Watford to frustrate Spurs
Watford vs Tottenham
Watford show no sign of stopping under Nigel Pearson, as they made lightwork of Bournemouth last weekend in what was a fully deserved win (xG: BOU 0.39 - 2.27 WAT). Their process has improved drastically since Pearson's arrival, and have averaged 1.81 xGF and 1.32 xGA per game in their last five, and their home form has been excellent of late. Tottenham were rightly beaten by Liverpool last weekend, and have now won just one of their last five league games. Spurs have averaged just 1.10 xGF per game in their last six league games, so were struggling offensively even before the injury to Harry Kane. We think they will find the net here, with goals expected (57% BTTS, 56% O2.5), but we think Watford will get something (57% WAT or Draw) - 2-2.
Back the 2-2 @ 15.014/1
Gunners to draw again
Arsenal vs Sheffield United
Arsenal did their usual last weekend, and snatched a draw from the jaws of victory against Crystal Palace, with question marks remaining around just how much Mikel Arteta can improve this team. They have averaged only 1.42 xGF per game since Arteta's appointment, so while there are signs that they are getting better defensively, there is still a lot to be desired from the attack - which won't include Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in this game. Sheffield united moved back into the top six after a 1-0 win over West Ham, and they sit above the Gunners in Infogol's xG table, and boast a better process over the course of the season (1.60 xGF, 1.42 xGA per game) than Arsenal. This is a real test for a vulnerable Arsenal team, and we expect them to both score and concede (57% BTTS), but chancing the Blades to avoid defeat is the way I'm going (48% SHU or Draw) - 1-1.
Back the 1-1 @ 7.613/2
Seagulls to pile pressure on Villa
Brighton vs Aston Villa
Brighton were rightly beaten by Everton last weekend, and that now means that this game is of huge significance, as Brighton are currently only three points above third bottom Aston Villa. The Seagulls have performed well this season on the whole, and sit 13th in our xG table, and boast an excellent attacking process at home (1.65 xGF per game), which should worry Aston Villa fans. Villa were thumped 6-1 by Manchester City last weekend and slumped into the relegation zone as a result, which is where they deserve to be according to expected goals. They rank as the second worst team in the league on xG, and possess the worst defensive process in the Premier League (2.37 xGA per game). It is no surprise then that we expect goals (62% BTTS, 58% O2.5), and we think Brighton will come out on top (55%) - 3-1.
Back the 3-1 @ 14.013/1
Another easy City win
Manchester City vs Crystal Palace
Manchester City's attacking ability was never question at any point throughout this season, and they demolished Aston Villa 6-1 despite playing without Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling. They have been the best team in the league according to expected goals, and are streets clear in attack (2.87 xGF per game), but defensively we have seen fragilities this campaign. Crystal Palace snatched a draw against Arsenal, and that has been the story of their season, as they sit 9th but rank as the 16th best team on xG. They have struggled defensively this campaign, but their goal has lived a charmed life as they have conceded only 24 goals from chances equating to 38.2 xGA, a level of overperformance that is unsustainable. City will expose this defence and put the chances away in a high-scoring (53% O3.5) home win (83%), but given City's ongoing defensive issues (7 clean-sheets in 22) both teams to score is in play (50% BTTS) - 3-1.
Back the 3-1 @ 13.5
Draw in relegation six pointer
Norwich vs Bournemouth
Norwich are winless in nine, Bournemouth have lost nine of 11, so this is two of the worst teams currently in the Premier League meeting in a huge relegation six pointer. Norwich didn't lay a glove on Manchester United last weekend, in what was a tame attacking performance, something we have seen consistently from the Canaries (1.15 xGF per game). Defensively they have been a mess this season (2.04 xGA per game), so something will have to give if they are to get a win that will keep their survival hopes alive. Bournemouth have been in freefall for some time now, and suffered humiliation at home last weekend to a Watford team that had been in the relegation zone all season long prior to that game (xG: BOU 0.39 - 2.27 WAT). Their process is nearly as bad as Norwich's (1.20 xGF, 1.80 xGA per game), but surprisingly we aren't expecting too many goals here (50% O2.5), though we think both teams will score (55%). Given how poor both teams are and have been recently, we have this game very even, so siding with Bournemouth to avoid defeat (63% BOU or Draw) and fence sitting is the play - 1-1.
