Burnley picked up another win at the weekend against Southampton, their third in four matches. A hard-fought win in blustery conditions, though a draw would have arguably been a fairer result based on expected goals (xG: SOU 0.83 – 0.92 BUR).
That win kept them 11th in the table, right where they deserve to be according to Infogol and they are now comfortably in mid-table, some 10-points above the drop zone but only six points behind fifth-placed Tottenham.
Bournemouth’s mini-run came to an end last time out, as they were rightly beaten at Sheffield United in another game which they conceded a host of chances (xG: SHU 2.43 – 1.34 BOU).
Process wise; they are very poor, especially away from home. They struggle to create (1.12 xGF pg) chances and struggle to limit their opponents and they’re not good on the road.
Burnley can take advantage of this porous Cherries team, with Sean Dyche’s direct style expected to cause them problems. Backing a home win is the value play here.
Selection: Burnley to win @ 11/10.
Sheffield United’s win over Bournemouth last time out was fully deserved, and yet another home game in which they created plenty of good chances.
The Blades have played arguably the most consistent football of any of the teams challenging for a European place, losing only three of their last 11 league games. All three came against Liverpool and Manchester City (x2). Against the rest of the league in that time they have W6 D2.
Based on xG, their home process is excellent (1.80 xGF, 1.25 xGA phg), and actually ranks as the sixth best in the Premier League based on xGD. Bramall Lane really is a fortress.
Brighton are embroiled in a relegation battle after a poor run of form in which they have failed to win in six matches, with four of those against teams in and around them (AST, BOU, WHU and WAT).
They have definitely been a more entertaining team to watch this season under Graham Potter, and that is obvious when you look at their underlying numbers, as they average a steady 1.56 xGF per game while allowing a worrying 1.83 xGA per game. So chances at both ends is the norm.
Given both teams propensity to both create and concede good chances, back both teams to score.
Selection: Both teams to score @ 10/11.
Southampton were edged out by Burnley in their last match, an uncharacteristically poor attacking (xG: SOU 0.83 – 0.92 BUR) display from a Saints side that have averaged a steady 1.55 xGF per game this season.
They remain 12th after their third defeat in four games, but based on xG, should be in the top half of the Premier League at the very least this season, sitting 7th in our xG table.
Southampton are an entertaining team to follow, with chances at both ends (1.55 xGF, 1.73 xGA pg) and plenty of goals the norm in Saint’s games, and this should be no different, especially against a Villa team with the same tendencies.
Just how crucial could that dropped point against Spurs last weekend prove to be come the end of the season? If only Björn Engels just swung at the ball rather than try to control it.
Either way, it was a fully deserved defeat based on expected goals (xG: AST 2.26 – 3.89 TOT), and yet another shocking defensive display from Dean Smith’s side, an ugly recurring theme this season (2.42 xGA pg), as they rank as the worst defensive team in the league.
The one thing that they have going for them compared to their relegation rivals is that they are a very potent attacking team that create chances and score goals regularly (1.53 xGF pg), and that firepower could be the difference.
Goals are expected on Saturday.
Selection: Over 3.5 goals @ 31/20.