Adrian Clarke went 1-1 last weekend so is looking for the clean sweep this with two Premier League value plays…
It’s still early days, but now that we’re two games in, we can at least start to get a feel for patterns and early-season Premier League form.
My latest Insights column focuses on matches at the Goodison Park and the London Stadium…
A brand new @TeamMatchbook Football pod ?
Man Utd vs Liverpool
Newcastle vs Man City
Leeds vs Chelsea
Leicester vs Southampton
EFL, European & Best Bets
— Adrian Clarke (@adrianjclarke) August 18, 2022
LIKING WHAT I SEE FROM THE SEAGULLS
Graham Potter’s Brighton pass the eye test.
Fit, fast, fluid and supremely well organised by their astute head coach, I’d say without hesitation that a points tally of four from a pair of supposedly tough matches against Manchester United and Newcastle United, does little to flatter them. It should have been six.
This is the Seagulls of course, so it’s normal for them to come underneath their xG (2 goals, 2.54xG), but they’re sat in third place in that specific table because of how bright they’ve been inside the opposition half. And that’s a positive.
Incisive and threatening, Brighton have just been a tad wasteful at key moments. And we’ve heard that tale of woe before, haven’t we?
Potter’s players appear sharp and match-ready for 2022-23, just as they were last year when the Sussex side racked up four wins from their opening five fixtures, losing just once before late October.
This period of the campaign seems to suit them, and based on what we’ve seen so far, I believe they are comfortably good enough to claim something from an away trip to West Ham United.
Brighton do love a road trip, after all. Last season they were only beaten four times away from the AMEX.
If the league table had been based on away games alone, they’d have ended up fifth.
Having seen them in the flesh plenty of times since Potter took charge, I know that you have to play well to see this Brighton side off. The way they operate as a collective means they are one of the most tactically awkward opponents to play against.
The Hammers are not in the best of shape. David Moyes’ men haven’t scored or picked up a point yet, and they will still be smarting from a flat 1-0 loss at Nottingham Forest last Sunday.
Jarrod Bowen and Michail Antonio have had three shots between them so far, none on target, and we’re still waiting for new boys Gianluca Scamacca and Maxwel Cornet to test the keeper.
In defence, they’re also beset by injury problems too, with full back Ben Johnson asked to cover at centre back last weekend.
Without a win in four at their London Stadium home, I don’t think you will find too many punters rushing to back West Ham at 2.44 this Sunday.
The punt I like best here is Brighton & Hove Albion at +0.0/0.5, priced up at 1.92 with Matchbook.
The Hammers would have to win for us not make a profit backing the visitors on those terms, and as I’ve outlined there are many reasons to give them a decent chance.
Taking the Seagulls on the nose at 3.4 doesn’t appeal as much, as this way we make money on the draw as well.
As they have proved across the last season or two, Brighton are not the type of team you want to oppose when they’re on their travels. I’d like to get them on side.
GO LOW AT GOODISON PARK
Backing the ‘unders’ worked well for us last weekend and the top-flight match-up with the strongest ‘last game on Match of the Day’ vibes is Everton vs Nottingham Forest.
Steve Cooper’s play-off winning side, or what’s left of it with all these new recruits, are usually solid away from the City Ground. They may not win too many on the road this term, but thrashings will be a rare occurrence.
Tactically they are very comfy soaking up pressure to play counter-attacking football.
All ten of their 11 Championship away games against Top 11 sides last term ended in under 2.5 goals; a measure of the tight control they held. Cooper will go about his business in a similar way this season, for sure.
In truth, they didn’t offer up a great deal when losing 2-0 at St James’ Park on the opening weekend, but my under 2.5 goals selection still came in, and at 1.83 I am prepared to have another dabble.
Forest are in a better place now and will take confidence from a clean sheet collected at home to West Ham United. They should be very competitive.
As for Everton, they are already in a sticky spot following a pair of losses, so this feels like a high-pressure contest for Frank Lampard.
It could galvanise them and the crowd, of course, but holding the favourites’ tag may also ramp up frustration levels inside Goodison Park should the match be cagey/scrappy/dull early on.
Up front we know they don’t have much firepower, and even star boy Anthony Gordon could be forgiven if he’s distracted by the noise surrounding Chelsea’s interest in his signature.
Whichever way you look at this, it is hard to imagine a fluent attacking display from the Toffees this weekend.
In open play, these two outfits are ranked 4th and 5th for the fewest shots, and I’m not confident this match will see a huge uplift in that department for either side. Both managers will want a sturdy defensive platform.
I’m really not sure who will win this one if I’m being honest, but it would surprise me if it developed into a goal-laden extravaganza.
I’m backing Under 2.5 goals at 1.83.
- Brighton & Hove Albion +0.0/0.5 vs West Ham United (1.92)
- Everton vs Nottingham Forest Under 2.5 goals (1.83)
Watch Adrian Clarke on the Weekend Football Preview:
- Subscribe to the Matchbook Youtube channel here
- Subscribe to the Matchbook Betting Podcast here