Adrian Clarke is back, looking to continue his flying start to the Premier League season…
It was brilliant to pick up my first double of 2022-23 last weekend, which now makes it 4 winners from 6 Premier League selections so far.
I begin my latest Insights piece at the scene of one of last season’s biggest shocks…
— Matchbook Betting Exchange (@TeamMatchbook) August 24, 2022
VIEIRA’S EAGLES HAVE ENOUGH KNOW-HOW TO AVOID BEING BLOWN AWAY
They may have pulled off two incredible shutouts against Manchester City last season, but I’m not daft enough to claim Crystal Palace will do it again on Saturday afternoon.
I mean, they could, but it’s certainly not a percentage play.
What I can say, with some confidence, is that Patrick Vieira’s Eagles will not be frightened one bit by the prospect of a clash at the Etihad.
They arrive in Manchester buoyed by a good 3-1 win at home to Aston Villa, and in their only other away game so far, they deservedly held Liverpool to a shock 1-1 draw.
Oh, and they did also win 2-0 at the home of the eventual champions last term.
It is always dangerous to oppose goals in a City home match, but the line has been set pretty high for this one in my opinion, peeking my interest.
Under 3.5 goals is where I am looking at a price of 1.79.
On closer inspection, just under half of their games at the Etihad in 2021-22 went Under 3.5 goals (47%), but that stat doesn’t deter me.
If you split their 19 opponents down the middle and tried to pick out the nine best equipped to keep things tight, Palace would make my list.
Vieira is a smart tactical coach that has proven he can upset the big boys.
In-form Wilfried Zaha will worry the hosts too and having been led a merry dance by Allan Saint-Maximin last weekend it could prompt a more reticent approach.
City won’t keep four men back, of course, but having leaked three goals at St James’ Park, it would be no surprise to see a slightly more cautious strategy.
If you offered Pep a solid 1-0 or 2-0 win here, I am convinced he’d take it.
For what it’s worth, Crystal Palace aren’t involved in too many high-scoring matches away from Selhurst Park. Just 5 of 19 saw four goals or more last season.
When they do get beaten, it’s rare for the Eagles to get annihilated.
My hunch is that Vieira will start one or two more defensive players than he did against Villa and play for another resolute counter-attacking success.
City will chase three points and likely get them, but I do not see them blowing Palace away.
My selection is Under 3.5 goals with Matchbook at 1.79.
WOLVES LOOK UNDER-RATED IN THE MARKET AT HOME TO THE MAGPIES
Are Wolves unlucky or inadequate?
It’s a valid question because you look at their dreadful goals record (scoring 2 or more goals in just one of their last ten Premier League games) and assume they are a poor, impotent team.
Yet when you see Bruno Lage’s men play as well as they did for long periods against Tottenham last weekend (and that wasn’t a complete outlier), it’s easy to think of them as a decent side who are bound to come good.
Opta’s Expected Goals metric suggests Wolves should have netted around 3.5 goals so far. Yet here they are, sat in the bottom three with just a solitary strike to their name.
Providing they don’t lose heart, surely goals are just around the corner.
Lage will surely go for it against Newcastle United.
His team amassed 20 shots away to Spurs (no mean feat) and the Wolves head coach had introduced Raul Jimenez, Adama Traore and Hwang Hee-Chan from the bench way before the end of that encounter.
When you consider Pedro Neto, Goncalo Guedes, Daniel Podence and new signing Matheus Nunes all started; it’s clear the Black Country outfit are not short on players capable of making things happen.
Newcastle United have so far impressed at James’ Park crowd, but away fixtures are no guarantee of a top performance.
Eddie Howe’s side were comprehensively outplayed on their last road trip at Brighton, conceding 13 shots (7 on target) in a fortuitous 0-0 draw. They mustered only four shots of their own, with one finding the target.
The Magpies had Callum Wilson leading the line on that occasion, but he is out for a while with the most predictable of hamstring injuries.
That is an unmistakable blow, for Wilson gives their attack mobility and speed.
Chris Wood, Allan Saint-Maximim or possible debutant Alexander Isak are options, but if Wilson had been fit, he’d have started.
Backing Wolves has been a bit of a minefield in recent years, so hanging my hat on them this weekend does make me a touch edgy. Yet I do think the price gives you value that can’t be ignored.
You can back Lage’s men on the nose at 2.88 or take them on a Draw No Bet basis and still end up on the right side of Evens at 2.02.
If you discount matches against last season’s top six, Wolves lost just four of 13 home matches, winning seven.
Providing Wolves avoid defeat to Newcastle, we won’t lose money by backing them at +0.0 on the Asian Handicap (2.02).
If they take all three points of course, we enjoy a solid winning return.
- Under 3.5 goals Manchester City vs Crystal Palace (1.79)
- Wolves +0.0 vs Newcastle (2.02)
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