Blues to edge out Spurs
Chelsea vs Tottenham
A huge game in the top four race. Chelsea were poor against Manchester United, but continue to show up well on underlying metrics, sitting third in our xG table. Tottenham were shocking against RB Leipzig in the Champions League, a game in which they struggled to create in the absence of Harry Kane and Heung-min Son. Prior to the Villa game, Spurs had averaged 1.28 xGF and 1.60 xGA in nine league games, a very poor process. I think we will see a cagey game here with few goals (56% U2.5), but fancy Chelsea to edge it (56%) – 1-0.
No stopping Burnley
Burnley vs Bournemouth
Burnley’s win over Southampton was their third in four league games, and they now sit where they deserve to according to xG. Their process at Turf Moor is strong (1.53xGF, 1.43 xGA pg), and will create chances here. Bournemouth were beaten by Sheffield United last time out, another game that displayed their defensive vulnerabilities. Away from home they struggle to contain their opponents (2.00 xGA pag), but they have been creating more of late, so we think both teams to score (59%) and over 2.5 goals (58%) are likely here in a home win (50%) – 2-1.
Dull draw between two over-performers
Crystal Palace vs Newcastle
Palace have lost three in a row, and won one in 11. If that run continues they will get embroiled in a relegation battle, which is where they deserve to be according to xG. Their process is terrible, especially in attack (1.05 xGF pg), with only Newcastle averaging less (1.00 xGF pg) this season. Newcastle rank as the worst team in the league this season, with the worst process. Both sides would settle for a point, and I think that’s what we will see here, though we calculate a 54% chance of BTTS – 1-1.
Blades too sharp for Seagulls
Sheffield United vs Brighton
Sheffield United are heavily involved in a top 4/5 race after a good run of form in which they have lost only three of 11 – all against the top two. They are W6 and D2 in that time, and their underlying process at home is excellent (1.80 xGF, 12.5 xGA phg), so have a good chance of another win here. Brighton are winless in six, and have won one in 11, but more worryingly is that their last four have come against teams in and around them – six-pointers. They are a much more entertaining side under Graham Potter (1.56 xGF, 1.83 xGA pg), but much more open defensively, so I think a home win (40%) in a high-scoring game (57% BTTS, 53% O2.5) is the way to go – 2-1.
Rare home win for Saints
Southampton vs Aston Villa
Saints were beaten by Burnley last time out, their third defeat in four matches, and their attacking output in that time has dropped dramatically (0.88 xGF pg last four). Good job they get to play Villa this weekend. Aston Villa threw away a point last weekend against Spurs, but were shocking defensively again, allowing nearly 4 xGA. They are the worst defensive team in the league (2.42 xGA pg), but do pose an attacking threat (1.53 xGF pg), so BTTS (62%) is likely, as is O2.5 (57%) in a home win (61%) – 3-1.
Comfortable City win
Leicester vs Manchester City
Leicester are still strong favourites to finish in the top four despite their poor recent form, but we have seen a decline in their underlying process, coinciding with Wilfred Ndidi’s absence. They will still trouble Manchester City though with their counter-attacking ability. City were in dominant mood against West Ham in midweek, limiting the Hammers to just 0.08 xG as Aymeric Laporte started the game. He makes a huge difference to this City team, and will likely miss out here with Champions League game coming up, so they will be vulnerable. Pep’s side average 2.88 xGF per game in the Premier League, so we expect goals (65% BTTS, 66% O2.5) in a City win (56%) – 1-3.
United to follow up
Manchester United vs Watford
Manchester United were efficient on Monday night against Chelsea, getting a huge win to blow the top four race wide open. They haven’t had issues in matches against better teams this season, and have instead struggled against the lesser likes, so this will be a challenge. After a fantastic start under Nigel Pearson, results have tailed off of late, failing to win in four games. Their process has declined in that time also, which is a worry as they remain in the bottom three. Defensively they are vulnerable (1.72 xGA pg), but they will test United, with the model expecting goals at Old Trafford (57% BTTS, 63% O2.5) in a home win (64%) – 3-1.
Comfortable win for Wolves
Wolves vs Norwich
Wolves were frustrated yet again last Friday, as they were held to a goalless draw by Leicester, another game in which they deserved to collect all three points. They sit fourth in our xG table, with a polished process (1.74 xGF, 1.29 xGA pg), but need to turn draws into wins. Norwich remain bottom after a deserved 1-0 defeat to Liverpool, and they are now looking doomed some seven points from safety. Defensively they are a mess (1.95 xGA pg), and could be in for a hiding here. We think Wolves will win (68%), with goals on the cards (58% O2.5) – 3-0.
Everton to shock the Emirates
Arsenal vs Everton
Arsenal got a much-needed win last weekend, but I’m not getting carried away, as Newcastle sit bottom of the xG table, and are the worst team in the league. They looked shaky in the first half of that game which is a worry, with Newcastle’s directness troubling them, and Everton play in a direct fashion also. The Toffees have won five of their eight games under Carlo Ancelotti, losing just once, and their process in that time has been excellent (2.25 xGF, 1.27 xGA pg), so pose a serious challenge to Arsenal. Infogol actually makes Everton favourites to win here (43%), with goals also expected (61% BTTS, 59% O2.5) – 1-2.
Another tough night for Moyes
Liverpool vs West Ham
Liverpool actually lost a game last week, going down 1-0 in the Champions League to Atletico Madrid. I’m sure no one will be overreacting to that given their ridiculous record in the Premier League (25W, 1D), and their outstanding process (2.23 xGF, 1.08 xGA pg). West Ham are winless in six, have won only three in 20, and their underlying numbers are atrocious (1.35 xGF, 2.18 xGA pg). They get to play Manchester City and Liverpool back-to-back, and have Arsenal, Wolves, Tottenham and Chelsea in their next five. It doesn’t look good. This will likely be another defeat (84% LIV), though we like a Liverpool clean sheet in this also (BTTS 45%) in a high-scoring game (75% O2.5) – 3-0.