Premier League predictions: Jones Knows says back Everton to beat Aston Villa

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Watch Watford vs Norwich, Southampton vs Manchester City, Crystal Palace vs Liverpool and Chelsea vs Tottenham all live on Sky Sports

It’s a busy weekend of Premier League football and Jones Knows is here to provide the latest insight, predictions and betting angles on the action.

Everton vs Aston Villa, Saturday 12.30pm

It’s just written, isn’t it? That Duncan Ferguson gets Everton’s season rolling in the right direction at Goodison Park, which will be rocking with one of their own back in the dugout. And the identity of the opposition manager is only going to send noise and passion levels north of the expected average. Steven Gerrard must be cursing the timing of Rafa Benitez’s sacking, and this fixture now becomes a tougher test for his Villa side.

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Ferguson has previous experience in this role, having taken charge of Everton after Marco Silva left and led his side to a memorable 3-1 victory over Chelsea in his first game . Everton played with greater intensity, got the ball forward quicker, made more tackles and got the crowd involved at key points of the game.

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In a table since October 2, Everton would be bottom, and with a record of one win from their last 13 Premier League games you can understand why Villa are favourites for victory at 8/5 with Sky Bet. However, I do think this will be a rejuvenated Everton so that recent record perhaps isn’t as relevant as what the market suggests. At 17/10 a home win looks the play.

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SCORE PREDICTION: 2-1

BETTING ANGLE: Everton to win (17/10 with Sky Bet)

Brentford vs Wolves, Saturday 3pm

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Pardon the lazy cliche, but the first goal of this match is going to be absolutely vital. If Wolves get it, then their defensive process should see them all the way to victory as they have won eight of their nine fixtures when grabbing the first goal. Bruno Lage’s men have conceded just 15 Premier League goals – only Man City (13) have conceded fewer this season.

My worry for Brentford is their tendency to concede the first goal. It’s happened 15 times this season – only Norwich have conceded first more. What was once a watertight defence in September has become something far leakier. Just one clean sheet in their last 17 games is relegation form, and they have conceded three or more goals in all of their last three games. Thomas Frank’s team possess plenty of fight and are fully capable of staging comebacks in matches, but this Wolves side are so ruthless when in front. A narrow away win for me.

SCORE PREDICTION: 0-1

BETTING ANGLE: Wolves to win by one-goal (11/4 with Sky Bet)

Leeds vs Newcastle, Saturday 3pm

Newcastle are going to fall into a big Leeds trap here.

To stifle Marcelo Bielsa’s team you need take the sting out of game, make it scrappy and defend aggressively. That is simply not Eddie Howe’s style. He’ll be matching the Elland Road outfit up with the hope his attacking players can produce more quality in the final third.

In fixtures like these where Leeds face off against a genuine relegation-threatened outfit, it’s most certainly worth backing them as their man-to-man style usually sees their extra quality shine through. Since promotion, in 13 fixtures against teams in the bottom five of the Premier League, Leeds have won 10, scoring 27 times in the process.

All the ingredients should result in a very watchable, end-to-end football match with both defences likely to wilt under the any sort of intense pressure. Only Norwich have shipped more goals than Leeds (39) and Newcastle (42) this season with Bielsa’s boys conceding 19 in their last six fixtures. A lack of organisation from set pieces is rearing its head again for Leeds but that is outweighed by the return to a fluidity in attack that once again looks like a Bielsa team, scoring six goals in their last two fixtures against Burnley and West Ham and registering 40 shots in the process. Both teams should be scoring here.

A shots-fest is also predicted with the last three fixtures between these producing 39, 31 and 35 total match shots. A similarly explosive encounter is foreseen and I’m happy to take Sky Bet’s special price of 6/1 for Leeds to win, both teams to score and the match to produce 30 or more shots.

SCORE PREDICTION: 3-1

BETTING ANGLE: Leeds to win, BTTS and 30 or more total match shots (6/1 with Sky Bet)

Manchester United vs West Ham, Saturday 3pm

One of the key parts of this predicting lark is pre-empting when a team is about to spike into form or hit a rocky patch. Get that right and you’re likely to be in clover as you should be ahead of the market.

I’m taking the view that the Hammers will struggle to match their impressive form from the last 18 months between now and the end of the season. It’s based around their over-reliance on Michail Antonio. His pace, power and running ability is absolutely essential to the way West Ham bulldoze teams.

To borrow a horse racing term, Antonio is best fresh.

