Our betting guru Jones Knows thinks Liverpool will put under-fire Manchester United to the sword at Old Trafford on Super Sunday.
Brentford vs Leicester, Sunday 2pm
What I love about the way Brentford play is their ability to put teams under significant pressure when they have territorial advantage in a game. That is seen by their numbers in terms of chance creation. Thomas Frank’s team have created the fewest overall chances (58) and fewest chances from open play (50) this season of any team but have the seventh-best expected goals scored data (11.89), highlighting that their brilliant start to the season is absolutely no fluke. That ability to create danger in the opposition box makes Leicester very hard to fancy at 13/8 with Sky Bet.
Brendan Rodgers’ team have conceded two goals in each of their last four games and are without a clean sheet in their last 14 games across all competitions. The four goals they have conceded from crosses this season is also a league high and that’s an area where Brentford are notoriously strong. A Brentford win with over 3.5 goals in the match is a price that shouldn’t be ignored at 13/2 with Sky Bet.
SCORE PREDICTION: 3-1
BETTING ANGLE: Brentford to win and over 3.5 goals (13/2 with Sky Bet)
West Ham vs Tottenham, Sunday 2pm, live on Sky Sports
Goals, goals, goals. If that’s your thing, then this game should be right up your street. West Ham’s home games this calendar year average just over three goals a game and there were nine scored in total over the two meetings between these two last season.
Since switching to a midfield three of Oliver Skipp, Pierre Emile Hojbjerg and Tanguy Ndombele at the start of the second half in the defeat to Arsenal, Tottenham look a far more accomplished outfit. They won that second half 1-0 at The Emirates and have since beaten both Aston Villa and Newcastle as the introduction of Skipp to protect their back four has made it far harder for opponents to put Eric Dier and Cristian Romero under significant pressure. Now Nuno has that sorted, the quality he has at his disposal in forward areas will make it easier to win tight matches. They’ll be a huge threat here.
Whether they can win this midfield battle though is debatable. Declan Rice is in ‘machine-like’ form for the Hammers, showing more maturity with his passing this season and breaking up play excellently in his usual fashion. When you break it down, I’d be surprised if there will be many points between these two in the table come the end of the season, so a draw looks the sensible play.
If you fancy the draw, taking the 100/30 with Sky Bet for the game to finish 1-1, 2-2 or 3-3 looks a smarter way of increasing the 12/5 odds for a stalemate, ruling out the 0-0. The case for goals is strong and none of the last 18 meetings between these two have ended goalless.
SCORE PREDICTION: 2-2
BETTING ANGLE: 1-1, 2-2 or 3-3 Draw (100/30 with Sky Bet)
Manchester United vs Liverpool, Sunday 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports
When sitting down to analyse games such as this that attract the hype machine in terms of build-up, a low scoring encounter always bounces around my mind. Not this time.
It’s hard to fathom a situation where one of these teams is not chasing the game at some stage as both, on current form, stand a much better chance of winning football matches by outscoring the opposition rather than relying on their defence.
It’s that attacking prowess and Liverpool’s aggressive high offside line, which will be offering hope to Manchester United backers. However, if Cristiano Ronaldo starts for United, then it will diminish their chances of hurting Jurgen Klopp’s men.
A dramatic drop-off in pressing and counter-attacks has coincided with Ronaldo’s return to Old Trafford. You can absolutely find spaces behind this Liverpool defence, but a 36-year-old Ronaldo is not the man to exploit them – as outlined here by Nick Wright.
If Ronaldo starts, then my confidence grows further behind a Liverpool victory at 5/4 with Sky Bet. If Liverpool are to win, there must be a chance of Klopp’s team dishing out an absolute hammering considering the ruthlessness of their attacking performances of late.
Liverpool are the top Premier League scorers this season (22 goals) and have won four of their eight games by three or more goals. This season they have also improved their shots on target, expected goals per game, and chances created (both open play and set pieces).
If United play with the same sloppiness and lack of organisation as they showed in their last five games, where they have conceded nine goals with an expected goals against figure of 10.8, then Liverpool’s world-class attack could run riot. This is not Andros Townsend running at your defence now, it’s Mohamed Salah.
That’s the way I will be playing a Liverpool victory with them to win by three or more goals at 17/2 with Sky Bet the standout.
This just might be the tipping point for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his future at the club.
In the long run, a lesson being dished out by their fiercest rivals, might be exactly what Manchester United need in triggering the process to find an elite manager.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-5
BETTING ANGLE: Liverpool to win by three or more goals (17/2 with Sky Bet)