Premier League predictions: A first Arsenal 0-0 for 1,512 days? Spurs to win again

Southampton vs Sheffield United, Crystal Palace vs Tottenham, Fulham vs Liverpool and Arsenal vs Burnley all live on Sky Sports Premier League this Sunday

Image: Premier League predictions: Man City to edge derby day?

After finding six correct results last weekend, Jones Knows is back with predictions and betting angles aplenty for every Premier League game.

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Southampton vs Sheffield United, Sunday 12pm, live on Sky Sports

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I just can't enough of the Ralph Hasenhuttl factor. His all-action boys have won six of their last nine matches and talk is gathering pace for a top-six finish.

However, although it pains me to say it, their current form is unsustainable. I'm against them this weekend.

I mentioned Southampton's continued defiance of attacking performance data last weekend but that didn't stop them winning another match despite only creating a non-penalty expected goal figure of 0.67 at Brighton. In their last eight games, Hasenhuttl's boys have created chances equating to an expected goals figure of 7.3, so just under a goal a game. Yet, they have scored 18 goals in that period, no team have scored more during that time. It's a colossal overperformance.

Tight encounters are falling their way - the complete opposite can be said of Sheffield United, who suffered their eighth one-goal margin of defeat already this season against Leicester. They remain winless and the only side in English football yet to pick up an away point this season.

However, their performance against West Brom still is firmly stuck in my mind - they created enough chances to win three games that night. This game does offer them another chance to get their season moving in the right direction.

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There was little between the Blades and the Saints in both meetings last season with the aggregate xG data recording a Sheffield United 3.23 vs Southampton 3.26 across the two games. Chris Wilder's men remain a tough side to break down and have only conceded one more goal than Southampton this season.

Chris Wilder ahead of the English Premier League football match between Sheffield United and West Ham United at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, northern England on November 22, 2020
Image: Chris Wilder is looking for a first win of the season

Confidence is of course an issue, but if they keep hitting the mark with the same performance metrics, their results will regress to a mean and should turn shortly. At 4/1, I'm happy to row in with an away win.

Please, forgive me Ralph.

JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-1 (11/1 with Sky Bet)

Crystal Palace vs Tottenham, Sunday 2.15pm, live on Sky Sports

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This is all about the onus. Keep a close eye on the onus.

Spurs surely can't sit back and soak up pressure in the same vein as they did in wins over Manchester City and Arsenal - the onus will be on them to make something happen as you can rest assured a Roy Hodgson team won't be doing that against so-called superior opposition. Don't be fooled by their 5-1 win at West Brom, this will be no-thrills football in the early stages from Palace.

Yet, Jose Mourinho is Jose Mourinho. He won't change a winning formula, especially one that has taken them top of the Premier League table and hasn't seen them concede a goal in over six hours of league football.

You get the feeling this match might turn into a 30-minute one. I'm sure if you offered up Mourinho and Hodgson a 0-0 at 60 minutes both would be snapping your hands off. That does make the 2/1 for a 0-0 at the break quite appealing.

Winning the football match is all that matters to Spurs these days. No one remembers the first 60 minutes in similar fixtures away to Burnley and West Brom, where they failed to score or even post an xG figure of above 0.5. But people do remember the final score: on both occasions it was 1-0 to Tottenham courtesy of a late smash and grab.

There's no need to change that winning formula.

JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-1 (6/1 with Sky Bet)

Fulham vs Liverpool, Sunday 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports (Play Super 6 Extra!)

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Fulham look absolute certainties here as Liverpool's season is about to fall apart...

Only messing, Liverpool fans, no need to nibble.

I took quite a bashing on social media after suggesting Wolves looked a big price to end Liverpool's home record last weekend. All good natured, of course, but those who claimed an anti-Liverpool bias on my part go can go and check out the prediction for their win over Leicester at Anfield a few weeks back. "Christmas has come early," were my words for a home win at Evens that night. Remember, all my predictions are made assessing the odds, everything has its price.

Fulham are improving but let me down big style last weekend when failing to turn up at Manchester City. Having backed them to get a goal in a 7/2 double with Leander Dendoncker to have shot for Wolves, their inability to get anywhere near Ederson's goal left me flat as a pancake. Of course, Dendoncker went on to have four shots against Liverpool on Sunday. Life can be cruel.

Fulham looked frightened of their own shadow in that defeat, which doesn't bode well for their chances of stopping Liverpool, who possess even more attacking weapons than City. If Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah don't get you then one of Andy Robertson, who looked in superb nick against Wolves, or the returning Trent Alexander-Arnold will.