Back the 1-1 @ 7.613/2
Wolves to end Saints run
Southampton vs Wolves
Southampton's recent run of form has been nothing short of fantastic, as not only have they picked up 13 points from a possible 15, but they have beaten Chelsea, Tottenham and Leicester in that time, with the victory over Leicester a domination of one of the leagues best (xG: LEI 0.74 - 2.47 SOU). They sit 5th in Infogol's xG table, showing that this upturn in form is no fluke, but they meet the team who sit one place above them in the xG table here. Wolves were extremely unfortunate to only draw with Newcastle last weekend (xG: WOL 2.12 - 0.17 NEW) after putting on almost the perfect performance. Their process has actually improved from last season, which means they won't fall away anytime soon. Goals are expected at St Mary's (60% BTTS, 57% O2.5), but we make Wolves favourites in this game to end Southampton's run (39% WOL win) - 1-2.
Back the 1-2 @ 13.012/1
More misery for West Ham
West Ham vs Everton
After the promising start of David Moyes's second coming with the 4-0 win over Bournemouth, it was same old West Ham last time out, as they struggled to create chances while allowing plenty. The Hammers actually have the second worst defence according to xG this season (2.12 xGA per game), and have allowed the most non-penalty big chances (48) despite having played a game fewer than 18 other teams. Everton rightly beat Brighton last weekend, and have now won three of their four Premier League games under Carlo Ancelotti. They have been playing a nuch more attack-minded system, and that is paying dividends, as they have averaged 2.09 xGF per game since the Italian's arrival. This is a good match-up for the Toffees, and we fancy them to win here (48% EVE win) in a high-scoring game (59% BTTS, 58% O2.5) - 1-2.
Back the 1-2 @ 10.519/2
Narrow Chelsea win
Newcastle vs Chelsea
Newcastle were hugely fortunate to get a point at Wolves last time out having created just 0.17 xGF in 90 minutes, as their overperformance continues. They sit 13th and five points clear of the relegation zone, but they sit rock bottom of Infogol's xG table, and possess the worst process in the league (0.97 xGF, 1.99 xGA per game), so sooner or later the results will start catching up with Steve Bruce's side. Chelsea made light work of Burnley last weekend in a comfortable win, and that was coming after a tough period, as their process never wavered, with Frank Lampard's side sitting third in Infogol's xG table with the third best process (2.07 xGF, 1.28 xGA per game), so we expect an away win here (58% CHE win), though we think there will be goals (59% BTTS, 56% O2.5) - 1-2.
Back the @ 9.417/2
No win again for Leicester
Burnley vs Leicester
Burnley's losing streak was extended to four by Chelsea last weekend, and rightly so as they were comfortably second best. That was their 10th defeat in 14 league games, so they really need to stop losing - even draws would help - or they risk being dragged into a relegation scrap. They are only three points clear of Aston Villa heading into gameweek 23, but they sit 11th in the xG table, and possess a solid process (1.40 xGF, 1.51 xGA per game), so it is likely they will get more points on the board soon if they continue playing the same way they have all season long. Leicester were shocked by Southampton last weekend, and the performance was alarming as Brendan Rodgers' side were comfortably second best. The Foxes sit only 7th in our xG table, so are hugely flattered to sit third and 11 points above 5th, and they may be in for a bumpy ride towards the end of the season. We think there will be goals here (61% BTTS, 59% O2.5), and think Burnley can snap their losing streak (56% BUR or Draw) - 2-2.
Back the 2-2 @ 17.5
Liverpool to concede, but beat United
Liverpool vs Manchester United
The big one. 20-1-0 Liverpool host the only team they haven't beaten this season, but they are obviously in great shape heading into the game, as they are 14 points clear with a game in hand, and have won their last six league games without conceding. In that time their process has been exceptional (2.30 xGF, 0.61 xGA per game), so it seems as though the Reds are hitting top gear just at the right time to press home their advantage and secure a maiden Premier League title. Manchester United can go into this game with a mental edge that all the rest of Liverpool's upcoming opponents don't have - they are the only team to take points of Jurgen Klopp's men. They also come into this on the back of a compressive win over Norwich (xG: MUN 3.03 - 0.30 NOR), and possess a decent process (1.87 xGF, 1.19 xGA per game). More impressive though, is their record against the better teams. They are unbeaten against all of the teams above them in the table this season, with their counter-attacking football well suited to these types of games, so they are a dangerous opponent for Liverpool. We do think the league leaders will prevail though (56%), in a high-scoring game too (55% BTTS, 56% O2.5) - 2-1.
Back the 2-1 @ 9.28/1
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