Watch Southampton vs Wolves, Arsenal vs Tottenham and Crystal Palace vs Brighton, all on Sky Sports
Sunday 26 September 2021 18:38, UK
Our betting guru Jones Knows reckons Arsenal will claim North London bragging rights on Sunday
I'm yet to truly get a handle on both these two teams, which is proving problematic for prediction and betting purposes. Having backed Southampton for relegation in the summer, I've been surprised with their performance levels that should have amounted to more than the four draws they have picked up.
Can they get that elusive first win here? Well, the markets can't split these two. And I'm thinking along the same lines. I do think Wolves will finish considerably higher than Saints come the end of the campaign but their current conversion rate in front of goal makes them impossible to fancy.
Wolves have struggled for goals with just two in the Premier League this season - an own goal by Watford's Francisco Sierralta and a goal from a yard out by Hee-Chan Hwang in the 2-0 win at Watford. This is despite attempting the third highest amount of shots this season, behind only Manchester City and Liverpool.
Wolves also have the highest expected goals figure this season (9.2) to back up their shots data. The difference of -7.2 between goals scored and expected goals is the biggest negative difference in the Premier League. If they start taking these big chances, then an opposition team is in trouble. I don't think it'll start happening here though. A fifth consecutive draw for Southampton has to be the play.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1
BETTING ANGLE: Back the 1-1 correct score (6/1 with Sky Bet)
Mikel Arteta is now in a place of calm and tranquillity at Arsenal. Managers get to that place when knowing exactly what his best starting XI is and are able to pick it consistently.
Three wins across all competitions without conceding certainly has put a spring in the step of everyone around the club and has got me firmly in the camp of wanting to back them at the prices available (6/5 with Sky Bet) this weekend. Meanwhile, Tottenham can count themselves lucky to have nine points on the board. An expected goals figure of just 4.42 is the worst in the Premier League and points to a clear problem with their ability to create chances. That simply isn't good enough when you have arguably the world's best striker in your ranks.
I'm all for the home win.
The Emirates stage is firmly set for Emile Smith Rowe to showcase his talent on Super Sunday - he is a huge price in the various goalscorer markets considering the positions he's taken up this season in a very advanced role off the main striker for Arsenal.
The 21-year-old has been one of the shoots of hope for Arsenal this campaign and could quickly become their main dangerman across all markets if finding a bit of form in front of goal. He has yet to command respect in the goalscorer markets, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang taking up a huge chunk of the percentages. To my eye, his overall sharpness in and around the box is nowhere near the electric levels we have been accustomed to seeing. Meanwhile, Smith Rowe has posted an expected goals figure of 0.68 this season from his seven shots.
A continuation of these types of numbers should result in Smith Rowe troubling the scorers at regular intervals this season. And confidence should be flowing a bit more after opening his account for the season off the bench against AFC Wimbledon in midweek. His prices of 12/1 to score first and 9/2 anytime are worth following. As is the 7/1 for Arsenal to win with him scoring in the match.
SCORE PREDICTION: 2-1
BETTING ANGLE: Smith Rowe to score and Arsenal to win (7/1 with Sky Bet)
Brighton dominated both Premier League meetings against the then Roy Hodgson-managed Crystal Palace last season but failed to win either game, drawing 1-1 at Selhurst Park and losing 2-1 at the Amex to a stoppage time goal by Christian Benteke. Their shots data in those fixtures equated to a goal every 22.5 shots - a common theme to their problems under Graham Potter. Basically, they were having to create lots of chances to score a goal.
That is something they have rectified this season as they are now averaging a goal every eight shots and are outperforming their expected goals data. It's all very unlike Brighton. Whether they can sustain it though, is up for debate.
Meanwhile, Palace under Patrick Vieira are attempting to become more of a possession-based team than under Hodgson. Their average possession stats are up to almost 50 per cent on average despite having faced Chelsea and Liverpool in their first five Premier League games.
So, what does this all mean for this particular encounter? A low scoring one, probably but the markets are already well prepared for that with just 4/7 on offer with Sky Bet for under 2.5 goals. Those sorts of prices aren't really my style so I'm going to play a 66/1 shot with Sky Bet as they seriously underestimate the chances of Wilfried Zaha getting sent off.
Zaha always plays on the edge, more so now than ever with his prickly reactions to getting fouled leaving him vulnerable to an aggressive coming together with the opposition. He played a big part in the dismissal of Japhet Tanganga in the win over Tottenham, a game he was booked in, meaning he has now induced eight opposition red cards since his Premier League debut in 2013 - the most of any player.
Confrontation follows Zaha around. Four red cards have been shown his way during his career, with the last coming in January 2019 during one of his many run-ins with James Ward-Prowse. The referee that day was Andre Marriner, who takes charge of this one. All the ingredients are there, under the lights in a derby match at Selhurst Park, for Zaha to lose his cool with VAR watching like a hawk.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1
BETTING ANGLE: Wilfried Zaha to be sent-off (66/1 with Sky Bet)
Chelsea vs Manchester City - JONES KNOWS PREDICTED 1-1
Manchester United vs Aston Villa - JONES KNOWS PREDICTED 2-1
Everton vs Norwich - JONES KNOWS PREDICTED 1-2
Leeds vs West Ham - JONES KNOWS PREDICTED 1-3
Leicester vs Burnley - JONES KNOWS PREDICTED 1-2
Watford vs Newcastle - JONES KNOWS PREDICTED 1-1
Brentford vs Liverpool - JONES KNOWS PREDICTED 0-2