Mark Stinchcombe: “Arsenal host Chelsea on Saturday night where the away side are 2.3 favourites and that just feels too short”

10 min

Mark Stinchcombe is keen to bounce back from a tough weekend just past with three selections that may pique your interest.

Last weekend got off to the perfect start when with just 22 minutes on the clock a third goal at Turf Moor saw my biggest bet of the weekend come in with over 2.0 goals in the Burnley Fulham game. But come ‘Super Sunday’ a low scoring Everton Bournemouth game and Tottenham losing at home to Man Utd saw me break even for the weekend.

Over 2.0 goals was a great bet as Burnley beat Fulham 2-1. Having backed it at 1.78 the price came in come kick-off and went off around 1.62 and in the end the expected goals totalled 3.07 as Fulham pushed for an equaliser/winner. This was despite two own goals, and the fact Burnley didn’t have a shot on target all game, although Jeff Hendrick’s shot looked on target for the first own goal.

But that was the end of the good news as over in Liverpool things couldn’t have got off to a worse start as Bournemouth’s nine goal top scorer Callum Wilson was ruled out through injury for their clash with Everton. Despite this, it was quite an open game with 30 shots, including 8 on target, and the total xG returned 3.38 so I can feel hard done by on losing my over 2.75 goals bet here.

The loss of Bournemouth’s top scorer Callum Wilson to injury did not help Mark’s Overs bet last weekend.

At Wembley, I felt hard done by not to get a winner let alone a draw. After Man Utd subdued Spurs in the 1st half and caught them on the counter, Tottenham threw everything but the kitchen sink at them in the second half. David de Gea made a record amount of saves for a goalkeeper in a Premier League game this season with 11 and Spurs won the xG 1.78 – 0.89. This was the equivalent to odds of 1.53 on my -0.25 handicap bet, so again I’m feeling hard done by having taken 1.89!

This weekend’s bets…and running with Wolves

Hopefully, variance will swing back in my favour, and so onto this weekend where first up I want to venture to Molineux as Wolves host Leicester City in the Saturday lunch-time game. The market says there is little to choose between the sides, yet I immediately think back to their meeting at the King Power in Wolves’ second game back after being promoted.

Despite losing 2-0, Wolves were the ones dictating the game and restricted Leicester to hardly any chances with a final xG of 0.30 – 1.19.

Having watched both sides a few times recently, I just feel Nuno Espirito Santo’s side are much more of a team. They play a fashionable, and interchangeable 3-4-3 system, with no sole reliance on a single player and it’s much more about the collective. Leicester however, seemingly have a huge reliance on Vardy and Maddison (no other players have more than two goals) and if you stop those, as Wolves have previously done, then you severely restrict Leicester.

Mark is a big fan of Nuno’s Wolves side.

Statistically, I also think we can say Wolves are a better side. Both sides are averaging 1.2 xG per-game against but Wolves are producing 1.4 to Leicester’s 1.3 going forward. And whilst both sides have had very good results against the top six outside of that it doesn’t make great reading for the Foxes with just three wins in 12, while Wolves have twice as many with six. It’s fine margins, but with half the draw onside, I think Wolves -0.25 is the bet here and I will have a cautious 0.5 points here.

Cash in on a defensive display at Anfield

Next up on Saturday I’m focussing on Liverpool v Crystal Palace at Anfield were I think this is going to be a defence first approach from the visitors. With this in mind and Liverpool having conceded just three goals in 10 games at home, and just 10 in 22 all season, I think the goal line of 3.25 looks a bit too high. Palace themselves don’t score many goals with just 20 for the season, and 25% of those have been penalties.

Virgil van Dijk is a massive factor behind Liverpool’s defensive resurgence.

Palace also boast the sixth best defensive record and meetings of late between these two have been very low scoring with 0-2 in the reverse fixture and 1-0 to Liverpool here last season. Liverpool’s matches this season are averaging 3.0 xG per-game and Palace’s 2.60, so with a goal expectancy of 3.30, I think we can back unders here relatively safely and I like 1.5 points on under 3.25 goals at around 1.9. If there are three goals, half our bet still wins.

The gunners to shoot down Chelsea

My final bet comes from the game of the weekend on Saturday evening as Arsenal host Chelsea.

The away side are 2.3 favourites and that just feels too short. In their previous meeting Arsenal arguably should have won, despite losing 2-3, creating much the better chances and winning the xG 2.74 – 1.72. The Gunners have lost just one of their 11 home games under Unai Emery (Man City), whilst winning eight.

I’ve mentioned a few times this season that I believe if you stop Eden Hazard you go a long way to stopping Chelsea, with him registering 10 goals and 10 assists this season. He gets praised an awful lot and often referred to as world class but for me I don’t think you can justify talking about him in the same way as Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar etc. Just looking at his Champions League record for example, he’s scored just 8 goals in 32 games for Chelsea.

Unai Emery’s side have been strong this season at the Emirates.

Chelsea have won 7 of their 10 away but six of those were against the bottom eight. We’ve only really got a couple of competitive Maurizio Sarri matches to look at and they lost both of those to Spurs. But I’ve looked at a model which rates Arsenal a 2.8 chance and I’m happy to go along with that. They’ve won 13 of their last 16 home games and yet here we can back them +0.25 so that feels worth a chunky 1.5 point bet here.

Recommended Bets

  • Wolves -0.25 ~2.0 – 0.5 point
  • Under 3.25 goals Liverpool – Crystal Palace ~1.89 – 1.5 points
  • Arsenal +0.25 ~1.90 – 1.5 points