Liverpool to win to nil at 6/4 looks one for the weekend accas.

JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-2 (7/1 with Sky Bet)

Arsenal vs Burnley, Sunday 7.15pm, live on Sky Sports

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Arsenal are a tough watch, eh?

Mikel Arteta's men have netted 10 goals in 11 matches - the same amount as Heung-Min Son this season.

The Gunners deserve to be 15th in the Premier League.

Arteta remained bullish in the post-match briefings after the 2-0 defeat at Tottenham, seemingly quite pleased that Arsenal had carried out his instructions of sending hopeful cross after hopeful cross into the Tottenham box. In their last two fixtures, Arsenal have put 79 crosses into the box, scoring just once and creating an xG figure of just 0.62 in the defeat at Spurs.

Against a deep defence, they are continuously struggling to find answers. And who rocks up at The Emirates this weekend? It's the lead singer of the deep defences: Sean Dyche.

Mikel Arteta
Image: More problems for Mikel Arteta on the horizon?

His boys, with Ben Mee leading their charge, look back to somewhere near their bulldozing best and can boast the fifth best defence in the Premier League, according to 'expected goals against' data. Arsenal have been priced up at 1/2 here for the win, a stay-clear price if ever I saw one. Burnley to win or draw at 11/8 should give you a fantastic run.

I'm not quite brave enough to tip them for the outright win though as Arsenal do look well set to deal with Burnley's aggressive and direct approach. At the prices, I'm happy to side with a goalless draw, which would be the first 0-0 in an Arsenal home league game for 1,512 days!

JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-0 (10/1 with Sky Bet)

Leicester vs Brighton, Sunday 7.15pm

Throw another one on the pile for Brighton. Another game, another defeat but a victory according to the expected goals data.

After their 2-1 defeat to Southampton, where they created enough to win the match in the first half, Brighton remain the kings of underperforming their expected goals data. They have won the xG battle in eight of their 11 fixtures but have just two wins to their name. Graham Potter's men have faced just 88 shots in Premier League this season too - only Man City (78) have faced fewer. All the metrics suggest a run of positive results are on the horizon - can they be trusted to deliver here? Not for me, Jeff.

Although Leicester are slowly welcoming their key players back to the party, they do still seem short of their best. It's all been a bit underwhelming. But this match might set up perfectly for them to play on the counter attack with Brighton keen to dominate the ball. Home win.

JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-1 (9/1 with Sky Bet)


Leeds United vs West Ham

Who says you need to move with the times? David Moyes is showing that living in the past, working with tried and tested methods, is a formula for success. His West Ham side are scarily similar to the way he went about it with Everton back during his glory years. No-nonsense, full of physicality and possessing pace and quality in the right areas.

An awkward Friday night could be on the cards for Leeds, who might find themselves banging their head against a West Ham brick wall for large periods.

Set pieces could be where this game will be won.

Leeds gave up seven chances from set-piece situations at Chelsea - the most of any team in one fixture this season. In total, opposition teams have created 21 chances against them in the Premier League, only Sheffield United have conceded more. Kurt Zouma's goal for Chelsea via a Mason Mount corner was the fifth Leeds have let slip from set pieces.

This area of weakness is likely to be exploited by West Ham, who have become one of the most dangerous teams from set pieces under Moyes. Only Chelsea have created more chances from such situations this season than West Ham (20) and no player has created more chances than Aaron Cresswell (12) from dead balls in the Premier League, with West Ham scoring five goals via this method.

It won't be pretty. But Moyes won't care. Away win.



Wolves vs Aston Villa

Expect fireworks down one side of the pitch in this one. It's the Adama Traore vs Jack Grealish show.

Wolves' recent switch to a back four is allowing much more service into Traore down their right side - his influence is starting to rise again, ably supported by full-back Nelson Semedo, whose pace and direct dribbling creates a nice dovetail with Traore when given space to attack.

Villa should provide them with that platform to play on the counter as Matt Targett at full-back is usually left quite exposed with the excellent Grealish given licence to do his thing down that side. Dean Smith's side are the most improved team in the Premier League this season and know how to win away. However, it's hard to back a Villa success though due to Wolves' very consistent record at playing non 'big six' teams at Molineux. They haven't lost in their 23 fixtures against teams of such definition, winning 13 and drawing 10.

