The judgment call on Leeds went well. With no Tyler Adams to shore up the defence Leeds conceded two goals in the first half away to Cardiff meaning that the first bet on Cardiff winning 2-0 at halftime (TNHT) won. Initially it was 40.0, but when I placed the bet it was 36.0 as the market was reacting to the team news. I placed a 4 euro stake, so this returned a profit of €141.
I also had a 4 euro stake on Cardiff to win by two or more goals (Cardiff -1) at 14.0. Early in the second half I felt that Leeds would have a period when they got back into the match so I decided to fully cashout on this bet. The price on that bet at that time was 2.12 so that meant a profit on that bet of 76 euro.
I let the bet of score four goals and win ride to allow an upside if Cardiff could respond to Leeds pressure and counter attack. Leeds did get back into the game and it finished 2-2. So this bet lost 6 euro.
Each team has characteristics, which come from their manager and staff. This Leeds team are a good example of this. They like a high tempo game. This typically means they have periods where they are on top and others when they are taking a break. It is very difficult to maintain this high tempo for a full game. Bielsa’s side was probably the best example of having a consistently high tempo, but this current side seem to play in fits and starts. Understanding this helps to make judgement calls during inplay betting decisions.
The fund is now at 471 euro, meaning it is up 471% from the initial balance deposited of 100 in December.
There is one game later today in the FA Cup where Arsenal play away to Oxford. I’ll be previwing this game a bit later.
Also, there is League Cup action this week which I had a quick look ahead too and was a bit surprised to see Southampton priced at 15.0 for a home win against Man City on Thursday evening. This is the biggest price for a home win I have ever seen between Premier League teams. The market doesn’t like what Nathan Jones is doing at Southampton but I am preferred to give him more time. I decided to place a stake of 4 euro on Southampton HT/FT at 27.0 and Southampton to be winning 2-0 at HT at odds of 90.0. More on this later in the week.
Leeds are expected to announce a strong team against Cardiff. The key player that needs to play is Tyler Adams; if he plays, then I might have a small bet on Leeds; if he doesn’t, or if he comes off at any stage (unlikely), then I will lay Leeds.
Update: Leeds have not put out their first team but their second team, no Tyler Adams in the match day squad.
Man City v Chelsea will be a decent game, particularly interested to see how Chelsea play after their good performance against City in midweek. May replicate the speculative bet on Chelsea as midweek, but it less likely that City will start as poorly. Interestingly, City started with a 3-2-4-1 formation in that game, one they have never used before this season. City will likely rotate some players too.
Likely, I will not be around to do a full preview of any bets placed today. Reviews will follow tomorrow.
This bet is currently a medium-term bet as there is a good arbitrage opportunity with Rayan Ait-Nouri. He is priced to score as a full back (at 27.0), but is being selected in left midfield, so he should be closer to 10.0.
In this game, he didn’t score away to Liverpool but he did have a one-on-one with the keeper where his shot was saved as he fired directly at Allison. He took it early but it didn’t work out and as he has pace and can dribble he might have done better taking a touch. He also had another shot from outside the box and was in the general area for Wolves second goal, but he didn’t get the break of the ball, instead it fell to Hwang who was able to score.
All in all, this is a player who is going to score goals in this team and I plan to bet on him each game for the next five games and hopefully he can return at least once and also get more game time in left midfield or left wing back.
My faith in Ait-Nouri to score is only increasing after watching his performances under new Wolves manager Julen Lopetegui. He has already scored twice under him and is showing good form with his dribbling, crossing and overall attitude. Wolves are likely to rotate against Liverpool as they played in midweek and have a League Cup game next week, so he is likely to start. He has also won the blog money too.
Wolves’ general play is starting to improve based on reports, however this not yet translating into xG. Against Liverpool who are also a high pressing side, something Wolves are aspiring too, so this game might be high tempo and have a higher amount of chances.
Liverpool are expected to put out a full strength team. They will be without Virgal Van Dijk who picked up an injury in the last game.
Best to wait to see if Ait-Nouri is in the starting line up in which position but I will be placing 14 points (of 273) on him to score anytime on Betfair at 27.0
The preview highlighted the speculative case for Chelsea to start well against Man City, and I decided to place a bet on Chelsea to be winning 2-0 at halftime.
