PREMIER LEAGUE SATURDAY: The Striker previews Saturday’s busy pre World Cup fixtures, starting with Man City v Brentford. All previewed with a recommended BETDAQ bet and extended match stats via FACTMAN.


MANCHESTER CITY V BRENTFORD

12.30pm We have a blockbuster Saturday in the Premier League on BETDAQ Betting Exchange with eight fixtures before we head to the winter World Cup next week! It’s been a very busy run for the English clubs, and even they had midweek fixtures in Europe, you’d have to worry what kind of shape the players will get to the World Cup in. And even then, it comes up so fast there really isn’t that much time to prepare – I wonder will we see some shocks this year in the group stages! We kick off the final weekend in the Premier League though with Manchester City hosting Brentford, and we have the shortest price of the weekend here with City trading as short as 1.16 at the time of writing. Fair to say that the market is fully expecting a smooth home win! Brentford have been playing well this season and they sit in mid-table in 11th at the moment which they will be happy about, however they won’t be happy with their Carabao Cup performance midweek! They lost out on penalties to Gillingham – that was a huge shock because Brentford would have went into that game long odds on favourites and Gillingham have been struggling in League Two. Brentford can have no excuses either because they took an early lead after only three minutes.

It will be interesting to see what tactics Brentford will go with here because they are naturally an attacking side, but can they afford to do that against City? Haaland returned to score the winner against Fulham at the weekend, but Guardiola gave an update on his injury midweek saying he’s not perfect. I suppose they can afford to risk him because Norway aren’t in the World Cup, and he has also been included in the Norway squad for friendlies during the World Cup – I would expect to see him here to be honest. With City trading at such short odds, the market is expecting goals too – Over 2.5 goals is trading 1.38 and I like Under 3.5 goals at 1.98. City haven’t exactly been banging in the goals for fun recently – they have been grinding out results rather than winning 5-0 or 6-0. I fully expect City to win here, but I think they’ll dominate the game to a 2-0 or 3-0 win and Brentford won’t see much of the ball. Unders looks worth a small investment.

The Striker Says:
One point win Under 3.5 goals at 1.98 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

You can view all markets here -> https://betdaq.biz/MciBre

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BOURNEMOUTH V EVERTON

3pm We have a very busy afternoon with five games kicking off at 3pm. We start the action with Bournemouth hosting Everton, in another repeat fixture this week! I remarked in my Carabao Cup preview on Thursday between Manchester United and Aston Villa how it’s amazing the fixture list throws up these situations every season, and this is an even better match because Bournemouth have home advantage again! Bournemouth hammered Everton 4-1 midweek in the Carabao Cup – of course we saw a host of changes to both sides and it will likely be nothing like the game we see here. I feel it is sad to see clubs make so many changes for the EFL Cup – especially two sides like Bournemouth and Everton because it’s not like they are going to achieve anything in the Premier League. I suppose staying in the Premier League is the achievement because of money these days, but a club like Everton would surely benefit from a Cup run. Frank Lampard made 11 changes midweek, and Bournemouth made nine! From a betting point of view, it’s best to ignore the Cup results given all the changes and focus instead on the recent Premier League results. Bournemouth have put four losses together now, and they have been involved in two dramatic affairs recently losing 3-2 to Spurs and 4-3 to Leeds. They could have won both games too, indeed they should have got something from them – they were 2-0 up against Spurs and 3-1 up against Leeds.

Everton lost a huge game last weekend to Leicester meaning Leicester jumped over them in the table, and you only have to look at the table here to see how important this game is for both sides. They currently sit just above the bottom three in 16th and 17th, with Everton just two points away from Southampton and Bournemouth one. They are lucky in the sense that Southampton meet Liverpool this weekend and Wolves meet Arsenal, but that does give the winner a huge boost away from the bottom three; if indeed we see a winner. We have a very open market here, indeed it’s the most open of the whole weekend. I know we have two pretty average sides here, but Bournemouth have been playing such an open game lately Over 2.5 goals does make a lot of appeal here at 2.2. I expected it to be much shorter and even Everton’s recent games have had plenty of chances. I know the goals haven’t really come in those games, but you can see in the xG figures that we have had plenty of chances. I do like Over 2.5 goals here at 2.2 and it’s worth three points.

