Team news, stats, predictions and how to follow the Premier League this Saturday, as Norwich host Manchester City – live on Sky Sports – and Leeds travel to Everton.
Team news: Manchester United left-back Alex Telles is available for Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off against Southampton after recovering from Covid-19.
However, midfielder Fred is unavailable as he is still testing positive for the virus.
Defender Eric Bailly remains out with an ankle injury he suffered while at the Africa Cup of Nations with the Ivory Coast and midfielder Nemanja Matic has a shin issue
Scott McTominay suffered a heavy knock at the end of Tuesday’s draw against Burnley, but the club are hopeful he will be available for Saturday’s game.
Southampton will be without Nathan Redmond, who remains sidelined by an ankle injury.
Tino Livramento is expected to return after being rested against Tottenham with a knee problem.
Jones Knows: The prediction
I’m looking to get Southampton on my side here but not in the match result markets. Despite their fantastic result at Tottenham in midweek, they can rarely be trusted to cause an upset away at the top-ranked teams due to their inability to withstand attacking pressure on their goal. In 20 away matches against the traditional ‘big six’, Saints have won just two under Ralph Hasenhuttl, so even odds as big as 5/1 with Sky Bet for an away win don’t interest me here.
And, despite not quite finding the right balance at United, Ralf Rangnick has only lost one of his nine Premier League games.
However, Hasenhuttl – as seen at Spurs where Saints posted 23 shots and won eight corners – always sets his team up to be aggressive and attack-minded when venturing to a top-four chasing team. And let’s be honest, United are here for the taking if Southampton can defend properly and attack with their usual zest.
This season Saints are averaging 5.83 corners per 90 minutes, including winning over their market expectation away at Arsenal (8), Liverpool (7) and Manchester City (5), while their shots per match average is 12.65. Hasenhuttl’s teams are not renowned for their ability to take chances. This means it is likely that Saints will enjoy sustained periods of pressure in the match in their bid for goals, hence the predicted high corner and shots count. I’m willing to back them to hit both those averages in this game and Sky Bet are offering 9/2 on them to win five or more corners and post 13 or more shots.
SCORE PREDICTION: 2-1 | BETTING ANGLE: Southampton to win five or more corners (11/10 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)
JONES KNOWS BEST BET: Southampton to win five or more corners and have 12 or more shots (9/2 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)
- Southampton have won just two of their 22 Premier League away games against Manchester United (D4 L16), losing this exact fixture 9-0 last season.
- Manchester United have won 36 points from losing positions against Southampton in the Premier League, more than any side has against another in the competition’s history.
- Manchester United haven’t lost any of their last 23 home Premier League matches in February (W18 D5) since a 2-1 defeat to Manchester City in February 2008. That was one of only two home defeats in the month in the Premier League era, along with a 3-2 reverse against Middlesbrough in February 2004.
- Southampton have lost just one of their last seven Premier League games (W3 D3), with Saints both scoring and conceding at least once in all seven of these matches. Southampton are looking to secure consecutive league wins for just the second time this season.
- Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo has failed to score in any of his last five appearances in all competitions – the last time he had a longer run without a goal at club level was a run of seven games in December 2008/January 2009.
How to follow: Follow Manchester United vs Southampton in our dedicated live match blog. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly from 5.15pm on Saturday.
Team news: Brentford will assess Ivan Toney on Saturday morning ahead of the visit of Crystal Palace, after he took part in a light training session on Friday.
Both Bryan Mbeumo and Yoane Wissa should be available to start after both were out with Covid and had not trained consistently recently.
Christian Eriksen will not be fit to make his Premier League debut but manager Thomas Frank said the midfielder is expected to take part in a training match on Monday.
Brentford provisional squad
Raya, Ajer, Jansson Sorensen, Roerslev, Jensen, Norgaard, Janelt, Henry, Canos, Ghoddos, Dasilva, Toney, Wissa, Mbeumo, Baptiste, Stevens, Pinnock, Fernandez, Lossl.
Crystal Palace will be without defender Nathan Ferguson for up to six weeks following a hamstring injury.
Midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate could feature having missed the draw at Norwich after helping Senegal win the Africa Cup of Nations last weekend.
Fit-again pair James Tomkins and James McArthur were unused substitutes at Carrow Road and will be pushing for recalls.
