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Saturday 4 December 2021 17:46, UK
Fresh from his 7/1 winner in midweek, our betting guru Jones Knows is backing a clean sweep of home victories in the Premier League on Sunday.
The goals and entertainment factor may have dried up at Leeds this season but Marcelo Bielsa is still getting a tune out of his troops in terms of their physicality. When that stops, then Leeds will have a problem with their manager. Although Leeds' distance covered per game has dipped slightly, they are still amongst the league's better running sides.
As for sprints, they are fractionally ahead this season compared to last. That effort was on show in the win over Palace. It wasn't vintage Leeds in terms of the quality of their attacks, but they made life very uncomfortable for the visitors.
It will be more of the same in this one where chances might be easier to come by. Brentford's defensive output is on the slide. Since Alvaro Fernandez replaced the injured David Raya, only Everton and Manchester United have a greater expected goals against figure than Brentford. Home win.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-0
Manchester United needed a better manager. And they've got one. Although performances haven't exactly rocketed, United have taken two wins and a draw at Chelsea since removing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the boss. I'm expecting them to go up another level now Ralf Rangnick can get his hands on United's gifted array of attacking players.
He can make an instant impact despite only having a few hours with his troops before this one.
A fast start is expected. They are playing against the perfect opposition in that regard. Palace have failed to score in 11 of their 14 first halves this season and are missing the influence of Joachim Andersen and the energy of James McArthur in midfield. Against Aston Villa and especially against Leeds, Patrick Vieira's side dropped their levels from what we've become accustomed to this season. Anderson's ability to push higher up the pitch has been missed.
The opportunity is there for United to put their stamp on the match in the opening 45 minutes. Odds-against quotes with Sky Bet for them to be leading at the break are worth consideration.
SCORE PREDICTION: 2-0
Tottenham are unbeaten in three Premier League games since Antonio Conte took over, winning home games with Leeds and Brentford. I was impressed with them on Thursday against the Bees, who can be a tricky team to overcome. Spurs brushed them aside while posting an expected goals figure of 2.24.
If Conte's team can hit those performance levels, then Norwich stand little chance of leaving with any points.
Dean Smith's team were quite frankly appalling at Newcastle in midweek.
They looked clueless and significantly lacking in quality when tasked with scoring against what is officially the worst defence in the Premier League - a defence that was playing with 10 men. Teemu Pukki's stunning finish got them out of jail. It's going to be a long, hard winter for Norwich based on that showing, and the 11/10 with Sky Bet for them to finish bottom won't be around for long with fixtures against Manchester United, West Ham and Arsenal on the horizon. This could be the start of a losing run.
SCORE PREDICTION: 2-0
BETTING ANGLE: Tottenham to win to nil (6/5 with Sky Bet)
It's really difficult to seriously fancy Leicester in any Premier League match given the way Brendan Rodgers is seemingly neglecting their huge defensive issues. They rank near the bottom in all the main defensive categories. Only Newcastle have faced more shots (227) and only Norwich have faced more shots on target (75). They have not kept a clean sheet in their last 13 Premier League games, conceding 25 goals during that period. It's a run which is their longest without a clean sheet since 2002.
Such abysmal numbers are putting a huge amount of pressure on the Leicester attack to score at least two goals to get a result in a match. And, judging by what we've seen from Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa at the back, they will make it very tough for Jamie Vardy and co.
Set-pieces look an area of strength under Gerrard - and an obvious negative for Leicester. Another failure to defend a corner at Southampton resulted in their seventh goal being shipped via that route this season. In Tyrone Mings, Villa possess a player with great authority and presence in the opposition area. And more importantly, his prowess isn't really mirrored in the market. He's had six efforts on goal since Gerrard took over, scoring in the 2-0 win over Brighton. All his shots and goals prices are worth a look, but the standout is the 11/2 with Sky Bet for him to have a headed shot on target.
SCORE PREDICTION: 2-1
The time for talking is over. Rafa Benitez needs a reaction. He needs a performance.
Everton have not won in their last eight Premier League games, since a 2-0 win vs Norwich in September. They have only once gone nine successive Premier League games without a win. Benitez can have little complaints about results either based on the key performance data. In those eight games, Everton have recorded the division's worst expected goals against figures with 2.10 goals conceded per 90 minutes. It's relegation form, but the fact they faced Manchester City, Liverpool and West Ham during that set of fixtures - added to their injury problems - perhaps gives Benitez a little bit of a pass in terms of his job security.
It's hard to see Everton finding a way through the Arsenal defence in this one. Despite shipping seven goals in their last two away games, Arsenal's overall defensive performances against teams outside the 'big six' have been impressive. Newcastle, Leicester, Watford, Brighton, Leeds and Burnley all failed to score - and Everton, who remain without Dominic Calvert-Lewin, could go the same way. It could be time for Big Dunc to save the day.
SCORE PREDICTION: 0-1
BETTING ANGLE: Arsenal to win to nil (11/4 with Sky Bet)