The Striker Says:
Three points win Over 2.5 goals at 2.2 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

You can view all markets here -> https://betdaq.biz/BouEve

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LIVERPOOL V SOUTHAMPTON

3pm We have the second shortest price of the day here as Liverpool host Southampton. Liverpool have been very poor at times this season, and perhaps over the last few seasons they would be a similar price to Manchester City today at 1.16 but they are trading 1.27. On paper, they should have no trouble beating a side like Southampton but they have been conceding so many sloppy goals lately it’s hard to commit to backing them at prices like 1.27. They wouldn’t have been too far off that when losing to Nottingham Forest and Leeds recently. They conceded xG’s of 1.74 and 2.44 in those games, and although they beat Spurs 2-1 at the weekend they still conceded an xG of 2.01. Perhaps it’s a sign of how thin the squad is that Klopp clearly has an issue at the back but he can’t seem to fix it. With the club up for sale now by its American owners it seems unlikely we’ll see investment in the January transfer window. It is an interesting time ahead for Liverpool. I would expect them to win here, but I wouldn’t be rushing to back them at 1.27 and I wouldn’t include them in a Multiple this weekend either – they just can’t be trusted at the moment.

The question is; can Southampton create enough to trouble them? The answer to that is very likely no. It was nice to land a Max Bet on Newcastle to beat Southampton last weekend, but I won’t be having a Max Bet in this fixture. Southampton have been really struggling up front this season, and although Liverpool have been conceding a host of chances it’s hard to see Southampton getting much from this game. I’m keen to keep stakes low here, because even though we saw such an open game between Nottingham Forest and Liverpool we still only saw one goal. I’m going to take a chance with a Correct Score, and that is Liverpool to win 3-0 at 9.5 or bigger. I don’t see Southampton causing Liverpool too many problems, even though Both Teams To Score is trading odds on here, and Liverpool have been creating reasonably consistent chances in front of goal. This is definitely a game for small stakes.

The Striker Says:
One point win Liverpool 3-0 Correct Score at 9.5 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

You can view all markets here -> https://betdaq.biz/LivSou

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NOTTINGHAM FOREST V CRYSTAL PALACE

3pm Nottingham Forest host Crystal Palace next, and in amongst all the drama today this fixture could easily get lost. It’s definitely a fixture that won’t get much time on Match Of The Day anyway unless something crazy happens. Nottingham Forest have been grinding out a few results lately – they have only been beaten twice in their last six, and they recorded a massive 1-0 win over Liverpool on that run too. They still remain bottom of the table however, and they have a huge amount of work to do. With Forest collecting points recently though, they are definitely within range now and if they could win this before heading to the World Cup that would be a huge boost. Crystal Palace have put two wins together over Southampton and West Ham, and they bossed the West Ham game last weekend. They held West Ham to an xG of only 0.27 and although they didn’t create a huge amount, it was one of their better away performances. If they can play like that again here then they should get the job done. We have an open market here though, with Palace coming into the game as the 2.5 favourites.

Although Forest had to wait until the 96th minute last weekend to get a 2-2 draw with Brentford, they played some nice football. They finished the game with an xG of over 2.0 and that followed up their excellent performance against Liverpool here when they finished with an xG of 2.44. In between was a 5-0 hammering away to Arsenal, but Forest have looked far more comfortable at home compared to away. They have created a lot more chances at home, and I think we’ll see a good game here. It’s not a surprise that we have an open market, but I’m happy to look at the side markets here and Over 2.5 goals catches my eye at 2.28. Forest have had a host of chances in their recent games, and Palace haven’t been involved in too many cagey affairs recently either. I expected Overs to be trading closer to 2.0, and I’m very happy to take some 2.28. I don’t see Palace sitting back here, and that will bring the game to life.