Whoever out of Grealish or Traore manages to find the better quality with their final ball will probably decide which way this one goes.

I'm happy to keep the draw on side.



Newcastle vs West Brom

Team news. Team news. Team news. That's all anyone should be thinking before getting seriously involved in this one as it's still unclear who is and isn't available for the Toon.It's impossible to analyse how Newcastle's Covid-19 outbreak is going to influence this encounter. Will the week off help in terms of freshness? Or will the logistical problems with players isolating away from the training ground make this match difficult for Steve Bruce to prepare for?

The Baggies remain statistically the worst team in the Premier League - a theory backed up by their capitulation against Crystal Palace. But I'll side tentatively with Bruce's boys - with no confidence whatsoever.

An area of betting interest to focus is Matt Phillips picking up a card for West Brom at 13/2.

Slaven Bilic has plugged the gap at left-wing back in the absence of Conor Townsend with Phillips, who is not a natural defender. When the Palace game was a fair fight with eleven vs eleven, Phillips made two fouls and generally looked uncomfortable when asked to do his defensive duties. Newcastle do like to hit on the counter and Phillips may find himself in prime location to get caught out.



Manchester United vs Manchester City

This is a real conundrum.

Up until Tuesday night, I was all set to lead this prediction piece on why Manchester United should be backed at 4/1 to beat Manchester City. But I've got cold feet. No one can seriously trust this United side after a quite shambolic defensive performance in the 3-2 defeat at Leipzig, following up an equally stodgy showing at West Ham.

Prior to those performances, at the back United had been holding up well. Since shipping six at Spurs, they officially had been the most defensively sound team in the Premier League, conceding the fewest goals (3), facing the joint-fewest amount of shots (34) and producing an 'expected goals against' figure of just 3.14 - the lowest figure of any Premier League side for that period.

So, their sudden decline is making my investment on them winning the Premier League look like the act of a maniac.

But I suppose this is the modern-day Manchester United. They are an inconsistent beast. Will I be shocked out of my seat if they beat City on Saturday? Absolutely not.

But surely Pep Guardiola will be ready for the United counter that sent them to victory three times against City last season. There have been signs that we're seeing a more defensively disciplined City, one that perhaps won't allow United space to work in. They have faced the least amount of shots (78) and shots on target (28) of any Premier League team this season and only Chelsea have a better 'expected goals against' figure (10.19).

There also is a trend developing of fixtures between 'big six' rivals producing fewer goals than the market expectation. In the last seven fixtures this season, the average xG figure for total goals has been just 1.6 with all seven matches producing fewer than 2.5 goals. It's that time of the season where avoiding defeat is perhaps more important than winning the game and it's resulting in risk-averse football.

A Manchester City win and under 2.5 goals in the match makes plenty of appeal at 7/2.



Everton vs Chelsea

Can Chelsea go all the way this season? It's too early to answer that one - but we'll certainly know more after this trip to Goodison Park.

Yes, Everton aren't quite the top-four contenders some had them out to be, but they are a force going forward when Richarlison is available for selection.

In the eight games he's started, Everton average 2.3 goals and create just under 11 chances per 90 minutes. That's top-six standard football.

His positioning off the left is very tricky for defenders to pick up as his game is all about being direct and getting into dangerous positions - it's an area Chelsea struggled with against Leeds with Patrick Bamford's goal coming from an attack down that side. Richarlison's dynamic with Dominic Calvert-Lewin isn't quite Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son levels of chemistry but the potential is certainly there on what we've seen this season.

Richarlison has assisted three of Calvert-Lewin's 11 goals this season - it's 12/1 for that combination to come up trumps again this weekend.

In what is likely to be an explosive game involving two deadly attacks, I'm happy to play the score draw.



Pitch to Post Preview: Man Utd v Man City preview; Plus Tottenham analysis, Arsenal's attack, and Liverpool's strength in depth

This week on the Pitch to Post Preview Podcast, Peter Smith is joined by Sky Sports News reporters James Cooper and Ben Ransom to discuss the Manchester derby, including whether David de Gea will be dropped, why John Stones is back in the City side, and how it could all play out.

Their colleague Michael Bridge is on the line to discuss Crystal Palace vs table-toppers Tottenham, plus Sky Sports Data Editor Adam Smith has the numbers behind Arsenal's attack and Liverpool's strength in depth - as well as his Pitch for what will happen in the Premier League this weekend!

Listen to the Sky Sports Pitch to Post Podcast on: Spotify | Apple | Castbox

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