Premier League predictions: Jones Knows sees Manchester United handing Chelsea a reality check on Saturday – Sky Sports

  • October 22, 2022

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Friday 21 October 2022 23:08, UK
Our predictions guru Jones Knows thinks the price is right to put faith in Manchester United to beat “overrated” Chelsea on Saturday as he takes aim at all 10 Premier League encounters this weekend.
We perhaps got a little insight during midweek into how this period of relentless fixtures is going to hamper teams being at their best, with just eight goals scored in seven Premier League fixtures across Tuesday and Wednesday – a staggeringly low average. This fixture will be Liverpool’s seventh in the last 22 days, including intense matches with Arsenal, Rangers and Manchester City. It’s going to have an effect.
I’m not sure teams have the energy or even perhaps the need to dish out unnecessary hammerings when that time could be taken preserving some petrol in the tank.
Liverpool did actually showcase that towards the back end of last season when their schedule also was relentless.
Away from Anfield, from February onwards until the end of that campaign, they failed to win any of their 15 games in all competitions by more than two goals. They meet a Steve Cooper side here who have lost any interest in their attacking ethos, but who have kept things much tighter in their last three games, conceding just two goals.
Under 3.5 goals in Forest vs Liverpool & Southampton vs Arsenal & Antony to have two or more shots & Man Utd to avoid defeat
That willingness to sit deep and defend, added to their siege mentality at the City Ground, which will be rocking for the visit of Jurgen Klopp’s men, means I’m therefore happy to invest in a low scoring game and the 4/6 with Sky Bet for under 3.5 goals stands out.
Liverpool to win and under 2.5 goals is also a consideration at 3/1.
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In the last three seasons, only Shane Duffy is working at a higher average for touches in the opposition box per-90 than James Tarkowski when it comes to centre-backs that have played over 1000 minutes in the Premier League.
That ratio of 1.85 touches in the box per-game marks him out as one of the biggest aerial threats in the league yet he has only scored two goals in that period. Enough to put you off backing him? Not when looking at his expected goals data which showcases he should have scored 6.78 times during that period.
Against a team like Palace, who are vulnerable at defending their box from set pieces – no team has shipped a higher expected goals figure from such situations this season (4.93) – Tarkowski rates as the value call at 28/1 with Sky Bet to score first in a ridiculously tough game to call from a match result perspective.
The presence of Erling Haaland is frightening the life out of defenders. But bookmakers are running scared too with just 7/4 with Sky Bet on offer for him to open the scoring.
Some have hailed him superhuman. Wrong. He is human. And he can miss chances just like all other top strikers in football history.
I’d love to be a bookmaker in these instances as that 7/4 first goalscorer price is too short, especially against teams that are likely to play a low block in order to frustrate City. If you backed that bet blind with level stakes in the last seven fixtures with the price around the 7/4 mark you’d be looking at a loss of -5.25 with only one Haaland scoring first price returning as a winner. Such is the fear factor around Haaland, he is creating more space for his team-mates to become the first goalscorer in the match rather than himself.
So, we have to try and turn his dominance of the market in our favour and taking the 13/2 with Sky Bet on Phil Foden scoring the opening goal certainly jumps out for this encounter. Foden is fast becoming part of Pep Guardiola’s trusted inner circle having started every Premier League game this season. That trust stems from his rapid improvement in front of goal. Foden has five goals in his last four Premier League starts and it was his effort at Anfield that was ruled out by VAR.
And what makes his price stand out even more in this clash is that he’s scored five goals in his last four starts vs Brighton as Lewis Dunk and Adam Webster have struggled with Foden’s dynamic movement. Ignore Haaland, back Foden.
There are two ways to look at Kepa Arrizabalaga’s heroics for Chelsea. Praise the living days out of him for turning around his career having conceded just one goal from his last four Premier League starts or treat this run of form as completely unsustainable based on his long-term performance data which therefore points to the possibility that Chelsea are massively overperforming under Graham Potter. Chelsea have not conceded in the last eight hours and 53 minutes of football, since Odsonne Edouard’s goal for Crystal Palace, but the expected goals data suggests they have shipped chances equating to conceding 5.1 goals.