When the games pile up, like they will for West Ham in the next few months, he isn’t the same player – as seen by his lacklustre performance in the 3-2 defeat to Leeds. David Moyes doesn’t have a like-for-like replacement in his ranks so managing his game-time is going to be critical. It’s hard to fancy the Hammers here.

I’m happy to row in with Manchester United in this one on the basis that their forward line looks a reliable bet to continue West Ham’s poor defensive record over the past few weeks. The Hammers have conceded 11 goals in their last six matches with Leeds, Southampton, Arsenal and Crystal Palace all managing to score two or more goals against a defence that is missing the influence of Kurt Zouma.

Ralf Rangnick hasn’t exactly found a magic formula at United, but results are papering over some fragmented performances thanks to to their devastating array of finishers. A high-scoring home win it is.

SCORE PREDICTION: 3-1

BETTING ANGLE: Manchester United to win and over 3.5 goals in match (7/2 with Sky Bet)

Southampton vs Manchester City, Saturday 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports

Premier League predictions: Jones Knows says back Everton to beat Aston Villa

Image: Southampton vs Man City

Manchester City will lose a football match soon – but not this one.

Pep Guardiola’s men have won each of the last 12 Premier League games to fully gain control of the Premier League title race and to my eye, there does seem room for improvement in their performance levels which is a scary thought. Southampton don’t possess the defensive know-how to stop them.

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Raheem Sterling had only scored one Premier League goal this season at the start of December following a stop-start period that perhaps was a bit of a hangover from his dazzling performances for England at the Euros. But the Sterling we’re seeing now is the fully fit and fully firing version. He was outstanding in the 1-0 win over Chelsea, revelling playing down the right as he sauntered past Marcos Alonso time after time. All that was missing from his performance was a goal but he remains in good nick in front of the sticks, scoring five in his last six appearances and eight in his last 12.

I’m happy to back him here to grab the game’s first goal, just like he did in this fixture last season.

Southampton
Manchester City

Saturday 22nd January 5:00pm Kick off 5:30pm

Premier League predictions: Jones Knows says back Everton to beat Aston Villa
Premier League predictions: Jones Knows says back Everton to beat Aston Villa

SCORE PREDICTION: 0-2

BETTING ANGLE: Raheem Sterling to score first (7/2 with Sky Bet)

Arsenal vs Burnley, Sunday 2pm

If Ben White, Gabriel and Aaron Ramsdale are fit to play, I’m backing Arsenal to win without conceding. It’s a simple strategy but one that has led to plenty of profit this season.

Since that axis was formed, Arsenal have not conceded a goal before the 38th minute in 18 fixtures. It’s providing Mikel Arteta with a fantastic platform to work from and results are going their way. The home defeat to Man City was their first loss in 12 home games in all competitions and Arteta’s boys certainly deserved more than they got.

Arsenal’s record under Arteta against relegation-threatened teams also should instil plenty of confidence in a comfortable win without conceding. The Gunners beat all the relegated teams away from home without conceding last season to an aggregate score of 8-0 and have already seen off Burnley, Newcastle, Watford and Norwich (twice) while keeping clean sheets this season. Some will argue Burnley will be fresher than the Gunners but such is the lack of firepower within Sean Dyche’s ranks – Maxwell Cornet is away at AFCON and Chris Wood has been sold – Arsenal probably won’t need to be at maximum capacity to land the spoils.

SCORE PREDICTION: 2-0

BETTING ANGLE: Arsenal to win to nil (6/5 with Sky Bet)

Crystal Palace vs Liverpool, Sunday 2pm, live on Sky Sports

Premier League predictions: Jones Knows says back Everton to beat Aston Villa

Image: Crystal Palace vs Liverpool

Liverpool won’t be the only team at Selhurst Park missing crucial inside forwards.

Palace are without Wilfried Zaha and although their drop-off in terms of overall performance isn’t as drastic as Liverpool’s without Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, it certainly has an effect on Palace’s ability to win corners. That’s my angle in for this game.

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Jordan Ayew and Zaha offer Palace plenty of direct-line dribbling that gets them to the byline to force corners. Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze are two talents, but both are completely different types of players that like to cut inside and get into central positions. Without Ayew – who is back from AFCON but unlikely to start – and Zaha, Palace failed to win a corner at Brighton – and considering Palace don’t play with any aggressive width from their full-backs either, their corner-count is likely to be very low in this game, too. Liverpool only concede an average of 3.1 corners per 90 minutes – the joint-best record along with Manchester City.

