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Premier League predictions: Jones Knows foresees Man City strolling at Villa Park with Rodri a goalscorer pick at 28/1

BY SkySports
09.03.2022
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After tipping up an Everton draw vs Liverpool, Jones Knows thinks Rodri is a huge price to score in an easy Manchester City win at Aston Villa.

Aston Villa recorded an expected goals figure of under 1.00 for the fourth time in their five matches this season against Arsenal, yet again showing no attacking rhythm, confidence or chemistry. Steven Gerrard is struggling for answers and things could get messy at Villa Park in this one.

One area of weakness that doesn’t get picked up by the markets in a struggling side is their lack of defensive organisation defending set pieces which brings plenty of punting opportunities to the table in the opposition player shots and goals markets. Despite their run of kind fixtures, Aston Villa have conceded the second most shots from set pieces this season, including three goals. Gabriel had four shots himself on Wednesday night for Arsenal as the Gunners caused Villa so many problems when the ball was played into their box. For all their pretty passing and delicate football, Man City scored the most goals of anyone in the Premier League last season from set pieces (21) so their players are always worth considering when the price is right.

The player that sticks out to me here is Rodri, who, along with the two centre-backs, is always in the mixer from a City set piece. There are a few ways to attack his prices. As he’s also a threat banging shots in from range, the 6/5 with Sky Bet for him to have two shots should give you a run. He’s had 18 shots in his last 10 games.

Those looking to dream should consider the 28/1 with Sky Bet for him to score a header. Of those 18 shots, five of them have been headers with two goals scored. OK, the sample size is quite small but a player who is City’s biggest threat from set pieces with such a decent recent record should be shorter than 28/1 to register his third headed goal in his last 11 starts.

Brighton have taken 28 points from their last 14 Premier League games since April – only Man City (36), Tottenham (31), Liverpool (31) have amassed more. Meanwhile, Leicester have started the season abysmally, playing with such a lack of intensity as they have lost four on the bounce in timid fashion.

Brighton, well-drilled and super slick, usually feast upon teams that are struggling for confidence with players that aren’t perhaps pulling in the same direction. But there is absolutely no way I can back them at 4/5 with Sky Bet to win this match. This isn’t my first rodeo with Brighton.

The familiar concern of wasteful finishing is rearing its head again early on this season. Brighton are failing to capitalise on high probability chances created. Over the past three seasons at home, Brighton have created an expected goals figure of 90.34 but have scored just 62 goals showing a frightening underperformance in front of goal against the quality of chances created.

I haven’t checked the numbers, but Solly March must be responsible for at least 80 of those expected goals, no? He’s now up to an expected goals tally of 1.38 this season with three big chances missed – no Premier League player has a higher xG this season without managing to score. How my weekly 10/1 anytime scorer price hasn’t copped is pretty staggering. He remains that price this weekend by the way.

Counter Brighton’s wastefulness with the fact Leicester have scored in 25 of their last 28 Premier League away games. It suggests just one goal from the Foxes could be enough to avoid defeat.

Who knew the Erik Ten Hag way was drenched in so much filth?

I think many of us were expecting full-throttle football with a high defensive line but what Ten Hag has resorted to, for now, is a no-thrills, quite direct style with the backdrop of aggression and in-your-face defending. It’s probably smart management as something had to change stylistically.

Manchester United are rough and tumble now and hard to score against. Arsenal will have to be smart and clinical to break though – but one goal may just do it. It would be a massive statement to leave with three points.

Since the 4-0 drubbing at Brentford, no team have been shown more yellow cards (9) or made more fouls (40) than Manchester United with Ten Hag’s side winning the card count race in all of their last three fixtures. Despite Arsenal being regarded as a side with disciplinary problems, the numbers show that they only rank 12th for yellow cards shown since the start of last season when factoring in ever-present Premier League teams. United look a fantastic price with the cards in mind.

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