United to bounce back
Manchester United v Fulham
Manchester United had a rough time of it last week, losing at Old Trafford on Tuesday and Thursday, conceding six times in those matches. The match against Liverpool was the one in which Ole selected to play his full-strength team (bar the injured Harry Maguire), and they allowed a huge 3.73 xGA in a woeful defensive display.
They had looked solid for quite a while, but recently have been exposed on a regular basis, which is something they must rectify before their Europa League Final. United host already relegated Fulham on Tuesday though, who are fresh from a 3-1 loss at Southampton.
It has been a miserable season for Scott Parker’s side, who are winless in eight, losing seven of those, with their attacking potency seemingly disappearing. United should win here (68%), but goals could follow (56% O2.5) – 3-1.
Improving Saints to hold Leeds
Southampton v Leeds
Southampton made it back-to-back wins for the first time since December when beating Fulham at the weekend, another deserved 3-1 success. Their home process has been solid all season, despite inconsistencies in results, averaging a steady 1.27 xGF and 1.23 xGA per game.
Leeds are finishing the campaign tremendously, with their 4-0 rout at Burnley meaning they have lost just one of nine, winning five. They continue to create plenty of good chances when playing on the road (1.45 xGF per away game), but defensively they remain vulnerable.
Burnley racked up 1.47 xGF against them on Saturday, Brighton managed 2.48 in their previous away game and Manchester City put up 2.56 prior to that. Expect a high-scoring contest here (60% O2.5), though Southampton are fancied to get at least a point (65% SOU or Draw) – 2-2.
Back the 2-2 @ 13.5
City to edge to Amex win
Brighton v Manchester City
Brighton thwarted West Ham on Saturday evening, but were fortunate to do so according to xG in what was one of their worst performances for while based on the chances created (xG: BHA 0.93 – 1.99 WHU).
The Seagulls do boast the third best home xG process in the league though (1.86 xGF, 0.85 xGA per home game), behind only Man City and Chelsea, and only that pair have a better all-round defensive process than Graham Potter’s side (1.10 xGA per game).
City were involved in a seven-goal thriller at Newcastle on Friday night, a game in which there were plenty of chances at either end. This game should be different though given Brighton’s defensive numbers, so a narrow City win is expected in a low-scoring game (52% U2.5) – 0-1.
Back the @ 0-1 8.415/2
Chelsea to get revenge on Foxes
Chelsea v Leicester
Chelsea and Leicester met as recently as Saturday when the Foxes lifted the FA Cup, and this game is of similar magnitude given the state of play in the top four race.
The Blues find themselves needing to realistically win this game given Liverpool’s late charge, and they do boast the best defence in the league since Thomas Tuchel took over (0.64 xGA per game) which should set them up well here, but it has been their attack that came up short last week.
While they drew blanks against both Arsenal and Leicester, they created the better quality chances in both games, and Tuchel’s side have been better in attack at home than away since his arrival, averaging 1.80 xGF per game at Stamford Bridge compared to 1.63 on the road.
Leicester won the FA Cup for the first time in their history, but must now get themselves up for another monster clash on the back of a taxing week. It wasn’t so long ago that they were thrashed at home by Newcastle 4-2, and the tank has been running close to empty for a while now.
They are likely to be playing defence-first again here, but unlike in the cup final, it is expected that Chelsea will be the ones to prevail here (56%), with their home fans to roar them to a narrow victory – 1-0.
Everton home struggles continue, even with fans
Everton v Wolves
Everton’s home misery is getting out of hand now. Sheffield United were the latest team to win at Goodison Park, and it means they are winless in five at home, losing three. In fact, they have won just one of 11 at home, losing seven. It’s tragic.
It isn’t a surprise though. The Toffees boast a negative xG process at home (1.41 xGF, 1.55 xGA per game), meaning they are creating fewer quality opportunities than their opponents on average. Their home form is why their top four charge has ended, and why their top six charge has stalled.