The game was scoreless at HT but Chelsea did have the better of the first half with two good goalscoring chances. One was a blocked shot which only for a superb last ditch block from John Stones, Pulisic would have had a near certain goal; while Carney Chukwuemeka hit the post from outside the box.
The xG timeline illustrates this, although looking at these chances from the game they look like better chances that is reflected here:
Even taking these percentages at face value the odds on offer were 40.0 (2.5%) so it looks like a value bet in hindsight.
The other bet for the other preview which speculated on a big Man City win, depended on Foden being angry for not playing the last few games and channelling that into a classy performance. However, he was subbed at 60 minutes and had no shots on goal. We’ll have to monitor his mood and performances in the coming games to see how his form is. Whoscored.com had him as the worst performing Man City player from the starting eleven.
The performance from Chelsea will improve the mood. In particular the performance of Carney Chukwuemeka and also Lewis Hall look like they can make an impression in the first team and may get game time against Fulham next week. There may well be value in there if they are picked.
The previous post speculated on how Chelsea might get the better of Manchester City. There was too much speculation, so thoughts moved towards the idea of Manchester City putting in the level of performance they did against Manchester United and others. City have scored four goals or more in five of their league games this season. Against Leeds last week, they created the highest xG of any game this season. So what are the odds on Man City scoring at least four against Chelsea and what is the most attractive bet available?
Manchester City are 10.0 to score four and win. This looks like a reasonable price. But if they do score four it is likely Haaland will score and probably Foden too. Foden is 29.0 to score two or more and he may be fired up after a poor World Cup as well as being on the bench for the past two games – the assumption here is that he starts. He will likely be up against Azpilicueta who is definately has the beating of and should get more space if Silva and Koulabali are focusing on Haaland. The only problem from an xG point of view is that he has scored 7 but was only expected to score 3.7 so likely should be avoided.
That said I am willing to keep stakes low and speculate 6 at a price of 29.0 to score two and 4 on a hat-trick for him to score three at 140. If he scores early then a cashout or partial cashout options can be evaluated.
Bet: Foden to score 2 at 29.0 staking 6. And Foden to score 3 at 140.0 staking 4.
City have conceded in six of their last seven games, conceding 7 goals vs an expected goals against of 8.03, so on that basis they are likely to concede at least once in this game. For this game, they will most likely be without first-team defenders Diaz and Laporte.
How is Morale?
Rico Lewis has come in and done well at left back although he was at fault for the goal against Everton, allowing too much space for Gray in the box to shoot. It’s possible that City could continue with Lewis but more likely he would go with the experience of Walker. He will be mindful of the threat and motivation of Raheen Sterling on the Chelsea left wing as well as wanted to protect Lewis for the longer term – this should help City clearly. In left back he has preferred Ake, a centre back, ahead of Cancelo. If he brings in Walker he’ll likely bring in Cancelo too, as he can invert into midfield when needed, as Lewis was doing on the other side.
Alvarez is also back for City and will not be happy to be on the bench after his breakout World Cup performances, starring in the critical knockout rounds. Foden and Silva have also been surprisingly benched in the past two games and will also not be happy about that. Grealish and Mahrez have been playing who Guradiola likes to help him control games.
This type of control is a form of defensive possession and seems a little anti-football. Grealish is an important part of this as he is superb and maintaining possession, however it does look like he finds this role tiresome and against his natural flair street style football. Most managers talk about letting players express themselves – City try to do the opposite at times.
Defenders Trying to Upset Haaland
Opposition defenders are starting to get tight and tough with Haaland to try to put him off his game. You could see he was getting frustrated at the referee for not getting more fouls against Everton as Godfrey tightly marked him. Koulibaly will not fear Haaland and Silva will also have plenty of experience to use. It’ll be an interesting battle from that point of view.
Pressure is on City to close the gap on Arsenal as they could only draw in their game against Newcastle. If City win they will reduce the gap to five points. But if they go a goal down this pressure, which is on them due to their own high standards, will increase a notch.
Chelsea have used 12 formations this season. This is mainly due to Potter’s tinkering as he tends to change formation multiple times during a game. City will not try to predict this but instead to focus on their own system, which is 4-3-3, a formation they have used 88% of the time this season. Their main source of unpredictability is if Foden will play or not.
