The Premier League is back! Steven Railston uses Infogol data to pick out the best goalscorer, booking and Same Game Multi bets for the highlight games of GW9...
"Tottenham have recorded exceptional underlying numbers in attack this campaign, averaging 2.15 xGF per game, but it is worth noting they’ve played an easier schedule than most."
Kane can provide Son again
Tottenham vs Manchester City
Goalscorer: Son Heung-Min to score anytime @ 23/10
It's not exactly an original observation, but Son Heung-min has been in absolutely sensational form for Tottenham this season. The South Korean already has eight goals this term (3.62 xG), making him the league's joint top goalscorer, even ahead of the talismanic Harry Kane. The England captain has impressively recorded 0.47 xA/avg match so far, and don't be surprised if he can drag City's defenders out of position before providing Son with a golden opportunity to find the back of the net.
Carded: Rodri to be booked @ 12/5
Rodri will be one of the first names on Pep Guardiola's team sheet in London, and after picking up two yellow cards this season, he's one for the referee to keep an eye on. The Spaniard has made 10 fouls from seven games so far, and with a tackle success rate of just 53%, he might fail to keep up with the pace a dynamic Tottenham may set, which could result in making needless fouls.
Same Game Multi: Manchester City to win and BTTS @ 2.982/1
Tottenham have recorded exceptional underlying numbers in attack this campaign, averaging 2.15 xGF per game, but it is worth noting they've played an easier schedule than most. City should represent the toughest test they've faced this season, and despite being unusually shy in front of goal (1.53 xGF per game), the return of Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Agüero is a huge boost. The former champions are an extremely tempting price and seem worth backing, but as mentioned, Tottenham have some deadly firepower at their disposal, and I'll be very surprised if the hosts fail to get onto the scoresheet.
Martial to open his account
Manchester United vs West Brom
Goalscorer: Anthony Martial to score anytime @ 9/5
Anthony Martial had arguably the best season of his career last term, scoring 17 Premier League goals from 11.74 xG, seemingly finally delivering on his vast potential. However, mainly due to a three-match ban, the Frenchman has endured a torrid start this time around and is yet to score in the league for United. Fortunately for Martial, he has the perfect opportunity to get off the mark here, with West Brom visiting Old Trafford. The Baggies have been truly abysmal since their return to the first division, conceding an average of 1.97 xGA per game - no team in the league has a worst defensive process. Martial can open his account against Slaven Bilić's side, in what could be a much-needed confidence boost for the forward.
Carded: Jake Livermore to be booked @ 11/4
It's a fair assumption West Brom will be tasked with fending off relentless waves of Manchester United pressure here, and therefore it seems likely the visitors will get a few names in the book. Jake Livermore could be overrun in midfield, and it makes sense to side with him to receive a caution, having already picked up two yellows this campaign.
Same Game Multi: Manchester United to win and BTTS 'no' @ 2.0621/20
While Manchester United looked calamitous in defence at the start of the season, they've actually made great improvements since the penultimate international break, conceding an average of 0.81 xGA per game across eight matches. Three of those astute defensive performances came against Chelsea, PSG and RB Leipzig therefore it's likely West Brom will lack the quality to make their presence felt. The Red Devils can take advantage of this and win in style with minimal fuss.
No Salah, no problem
Liverpool vs Leicester
Goalscorer: Diogo Jota to score anytime @ 7/5
Diogo Jota has hit the ground running at Anfield, making an instant impact. The Portuguese has already scored seven goals from 3.4 xG across nine games in the Premier League and Champions League, having only actually started on five occasions. With Mohamed Salah ruled out of this clash, the onus could fall to Jota (0.61 xG/avg match) to create some magic, and he can continue his brilliant start in what's shaping up to be an interesting encounter, as Liverpool head into this game with a depleted squad.
Carded: James Milner to be booked @ 3/1
James Milner's versality has rightly received plaudits over the years, but now at 34-years-old, his quality will be tested more than ever. Where Klopp asks Milner to play remains to be seen, but the Englishman's lack of pace could be his undoing here against a youthful Leicester side, and backing him to receive a caution is a strong play at a big price.
Same Game Multi: Liverpool to win and Under 2.5 Goals @ 5.46
As touched upon, Liverpool will have to field a makeshift backline here, and while this is a concern, there's a reason for optimism. While Jamie Vardy (0.45 non-pen xG/avg match) may be difficult to contain, the Foxes haven't been as threatening in attack as it may seem, with 44% of their xG coming via penalties. Considering Liverpool's injury crisis, I can see this game being tightly contested, and at a price the champions are worth sticking with to just prevail.
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