Preview: Man City v Leicester City

This is one of the games which has the feeling of inevitability of a Man City win. City have really hit their stride in the past two months putting in big performances against Villa, Newcastle, Arsenal, Liverpool as well as Southampton, Bournemouth and Palace. In midweek they also dispatched with Bayern Munich 3-0.

Leicester on the other hand have been the exact opposite. Rodgers has been sacked and they have been terrible in the past two months with seven losses in eight games.

They key factor here is all of this information has been priced into this game. With City trading at 1.14 now on Betfair to win the game and Leicester at 26.0.

So, are there any reasons why Man City might now perform as well as they have been and also any reasons why Leicester might perform better?

Pep May Tinker

Guardiola changes the formation nearly every game. Typically this works out well for them, but occasionally it doesn’t. He has tinkered with the formation right throughout this season and has now found a more settled 3-2-4-1 formation. The balance of players seem to fit better with this formation.

DeBruyne cut a very frustrated figure when subbed off against Bayern. He is 32 in the summer and Pep may also be getting tired of this attitude and might look to offload him in the summer. All it means for this game is that there is a higher chance that he doesn’t start this game.

This game comes after a huge game against Bayern Munich in the UCL. Players will not be as fresh for this game compared to normal. Granted they will have 70% of the ball so can take the game at their pace. But nevertheless it is a risk of rotation for any players carrying knocks (Like Haaland) as well as players managing themselves to prevent injury and also for the second leg.

The second leg of the Bayern game is midweek. So players and Guardiola will want to cruise through this game, probably by scoring two goals in the first half so they can focus on the next game.

City has got knocked out by teams in the Champions League in recent years when they should have gone through, like against Real Madrid last season. Will Guardiola be a little tense himself?

The fact that a few players will be leaving in the summer does not seem to have affected performances the way it has Leicester – assuming that that narrative is correct.

Leicester to Re-Bound?

Dean Smith, John Terry and Craig Shapespire take charge of Leicester this week. That in itself will change the mood of the club. Smith doesn’t have an amzing track record. But his appointment offers a fresh start to some players who felt frustrated under Rodgers. Terry is a players you would imagine will bring respect among the squad for this playing career.

Leicester are not in this position because the players are poor quality. Their record over the past few years speaks for itself. So to my mind it is quite possible for me to see Leicester come out of the blocks fast in this game and potentially catch Man City off guard. They will not be that prepared for Leicester as this is the management first game. So they so also that element of surprise.

The Bet

Leicester’s last two decent games where they won 4-1 both saw them conceded in the first half before coming back to be winning at half time.

So, the main play will be to back Leicester to win 2-0 at HT. But also then to bet in play if Man City score first in the first half then lay Man City to be winning at HT, as well as backing Leicster to be winning at HT.


Leicester to be winning 2-0 at HT. €4, 100.0

Bank: €26

Analysis: Newcastle v Man United

Man United have a brutal schedule of games until the end of the season. This has been the case since the start of the year and with Ten Hag playing a similar team each game it’s predictable that performance levels will weaken.

Each game they have been now and then is a big game. The physical and mental strength required will really test the players. This was a fundamental reason for the 7-0 loss to Liverpool and it will not be the last time they concede five goals this season.

Newcastle away is just such a tough game, especially as Newcastle are hunting them down to finish in the top four.

Casemiro is out for this game and the numbers are clear: when he has played they have conceded 0.95 and when he has been absent they have conceded 1.7 goals per game.

Also, Ten Hag has had to readjust his tactics since the Liverpool game as they showed how to get at United and other teams will look to repeat that if they doesn’t change it up. So he has played around with a 4-1-4-1 with Sancho as a 10 in the front four. That tactic has yet to prove itself.

Man United played at home to Southampton in their last league game and were fortunate to come away with a draw. Rashford has been the man in form for United but as he has been overperforming himself his form may drop off.

In the Carabao Cup Final Man United won 2-0. But the game was very even and was effectively a draw on xG. Nick Pope was also absent in goal during that game although it didn’t make a material difference in the goals you would have to say.

Newcastle United have went through a barren spell in front of goal for much of this year. Isak has come in the past two starts and scored three goals. More than that he has looked electric in that time, a man really starting to find his feet in the Premier League.

With Casemiro not playing it might mean that Newcastle midfielders have a higher probability of scoring as there will be more space for them as McTominay or Fred’s numbers are lower in terms of tackles and interceptions per game. I will await the Newcastle teamsheet before betting but will be looking at the likes of Willock and Anderson for value in the to score anytime market.