When Potter’s teams are purring they dominate the expected goals battle but in their last three fixtures against inferior opposition in Wolves, Aston Villa and Brentford they have lost that cumulative battle 4.16 vs 3.63. Results have been fine, performances, according to the metrics, suggest this is a team still very much in transition.
Manchester United arrive having won six of their last eight Premier League games and they completely dominated when beating Tottenham 2-0 on Wednesday. I’m a little bit apprehensive of trusting that result as this is a team early in its development and consistency issues remain. However, confidence looks high, the team is playing with a strong structure and most importantly they are outsiders in the market in this match at 12/5 with Sky Bet – this makes them interesting for me this weekend.
My eyes have also been drawn to Antony’s prices regarding his shot chances. He might be a bit of a ‘one trick Tony’ but his ability to cut in on his left added to his desire to shoot makes him a shot backers dream. In his five games in the Premier League his shots tally reads: 3-5-2-4-4. He’s likely to come up against Kalidou Koulibaly down the United right and although he’s an aggressive defender, he is vulnerable when asked to defend one-on-one with a tricky customer.
Antony is going to find space and I’m surprised that his shots line is set at two or more with Sky Bet – that can be backed at 4/6, but the higher lines – three or more at 2/1 and four or more at 11/2 – are also worth nibbling.
For best bet purposes, I’ll be backing Antony to have two shots and United to avoid defeat.
Will we see an Aston Villa reaction here after Steven Gerrard’s departure?
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Before Gerrard was chopped on Thursday night, I was plotting Brentford to take advantage of Villa’s weakness defending set pieces, and although we’re venturing into the unknown about how Villa will set up I’m still heading down that avenue. When a team is dysfunctional, opposition teams like to test their mettle when having to defend their box, and Brentford rank third for expected goals created from set pieces this season.
Ben Mee is top of the Brentford list when it comes to scanning the prices for an attacking threat from set pieces. He has registered seven headed shots this season, including a goal in the win over Manchester United. The 9/2 with Sky Bet for him to have a headed shot on target makes sense.
Leeds are now seven without a win and have scored just one goal in their last four games. You know things are starting to turn for a manager when the previous manager’s name is being chanted by the fanbase.
But are things really that bad? A look at their performance metrics over that seven-game run doesn’t showcase a team nosediving towards a relegation scrap. In only one of those games did they fail to record an expected goals tally above 1.00 and that was when playing with 10-men against Aston Villa for almost all of the second half. And, in their last four games they have had 46 shots, 11 on target and bagged an expected goals figure of 4.52.
That said, their second half performance at Leicester when the home side were playing in front of a nervy home crowd was turgid and lacked belief. I’m still of the belief that Jesse Marsch’s way will bring spells of good results but I’d rather back them when morale and confidence is flowing.
The goal line looks the angle to exploit here with Fulham’s aggressive and open style always raising the possibility of a goal-heavy encounter. Even though they kept a clean sheet at home to Villa, they shipped an expected goals against tally of 1.1 in the opening 60 minutes before Douglas Luiz was sent off. It’s a defence that remains officially the worst in the Premier League when it comes to the performance metrics with 19.68 expected goals against conceded.
Marco Silva’s team have seen 10 of their 11 fixtures produce more than 2.5 goals, so the 4/6 with Sky Bet should be a starting point for anyone getting involved in this encounter.
I’m going to approach this clash with the same philosophy as the Liverpool fixture as there are signs that Arsenal’s players are feeling the effects of the intense early season schedule. This is their 15th game of the season already and this one comes just 66 hours after grinding their way past PSV in the Europa League.
As previously mentioned, I’m not sure teams have the energy or even perhaps the need to dish out unnecessary hammerings and this game screams a low scoring Arsenal win which would be their ninth victory on the spin.
