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Sunday 28 August 2022 07:29, UK
Jones Knows thinks Spurs could struggle at the City Ground against Nottingham Forest, live on Sky Sports
Is this the beginning of the end of West Ham's glory period under David Moyes?
He has done remarkable things but he is certainly at a crossroads. It's now just one win in their last 10 Premier League games either side of the summer and they were second-best across all departments in the 2-0 home defeat to Brighton.
One thing Moyes has done exceptionally well is recruit players that have hit the ground running. Now could be the time to throw in those players in to refresh the confidence and spark within a first XI that maybe going a little stale, especially in midfield where the Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek axis just isn't working anymore. Rice needs a new partner in there.
With Tottenham and Chelsea to come after this one, Moyes could really do with a reaction from his team, who remain the only team yet to score in the top four English leagues this season. Will he get one? It's hard to be confident based on what Brighton did to them last weekend.
Callum Wilson's hamstring injury that is going to rule him out for four weeks ended the drought problem in my neck of the woods. Having had a good bet on him to make the England squad this winter at 11/1 and 6/1, my tears solved the water shortage.
My first instinct was to draw that the Wilson absence was really bad news for Newcastle with Chris Wood likely to replace him as the central striker - but the numbers told me differently. Since signing for Newcastle, Wood has started 15 Premier League games and the club have won nine of those matches, registering a healthy 60 per cent strike rate. He may have scored just two goals in 1353 minutes of action - one of those was a penalty in the 1-0 win over Wolves - but his presence and all-round play does seem to benefit the team.
So, with Wood's goalscoring threat low that does open the goalscoring market up to have a pop at a Newcastle player to score the first goal. Joe Willock certainly is a runner at 18/1 with Sky Bet as he is a dangerous player and a natural finisher - but I can't let Dan Burn go unbacked at 66/1.
Wolves have conceded the second highest expected goals figure from set pieces so far this season (1.69) - a small sample size of course - but they did look a very technical, diminutive team against Spurs barring the two centre-backs so it wouldn't surprise me if this area of defence becomes a problem for them in the long-run.
Burn has been threatening to open his account for Newcastle, missing a free header from 12 yards out in the recent 0-0 draw with Brighton - one of five shots he's had on goal already this season. If you stretch the data back to when he joined Newcastle in January, he ranks fifth in the Premier League for average touches in the opposition box per-90 minutes (1.58) and sixth for total shots per-90 (0.84). He is the main target point for all Newcastle's set pieces and sooner or later a huge chance is going to drop his way. It could be this weekend.
Most of my pre-season bets are looking rather ominous.
Leicester top-six finish (yes, really), Callum Wilson top Premier League goalscorer and to make England squad and Tottenham to win a trophy.
You may raise your eyebrows at that last one as Spurs have taken seven points from three games but boy have their performance levels been worrying. A team with far greater cutting edge than Wolves would have taken advantage of such great attacking opportunities in the first half last weekend whilst Antonio Conte's men were completely outplayed by Chelsea in the 2-2 draw.
I wouldn't be going anywhere near them at Nottingham Forest at 4/9 with Sky Bet to record maximum points, especially with this being a live Super Sunday game at a buoyant and rocking City Ground. One thing Spurs are deadly at under Conte is scoring at the right times in matches and there is a certain unknown about this new-look Forest side, so the match markets are a no bet for me.
I do like the look of a price in the shots market though. Nottingham Forest to have 11 or more shots will undoubtedly give you a great run for your money at 6/5 with Sky Bet. Since Conte took charge of Spurs, they are prone to defending deep and that usually allows opposition to rack up the shots on their goal. Away from home under Conte, Spurs have conceded on average 16.5 shots per-game on their goal, including 19 at Leeds and 15 at both Burnley and Brentford.
Forest managed 13 shots in their home clash with West Ham and that was despite defending a lead for 45 minutes. I'd expect their home games to be full of action and attacking intent this season, so that 11 shots line does look a generous price when you factor in the opposition and the likely intense atmosphere.