Crystal Palace provisional squad
Butland, Guaita, Matthews, Ward, Mitchell, Tomkins, Guehi, Andersen, Clyne, Kelly, Kouyate, Milivojevic, Olise, Eze, Hughes, McArthur, Gallagher, Riedewald, Rak-Sakyi, Ayew, Zaha, Mateta, Schlupp, Benteke, Edouard, Adaramola.
Jones Knows: The prediction
After their timid showing at Norwich, my belief that Crystal Palace are in relegation form away from home seems pretty justified. Their only away win this season remains the one at Manchester City.
That is barmy.
In 11 away matches they have amassed just a total expected goals figure of 9.4 this season, failing to score at Leeds, Tottenham, Manchester United and Chelsea. As mentioned in midweek, Patrick Vieira had similar problems setting his team up to attack on the road at Nice, where his team averaged just 0.9 goals per 90 minutes in his 37 matches managing the French side away from home. Perhaps his possession-based, controlled style is tough to implement when opposition teams play with more belief at home.
I think Brentford can shut them out here in what looks like a game Thomas Frank has been targeting judging by his team selection of resting Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbeumo at Manchester City.
Brentford may have lost seven of their last eight Premier League games but performance levels remain consistently better than the results they are getting. Apart from against Manchester City, on all occasions this season when they have not won the match at home, Frank’s side have won the expected-goals battle – even in the 3-3 draw with Liverpool and the 1-0 defeat to Chelsea.
It is a process which is actually the sixth-best home record in the Premier League when it comes to expected goals. They can win a low-scoring game.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-0 | BETTING ANGLE: Brentford to win to nil (100/30 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)
- This is Brentford’s first home league game against Crystal Palace since a 2-1 win in September 1963; the Bees have lost just one of their last 10 home league games against the Eagles (W7 D2).
- The reverse fixture between Brentford and Crystal Palace finished 0-0 – only once before have the Eagles had two goalless draws against an opponent in the same Premier League campaign, doing so against Manchester City in 1992-93.
- Crystal Palace have won just two of their last 20 Premier League London derby matches (D9 L9), conceding at least three goals in all nine of their defeats in this run.
- Brentford have lost each of their last five Premier League games. They last lost more consecutive league games between February and March 1993 (a run of seven), in a season that they were relegated from the second tier.
- Only Burnley (0) have won fewer Premier League away games than Crystal Palace this season (1). Meanwhile, the Eagles have kept just one clean sheet in their last 17 Premier League away London derby matches (0-0 vs Arsenal in January 2021).
How to follow: Follow Brentford vs Crystal Palace in our dedicated live match blog. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.
Team news: Everton defender Yerry Mina has been ruled out for at least two months as manager Frank Lampard’s injury problems grow ahead of the visit of Leeds.
The Colombia international (thigh) joins fellow centre-back Ben Godfrey (hamstring) on the sidelines with left-back Vitalii Mykolenko also missing the game.
Forward Demarai Gray has a hip problem which has ruled him out but striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin could return to the starting line-up.
Everton provisional squad
Pickford, Coleman, Holgate, Keane, Patterson, De Beek, Allan, Townsend, Gordon, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison, Begovic, Kenny, Branthwaite, Alli, Gomes, Gbamin, Iwobi, El Ghazi, Tosun.
Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa remains without four first-team players.
England midfielder Kalvin Phillips is expected back in early March having undergone hamstring surgery in December.
Defender Junior Firpo could be back in contention for the squad next week as he recovers from his own hamstring issue, Liam Cooper (also hamstring), remains sidelined, as does striker Patrick Bamford (foot).
Leeds provisional squad
Meslier, Ayling, Koch, Llorente, Struijk, Dallas, James, Harrison, Klich, Raphinha, Rodrigo, Klaesson, Hjelde, Forshaw, Bate, McKinstry, Shackleton, Kenneh, Roberts, Gelhardt.
Jones Knows: The prediction
The last thing Everton need right now is the Leeds tornado knocking down their door.
Frank Lampard’s team have lost 11 of their last 14 Premier League games and are very much in a relegation scrap. Things may get worse here, too, with Leeds very backable at 19/10 with Sky Bet for the away win.
In fixtures like these where Leeds face off against a genuine relegation-threatened outfit, it is most certainly worth backing them as their man-to-man style usually sees their extra quality shine through. Since promotion, in 14 fixtures against teams in the bottom five of the Premier League, Leeds have won 10, scoring 27 times in the process.
This match also screams cards.
