Premier League predictions: Jones Knows says Aston Villa can get a result against Man City

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Our betting guru Jones Knows thinks Aston Villa can get a result against Man City on Wednesday and is predicting victory for Liverpool in the Merseyside derby.

Southampton vs Leicester, Wednesday 7.30pm

One result is not enough to convince me Brendan Rodgers has Leicester back to where he wants them.

The 4-2 win over Watford showcased what a deadly finisher Jamie Vardy still is but it also rammed home the point that as a defensive unit, Leicester remain all over the shop. Watford created an expected goals figure of 2.7 at the King Power, highlighting just how many times Rodgers’ team were cut open. Only Newcastle have faced more shots than Leicester (207) this season.

Meanwhile, Southampton certainly look the better balanced team with Ralph Hasenhuttl. Before the hammering at Liverpool, he has managed to shore up what has been a very leaky defence. The home win is fancied at 13/10 with Sky Bet.

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Che Adams is fully reaping the benefits of Hasenhutt’s ability in improving players. He has grabbed the responsibility of being Southampton’s main man in attack with both hands and has transferred that form to the international stage with Scotland, too. With Leicester’s problems through the centre of their defence, Adams is bound to get chances to add to his tally of five goals in his last seven games for club and country. He can score in a home win.

SCORE PREDICTION: 2-1

BETTING ANGLE: Che Adams to score and Southampton to win (16/5 with Sky Bet)

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Image: Che Adams celebrates scoring at Vicarage Road

Watford vs Chelsea, Wednesday 7.30pm

There should not be too many problems on the horizon in this one. Chelsea are 1/3 with Sky Bet for good reason.

I am hoping Thomas Tuchel keeps faith with Hakim Ziyech in the role traditionally played by Mason Mount as his first Premier League goal of the season is around the corner. In his last four starts in all competitions playing in that flexible attacking role, Ziyech has posted an average expected goals figure of 0.47 per 90 minutes and fired 15 shots on goal. He managed to find a way to goal in the 1-0 win over Malmo as his confidence looks sky-high at the moment after a low-key initial start to life under Tuchel’s watch.

The 5/1 with Sky Bet for him the score the first goal makes plenty of sense from an each-way perspective.

SCORE PREDICTION: 0-2

BETTING ANGLE: Hakim Ziyech to score first (5/1 with Sky Bet)

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Chelsea’s draw with Manchester United in the Premier League

West Ham vs Brighton, Wednesday 7.30pm

The last five meetings between these two have ended all square. It’s always a very tight, hard-fought encounter where fine margins are at play for the result.

West Ham have been priced up as the 19/20 favourites with Sky Bet which is screaming to be taken on.

Graham Potter’s team arrive without a win in eight matches but six of those have been draws and their performance level remains high. In those eight matches, their expected goals against data have them as the seventh highest team in terms of defensive output and that can be upgraded as they have faced Liverpool and Manchester City during that run.

They might be fluffing their lines in forward areas due to a lack of quality, but Potter has got them hard to beat.

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Added to that, West Ham seemed to have lost their spark slightly. Flat in the defeat at Wolves, they hardly raised a glove let alone landed any punches on Manchester City. A gruelling fixture list and lack of squad depth just may hold them back from mounting a serious top-four challenge. I think they will stumble here.

SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1

BETTING ANGLE: Brighton to win or draw (5/6 with Sky Bet)

Wolves vs Burnley, Wednesday 7.30pm

Analysing the potential match outcome of a Wolves match at the minute is like looking at a complex mathematical equation. I have not a clue.

Bruno Lage’s team were very timid in attack again at Norwich. But previously completely deserved their victory against West Ham. Perhaps they are more suited to playing at home where their performance metrics are more encouraging – but I could not tell you if 4/5 with Sky Bet on a home win to beat Burnley is a good or bad bet. I am going to bottle it and side with the draw.

A much better angle in relates to the amount of cards being shown. Referee John Brooks takes charge of his first Premier League game here and if he follows the same pattern as fellow debutants at the top level, he will be a busy man with his cards.

The last five referees to take charge of a Premier League game for the first time, average 5.2 yellow cards shown per 90 minutes. That is way above the average of 3.2 cards per 90 minutes in all Premier League matches in the last five years with new referees keen to lay down the law in their first game at this level.

