maguire. Soyuncu's influence, added to a tailing off of Villa's attacking process, makes me like the look of the 5/2 for a Foxes clean sheet.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-1
BETTING ANGLE: Leicester clean sheet (5/2 with Sky Bet)
So, the run goes on.
Victory at Everton was Manchester City's 17th win in a row in all competitions, their 12th in the Premier League. They have not trailed for a single minute in any of their last 16 Premier League games - the last time they fell behind in any game was against Sky Bet League Two side Cheltenham Town, who were just nine minutes away from knocking them out of the FA Cup. Funny old game.
Can Arsenal become that team to end this winning run? They have the defensive capabilities to do so. Much like Pep Guardiola's winning machine, Mikel Arteta's team play with imperious structure without the ball and have the ability to malfunction a free-flowing attack, like they did to City in their 2-0 FA Cup semi-final win last season. I think they can get a result.
A common theme this season in meetings between the traditional "big six" has been a lack of goals according to what the market expects with five 0-0's seen already this season.
Although it's not a bet for everyone to get on board with as a goal ends all interest, the 0-0 is worth a little tickle at 12/1 with Sky Bet. It wouldn't be a disaster for both teams.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-0 (12/1 with Sky Bet)
I want to get Newcastle on my side in this one.
Manchester United look a team on the verge of encountering a bad run of form that all the top-six clubs have faced at some point this season. You could argue Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's are actually already in the midst of a sticky patch with just one win from their last four league games vs Sheffield United, Southampton, Everton and West Brom.
It was that performance at the Baggies, backed up by similarly nervous showings of late, that suggests to me that it's going to be a struggle for them to hold onto second place for much longer. Sam Allardyce's men defended resolutely, yes, but they were never put under any pressure from United's forward play. An expected goals figure of just 0.47 - their second lowest recorded this season - showcased just how much inspiration they lacked in the final third. They are easily swerved here at 1/4 with Sky Bet.
There seems to be a feeling that Newcastle are serious relegation contenders but a quick look at the table sees them six points clear of the drop. I'd be very surprised if they even get dragged into the scrap if they remain playing in this more attack-minded style we've seen of late. This isn't the Newcastle of a few weeks ago that embarrassed themselves in a 1-0 defeat at Sheffield United. It's a braver, more forward-thinking approach.
Since switching to this diamond-like formation halfway through their defeat to Leeds with Miguel Almiron playing in the pocket, Newcastle are averaging just under two goals a game still and 12.5 shots a game. I thought they handled themselves quite well at Chelsea, registering 10 shots at goal - the most Thomas Tuchel has faced in the league since taking over at Stamford Bridge. Yes, there's going to be a problem finishing these chances without Callum Wilson but playing this way will still get Newcastle into dangerous areas of the pitch with Allan Saint-Maximin an obvious threat.
There's lots of betting angles I'm keen to attack. Perhaps the strongest one, in terms of nailing a return, would be to back Newcastle with a two-goal head start at 10/11. So, for the bet to win Newcastle either need to win, draw or lose by one goal.
This is a bet that would have won backing the opposing team in 14 of Manchester United's last 16 matches.
I also like the 11/10 for Newcastle to have 10 or more shots and wouldn't be against playing the 9/2 for 13 or more shots.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-1
BETTING ANGLE: Newcastle +2 (10/11 with Sky Bet)
BETTING ANGLE: Newcastle to have 13 or more shots (9/2 with Sky Bet)
If Crystal Palace continue to play with the same lacklustre attitude on show in their last two defeats at Leeds and at home to Burnley, then Fulham might have a chance of chasing them down in the relegation battle. They are seemingly meandering towards the end of the season where Roy Hodgson is out of contract and a change in the dugout is most probably afoot. It's not an ideal scenario if they are to be dragged into the scrap. Will the players be motivated?
Brighton, meanwhile, are a club heading in the opposite direction under Graham Potter. Yes, cricket score scorelines aren't going to be racked up in their favour but their process with and without the ball can make them a potential force in this league if players continue to improve. With Wilfried Zaha still in the treatment room, beleaguered Palace may struggle to live with Brighton's classy approach.
Somehow Palace walked away with a 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park in the reverse fixture despite having just one shot on goal during the 90 minutes compared to Brighton's 20. It's very difficult to see how Hodgson's boys are going to trouble a defence that has conceded just two goals in their last seven matches. Home win.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-0
BETTING ANGLE: Brighton to win to nil (7/4 with Sky Bet)
JONES KNOWS PREDICTED: 2-1