Isak to score 2, 13.0, €4
Willock or Anderson to score*, €4, pending team news.

Bank: €67

Bet Preview: Bournemouth to Beat Fulham

The basis of this bet is that Fulham were focusing the rest of their season on the FA Cup and getting dumped out by Man United might mean they suffer a bit of a hangover in this game.

It is quite possible that they react well but more often teams take much of the next game to work out that frustration. With a few key players, Mitro and William, suspended it will be harder.

Added into this Fulham have a few key players away on International duty in the US as Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson played in the second game, so again the travel effects and time difference can often mean players take time to get into the game.

As this game is away from home it also means a little bit more travel to the preparations.

Fulham have also been overperforming this season and might continue their regress as they conceded three goals in each of their last three games and also should have let in three away to Brighton in their last league win.

Bouremouth had been better after their January signing started playing but in the past four games seem to have regressed with 13, 5, 4 and 9 shots on goal but they were up against Man City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Aston Villa. So given the quality I think we can cut them some slack as they did well, scoring against Man City, Arsenal (twice) and Liverpool, but blanking against an improving Aston Villa side.

I didn’t get this posted in time for the kick off, but I bet on Bournemouth but went for high odds options:

Bournemouth to be winning 2-0 at HT: 19.0, €4
Bournemouth to win 4-2, 130.0, €5
Solanke to score a hattrick, 120.0, €5

Given Bournemouth had only scored 13 goals in 13 home league games this was probably a bit too far, but I am happy to stand by it. Solanke was too short at 17.0 to score too, and too bit at 120 to score 3.

Bournemouth won the game, coming from behind to win 2-1. However, their xG was 3.14 to 0.6 so they were by far the better side and should have had three goals and on another day would have had four. Perhaps Solanke might have done better on another day. He did score a scrappy goal in this game, but his xG was 1.68 should he should have had a second goal.

All in all, it wasn’t a profitable day but happy with this analysis.

Bet on a Leeds comeback at 1-0 down at 60.0 for €4 and a Leicester win at half time at 120.0 for €3 along with a €4 on Palace -2 at half time. Leeds never showed signs of life in their game with 0.5 xG in the game but did score a consolation late on but.. let’s move on.

Leicester look to be going down. They allowed Palace to have 31 shots on target during their game, absolutely unbelieveable for this Palace team to have that many shots, can only be that there is serious problems in the Leicester camp. I have a firm Rodgers supporter and they do create plenty of chances at times but this has happened a lot recently with Man United having an xG of 4.25 against them. They have now only one point from their past six games and look to lack the fight for the relegation battle that is seeing other teams like Forest and Bournemouth grind out results.

Bank: €75

Bet Review: Palace, Isak, Leicester

Brighton v Palace

Palace demise was overhyped in my view and I placed €4 on Palace to be 2-0 up at half time at 70.0. Palace did have the majority of the chances in the first half as well as in the game itself winning the xG 0.59 to 1.21 with the better xG chances being created in the First half.

Brighton went into half time 1- 0 so the bet didn’t land, but I am happy with the bet and if the game repeated it had a strong chance of landing.

Forest v Newcastle – Isak hat-trick – 70.0 – €4

Isak is coming into the team recently and scored in the previous game and from reports was almost unplayable at times. Based on this and also that Forest have been playing poorly and are missing so many important defensive players, I liked the look of an Isak hat trick at 70.0.

Isak finished the game with 2 goals as well as hitting the bar (via a deflection) in the first half. His xG for the game was 1.59. All in all this was a great bet.

Brentford v Leicester – Leicester to win 2-1 at HT (100.0 €2), Iheanacho to score 2 (24.0 €4)

Leicester won the game on xG 0.48 v 1.42 which backs up the analysis to bet on them. They have created plenty of chances in their past two games but haven’t put them away. I thought Rogers would keep Iheanacho upfront and decided to back him to score 2. But actually Daka was preferred and Iheanacho was on the bench. I made the mistake again of not waiting for the team sheets and so lost this bet.

Leicester have had a habit of conceding and then scoring in the league in the past few games so when Brentford scored I placed a bet for Leicester to be winning (2-1 at HT). However, they didn’t create much in the time with only one chance of note. Given the odds this bet was fine.

Wolves v Leeds – Leeds to be winning 2-0 at HT, €4, 27.0

Wolves have such an unsettled side it really did wave a number of red flags. The new manager Lopetegui is now dropping players he signed like Sarabia and bringing in players he didn’t fancy initially like Podence. Neto was also back in and so the Wolves line up is resembling the team under Lage. This also signals to me that his messages are not transferring well with the squad.

