PREMIER LEAGUE: The Striker previews the Premier League games on Saturday starting with a cracker – MANCHESTER CITY v CHELSEA at 12.30pm. All matches previewed with a recommended BETDAQ bet and extended match stats.


12.30pm We start a fantastic Saturday in the Premier League with a bang as Manchester City host Chelsea! All football bets are 0% Commission on BETDAQ Betting Exchange today, and we have plenty to focus on. Unfortunately we have lost another fixture due to Covid19 with Burnley v Leicester postponed, but the show goes on. The pressure is all on Chelsea here as they sit ten points behind Manchester City at the top of the table. I’m going to call this a “must win” game for Chelsea, but the reality is even if they win today the title race is probably still over. Liverpool have a game in hand on Chelsea and City, but given they have lost their stars to the African Cup of Nations I can see them struggling in the next few weeks – that only leaves Chelsea as the main challenger to City and they have had their own rough patch recently. City come into this fixture in top form, and it’s hard to see past them winning to be honest. Most of Chelsea’s issues and dropped points have come away from home too.

I have to say, I’m very confident on the City win here and I am happy to start the weekend with a Max Bet at 1.75. Those odds are too high for this City side who have been playing some superb football this season. They beat Chelsea 1-0 earlier in the season but they deserved to score more – finishing the game with an xG of 1.73 and they also managed to keep Chelsea down to an xG of just 0.32. They pretty much bossed the game from start to finish. It must be noted however that Chelsea have won on their last two trips here, they won 1-0 in the Champions League and 2-1 in the Premier League in 2021. It was positive that Chelsea came through the Carabao Cup tie with Spurs and that they were also able to come back from 2-0 down against Liverpool but you can see looking at their underlining numbers that they just aren’t firing fully at the moment. City are on a winning run and banging in goals for fun, and I can’t see past the home win here.

The Striker Says:
Five points win Manchester City to beat Chelsea at 1.75 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

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● Following their 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge earlier this season, Man City are looking to secure the Premier League double over Chelsea for the fourth time, previously doing so in 2009-10, 2015-16 and 2017-18.
● Chelsea won this exact fixture 2-1 last season, last winning consecutive away league games against Man City during a run of four between 2005 and 2008.
● This will be the 50th Premier League meeting between Man City and Chelsea; City won just three of their first 25 against Chelsea (D4 L18) but have since won 12 of the last 24 (D3 L9).
● This is just the second ever Premier League meeting between Manchester City and Chelsea as the top two sides in the division. The other came in January 2015, with second placed City earning a 1-1 draw at league leaders Chelsea.
● After beating Liverpool 4-0 in July 2020, and Chelsea 1-0 earlier this season, Manchester City are looking to become the fourth English club to win three consecutive meetings with reigning European champions in all competitions, after Notts County (1982), Tottenham Hotspur (1983-84) and Everton (1984-85).
● Manchester City have won their last 11 Premier League games, their fifth such run of 11+ consecutive victories in the competition. Three of their previous four such runs have been ended in a home match – 1-2 vs West Ham in September 2015, 2-2 vs Spurs in August 2019 and 0-2 vs Man Utd in March 2021.
● Chelsea have lost just one of their last 15 Premier League games (W8 D6), going down 3-2 at West Ham in December. However, the Blues have picked up just one win from their last five league games (D4), throwing away a lead in two of those four draws.
● Man City’s Kevin De Bruyne has been involved in four goals in his last four Premier League games against Chelsea (3 goals, 1 assist). Overall, he’s netted four Premier League goals against his former side, with the Belgian only netting more against Arsenal in the competition (5).
● Man City’s Raheem Sterling has scored 49 Premier League goals at the Etihad Stadium, and could become the second player to reach 50 at the venue in the competition after Sergio Agüero (106).
● Since the start of last season, no Chelsea player has scored more Premier League goals than Jorginho, with all 13 of the Italian’s strikes in that time coming from the penalty spot.


3pm After the news that Burnley v Leicester has been postponed today, we have three games kicking off at 3pm and we start with a huge clash at the bottom of the table. Obviously all eyes will be on Manchester City v Chelsea at the top of the table today, but Newcastle v Watford is probably the most important game of the day when you look at the table. City basically have the league won already, but everything is up for grabs in the relegation race. With Leeds winning against Burnley recently, we’re now looking at a bottom four of Watford, Burnley, Newcastle and Norwich. Norwich are in a terrible position as they are bottom with more games player, so that basically leaves two going down from Newcastle, Watford and Burnley. A win here would see Newcastle go ahead of Watford, and with home advantage they basically need to win here because Watford have a game in hand. Newcastle’s goal difference is pretty poor too so that won’t help them – they also need to win from a point of view of players coming in. They need the transfer targets to believe that they will stay up.

