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Sunday 8 May 2022 16:32, UK
Our tipster Jones Knows unleashes his tips, analysis and predictions across the Premier League card and sees a big twist coming in the title race.
Before they played Manchester City last weekend, Leeds United stood just 10 per cent probability of being relegated. How quickly things can change.
That is now up to 44 per cent as they have shot into favouritism in the relegation market with 5/4 on offer for them to fall through the trapdoor. This is a rather unfortunate fixture for them too. With Burnley and Everton playing teams that have little to play for the Premier League, Leeds have a team fully pumped up and rested to give everything for their quest to make the top four. Arsenal are also a team that have little trouble swatting aside relegation fodder.
For example, they are unbeaten in 33 home Premier League games against promoted sides (winning 28), since losing to Newcastle in November 2010. I'm aware Leeds aren't a promoted team this season but it's a relevant statistic. Leeds were also dispatched 4-1 by the Gunners at Elland Road earlier this season.
Saying that, Jesse Marsch has made them harder to beat since Marcelo Bielsa departed, taking their expected goals against figure per 90 minutes from 2.1 to 1.4.
Arsenal, much like Liverpool, are happy winning games in 'job done' fashion at the moment which sails against the market expectation on the game being a goal-heavy one. Leeds' improvement in defence added to Arsenal's liking for winning games by one goal, makes the 100/30 with Sky Bet on Arsenal to win and under 2.5 goals a runner.
Everton's escape route has been to play ugly football. Desperate times have called for desperate measures. And credit to them. This nasty, direct style of play completely did for Chelsea last weekend in the Goodison Park cauldron. They played the percentages, they snapped into tackles, they wasted time, they rattled the opposition. The only thing missing to complete the "old school" football set was a goal from a set-piece.
That may come here in a game they can most certainly get something from against a timid Leicester side. Yerry Mina to score a header at 14/1 with Sky Bet is my chosen weapon. His return to fitness offers Frank Lampard so much in both boxes - and not to mention Mina's leadership qualities at playing dark arts football.
Seven goals from 78 starts puts him up there with the most deadly attackers of a set piece in the Premier League and his prices are a little too inflated as his season has been ravaged by injuries so his shots data has trended downwards. Here, he faces a Leicester side that have conceded the most goals from set-pieces (27) and most from corners (14) this season. This might be the time to catch the big man so backing him at 4/6 for a shot and going for glory with a headed goal at 16/1 with Sky Bet is the way to go.
I searched desperately for a reason to back a Norwich based bet in this one as West Ham's form after a European night is an angle we have profitably exploited in recent months. How about a relegated team's result and goals patterns after relegation has been confirmed? Maybe there is a spike when the relative pressure of a relegation battle are removed? Nope. Teams that have an 'R' next to their name have lost 24 of their 36 matches in the last five years in the Premier League, conceding an average of 2.3 goals per 90 minutes in those fixtures.
So, despite the obvious issues with West Ham's focus, they still have enough quality in reserve to win this match without conceding. The 9/4 on them to do so make sense.
In my world of trying to nick a few quid off the bookmakers, price is absolutely everything and everything has its price.
Some people simply don't understand that I'm not trying to argue who do I think will win the game but I'm trying to make a well-reasoned case for why a certain scenario is overpriced.
I took on Manchester City last week when the odds suggested they had an 80 per cent chance of beating Leeds and I've got to stick to my guns with my 'after a Champions League matchday' theory when they are being given an 89 per cent chance this weekend against a far more dangerous side than Leeds, albeit they are at home.
I am happy to swim against the market as I remain very edgy about City after they have played a Champions League knockout match especially with the mental hangover potentially lingering from Wednesday. Their heads will be frazzled.
There is a pattern emerging of them being vulnerable. After 16 knockout games where that tie was realistically in the balance, they have lost on seven occasions in the next domestic match to Leeds (1-2), Chelsea (0-1), Chelsea (1-2), Wigan (0-1), Manchester United (2-3), Tottenham (2-3) and Liverpool (2-3).
There does seem a drop in levels after a big midweek effort in Europe where the emotions involved in their pursuit for that elusive trophy do seem to weigh heavy. It's impossible to put a number on how much the complete choke against Real Madrid will affect their mentality back in a competition that they are four wins away from landing. Lifting his players after what happened on Wednesday will be a big test for the boss.
But with such an in-form team on their doorstep in Newcastle, backing the 9/2 with Sky Bet for Eddie Howe's men to win or draw is just too juicy to ignore.
Since Newcastle's 1-0 Premier League away win vs Leeds on January 22, only Liverpool (37) have taken more Premier League points than Newcastle (31). They have taken four more points than Manchester City in this period, albeit having played three games more. If they can defend in their usual strong structure and hit shrewdly on the break, then those taking the 1/8 with Sky Bet on a home win could have an anxious Sunday afternoon.