The Premier League is back and adviser Jones Knows believes the unusual schedule could bring upsets aplenty this festive season.
Chelsea vs Bournemouth, Tuesday 5.30pm
I wouldn’t back Chelsea at 1/3 Sky Bet with your money, let alone my own.
Even against a team I still believe will decide the Premier League on the final day.
There have been some sharp moments under Graham Potter and I’m sure he’ll get it right once he’s put all the pieces into this Chelsea machine. Still, without the natural width and creativity of Reece James, who could return here, and the industry of N’Golo Kante, Chelsea look a little lost this transfer window.
And I’m not sure how 12 players off the training pitch for six weeks at the World Cup will help the manager get his ideas across. Things may stall for a few more weeks.
This is a smart game for them in front of an expectant crowd not used to showing patience with their managers. In addition, Bournemouth have won three of their five Premier League visits to Stamford Bridge. This could be another great opportunity for them.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-2
Manchester United vs Nottingham Forest, Tuesday at 8pm
This is the first meeting between these two legendary football clubs in 23 years. In that encounter, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – remember him – scored four goals as a substitute in United’s 8-1 Premier League win at the City Ground.
Solskjaer managed to score those four goals in 19 minutes, which makes Forest’s goal-scoring efforts on the road this season, where he’s scored just once in 630 minutes, pretty ridiculous. They are the lowest away scorers in English football this season.
However, these games on the road will not define Forest’s seasons. The City Ground are now five unbeaten at home in all competitions – an impressive run considering they have faced Liverpool, Tottenham and Crystal Palace. This shows that Steve Cooper has made them much more difficult to beat – and United may actually find themselves in trouble in this encounter.
For all their improvements, this is still a season of transition for United and there have been periods of struggle when trying to break down a well-drilled defence. Just three goals in their last three home league games against Newcastle, Tottenham and West Ham, despite having 59 shots on target, suggests a lack of quality chances.
With so many unknowns surrounding player fitness and not relying on past form, I expect fan teams to struggle in matches for players in this fixture list.
Manchester United 2/7 with Sky Bet could be one of the teams to do worse.
SCORE PREDICTION: 0-0
Leeds vs Manchester City on Wednesday at 8pm
We don’t have much evidence to go by, but Leeds’ games against the top six at Elland Road should be fun under Jesse Marsch. His team now plays with a clear identity, despite the chaos in the background.
It’s a bold style of football that has seen them score eight goals in games against Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham, but one that will leave them looking miserable if smart and complex teams break their pressure. That’s what you get from risk-reward football.
Manchester City are probably the smartest and most destructive attacking outfit in the world, so you’ll fear Leeds a bit here, especially with how sharp City looked against Liverpool on Thursday for 60 minutes. However, the market fully agrees with my strong City view, so backing them with 1/4 Sky Bet is a good thing.
Goals are value, as Leeds can contribute to the overall result. Marsch’s side are playing with little fear and should be involved in a potential goal fest with both teams scoring and over 3.5 goals at 7/4 Sky Bet are likely to offer a good run for your money.