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Arsenal have conceded just 12 goals in their last 17 games away from home in the Premier League against ‘non big six’ opposition, winning all three of those fixtures this season at Brentford, Bournemouth and Leeds without conceding a goal. Southampton, whose attacking metrics this season are continuing to deteriorate, have scored just three goals in their last six Premier League games. An Arsenal win to nil at 15/8 with Sky Bet makes sense but I’m always looking to be greedy so I’d rather play the Gunners to win and under 2.5 goals in the match, meaning we’re hoping for 0-1 or 0-2 victory at 3/1. The safest play is to take the under 3.5 goals line at 4/7 with Sky Bet.
If something isn’t broke, eh? That’s my way of approaching a betting angle if it continues to deliver and the bookmakers don’t adjust their pricing. Harvey Barnes did us a nice favour on Thursday at 15/2 with Sky Bet, officially being declared as the first goalscorer of the match after the opening goal was an own goal. That said, Barnes was about to tuck that one home too, so it was a justified winning selection despite the slice of luck.
He remains priced up very healthily at 11/1 to score first and 4/1 anytime despite being Leicester’s most attacking weapon along with James Maddison, who returns from suspension here. Barnes is playing as an out and out right forward with not many defensive responsibilities and I’d expect his goal return to keep on improving between now and the World Cup break.
The triangle involving him, Maddison and the rapidly improving Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall is exciting to watch and the addition of authority at the back with Wout Faes is making Leicester harder to score against.
Wolves remain the joint lowest scorers in English football with Gillingham (5 goals) and have not scored more than one goal in any of their last 14 Premier League games. Away win for me.
All roads lead to this being a low-scoring encounter, settled by a moment of magic or a mistake. Both teams play sensible and structured styles of football and Newcastle’s defence certainly has the capability to keep Tottenham quiet.
This season, Eddie Howe’s men have conceded the fewest goals (9), kept the joint most clean sheets (5 – with Man City) and have shipped the joint fewest open play goals (6). It’s a run of defensive soundness that stretches back through 2022. Only Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea have conceded fewer goals than Newcastle in that period (29).
Spurs do have issues in forward areas, too.
The wing-back area remains a huge problem for Antonio Conte. When Conte’s teams are flying, the wing-backs are absolutely crucial to their offensive output. Well, Ivan Perisic, Emerson Royal, Ryan Sessegnon and Matt Doherty have played 1,955 minutes of football this season in the Premier League and their overall returns in the final third have been underwhelming. Between them they have scored just once – Sessegnon’s goal vs Southampton – and have managed just one assist from open play. The reliance on Harry Kane – and Dejan Kulusevski when fit – will only take you so far and when a streetwise team with a strong structure are in front of them, Spurs do find it hard for creativity in wide areas.
The under 2.5 goals line at 10/11 with Sky Bet stands out.
Football is a fine-margin and low-scoring sport – which can lead to short bursts of results that mask a team’s true capabilities. That’s why so much emphasis and respect is given to performance metrics to analyse the true level of a team rather than focusing just on results. Two men that got ahead of the market in that regard, Tony Bloom and Matthew Benham, now both own Premier League football clubs (Brighton and Brentford, respectively). Says it all really.
Bournemouth may have picked up under Gary O’Neil but their underlying data still has them ranked as most certainly a team likely to be finishing in the bottom three. The Cherries have had the fewest shots (86), fewest touches in opposition box (164), lowest possession (38.3 per cent) and lowest expected goals total (6.9) in the Premier League this season.
It explains why they’re a 4/6 chance with Sky Bet to be relegated and why West Ham – a team below them in the table – are 8/13 with Sky Bet to win this match. It’s a fair price too.
Talking of data, no team has created a higher expected goals total in their last three matches than the Hammers (6.56) and that included a trip to Liverpool. That tells me that West Ham are creating good quality chances and it’s only a matter of time before they give someone a good beating. This game could be it. West Ham to win by three or more goals could be worth a swing at 9/2 with Sky Bet.
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