Looking at the Leeds line up they had a much more settled look to them which can be a bonus. Also with both teams under pressure of relegation it can often mean that it is harder to play at home in these games and easier to play away. So I felt that Leeds were really the favourites in this game and thought they might win the first half.

The game was 1-0 to Leeds at HT and 4-2 at FT. Leeds didn’t create many other chances in the first half but it did score again early in the second half. The probability of this bet winning was much lower than 27.0, so a decent punt.

Arsenal v Palace – Palace TNHT 90.0, €4, Palace Score 4 and win, 280.0

I fully expected Arsenal to win and began the research looking at players for a potential hat trick such as Martinelli. However, the odds were too short and I felt obliged to back Palace given the odds available. They might have scored early and then the odds would have tumbled and I could have laid out for a profit. Zaha did hit the post at nil nil but Arsenal soon clicked into gear and ran out 4-1 winners.


The €100 I started with in December has now reached zero. I reached a high of over €1,000 after one month but really poor staking in February meant I lost €450 when I probably should have only lost €50.

So I will be re-loading now and aiming to do better with the staking of the bets. I am happy with the picks. The odds are high so the wins are not frequent. I probably can win every fifth or sixth bet but need to be making 2-3 well researched bets each week for this strategy to pay dividends long term.

I love the international breaks so will be keeping an eye on the games and researching potential opportunities.

Bet Review: Martinelli to score and other weekend bets

Martinelli to score two goals at 17.0 was the main bet of the weekend but it didn’t land this time, but how close was it and a long term winning strategy?

Martinelli scored once against Fulham but also had two other clear chances to score in the first half. One where his shot was deflected in but he was ruled offside and a later chance in the half where he went close. Arsenal went into energy conservation mode in the second half and he was subbed on 77 minutes.

It was a surprise to see Trossard start and Jesus on the bench. I would have thought that while this reduced minutes it might have increased competition and kept them pushing on. So at 17.0 for him to score twice and 120.0 for him to score three I think this had a higher probability of coming in and would place this bet again.

Bet Review: Leicester to be winning at HT at 160.0 for €4

At 31 minutes Leicester were 1-0 down and I placed a bet on them to be winning at half time at 160.0.

The reasoning being they have twice come from behind in the first half this year against Villa and Spurs.

They did come back into the game, getting a goal at 40 minutes and half three more shots on goal shortly after that and were very close to scoring. It would have been a sensational bet if it landed.

Nevertheless, this is a trend to follow for the remainder of the season.

Leicester have also been creating a high number of chances in the past two games and are worth following closely.

Bet Review: Pervis Estupinan to have a shot on target at 4.4 for €4

He have a shot on goal from inside the box but it was over the bar. He has continued his run of getting of shot off in nearly every game over the past ten games.

This wasn’t a great bet and I should avoid in future.

Bet Review: Brentfort to win against Everton, 22.0, €4

Brentford have been very resilient in their unbeaten run over the past 12 game unbeaten run but couldn’t find enough to come back. I backed them at 1-0 down. They won the xG 1.95 so did create enough chances but couldn’t convert them. I am happy enough with this bet given the odds.

Thomas Frank has a good record of making the right changes with his subs and having seen the damage that Schade did against Fulham thought he might have made more of an impact against a weak Everton defense.

However, they created one big chance after the two subs on 65 minutes but little after that.

The bank is now at €35.

Martinelli to score twice, 17.0

Arsenal play Fulham today with it set for Gabriel Martinelli to score at least twice at 17.0 or three times at 120.0.

Martinelli has averaged three shots on goal a game in this past ten games at home in the league (excluding Man City).

Nketiah and Jesus are out with Trossard being a doubt. Arteta has said that he can play a winger or a false nine as a forward. In games this Martinelli has effectively played as a forward even though he is officially playing on the left wing or forward position, even with Nketiah in the side. We can see this from his Brighton heatmap in this review from January.

Fulham have only kept two clean sheets at home in the league this season, averaging 1.3 goals conceded in their 13 games. The shut outs were to Everton and Forest and their xG in those games show that they gave up enough chances to let in a goal.

We also know that Fulham have been hugely overperforming in their expected goals conceded, by 15 goals.

In their two matches this season with their defensive midfielder Joao Palhinha they conceded 3.5 goals (4 at home to Newcastle and 3 away to Brentford).

Martinelli is also slightly underpeforming his xG this season at home with 12.85 vs 11 goals. He scored two goals in the 4-1 win at home to Everton two games ago.