Without Salah and Mane, Liverpool may take longer than usual to break through teams so the pressure on the Palace goal could be more sustained, therefore increasing the likelihood of Liverpool’s corners. Sky Bet have set the handicap corner line at four, meaning Liverpool will need to win five or more corners than Palace for the bet to cop at 11/8. That looks fair enough to me.

Crystal Palace
Liverpool

Sunday 23rd January 1:00pm Kick off 2:00pm

Premier League predictions: Jones Knows says back Everton to beat Aston Villa
Premier League predictions: Jones Knows says back Everton to beat Aston Villa

SCORE PREDICTION: 0-1

BETTING ANGLE: Liverpool (-4.0) on the corner handicap (11/8 with Sky Bet)

Leicester vs Brighton, Sunday 2pm

Two good footballing teams are likely to cancel one another out here. The draw is a serious runner at 11/5 with Sky Bet.

After their 1-1 draw Crystal Palace, where they created enough to win three matches, Brighton’s tag as the kings of underperforming their expected goals data was accurate yet again. They have won the xG battle in five of their last six fixtures but have won just two of those matches. All the metrics suggest a run of positive results are on the horizon – but we’ve been here so many times with Brighton.

Against such a dangerous, attack-minded team as Leicester, who have scored 29 goals in their last 12 games and possess, arguably, the hottest player in the Premier League at the moment in James Maddison, Brighton are easily swerved at the prices.

Leicester have the edge in attack but Brighton are supremely more organised at the back. I’d fully expect Graham Potter’s team to get into some fantastic positions at the King Power but not make the most of them. Back the draw.

SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1

BETTING ANGLE: Back the draw (13/5 with Sky Bet)

Chelsea vs Tottenham, Sunday 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports

Premier League predictions: Jones Knows says back Everton to beat Aston Villa

Image: Chelsea vs Spurs

Thomas Tuchel has been a fantastic addition to the Premier League: engaging, a deep-thinker and most importantly a master of organising a team. However, his deflection technique of blaming Chelsea’s current malaise in attacking areas on fatigue is getting a little tiresome. I’ve not enjoyed watching Chelsea’s attacking process for two months now and if you read between the lines on Tuchel’s recent comments, he would agree.

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In their last 11 Premier League games, Chelsea have averaged just 1.5 expected goals per 90 minutes – a relatively strong figure but not for a team that is supposed to be challenging Manchester City and Liverpool, who are both averaging north of 2.1 per 90 minutes. Chances created from open play are also trending badly downwards for Chelsea – in those 11 matches, Chelsea have had just 8.4 shots from open play per 90 minutes, which is the 11th-best of all the teams in the Premier League. Spurs sit joint-top of that particular metric with Manchester City (13.4).

It’s that lack of fluidity in forward areas that makes Tuchel’s side very vulnerable at 8/13 with Sky Bet. Chelsea have won just four of their last 13 Premier League games, dropping 20 points in that time. And, against a flowing attacking opponent like Tottenham, who are averaging 2.5 expected goals per 90 minutes over their last seven fixtures and were dangerous from all angles in their amazing 3-2 success at Leicester on Wednesday, Chelsea simply have to be taken on at the prices.

Many of you will be screaming at me right now to point out that Chelsea have lost just one of the last 31 league meetings at home with Spurs, winning 20, and won rather comfortably 3-0 on aggregate in the two-legged Carabao Cup semi-final. Yet Spurs shot themselves in the foot in the cup tie, making basic errors to help Chelsea on their way and most importantly, we’re able to get 9/2 on an away win here. That’s a price which is just begging to be snapped up for a team carrying such a threat going forward and led by, arguably, the best striker in world football. With Chelsea’s defence still performing amongst the best in the Premier League and Spurs very unlikely to run away with the game, I’m happy to be greedy and up the price by backing Antonio Conte’s men to win by one goal at 7/1.

Chelsea
Tottenham Hotspur

Sunday 23rd January 4:00pm Kick off 4:30pm

Premier League predictions: Jones Knows says back Everton to beat Aston Villa
Premier League predictions: Jones Knows says back Everton to beat Aston Villa

SCORE PREDICTION: 1-2

BETTING ANGLE: Tottenham to win by one goal (7/1 with Sky Bet)

Premier League predictions: Jones Knows says back Everton to beat Aston Villa

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