Leicester to get back to winning ways
Norwich vs Leicester
Friday, 20:00 GMT
Norwich were exceptionally poor last weekend against Wolves, just rolling over at Molineux in a 3-0 loss that means they are seven points from safety. They are so vulnerable defensively, allowing over 2 xGA per game, and that has been their main Achilles heel this season. Leicester were rightly beaten by Manchester City last weekend, meaning they have now won only one of their last six games, but due to the inconsistencies of teams around them, they remain nine points clear of fifth. The Foxes need a result here, and have the quality to expose holes in Norwich’s backline, so we expect an away win (55%), with goals on the cards (58% BTTS, 59% O2.5) – 1-3.
M23 success for Seagulls
Brighton vs Crystal Palace
An intriguing game at the Amex. Brighton are winless in seven, but have lost only two in that time, so are tough to beat right now, while also showing great quality. They sit down in 15th in the table – just four points above the drop-zone – but rank as the 10th best team according to xG, with a decent process, especially in attack (1.54 xGF pg). Crystal Palace got a much-needed and much-deserved win over Newcastle last weekend, a win that ended a seven-match winless run of their own. Over the course of the season, Palace actually rate as one of the worst teams in the Premier League on xG, with the second worst attacking process (1.08 xGF pg). The goal-line on this game is incredibly low, and Infogol thinks we will be treated to goals (54% BTTS, 53% O2.5), as both sides are defensively vulnerable, but we expect Brighton to get an important win over their bitter rivals (53%) – 2-1.
Blues to put Bayern loss behind them
Bournemouth vs Chelsea
After back-to-back home wins, Bournemouth have lost back-to-back away games heading into this game, as they were rightly beaten by both Sheffield United and Burnley, as defensive issues remain. They have perked up in recent weeks on the attacking front (1.99 xGF pg last 4), but have got worst at the back as a result (2.53 xGA pg last 4). Chelsea were very impressive against Spurs last weekend, albeit a poor Tottenham side, to give themselves a little more breathing room in fourth. Based on xG, their performances this season warrant them sitting in the top four, and in attack, they have had no issues creating chances (2.06 xGF pg), the issue has been taking them. I think they will carve Bournemouth up here, and the model calculates a 58% chance of a Chelsea win, with goals likely at the Vitality (59% BTTS, 61% O2.5) – 1-2.
Burnley train to keep on chugging
Newcastle vs Burnley
Newcastle were woeful at Crystal Palace last weekend (xG: CRY 1.79 – 0.25 NEW), and have been that bad all season long, getting results that their performances didn’t deserve. They have now won one in nine heading into this, and are seven points above the drop-zone, but they sit rock bottom of our xG table, with the leagues worst process (0.97 xGF, 2.05 xGA pg). Burnley were deserved winners against Bournemouth last weekend, their fourth win in a five game unbeaten run that has seen them move into the top half. Their process in that time has been excellent, and that has been the case all season long, and I think they will keep their run going here, with Infogol making Burnley favourites to win at St James’ (49%). Similar to the Brighton vs Palace game, the goal-line is very low for this, but Infogol can see goals (57% BTTS, 56% O2.5) – 1-2.
Saints to add to West Ham woes
West Ham vs Southampton
West Ham put up a decent fight at Liverpool on Monday, but rightly lost at Anfield after another poor defensive display, the fifth game in a row in which they have allowed over 2 xGA. That has been their issue all season (2.20 xGA pg), and it’s something that David Moyes hasn’t put right since his appointment. Southampton were excellent in their win over Aston Villa last weekend (xG: SOU 3.24 – 0.42 AST), creating a host of chances, something they have done all season long. Their underlying numbers this season have been solid, and they should be a top half team based on expected goals, meaning this is another tough test for West Ham. We think that Saints have a 50% chance of beating West Ham in a high-scoring game (63% BTTS, 63% O2.5) – 1-2.
Watford poor run to continue
Watford vs Liverpool
After a strong start to life under Nigel Pearson, Watford are now winless in five matches following a poor performance at Manchester United last weekend. They remain in the bottom three as a result, and worryingly, there has been a decline in their underlying process of late, which doesn’t bode well as we hit the home stretch of the season. Liverpool rightly came back to beat West Ham on Monday, their 26th win in 27 games (yes, it is ridiculous). There is no reason to suggest that this run will stop, and a win here would break Manchester City’s record for most successive wins in the Premier League, a decent bit of motivation, not like this juggernaut needs it. Process-wise, they are actually improving as the season progresses (2.25 xGF, 1.07 xGA pg), and they should condemn Watford to another defeat here (69%), though we think the Hornets will get on the scoresheet (55% BTTS) in a high-scoring game (65% O2.5) – 1-3.
Toffees to bounce back and beat United
Everton vs Manchester United
Everton were very unfortunate to lose at the Emirates last weekend (xG: ARS 1.33 – 2.67 EVE), having created the better of the chances in the game, and limiting Arsenal to just 0.17 xG in the second half. They continue to be one of the most potent attacking sides in the league under Carlo Ancelotti, and that game against Arsenal was the sixth straight game in which they created more than 2 xGF, with their average since Don Carlo’s arrival a very impressive 2.29 xGF and 1.27 xGA pg – only Manchester City and Liverpool have a better process than Everton in that time. Are Manchester United final finding some consistency? Their win over Watford last weekend was their seventh point from the last three games, and their third straight clean-sheet. They look to be improving, but this will be a real test for their defence that has shown vulnerabilities on the road (1.38 xGA per away game). We think Everton have a good chance of getting three points (44%), with goals expected at Goodison Park (60% BTTS, 58% O2.5) – 2-1.
Wolves to inflict another defeat on Mou
Tottenham vs Wolves
Tottenham were really poor against Chelsea last weekend, creating next to nothing in attack, which is proving to be their biggest issue (xG: CHE 1.70 – 0.33 TOT). Spurs have been extremely poor all season (12th in xG table), even under Jose Mourinho where the points total suggests otherwise, as they have won the xG battle in only three of their last 11 league games, and those three have come against Norwich (twice) and Aston Villa. This really isn’t a good Spurs team. Wolves were sensational against Norwich last weekend, and have been all season long, sitting fourth in our xG table having won the xG battle in 20 of their 27 league games. That improves to 12 in their last 13, with the only time they have been second best on xG to their opponent coming at Anfield. Nuno’s side have a much better process than Spurs (1.81 xGF, 1.25 xGA pg) and we think they will get another win here (43%), with goals in London (57% BTTS, 53% O2.5) – 1-2.