Can Thomas Tuchel to outwit Jose Mourinho in his first big test as Chelsea manager? Jones Knows previews Thursday’s big game.
Tottenham vs Chelsea, Thursday 8pm
Jamie Redknapp got it spot-on in his post-match analysis of Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham after their limp showing at Brighton.
He said: “There are too many things I don’t like right now when I look at this Tottenham side, with Jose’s mannerisms, the way he puts little messages out to people. Not good signs to be honest, because they were flying earlier in the season.”
Throw no Harry Kane into the mix and Mourinho looks to have a confidence-drained side that look no better than a mid-table outfit. Kane alleviates the creative load on Spurs’ central midfielders but without him in the team, Pierre Emile-Hojberg is forced into doing a job that does not fit his industrious style. It’s easy to see Chelsea absolutely dominating the midfield battle in this one.
Thomas Tuchel has added a bit of belief and energy into the Chelsea attacking ranks. This looks a perfect time to play Spurs to me.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-2 (7/1 with Sky Bet)
What happened this week?
Burnley vs Manchester City, Wednesday 6pm
Manchester City have won by an aggregate score of 26-1 over Burnley in their last seven meetings across all competitions.
However, my first port of call when it comes to analysing a Burnley home fixture is assessing the price for a 0-0 draw. It’s too big here at 16/1.
There’s been a combined 18 goals in their nine home matches this season, a league low, and five of those came in their previous fixture with Aston Villa. Nick Pope is arguably the best goalkeeper in the Premier League on current form and Burnley are the kings of frustrating the life out of a side. Just ask Liverpool and Villa.
Obviously, City are firing on all cylinders, winning their last 12 matches and are seemingly marching towards the title.
Yet, there is still a small nag in my mind regarding their ability to create big chances against a low block, especially in the absence of Kevin De Bruyne. Cheltenham Town managed to keep them at bay for 80 minutes in the FA Cup, they required a farcical offside call to edge past Aston Villa and created just an expected goals figure of 1.32 vs Sheffield United at the weekend.
Here, we have 16/1 to play with on a 0-0 and that is overpriced in my mind. Stop laughing at the back.
Cue Jeff Stelling: “And there’s been an early goal at Turf Moor!”
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-0 (16/1 with Sky Bet)
Fulham vs Leicester City, Wednesday 6pm
This one just screams draw to me, something Fulham specialise in.
Scott Parker’s boys put in a very Fulham performance at West Brom. For 45 minutes they were bright, inventive and tactically very accomplished, yet, they ended the game perhaps fortunate to walk away with a 2-2 draw as they failed to grab the big moments in the match by the scruff.
Meanwhile, Leicester felt the force of their lack of squad depth in the home defeat to Leeds. Ayoze Perez just simply isn’t Jamie Vardy, the drop-off Leicester see in that part of the pitch is massive when Vardy is missing. Plus, Wilfred Ndidi’s absence makes them more susceptible to the counter-attack. Both are missing for this one, too. Vardy is in the process of recovering from a hernia operation and could return to training later in the week. Ndidi, meanwhile, suffered a minor hamstring tear in the 1-1 draw at Everton.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-1 (7/1 with Sky Bet)
Leeds United vs Everton, Wednesday 7.30pm
It’s very hard to have faith in Everton from a prediction point of view considering their current problems in attacking areas. No wonder Dominic Calvert-Lewin hasn’t scored for seven games, his creators in behind him are really struggling. In their last six matches in the Premier League, Everton have created just 34 chances at goal – an average per game that puts them only above West Brom for that period in terms of chance creation.
One area of strength remains set pieces though. An area where Leeds notoriously struggle having conceded seven headed goals from corners and 10 in total from crosses – no team have conceded more via both routes.
Yerry Mina has had five shots in his last four Premier League and looked primed to score his third goal of the season. The 17/2 anytime scorer price makes appeal.
It’s Everton set-piece prowess that puts me off siding with Leeds, who are showing a real ruthlessness in front of goal, scoring five goals from their last 18 shots, working out at an average of a goal every 3.6 shots. Whether that sustainable though is more than debatable from what we know from Marcelo Bielsa’s boys. I’m on the fence here.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-1 (5/1 with Sky Bet)
ALSO LOOK OUT FOR: Yerry Mina to score (17/2 with Sky Bet)
Aston Villa vs West Ham United, Wednesday 8.15pm
Some of my best work is based on plagiarising other people’s ideas and odds compiler Mark Stinchcombe perfectly summed up my feelings on Twitter about many Premier League teams this week. He pointed out that this league is filled with very defensively-minded teams playing conservative football that rely on fine margins for success. For example, West Ham have been on the right side of these margins more often than not this season, hence their inflated league position.
In reality, there is not much between the likes of the Hammers, Everton and a whole host of teams, and I’d include bottom of the table Sheffield United in that bracket.
Of all the so-called surprise packages this season threatening a European charge, the only team that have backed up their league position with performances, both according to the eye and the data, is Aston Villa. They will stick around in the hunt.
And, they are more than equipped to get past West Ham without much fuss. Yes, West Ham won the reverse fixture 2-1 but were flattered that day, registering just five shots on goal in an expected goal figure of just 0.52 against Villa’s 2.62.