Referee Graham Scott may have a job on keeping this one under wraps in the cauldron of Goodison Park. In four rather tempestuous meetings in the Championship between Lampard’s Derby and Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds, there was an average of 8.25 cards shown per match with the second leg of the play-off semi-final at Elland Road producing 15 cards!
When you throw in the likely big-game atmosphere and the fact Leeds games average the most cards per match in the Premier League this season (4.9) then backing cards is the way to go. The 50 or more booking points (10 for a yellow, 20 for a red) at 6/5 with Sky Bet looks a very fair price.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-2 | BETTING ANGLE: 50 or more booking points (6/5 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)
JONES KNOWS BEST BET: 50 or more booking points & Leeds to have 14 or more shots (5/1 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)
- Since the start of 2021, Everton have lost more home Premier League games than any other side (12), this after having only lost 13 across 2018, 2019 and 2020 combined. The Toffees have lost their opening two home league games of 2022, never previously losing their opening three in a year. Indeed, 1977 was the only year in which the Toffees had lost their first two home games in the Football League before 2022.
- Since the start of October, Everton have won fewer points than any other side in the Premier League (6). The Toffees have won just one of their 15 league games in this run (D3 L11) and have kept just one clean sheet.
- Everton have started a calendar year with four consecutive league defeats for the third time in their history, also doing so in 1977 and 1997. They’ve never lost their first five games at the start of a year before.
- This will be Frank Lampard’s first home league match in charge of Everton – he failed to win his first home games in charge of previous clubs Derby and Chelsea (D1 L1), with his first home game in charge of Derby a 4-1 defeat to Leeds in August 2018, in what was Marcelo Bielsa’s first away game in charge.
- Raphinha has scored in all three of his Premier League appearances for Leeds against Everton, netting the winner in this exact fixture last term. The last Leeds player to score in four consecutive Premier League appearances against an opponent was Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink versus Arsenal (1997-99).
How to follow: Follow Everton vs Leeds in our dedicated live match blog. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.
Team news: Ismaila Sarr has a chance of being included in the Watford squad for the first time since November for the visit of Brighton on Saturday.
He was due to take part in training on Friday for the first time since helping Senegal win the Africa Cup of Nations last Sunday, but it remains to be seen if he will have recovered in time to start the match.
Roy Hodgson is set to remain without Nicolas Nkoulou, however, as he continues to work on his rehabilitation.
Watford provisional squad
Foster, Femenia, Cathcart, Samir, Kamara, Kucka, Sissoko, Kayembe, Cleverley, King, Dennis, Bachmann, Ngakia, Louza, Joao Pedro, Masina, Sema, Kabasele, Kalu, Hernandez, Sarr.
Brighton will have midfielder Alexis Mac Allister, who had tested positive while away on international duty with Argentina, and forward Leandro Trossard available again following Covid-19 issues.
Midfielder Enock Mwepu has suffered a minor setback on his recovery from a hamstring problem.
Teenager forward Jeremy Sarmiento (hamstring) also remains unavailable, having last featured at the start of December.
Brighton provisional squad
Sanchez, Cucurella, Webster, Dunk, Veltman, Mac Allister, Gross, Moder, Bissouma, Maupay, Trossard, Scherpen, Lamptey, Roberts, Lallana, Alzate, March, Caicedo, Leonard, Welbeck.
Jones Knows: The prediction
The sample size is a small one but I think it is safe to assume that Roy Hodgson has already stamped his authority all over Watford just two games into the job.
Just one goal conceded from two away matches with an average expected goals against figure of 0.85 compared to 1.71 before Hodgson walked through the door certainly bodes well for Watford’s chances of becoming harder to beat this season. The eye test backs that theory up, too. Having covered their game at the London Stadium on Tuesday it was clear to see how the manager has installed a way of working without the ball and an enthusiasm for defending, especially within Samir and Hassane Kamara, who were both excellent. West Ham were fortunate to score.
Hodgson must now get to work on making them more of a threat going the other way. Watford have scored just one goal in their last five Premier League games. The return of Ismaila Sarr will help matters and I’m happy to back them to get a result against such a flaky side like Brighton, who will dominate the ball, create chances but may run into a Watford brick wall.
Graham Potter’s men have only landed the odds for their backers twice in their last 17 matches, so the 11/10 on an away win is easily swerved. That makes the 4/5 with Sky Bet on a Watford win or draw the obvious play.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1 | BETTING ANGLE: Watford to win or draw (4/5 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)
- Brighton have lost just one of their last 13 Premier League games against promoted sides (W6 D6), keeping a clean sheet in each of their last five (W4 D1) since a 1-0 loss at West Brom in February 2021.