Arsenal also won the away game 2-1 with an xG of 2.47 v 0.93.

On the negative side, Fulham have only not scored at home twice this season (Everton, Spurs) so will prove a threat. Their xG in the past four games has been overperforming with a number of excellent long range goals from Soloman and Palhinha.

Arsenal also had the Europa League game away to Sporting on Thursday, drawing 2-2 in a competitive game. Martinelli played the full game and had two shots saved. One was from a fantastic run from midfield, beating a number of players along the way which would have been one of the goals of the season, so the man is in fine form.

All in all, if Martinelli gets the breaks during the game he can bag a hatrick. Fulham’s team are excellent at anticipating the play, but with so much threat from different positions in this Arsenal side that will really push their ability to anticipate what’s going to happen. This will lead to chances and if Martinelli is the player closest to goal, then he can bag a few goals.

He is priced at 17% probability to score. Give than Fulham will likely concede 3 if not 4 goals, I think he should be a bit lower to score two of them. So placing a big percentage of the budget on this outcome.


Martinelli to score 2, €6, 17.0
Martinelli to score 3, €5, 120.0

Bank: €35

Bet Preview: Leeds Brighton

Leeds haven’t showed much going forward yet under their new manager. Their best possession spell was in the Cup game where they switched to a 4-3-3 formation, but in the game last week Gracia reverted back to 4-2-3-1. They have not scored in three of their last four league games and this is in line with their xG.

Brighton under DeZerbi are flying and have really adapted well to his demands. They are an outside bet for top four. They have absolutely dominated their last four league games, generating an average xG of 2.85, three of those games were at the Amex Stadium but even away to Palace it was 2.65 and Leeds are a much less solid team than Palace.

Leeds have felt brittle this season under Marsch and Gracia has a reputation for being defensively solid and while it feels like he has improved them, it is really too early to say. The win against Southampton was a very scrappy game in which they got a piece of luck in their goal. Against a Chelsea side last week that has also been struggling they created an xG of 1.87.

It is hard to spot much value in the markets given as most Brighton’s form has been priced in already.

Fishing for value I am going to back a guy who gets forward a lot and has a record of shooting to have a shot on target. Pervis Estupinan has had shots on goal in eight of the last nine league games. None of those shots have been on target. Seven of his eleven shots have been outside the box.

He is 4.4 to have a shot on target against Leeds. He had shots away to Palace, Leicester and Everton, so he should find space today against Leeds. His xG per 90 is only 0.02 however I am expecting Brighton to dominate Leeds today and should have a number of shots outside the box and perhaps he is due to hit the target.


Pervis Estupinan to have a shot on target. €6. 4.4

Previews: All Big Teams to Win

Looking over this weeks fixtures, it feels like each of the bigger sides that are expected to win, should win. Usually, I am looking at the potential weak points in the bigger teams and the stronger points in the weaker teams and then look to pick the right bet, however this time is the opposite.

Bournemouth v Liverpool

Bournemouth have improved since they made a number of January transfers in as I outlined in the preview to the Wolves game where I judged that they might win. However, they were actually very poor in that game and looked fearful of the idea of losing that game. If they had then they would have really started to be cut adrift at the bottom.

They were comfortably beaten by Man City at home and were comfortably outplayed by Arsenal last week even though they were so close to getting a draw.

In this game Lerma starts but is carrying a knock, but it might affect his mobility and or his expected minutes in the game.

Games like this are curious as I have often seem that when a team beats another by a large score in one game they can often struggle to score in the reverse fixture. The xG in the 9-0 game was 4.86 to 0.18, so Bournemouth didn’t get much luck on the day.

Typically I would be looking for a Bournemouth angle on this game but they seem to have low confidence in their ability – I am concluding this from being ahead at Wolves and Arsenal. Wolves are so poor in attack that Bournemouth were able to hold on but against this Liverpool side it looks unlikely that they can hold them off.

Liverpool are 1.43 or 69% likely to win and I find it hard to disagree with that given how well Liverpool played last week against Man United winning 7-0. They have players coming back from injury and so the standards are going up.

It feels more likely that Liverpool will take the lead in this game. If the do then that could take the pressure off Bournemouth and it might then be an opportunity to lay Liverpool. Bournemouth showed against Arsenal that they can counter attack and the have scored now in their last four games, which included Arsenal, Man City, Newcastle and Wolves, which is in line with their xG, so we can expect Bournemouth to score at some point.