Might Chelsea Catch them off-guard?
Chelsea will be hard to forecast what formation they will play, the role of the players in that formation, and also who will play and who will not. They have a lot of injuries, and clearly, Potter’s tactics have not been working yet, as Chelsea really struggle to create chances. However, Chelsea have a large squad of quality players, and it is possible that they can focus their minds on this game and raise their game. In fact, it is likely that they will raise their game, particularly Sterling. Ziyech has shown glimpes of form since the World Cup so I’ll be looking to him to initiate a Chelsea win or comeback.
Much of the above is quite speculative. However as Chelsea are 5.5 to win, there is scope for speculation.
The Cash Dash hunts down value and if Chelsea can start solidly they are fair value to create one decent chance in the first half. If they get one and City feel pressure and Chelsea feel boosted then they might sneek a second. Typically Chelsea might be 14.0 against a midtable side to be 2-0 up at HT, here they are 40.0. Speculative but I enjoy the possiblity of this bet.
Bet: Chelsea to be winning 2-0 at HT, 40.0, 4 (of 287) on Betfair.
City have also conceded a lot late in games. I will be following the game and subsitutions and will hunting down a value bet in the second half.
In the end, I decided to back Ait-Nouri to score against Aston Villa even though he didn’t start, as there was likely not going to be much liquidity in the market when he was subbed on. He came on at 60 minutes and appears to be the Wolves’ first-choice tactical sub (Podence did come off injured at halftime). Interestingly, he came in on the left of the attacking three (in a 4-2-3-1) for twenty minutes, then Julen Lopetegui switched to a 5-3-2, and he reverted to the left wing.
In those final ten minutes, he had a shot on target from inside the box in a game where Wolves created very little, with an xG of 0.83. He showed great initiative to get the shot away, picking up the ball at half way line, dribbled forward beating three players and got the shot on target, working the keeper. It’s not clear why other Wolves players didn’t support his run, only Traore eventually made an effort to get forward.
The shot had an xG of 0.07, or 7%, while we backed him at 26.0 (represents a 4% chance), so in that sense the bet is marginally positive longer term. Below is his heatmap for these 30 minutes, and it also shows that he had 24 touches, which is a lot more touches per minute than any of the other front players. It also compares well to Semedo and right back and right wing back at 53 and played the full game.
I staked 6 on this bet, which lost. All in all, it is a bet that I will continue to place once he is available at these odds.
Southampton Forest: Adams to Score 2 or more, 20.0, staked 4, lost
Having reviewed the Southampton starting line up against Nottingham Forest which had Bella-Kotcha and Lavia starting, while also playing with Walker-Peters and Perraud in the midfield (3-4-2-1), it looked like a much strong team and on that basis a higher chance of winning. I staked 4 on Che Adams to score 2 at 20.0, as I expected he was by far their main chance of scoring and would benefit from the supply from KWP and Perraud. However this wasn’t the case at all as Adams only had one shot during the game, and while it was their best chance at 0.29 xG, he was one of eight Southampton players who had one shot during the game. Bella-Kotcha also was subbed off at 33 minutes and Lavia at 60 minutes so both are still injury prone. I staked 4 on this and should avoid in future as Southampton are too unsettled and injury prone to accurately forcast a positive long term play at these odds.
Leeds West Ham: Bowen to Score 2 or more at 20.0, staked 4, lost
I also bet on the Leeds West Ham game after reviewing the line ups. West Ham have really been underperforming their xG this season and it was possible that this game might be quite open and that the West Ham attackers might get chances against the Leeds defence that has conceded 3 goals in each of their last three home games.
However while Bowen did win the penalty he didn’t take it and finished the game with no shots. We can see West Ham’s problem in this game in that they only had 5 key passes, so really aren’t creating good or many chances. The game finished level on xG (1.26 to 1.29) but again like Southampton, West Ham can’t find their best team, are creating poor quality chances and are also not getting them on target. On paper they look strong but something is not right behind the scenes. They need their first choice full backs to play and also need to properly intergrate Paqueta into their team. He had the most touches of their forward players at 50, but only one key pass. Most signings from overseas fail in the Premier League Paqueta this season at least looks like he is going to fall into that category.