Wolves were comfortably beaten by Tottenham last weekend in what was a really woeful defensive performance. They have been solid up to that point though, and given Everton’s need for a win here, they should get plenty of counter-attacking space to do some damage to the Toffees and get a result (56% WOL or Draw) – 1-1.
Back the 1-1 @ 6.611/2
Newcastle to cut down Blades
Newcastle v Sheffield United
Newcastle again played on the front foot last time out, and it led to a cracking game against Manchester City where they narrowly lost 4-3. That means that over the last seven games, Steve Bruce’s side have averaged 2.20 xGF per game – the second most in the league in that time.
Sheffield United have now won more league games this season than Fulham and West Brom after beating Everton, but have been terrible travellers in general this term. They have averaged just 0.8 xGF per game and allowed 1.92 xGA per game on the road.
With Newcastle’s new-found attacking intent, they are scoring more goals but also being more vulnerable defensively, so BTTS (53%) and Over 2.5 Goals (55%) are more likely than not in a Newcastle win (59%) – 2-1.
Back the 2-1 @ 8.515/2
Spurs to register another home win
Tottenham v Aston Villa
Tottenham impressed when beating Wolves last weekend, winning 2-0 but it should have been more (xG: TOT 3.73 – 1.12 WOL). That was a third straight home win under Ryan Mason, with Spurs creating plenty in all three.
Aston Villa were beaten Crystal Palace at the weekend, meaning they have won just one of seven. They again created a lot of good chances in that match, and have done consistently on the road this term, averaging 1.52 xGF per away game.
They have been more vulnerable than results would suggest though, allowing 1.54 xGA per away game despite conceding just 1 goal per away game, so Spurs’ added firepower should be the difference here in a home win (51%) – 2-1.
Gunners to make it four in a row
Crystal Palace v Arsenal
Crystal Palace picked up a home win against Aston Villa at the weekend, meaning they have now lost just two of their last six at Selhurst Park, against Chelsea and Manchester City. However, their home process is extremely poor (0.93 xGF, 1.66 xGA per game).
Arsenal still have an outside chance of finishing in the top six, being four points behind Tottenham with just two games left, and have played ok since losing the first leg of their Europa League tie, winning all three league matches.
They rode their luck against Chelsea, but dealt with Newcastle and West Brom well, and can get a fourth straight win here (51%) in a low-scoring game (53% U2.5) – 0-2.
Back the 0-2 @ 7.87/1
Reds go marching on
Burnley v Liverpool
Burnley are winless in nine home games after being thumped 4-0 by Leeds on Saturday, another poor defensive performance from the Clarets. They have allowed an average of 1.88 xGA per game in their last 12, so this is a good time for Liverpool to be playing Sean Dyche’s side.
Alisson Becker was Liverpool’s hero at the weekend, netting a sensational header to give the Reds a 2-1 win against West Brom. That win means they have their destiny in their own hands, with it likely that two wins from their last two games will be enough to finish in the top four.
They have played their best football on the road this term, averaging 2.06 xGF and 1.35 xGA per away game, and should win here (52%), but Burnley are likely to notch against a still-vulnerable back line – 1-2.
Back the 1-2 @ 9.617/2
Hammers to get back on track
West Brom v West Ham
West Brom were undone by an Alisson Becker goal at the weekend, but they hung in well against a team pushing for three points. Sam Allardyce’s side have failed to win in five, and their home xG process is wretched (1.11 xGF, 1.95 xGA per game).
West Ham’s European hopes are in tatters after a run of one win in five, but they created enough to warrant the three points at Brighton. Now seventh, the Hammers realistically need to win both matches to have any chance of a top six finish.
David Moyes’s side have a positive xG process when travelling this season (1.69 xGF, 1.42 xGA per away game), and should edge to a win (50%) in a high-scoring game (56% O2.5) – 1-2.
Back the 1-2 @ 7.87/1