Liverpool have

Gakpo’s finishes last week were top class and so I am going to back him to continu his form, by placing a bet on him to score any time at 3.0.

Dango Ouattara had started well for Bournemouth in his first few games and has contributed to the attack in all of them. He is 6.8 to score any time and 8.6 to have two shots on target. He has gone close a number of times so I’ll place a small bet on him to break his Bournemouth duck and score today.


Gakpo score any time. 3.0. €8

Ouattara to score any time. 6.8. €4

Bank: €60

Bet Review: Liverpool v Man United

After going on a losing run with many of those bets losing when going against Man United I fell into the gambler’s trap of looking for certainty in an outcome and was very lazy in my thinking.

Liverpool humiliated Man United yesterday 7-0 (3.44 v 0.84 xG). It was a stunning result. But one where it was not wholly unpredictable. I mean that in the sense that United form was going to have a collapse in performance at some point given the sheer number of games they have played this year, literally a game every three or so days.

Ten Hag’s philosophy means that he prefers to keep a winning team, so little rotation. I had bet against United a month ago on the basis that tiredness might creep in. However, that didn’t happen that game and they played eight more games after that, winning six and drawing two.

I also felt that Ten Hag was watching the sport science data closely to see if any of his players were tiring and in need of a rest and if so he could rest them if he had too. However, there isn’t any sport science for mental fatigue.

The run of big games can also hide tired legs as players increase their performance levels as they set their sights on achieving their ambitions such as getting to the League Cup Final and winning it; beating Barcalona in the UEFA Cup as well as thinking they were in with a chance of winning the English Premier League this season.

They got through all those games and it began to look like Ten Hag had created a machine that really clicking into gear and was able to grind out results. You could say in their last six games they were somewhat fortunate to get the results they did as the teams they were playing missed a number of chances at decisive moments during the game.

Examples of this can be found in the Leeds, Leicester league games, the first Barca game as well as the League Cup Final against Newcastle and in the midweek game against West Ham. Liverpool though were quitely on the rise…

They had more breaks between their games, they had more players coming back from longer term injury, they had the hurt of their underperformance this season and their own humiliation in their second last home games to Real Madrid. Klopp said he could see their performance levels improving in the Wolves games where they won 2-0.

During the first half of the United game it was very close, particularly on xG. However, the dynamics of the games changed in the second half, when United went looking for a higher gear when none was to be found, while Liverpool when looking for higher gears and found three.

What Can Be Learned?

Ten Hag looked rattled in the interview after the game. I can only imagine the shouting match that went on in their dressing round after the game. It will be interesting to watch how their key defensive players perform in the coming games such as Casemiro and Varane. They are big characters so should step up but lets see how the morale in the camp is now.

They will also be increasingly tired with the long run of matches and I’m sure there will be players playing with minor injuries. On top of that did Klopp’s team give clues to other teams how best to get at this United team?

With only the FA Cup and UEFA Cup realistically to play for now, will that be enough motivation for their top players? Liverpool are only seven points behind them in the league and will be hunting them for a top four place too. That will bring its own pressure.

In addition, the uncertainty of the takeover means that forming transfer plans for bringing players in might add to the frustration. And Rashford still has yet to sign a new deal.

This run United have gone on reminds me of the runs of Mourinho and Ole, which looked like their were making progress but the behind the scences hassles dragged them back into mediocraty. Has Ten Hag just got a bounce out of the players for adding a level of struture and organisation as well as a post Ronaldo bounce?

Time will tell but I am not optimise for them, especially given that other clubs are being funded to compete with them and do not have the legacy pressures that come with this Man United side, with greats in the Boardroom and on the TV panels judging this team against their teams, which is never a fair comparison.

Key players in this side like Casemiro are also at their peak but will not be replaced. Selling the likes of Fred or McTominay may only make the squad lighter if the right transfers do not come in. And with so much spent on transfers last summer, that might leave the situation even more difficult for Ten Hag next year.

The bank is now at €76. I need to take each bet seriously.

Bet Preview: Liverpool V Man United

United to gain a revenge win against Liverpool today. For the past few years United have been embarrassed by Liverpool suffering a number of humbling defeats, but this time the opportunity is for them to inflict a big defeat on Liverpool.

United have put in a number of impressive performances this year and are only improving. There have been a series of big performances in the past two months and that will continue today, plus an extra push for past defeats.


United to win, scoring 4 or more, 21.0, €10
United to win, -1, 6.4, €10
United to win 2-0 at HT, 19, €8
United to win 4-2, 90.0, €4
United to win 5-2, 310, €3