I’m all over the home win at odds-against.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-0 (7/1 with Sky Bet)
Liverpool vs Brighton and Hove Albion, Wednesday 8.15pm
A Liverpool win here would set up Sunday’s blockbuster with Manchester City very nicely indeed.
Sunday 7th February 4:00pm
Kick off 4:30pm
Brighton have all the parts in place to be a progressive team in the Premier League over the next few years but they remain very flaky in this stage of their development under Graham Potter. They almost managed to throw one of the most one-sided matches of the season away on Sunday when narrowly edging past Tottenham. Once they start becoming a bit more ruthless, they’ll be a team to follow. With 17 games still to play a top-10 finish might not be completely ridiculous at 16/1 with only 10 points to make up.
Liverpool might spend a part of the game on the backfoot but will punish Brighton in the key moments of the match.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-0 (6/1 with Sky Bet)
Sheffield United vs West Bromwich Albion, Tuesday 6pm (Play Super 6 to win £250,000)
The market has moved very strongly in favour with Sheffield United ahead of this, arguably, season-defining match for both teams. But, it’s moved too far.
The introduction of Mbaye Niang at half time against Fulham completely transformed the Baggies. He led the line brilliantly, linking with the very dangerous Matheus Pereira and created three chances for his teammates in 45 minutes. I’d say with those two in tandem, they carry the greater attacking threat of these two teams.
It’s hard not to factor in heavily Sheffield United’s weakness from defending set-pieces too when shaping up this match-up. Chris Wilder’s boys have shipped seven from such situations this season and Ayermic Laporte and Ruben Dias both registered shots on Aaron Ramsdale’s goal in the weekend defeat at City.
Sam Allardyce will be exploiting this at every opportunity with Semi Ajayi (three goals since Allardyce took over) and Kyle Bartley (scored at the weekend) both given licence to go forward from every set piece or long throw delivered by Darnell Furlong. Bartley to have a header on target at 11/1 makes appeal with Sky Bet.
The Baggies are a big price for an away win here at 100/30.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-2 (10/1 with Sky Bet)
CORRECT SCORE: 2-1
Wolves vs Arsenal, Tuesday 6pm (Play Super 6 to win £250,000)
After an 80-game run of no 0-0 draws at home, Arsenal now have seen two in their last three matches at The Emirates. Mikel Arteta’s style is still heavily defensive focused which is by no means a bad thing in the long run. For years Arsenal have craved being hard to beat and Arteta may have just solved that problem. This pragmatic approach does make them tough to watch at times though, something that Wolves can also very much be accused of.
On Saturday they became just the third team in the last six years not to have a shot in a half of football against Crystal Palace.
Any positive result will do for Nuno Espirito Santo at the moment. This one may go the same way as their defensively sharp 0-0 with Chelsea last midweek.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-0 (15/2 with Sky Bet)
CORRECT SCORE: 2-1
Manchester United vs Southampton, Tuesday 8.15pm (Play Super 6 to win £250,000)
The smart way of attacking this game is surely to get Southampton on your side in some regard. As Gary Neville said: this United team are an odd bunch.
Only Manchester City have scored more first goals in Premier League games this season than the fast-starting Saints (12), including racing into a 2-0 lead at St Mary’s in the corresponding fixture. However, United showed their ability at creating turnarounds in matches by winning that clash 3-2 eventually – no team has won more points from losing positions than them this season (21).
With that in mind, the 14/1 for Southampton to be winning at half time and the full time result to be a draw certainly represents an intriguing betting angle.
United haven’t scored from open play in their last two fixtures but you can’t accuse Luke Shaw of lacking in creativity. His resurgence to form has given United a new attacking dimension down the left. Since December 19, no defender has created more chances for a teammate than Shaw (22) – more than Joao Cancelo, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson.
In fact, it’s the exactly the same number of chances created as Bruno Fernandes in that period with only Jack Grealish (32) and Mason Mount (29) having created more in the Premier League. It’s therefore quite surprising to see 4/1 available on Shaw to register an assist, especially with Kyle Walker-Peters – Southampton’s most reliable right-back – still unavailable.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-1 (7/1 with Sky Bet)
ALSO LOOK OUT FOR: Luke Shaw to register an assist (4/1 with Sky Bet)
CORRECT SCORE: 9-0
Newcastle United vs Crystal Palace, Tuesday 8.15pm (Play Super 6 to win £250,000)
The likely starting berth handed to Allan Saint-Maximin is a big cause for optimism too for those looking to back Newcastle here. Steve Bruce said: “He’s had three substitute appearances and we think he could be ready to start.”
He’s coming back into what should be a confident team too after they completely ran all over Everton with an out of the blue performance. They pressed in midfield, weren’t afraid to pass forward at pace and looked generally well organised at the back. A warning though, consistency hasn’t been Newcastle’s strongest point over the years, so it’s a dangerous game expecting them to back it up.
However, Palace will do well to contain both Callum Wilson and Saint-Maximin, whose pace should trouble the back four more than Wolves managed at the weekend. Home win.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-0 (7/1 with Sky Bet)
CORRECT SCORE: 1-2
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