Arsenal haven’t played in the Premier League since their 3-2 success over Everton due to the League Cup final, meaning they enter this weekend 10th in the table. That win over Everton was hugely fortunate, as they conceded a host of chances at the Emirates.
A humiliating Europa League exit and advancement in the FA Cup has happened since this game, as the inconsistent Arsenal remains consistent, even under Mikel Arteta. In the nine Premier League games under Arteta, the Gunners have averaged 1.40 xGF and 1.74 xGA per game, the 13th best process in that time, and that is the level Arsenal have been playing at all season long.
West Ham got a massive win last weekend against Southampton, and it was a fully deserved one too in what was their best performance of the season by a long way, according to expected goals.
Could that win and performance be a one-off? Perhaps, but there werBace things in that game that I think will be able to be replicated in this game. West Ham played very directly in that game, torching Southampton’s high-line with some excellent movement from Michail Antonio and new signing Jarrod Bowen, and that tactic should be well-suited here against an Arsenal back line that is very vulnerable to direct play – as Everton proved a few weeks ago.
It is unlikely that West Ham will be able to limit Arsenal in this game, as although they took a forward step against Southampton, one game is the smallest of small sample sizes, and over the course of the campaign have allowed 2.15 xGA per game and 58 non-penalty big chances (2nd most in PL). It is hard to see them keeping a very rare clean sheet.
Back both teams to score at the Emirates.
Southampton were hugely disappointing at West Ham last weekend, rightly losing after a poor display, and that narrowed the gap between themselves and the bottom three to seven points. That performance against West Ham (xG: WHU 3.12 – 0.86 SOU) was a complete contrast to their victory over Aston Villa in the game prior (xG: SOU 3.24 – 0.42 AST), an utterly dominant home display.
On paper, they have the worst home record in the Premier League (14 points in 14 home games), but according to expected goals, have been the 13th best home team, with an even process (1.53 xGF, 1.53 xGA per home game). Newcastle drew with Burnley last weekend, a fair result according to expected goals, as neither team created good chances; something we have seen a lot from Newcastle.
They have lost the xG battle in 24 of their 28 league games this season, meaning they sit rock-bottom of our expected goals table, with the worst process in the league (0.98 xGF, 2.00 xGA per game) – they are the only team in the Premier League to average less than 1 xGF per game.
In terms of non-penalty big chances, Newcastle also have the worst differential in the league (-32), creating only 21 np big chances while allowing 53, so all in all this just isn’t a good team.
Southampton should prove too strong here, so back the hosts.
Wolves put themselves back in the race for a top four spot following a brilliant 3-2 win at Tottenham last weekend, a fully deserved success according to expected goals (xG: TOT 2.04 – 2.57 WOL) that put them sixth and just three points behind Chelsea.
They have been so impressive this season, winning the xG battle in 21 of their 28 league games, so sit fourth in our xG table, creating plenty of good chances on a regular basis as their attacking players are purring right now.
In their last seven games, Wolves have generated an average of 2.23 xGF per game, so their attacking process is on the up, and Brighton could bare the brunt of that here.
As has been well documented over the weekend, Brighton are the only Premier League team yet to win in 2020, though that doesn’t tell the full story about the Seagull’s performances.
They have played eight times in 2020, and have won the xG battle in five of those matches, so have been very unfortunate to have picked up only five points.
Since the turn of the year, Graham Potter’s side have been a very entertaining team to watch, generating an average of 1.80 xGF per game while allowing 1.60 xGA per game, so chances at both ends is the norm.
There is value in backing the hosts straight up in this game, but the biggest value play in the game is in the goals market, as the goal line is much lower than the model expects.
Back over 2.5 goals at Molineux.
This treble pays out at 4/1
*All odds correct at time of publication