Most times it’s hard to fully access the odds for these games. Both are obviously playing poor football this season, the xG table puts Newcastle bottom and leaves Watford where they are, so the table is a fair reflection of their level. Watford have gone on a long losing run now, but you have to feel that Newcastle still look a little short at 2.16. It’s hard to back a side performing like Newcastle are with confidence at odds like that, even against limited opposition. In the big games towards the bottom of the table this season we have had a lot of draws, and there really isn’t much between these sides. I know Newcastle can improve because of the new club owners etc, and they have home advantage too but I’d be worried about them creating enough to win the game especially at odds of 2.16. I feel the best value play here is a small bet on the draw at 3.65 which looks nicely priced.

The Striker Says:
One point win Draw at 3.65 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

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● Newcastle have won just one of their last 10 Premier League games against Watford (D4 L5), a 1-0 home victory in November 2018.
● Watford have won two of their last four away league games against Newcastle (D1 L1), as many as they had in their first 14 such visits to St. James’ Park (W2 D3 L9).
● Newcastle have lost their first home league match in the last three years, losing to Man Utd in 2019 and Leicester in both 2020 and 2021. The Magpies last won their first home match in 2017 in the Championship, a 4-0 win over Rotherham United, while they last did so as a Premier League side in 2012 (3-0 vs Man Utd).
● Newcastle have won just one of their 19 Premier League games so far this season (D8 L10). Just one of the last 13 teams to have one win or fewer at the halfway stage of an English top-flight campaign has survived relegation, with West Bromwich Albion doing so in 2004-05.
● Watford are without a clean sheet in any of their last 28 Premier League games, since beating Liverpool 3-0 in February 2020. The Hornets’ last clean sheet away from home in the competition was in January 2020, in a 3-0 victory against Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth.
● Newcastle are averaging just 3.5 shots on target per game in the Premier League this season, last having a lower average in the competition in 2008-09 (3.3). The Magpies are facing an average of 15.7 shots per game so far this term, their worst rate since that relegation campaign of 2008-09 (16.3).
● Newcastle United have dropped 19 points from winning positions in the Premier League this season – only in 1999-00 (24) and 2004-05 (31) have they ever lost more in a single campaign in the competition.
● This will be Newcastle boss Eddie Howe’s 18th league meeting with Watford in his managerial career, which will be more than he’s faced any other side. 59% of his 17 games against the Hornets so far have been drawn (W3 D10 L4).
● Watford boss Claudio Ranieri has won seven of his 11 matches against Newcastle United in all competitions (D2 L2), keeping a clean sheet in his last three. The last Newcastle player to score against a team managed by Ranieri was Alan Shearer in a 2-1 win for the Magpies over Chelsea in April 2004.
● Watford’s Emmanuel Dennis has been directly involved in 10 goals in his last nine Premier League games (6 goals, 4 assists). Overall, he’s got eight goals and five assists this term, with only Troy Deeney (3 times), Odion Ighalo (18 in 2015-16) and Gerard Deulofeu (15 in 2018-19) registering more goal involvements in a single Premier League campaign for the Hornets.


3pm We have a massive game for Everton here as they travel to take on Norwich. Anything bar a win here would likely see Rafa Benitez sacked – any manager under pressure just has to beat the side placed bottom of the table. It’s a close race between Benitez and Claudio Ranieri as to who goes next in the sack race! Everton got back to winning ways in the FA Cup last weekend, but it wasn’t without drama away to Hull and to be honest Hull are having a pretty poor season too. Everton were a little unlucky to lose at home to Brighton just after New Years, but that’s the type of run they are on at the moment, they are just not grinding out wins and giving away goals too easily. Benitez is always only still in a job because of the Arsenal win and the Chelsea draw, but they were battered against Chelsea – the game finished 1-1 but they conceded an xG of 3.54. The owners obviously aren’t fans of xG! There’s going to be no excuses here though, they simply must beat Norwich.

After a brief run of good results in November where it looked like Norwich could get back into the mix to stay up, they’re performances have got worse. I say “good results” because their performance level never really changed, they just got a couple of wins. In their wins over Brentford and Southampton they conceded a higher xG than they created, for example they beat Brentford 2-1 but conceded an xG of 2.92. Since only drawing with a ten man Newcastle side, they have conceded xG figures of 2.14, 2.18, 1.70, 2.66, 2.64 and 2.76. Those are some consistently bad figures, and the best xG they could create on that run was only 1.25. I know Everton haven’t been at their best this season, but against a side giving away chances like Norwich they have to take advantage here. I don’t trust this Everton team, so I will be giving stakes relatively limited but the 2.12 is too big to ignore.