When he is in the side, they are best to go against. Ngonto for Leeds impressed and took his goal well. Scammaca also took his goal well, but his celebration would suggest he’s a bit wound up by criticism he’s been getting which again is a red flag for poor morale in the camp.
Crystal Palace v Spurs: Correct Score 3-0 Palace, staked 4 at 85.0, lost
At halftime, Palace were on top, having 8 shots, and I thought that if they scored one early then Spurs might get caught on the break late in the game with Zaha and Eze in the side. Spurs had conceded the first goal in a game for the previous ten games in a row, and twice in each of their last seven games. Palace also finished with 19 shots in this game, the fourth most Spurs have conceded in a game (but 10 of them were from outside the box).
However, Spurs continued their strong performance in the second half of games (73 percent of their goals have now come in the second half) and scored four from an xG of 1.67 (Palace were 0.79). The catalyst might have been Conte’s team talk at half time. I can’t image he was happy especially after the 2-0 home defeat to Aston Villa the previous game. He obviously still commands a lot of respect from the players and they rally for him. This should continue as the season progresses, and backing Spurs at half time this season looks a profitable play.
All in all, an evening of poor calls resulting in a loss of 18, leaving the betting fund at 287.
Ait-Nour has scored twice for Lopetegui as Wolves look to create and finish more chances, and he can do it again tonight against Aston Villa. Scoring is a priority, as they are not scoring because they are wasteful when they get chances and also do not create that many chances. If anyone hasn’t read the preview of that bet, you can find it here.
Ait-Nouri didn’t score in his cameo against Manchester United but did take corners when he came on from which Wolves nearly scored from. It will be interesting to see if he can impress enough to start. I will wait until team news to place a bet on Ait Nouri to score any time at odds of 24.0 on Betfair. If he does then we will stake 6 on that bet.
Aston Villa’s right side has Ashley Young at right back. He is 37 but has been doing OK in the past few games, but is a weakness in the side. Roberton had two key passes for Liverpool, while Perisic had one key pass. Assuming Wolves go with wing backs and Ait Nouri plays on the left as he has been doing and gets forward, he will have to face Young. He is 21 and coming into form, it is a great opportunity for him to go up against Young and show his quality.
Young was largely sitting in that right back position but was in the game a lot with 77 touches. He advanced forward when space allowed but effectively wasn’t planning to cross the half way line as he can’t afford to give an opposition player too much space to run in to.
McGinn does get back to help Young but often is usually much further forward. Against a wing back system this could be exposed by Wolves as it is much harder for a midfielder like Douglas Luiz to get that far across.
Villa played a 4-4-2 against Spurs and McGinn was largely on the right side but also had a number of touches in the centre and left side. This might have been related to set-pieces or its possible he was out of position.
That said, it is unlikely we will see Young in this game as there is only a three day turnaround between games. It is more likely that Matty Cash will come in at right back. Cash came on a sub against Spurs and really did get forward along that side. That means if he plays, there should be space for Wolves and RAN to counterattack.
Villa have an expected goals against of 10 in their last six games, while they have actually coneded 9. They should have Martinez back in goal following his World Cup win and he will be full of confidence. This bet mainly is based on the pricing of RAN (Rayan Ait Nouri). He is priced at 24.0 but if he can get into positioning like he did in 2 of his last three games, he is showing that he has the finishing ability to take those chances.
Ait Nouri to score at 24.0 on Betfair (subject to him starting). If not an inplay bet will be explored when he is substituted on.
Nunez failed to score against Brentford, and we lost six stakes on this bet. The odds were 8.6 on Betfair. Nunez’s xG for the game finished at 0.79, but watching his chances during the game, he could easily have had two goals with one shot getting cleared off the line when he had rounded the goalkeeper, while a second chance that he scored was ruled out for a very marginal off-side.
The expectation was that this was a very marginal bet as stated in the preview and it came very close to landing so at odds of 8.6 it looks like this kind of bet would deliver longer term.
Liverpool will not go on a long winning run this season based on their structural problems in the side and constant changing of personnel. The continue to let in goals. The expectation was they would win this game with comfort but avoided placing a bet on them directly which turned out to be the best move.