The Striker Says:
Two points win Over 2.5 goals at 2.28 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

You can view all markets here -> https://betdaq.biz/NotCry

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TOTTENHAM V LEEDS

3pm This is a big game for both sides as Spurs host Leeds. From the 3pm games, this is definitely my highlight, especially after Spurs lost at the weekend again. After the Liverpool loss, we saw some calls for Conte to go and that Spurs are having a terrible season. Of course we are used to seeing overreactions now on social media, but the reality is Spurs are still in a good place. They are still sitting in the Top Four, and given how average Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool look this year there is an excellent chance Spurs will get Champions League football again. Can we consider them title challengers, did we ever? Realistically the only aim this season had to be Top Four. I feel the main issue for Spurs fans this season has been how well Arsenal have been doing, but if they continue to moan about Conte and he leaves, who do they go for? Most of them might say Thomas Tuchel but Conte is just as good – you have to say it’s an interesting situation at Spurs at the moment, and another setback here would likely see more pressure added. However, with the World Cup only a week away, whatever happens here will cool down quite quickly in my opinion.

This will be a tough test for Spurs. Leeds have put together two wins and will surely come here full of confidence. They have been two fantastic wins from a squad morale point of view too – they beat Liverpool at Anfield 2-1 and then came from 3-1 down to beat Bournemouth with a late goal too. We’ve had a lot of action in Leeds recent games, and in general we tend to see a lot of action in most Leeds games given how open they are at the back! Spurs have been involved in their fair share of games involving goals too lately, and that obviously brings Over 2.5 goals to my attention at 1.62. With Spurs trading only three ticks away from that price at 1.65, I think it’s pretty obvious where the value is for this game. I would much rather Over 2.5 goals at 1.62 compared to the Spurs win, and we can expect a very entertaining end-to-end game here – I wouldn’t be totally surprised to see another 3-2 win in either direction!

The Striker Says:
Three points win Over 2.5 goals at 1.62 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

You can view all markets here -> https://betdaq.biz/TotLee

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WEST HAM V LEICESTER

3pm We finish the 3pm games with West Ham hosting Leicester. Both sides start the weekend sitting right beside each other in the table with 14 points after 14 games. It’s been quite the rollercoaster for them too, but on balance both have been very poor this season. Leicester sat in the relegation zone for ages and now that they have put together a few wins they are finally moving away from that mess. And then West Ham obviously have to be disappointed to be sitting down in 14th after their last two season, they were challenging for a Top Four spot at some points of the season. Both sides are too good to go down, but they aren’t out of the danger zone – the loser will definitely be under a little pressure when the sides return from the World Cup. The first fixture back is actually an action packed Boxing Day which is quite the quick turnaround! Leicester must be full of confidence after winning four of their last five games in all competitions – they have had a pretty easy fixture list. They played Leeds, Wolves, Everton and Newport County then the game they lost was against Manchester City which is easily forgivable. Ironically that performance against Manchester City was probably their best because they kept City to their lowest xG of the season! West Ham lost another game at the weekend to Crystal Palace which was disappointing given they had been playing well going into that game. They were never at the races, creating an xG of only 0.27.

I’m not sure where that performance came from because they had been putting together some very impressive xG figures heading into that game. They finished with an xG of 3.52 here v Fulham, 2.05 away to Southampton, 2.63 away to Liverpool, 2.2 at home to Brighton and then played out a close game with United at Old Trafford. Their xG there was only 1.07 but it was a very tight game. It’s hard to know where that performance against Palace came from, and it does make me want to reduce stakes here. You can see Leicester have been gaining confidence over the last few weeks. Some of their performances this season have been woeful, but they are clearly going in the right direction now. On balance, the 2.1 on West Ham does feel too short, but I’m going to have a small investment on the draw here at 3.65. This looks like it will be very close, and I would expect a 1-1 or 2-2.