The Striker Says:
Two points win Everton to beat Norwich at 2.12 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

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● Norwich lost this exact fixture 1-0 in their last Premier League campaign in 2019-20 – they’ve not lost consecutive home league games against Everton since January 1988.
● Everton are looking to complete just their second Premier League double over Norwich, previously doing so in the 2004-05 campaign when they earned their highest finish in the competition (4th).
● Everton have lost their last two Premier League games against promoted sides; only twice in the competition have they had longer losing runs against such sides – four between September 2000 and February 2001, and four between April and November 2019.
● Norwich have lost each of their last 13 Premier League games against the six ever-present sides in the competition, netting just one goal in this run and failing to score in the last 11.
● Norwich City have taken just five points from their last 45 available in Premier League home games (W1 D2 L12), with the Canaries bagging just five goals in these 15 games.
● After taking four points from their first two away league games this season, Everton have picked up just two more from their subsequent seven on the road (D2 L5). The Toffees have conceded the first goal in all seven of these matches.
● Having lost their first five such games this season, Norwich are unbeaten in their last five Premier League games kicking off at 3pm on Saturday, winning two and drawing three.
● Andros Townsend has scored in his last two Premier League games against Norwich, in September 2019 with Crystal Palace and in the reverse fixture with Everton this season. He’s never scored in three consecutive games against an opponent in the competition.
● Norwich boss Dean Smith is unbeaten in all five Premier League meetings with Everton (W3 D2) and registered a 3-0 win over the Toffees with Aston Villa earlier this season. No manager has ever beaten Everton twice in the same Premier League season with two different clubs.
● Demarai Gray and Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored each of Everton’s first four away goals in the Premier League this season (2 each). Since then, the Toffees’ four away goals in the competition have been netted by different players (Townsend, Iwobi, Rondón, Branthwaite).


3pm We finish the 3pm fixtures with Wolves hosting Southampton. This is another very competitive fixture and betting heat – we actually have three fascinating games kicking off this afternoon! You’d imagine that this will be a very close game, both sides come into the game in good form – Wolves are unbeaten in four and Southampton unbeaten in five. Southampton played a catch up fixture midweek against Brentford and they were impressive 4-1 winners. They’ve actually been scoring quite a few goals recently – they have netted 13 goals in those five games, and of course they have been a little lucky along the way – particularly with the draw against Spurs – but they have been playing good football in general. Wolves returned from their spell on the side lines with Covid19 with a 1-0 win away to Manchester United. It was a very even game, and while United were very poor, Wolves probably deserved to win just for pure effort. The xG figures were very even, but that’s a pretty good thing when you play away at Old Trafford. Given the pressure at United at the moment, you almost felt the late Wolves winner was coming!

This will be an interesting clash, because Southampton have been scoring for fun while Wolves haven’t been creating many chances. They managed to score three against Sheffield United in the FA Cup but obviously that was a step down, and other than that they have had very few goals in their games. I know there was a sizable gap in the fixture list with Covid19, but Wolves haven’t had over 2.5 goals in their fixture since the 1st of November! That’s nine Premier League games, and in fairness they have played Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea and Man United in that run too. I reckon this will be a reasonably quiet game too – Wolves will keep it cagey and with home advantage too, I can see them getting most of the ball. Southampton won’t attack from the start either as that’s not their nature, so under 2.5 goals looks the call at 1.63. Wolves can keep their run going!

The Striker Says:
Two points win Under 2.5 goals at 1.63 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

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● Wolves have lost just one of their last 11 league games against Southampton (W6 D4) and have found the net in each of their last 10 against Saints.
● Southampton are winless in their last five away league games against Wolves (D3 L2), with their last such triumph being a 6-0 win in March 2007.
● Wolves are looking to complete their first top-flight double over Southampton since 1971-72, while they last won three in a row against Saints in the top tier in October 1970.
● Only Manchester City (13) have conceded fewer Premier League goals this season than Wolves (14). Excluding penalties, Wolves are the only side yet to concede a goal from a set-piece situation in the Premier League this term.
● 15 of Wolves’ last 16 Premier League wins have been by a margin of just one goal, with the exception being a 2-0 victory at Watford earlier this season.
● Southampton are looking to pick up back-to-back Premier League away wins for the first time since June 2020, following their 3-2 win at West Ham on Boxing Day.
● None of Wolves’ last eight Premier League games have seen more than one goal scored (3x 1-0 wins, 3x 0-0 draws, 2x 1-0 defeats), with only Burnley having a longer such run in the competition (9 between April 2015 and August 2016).
● No side has scored fewer first half goals than Wolves in the Premier League this season (5). Indeed, Bruno Lage’s side have netted as many goals in or after the 80th minute this term as they have in the opening 45.
● Wolves’ Raúl Jiménez has been directly involved in five goals in his six Premier League appearances against Southampton (4 goals, 1 assist) – against no side has the Mexican been involved in more in the competition.
● Hwang Hee-Chan is Wolves’ highest goalscorer in the Premier League this season with four goals – no side has a lower scoring top scorer so far this term.


