English Premier League

Premier League Jones Knows Notebook: What has happened to 'boring' Brighton?

Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi
Roberto De Zerbi's Brighton are struggling in front of goal

Sky Sports' betting expert Lewis Jones, aka Jones Knows, delves into the underlying numbers to assess whether Brighton have lost their magic and why the future looks very brighter for Bournemouth...


What has happened to Brighton?

Backing Brighton games to see both teams score and the over 2.5 line hit was becoming a staple diet of profit for many punters. The 2-1 defeat to Man City last month meant that type of bet had landed in 12 of Brighton's last 13 fixtures. Easy game, eh?

But with like many trends in betting that go on a run that seems too good to be true, the goal glut has come to an end with their last five fixtures all failing to land for BTTS and under 2.5 backers.

All that profit back in the bookmakers' satchels then.

It's coincided with a huge slump in form for previously consistent Brighton, who are now without a league win in six games - the longest period of Roberto De Zerbi's time in charge. From being matched on the Betfair Exchange as low as 3.1511/5 to finish in the top four, they are now out to 9.617/2 - eight teams are shorter than them in the betting.

Should we start to think of Brighton as a sound laying opportunity or is just a period of variance for De Zerbi and his barnstorming style of football?

A sensible way to diagnose just how worrying the prognosis is for a football team is to check their underlying numbers. De Zerbi's football is all about creating problems for the opposition with high intensity and risky football that triggers a team to press.

He likes to create chances, lots of them - to the extent that even conceding one or two goals in a match doesn't hamper his team winning due to their deadly attacking process.

Well, the numbers paint a worrying picture on that front as over the last six games, Brighton key attacking metrics have nosedived. When at their best during the backend of last season, January to May, according to Opta, De Zerbi's team were posting a per match average of 2.22 expected goals, 33.23 touches in the opposition box and 11.91 shots inside the box. That attacking process was up there with Manchester City - and even bettered it over various points of that six-month period.

However, that level of performance in the final third has fallen dramatically when assessing their numbers over the past six fixtures - a run that has offered up soft opposition in Fulham and Sheffield United too. Their expected goals average is down to 1.39, the touches in the opposition box figure is now just 24 and shots in the box is down to 7.33.

Of course, the added demands of European football and key injuries to Pervis Estupinan, Solly March and now Lewis Dunk all must be factored into the melting pot when assessing how to approach Brighton's matches from a betting standpoint.

However, even the markets are starting to turn on them, too, judging by the early prices for their trip to Nottingham Forest on November 25 where they can be backed as big as 2.3211/8 to win at the City Ground. For a team whose fortunes are heavily mirrored by market forces, that weakness speaks volumes. Hit the lay button.

Lay Brighton to beat Nottingham Forest @ 2.3211/8

Bet now

Cherries go pop to leave relegation rivals shortening for the drop

I've been made to look rather clueless this season due to my faith in Andoni Iraola to replicate his work in Spain with Bournemouth, especially against the big boys where juicy prices have been available on the Cherries.

Iraola's brave and aggressive style of football can completely stifle and bamboozle opposition that are expecting an easy ride. His Rayo side took 14 points against the top five clubs in LaLiga last season including beating Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Bournemouth went some way to delivering on my patience with Iraola when taking full advantage of Newcastle's issues to win just their second league game of the season and move out of the relegation zone on Saturday.

Iraola got the result at the right time and boy did he get the performance too.

It was the first time his team had completely clicked in their delivery of his hybrid press with Ryan Christie playing such an important role without the ball. His running power, supported by Justin Kluivert and Dominic Solanke, was utilised perfectly to upset Newcastle building from the back. In fact, according to Opta, Christie ran the furthest of any Bournemouth player had run in a match this season (12,228m) and with him at the heart of the press it led to him and his teammates recording 44 turnovers resulting from pressures - the most turnovers Newcastle have relinquished in a game this season.

That performance was bad news for Sheffield United, Burnley and Luton as Bournemouth, if collectively clicking into gear, will be rampaging their way out of trouble in no time. Iraola's side are now 2/91.22 to avoid relegation with the three newly promoted clubs firmly staring down the barrel.


Lewis Jones, aka Jones Knows, is Sky Sports' resident betting expert - follow his Premier League tips and predictions across Sky Sports each week.


Read more football previews, tips and insight here.


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