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

You can view all markets here -> https://betdaq.biz/WesLei

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NEWCASTLE V CHELSEA

5.30pm We have a first TV slot fixture of the evening with Newcastle hosting Chelsea, and when you look at the market here you can see times are changing! Newcastle have been fantastic this season, and they moved into third place last weekend with a 4-1 win over Southampton – nicely landing a Max Bet for us. While Chelsea losing 1-0 at home to Arsenal, and to be honest looking at the xG figures it could have been even worse – Arsenal absolutely bossed the game. I know I touched on this last week, but you have to question now whether or not Graham Potter has improved Chelsea, especially when you look at their xG figures. Take out the two wins against AC Milan in the Champions League, and there’s probably a gulf in class between the leagues, and you don’t have much to write about. Chelsea have been very average in my opinion, and most of their poor performances have come away from home which is obviously a major worry heading into this game. As I said last weekend in the Arsenal game, it seems now is just a good time to be against Chelsea. The market agrees too with Newcastle coming into the game as favourites.

Not many football fans would have called Newcastle being favourites at home to Chelsea a few seasons ago. Chelsea were Champions League winners and Newcastle were battling relegation – how quickly things change! Obviously the money from the new owners has helped Newcastle massively, but you have to respect the fact that they are playing some excellent football this season. They’ve scored eight goals in their last two games, and they are creating an average xG of 2.0 this season and conceding close to 1 which is obviously impressive too. The worrying signs for Chelsea is they are conceding more chances than they are creating! I feel there’s only one winner here based on how the teams are performing, and quite they won’t be a Max Bet this weekend, I’m happy to take the 2.42 on Newcastle. They are full of confidence and Chelsea’s away performances lately have been so poor they are there for the taking in my opinion.

The Striker Says:
Three points win Newcastle to beat Chelsea at 2.42 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

You can view all markets here -> https://betdaq.biz/NewChe

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WOLVES V ARSENAL

7.45pm We have Saturday Night Football this week as Wolves host Arsenal! You have to say it’s an epic Saturday and a nice way to go into the World Cup! This will be a fascinating market as Arsenal will be expected to beat this Wolves side, but you will still have plenty of football traders who don’t trust this Arsenal side away from home. Over the past few years this is exactly the type of fixture that Arsenal would slip up in, but this Arsenal side is definitely different. We saw that last weekend in the win away to Chelsea – not only did they boss the game, but they grinded out a 1-0 win and were very solid at the back too. This Arsenal side definitely has a backbone that they have lacked, and who knows how deep they can go into the title race. The sole aim here is to win this game and head into the World Cup break sitting top of the table. As I mentioned before, this could be an odd season because we’ve never had a winter World Cup – surely we will see some players burn out and Manchester City have all the superstars that could have a longer World Cup too. Interesting times ahead, but Arsenal have to keep winning.

They come into this game as the odds on favourites, currently trading 1.52 at the time of writing, and although they should win here it’s hard to make the case that they should be shorter. I don’t see much value in their price at these odds – I think the market has this one priced correctly. Wolves have been very poor this season, and they start the weekend sitting second last. When you look at Wolves under-lining numbers it doesn’t make for good viewing, but they aren’t woeful. They are clearly struggling to create chances and score goals, and what has changed is that they are conceding more goals now which means they have lost the ability to grind out results. Away from home, Arsenal haven’t been involved in too many high scoring games and Under 2.5 goals looks the best play here at 2.14. Wolves will try to keep this game as tight as possible but I can see them failing with Arsenal running out 1-0 or 2-0 winners. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them boss the game like they did at Chelsea last weekend but have to grind out another low scoring win.

The Striker Says:
Two points win Under 2.5 goals at 2.14 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

You can view all markets here -> https://betdaq.biz/WolArs

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DAQMAN Thurs: Doncaster NAP
DAQSTATS Thurs: Doncaster NAP
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PAT HEALY blog: The Perfect Festival!
THE WEEK AHEAD: Super Bowl week !!
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