5.30pm We finish the day with Aston Villa hosting Manchester United. It’s funny how the fixture list throws up these situations, as this fixture follows close after the United win over Aston Villa in the FA Cup. Despite that win, I feel there was more questions than answers for United. They were very poor, and you can see that they still have major issues. They would have been more comfortable at home, and you have to feel that this is a tricky away tie. They will have to perform to a certain level to win, and it’s actually hard to see how they produce that kind of performance. A growing number of United fans are seemingly unhappy with the players, and the kind of rumours coming out from training aren’t helping their cause either – I feel after they have been through a handful of managers now, it’s time to start blaming the players at United. It is very unlikely to happen, but a summer clear out is probably their best option at the moment. I know the media like to blame Ronaldo, but I can’t see how he has created this many problems in a short space of time – this has been more or less than same squad now since they “threw Mourinho under the bus” as Roy Keane put it.

While Gerrard got a hard time at Old Trafford on Monday night, he will happily take them on again here. This United side is there for the taking, and with home advantage Villa can really believe that they can win here. From a betting point of view, I much prefer the United lay at 2.54 compared to the Villa win at 3.0 as you have the draw on your side, but I couldn’t put anyone off the Villa win either. Villa managed to keep Manchester City down to an xG of just 1.30 here in December – compare the Manchester City figures to what United are creating at the moment and you can see the tough job for United here. Since beating Arsenal 3-2, United have created xG figures of 0.89 (v Crystal Palace), 2.18 (v Norwich), 1.76 (v Newcastle), 2.02 (v Burnley) and 0.94 (v Wolves) in the Premier League. They’ve played the bottom three, and looked pretty average to be honest. Villa can get a result here, and the United lay looks cracking value.

The Striker Says:
Three points lay (Liability) Manchester United to beat Aston Villa at 2.54 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

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● Aston Villa are winless in their last 22 home league games against Manchester United (D7 L15) since a 3-1 victory in August 1995. It’s the longest winless home run one side has had against another in English Football League history.
● In all competitions, Man Utd are unbeaten in their last 22 away games against Aston Villa (W17 D5) since a 3-0 loss in the League Cup in October 1999. In English football history, only Liverpool (23 vs Sunderland between 1959 and 2002) have had a longer unbeaten away run against an opponent when both sides have been played in the top four tiers at the time.
● Aston Villa are looking to win consecutive league games against Man Utd for the first time since November 1976, while they last did the league double over the Red Devils in 1954-55.
● Manchester United have scored the opening goal in 33 Premier League games against Aston Villa, winning 32 and drawing one of those matches. It’s the most a team has opened the scoring without losing against a side in the competition’s history.
● Manchester United have won 299 Premier League away games, and would be the first side to reach 300 in the competition with victory here. No side has won more Premier League games (37) or away games (17) in the competition’s history than the Red Devils have against Aston Villa.
● None of Aston Villa’s last 16 Premier League games have ended level (W6 L10), with the Villans last having a longer run without a league draw between September 1964 and April 1965 (29 games).
● Dean Smith was manager of Aston Villa for their 1-0 win earlier this season over Man Utd, while Steven Gerrard will take charge of this game. Should the Villans win, they will be the first team to complete a league double over Manchester United with a different manager in charge for each game since Bolton Wanderers in 1950-51 (Walter Rowley and Bill Ridding).
● As a player, Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard ended on the winning side in 10 Premier League games against Man Utd, a joint-record along with Nicolas Anelka, John Terry and Petr Cech. However, including caretakers, only one of the last 18 managers has won their first Premier League match against the Red Devils, with Mikel Arteta winning with Arsenal in January 2020.
● Man Utd’s Bruno Fernandes has taken a penalty in all four of his Premier League games against Aston Villa, scoring the first three but missing in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford this season. No player (or team) has ever taken a penalty in five consecutive games against a specific opponent in the competition.
● Man Utd’s Cristiano Ronaldo has been involved in 11 goals in his nine Premier League starts against Aston Villa (8 goals, 3 assists). It’s the most goals he’s scored (8) and been involved in (11) against a specific opponent in the competition.