Players are very aware of the referee’s inexperience at the top level. As seen with Michael Sailsbury’s debut at the weekend in Palace vs Aston Villa, there were lots of occasions where he was surrounded and hounded to put pressure on his decision making. It resulted in six yellow cards being shown and an overturned red card for Douglas Luiz.

With all that in mind, the 11/10 for 40 or more booking points (10 for a yellow, 25 for a red) makes plenty of appeal.

SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1

BETTING ANGLE: 40+ booking points (11/10 with Sky Bet)

Aston Villa vs Manchester City, Wednesday 8.15pm

I think Manchester City will win the Premier League this season.

But, I am happy to take them on at a very skinny 1/3 with Sky Bet here. Those odds imply there is a 75 per cent chance of a City win. I would have it closer to 60 per cent, so, we must act on that margin and back a positive Villa result.

Steven Gerrard has taken it back to basics. He has tightened them up no end. From averaging 1.8 goals per-90 minutes this season under Dean Smith, Gerrard has closed the door, conceding just once in his two victories – an impressive defensive output backed up by an expected goals against figure of just 0.7 per-90 minutes and an average of just six shots conceded per game.

Stopping Manchester City though will be Gerrard’s toughest managerial challenge of his career so far. He might just be capable of it.

Image: Steven Gerrard celebrates during Villa's win over Brighton

The way to frustrate and malfunction this Man City machine is to defend deep, defend with expert organisation, possess a quality goalkeeper and players that can break quickly on the counter-attack. There are plenty of ticks to give Aston Villa hope.

Plus, there is plenty of relevance for the two fixtures between the teams last season where City won 2-1 and 2-0, however, both encounters were far from a cakewalk for Pep Guardiola’s side with a debatable offside call going against Villa at a key point late in the game of that 2-0 win at The Etihad.

Villa Park. Under the lights. Raucous atmosphere. I am with them.

SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1

BETTING ANGLE: Aston Villa to win or draw (5/2 with Sky Bet)

Everton vs Liverpool, Wednesday 8.15pm

It’s hard to see how Everton can truly rattle Liverpool in this one. Jurgen Klopp’s team are masters at standing up to a physical confrontation so the Goodison Park factor should not play a part. The counter-attack could be their only ray of light but since the opening few weeks, even those kind of attacks have fallen flat.

Away win, simple as.

We need to talk about the Liverpool offside trap though. It really is a thing of beauty.

They have caught 57 players offside in total this season, at least 21 more than any other side.

Although the offside trap is one of Liverpool’s strength as it suffocates teams, it can also be their weakness – as shown perfectly by West Ham in their 3-2 victory. Rafa Benitez will be encouraging quick balls into space behind the Liverpool back four and will surely be picking Richarlison to lead the line. The Brazilian opened the scoring in the 2-0 win at Anfield last season, latching onto a James Rodriguez through pass.

Image: Richarlison can be caught offside multiple times at Goodison Park

That predicted method of attack makes the Everton offside lines very appealing. With Liverpool catching teams offside 4.3 times per-90 minutes this season, that makes Richarlison, who was flagged twice in the fixture at Anfield, a smart play at 15/8 with Sky Bet to be caught offside three times.

SCORE PREDICTION: 0-2

BETTING ANGLE: Richarlison to be caught offside three or more times (15/8 with Sky Bet)

Thursday’s games to follow…

Premier League Review: Was Carrick right to drop Ronaldo? Pressure on Rafa ahead of derby, Howe’s problems and title tips

On the latest Essential Football Podcast Alice Piper is joined by Sky Sports football writers Gerard Brand and Ben Grounds to look back on another big weekend at both ends of the Premier League table after Chelsea’s lead slipped following a 1-1 draw with Man Utd at Stamford Bridge.

PART 1 | Was Michael Carrick right to opt against starting Cristiano Ronaldo – and should United have signed him at all? United’s interim-to-the-interim manager’s tactics are assessed ahead of Ralph Rangnick’s arrival, questions raised over Chelsea’s attacking prowess, while will Arsenal fancy facing this United side next given their own form?

PART 2 | Where does another bad result at Brentford leave Everton boss Rafa Benitez ahead of the Merseyside derby in midweek? Do Liverpool have anything to fear? And the curious case of Marcelo Bielsa and Kalvin Phillips…

PART 3 | Newcastle show Eddie Howe the scale of the task ahead of him with a six-pointer against Norwich next up, Aston Villa grind their way to victory again – and with two points separating the top three, who’s going to win the Premier League?

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