- Watford have lost their last five home Premier League matches, only having two longer home losing runs in their Football League history: a nine-game run between December 1971 and March 1972 and a six-game run between August and October 1990.
- Brighton have drawn 12 of their 22 Premier League matches so far this season (W6 L4), the joint-most by a side at this stage of a Premier League campaign, along with Ipswich in 1992-93. Their last six draws have all ended 1-1, with the Seagulls coming from behind to draw in each of those games.
- Watford haven’t kept a clean sheet in any of their last 16 home Premier League matches, and conceding in this game will see them equal the record Premier League run without a home clean sheet, standing at 17 matches and jointly-held by four teams: Sunderland (2003-05), Blackpool (2010-11), West Brom (2010-11) and Wolves (2011-12).
- No side has lost fewer away games in the Premier League this season than Brighton, with the Seagulls losing just one of their 11 games on the road so far (W3 D7).
How to follow: Follow Watford vs Brighton in our dedicated live match blog. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.
Norwich should have forward Josh Sargent available again for the visit of Premier League leaders Manchester City.
United States international Sargent missed the last two matches through illness but has now returned to training, while midfielder Lukas Rupp faces a late fitness test on a hamstring issue.
Norwich provisional squad
Gunn, Aarons, Gibson, Hanley, Williams, Placheta, Lees-Melou, McLean, Rashica, Pukki, Sargent, McGovern, Byram, Zimmermann, Giannoulis, Gilmour, Dowell, Normann, Tzolis, Idah, Rowe.
Defender Ozan Kabak (illness), midfielder Jacob Sorensen (knee) and goalkeeper Tim Krul (shoulder) remain sidelined. Centre-half Andrew Omobamidele has gone to see a specialist again about his continuing back problem.
Manchester City are again without forward Gabriel Jesus and youngster Cole Palmer.
Manchester City provisional squad
Ederson, Steffen, Carson, Walker, Cancelo, Stones, Dias, Laporte, Ake, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan, Rodri, De Bruyne, Grealish, Sterling, Silva, Mahrez, Foden, McAtee, Delap.
Jesus is expected to return soon after suffering a knock while on international duty recently but it is unclear how long midfielder Palmer will be out with his foot problem.
City have no fresh injury concerns following their midweek win over Brentford and full-back Kyle Walker could return after being rested.
Jones Knows: The prediction
Until Manchester City start showing me otherwise, I want to back against the market expectation of goals in their fixtures.
The expectation for this fixture for total goals is set at 3.5 – that looks high to me as I’m still not fully convinced the City attack is purring to normal levels. There was more evidence of this in the win over Brentford, especially in the first half. It took a penalty to break down the Bees, who were relatively comfortable in defending City’s attacks. First-half struggles in terms of creating chances has been a common theme for City in their last four games.
That Riyad Mahrez penalty vs Brentford is their only first-half goal across those fixtures against the Bees, Southampton, Chelsea and Arsenal with a non-penalty expected goal metric of just 0.35 per first half showcasing a lack of creation against a low block.
The defensive improvement shown by Norwich in their last four matches makes me think the chances of this game being goalless at the break is worth a stab at 100/30 with Sky Bet. The Canaries, who should not pose many problems in attack for City, have kept three first-half clean sheets in their last four games and have significantly tightened up under Dean Smith.
SCORE PREDICTION: 0-2 | BETTING ANGLE: Half-time correct score 0-0 (100/30 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)
- Norwich have lost eight of their last 12 Premier League games against Manchester City (W2 D2), conceding 41 goals in these meetings. They’ve lost both of their last two against the Citizens by a 5-0 scoreline.
- Manchester City have lost just one of their last 36 Premier League games against sides starting the day in the relegation zone (W30 D5), though that loss did come at Norwich in September 2019.
- Norwich have won seven points from their last three Premier League games (W2 D1), just one fewer than they had in their previous 12 before this (W2 D2 L8). Dean Smith is looking to become the first Norwich manager to go unbeaten for four Premier League matches since Chris Hughton in February 2013.
- Pep Guardiola has a win ratio of 88 per cent against English managers in the Premier League (P66 W58), the highest of any manager to take charge of 5+ such games. His four games against Dean Smith have all been won, with an aggregate score of 13-2.
- Riyad Mahrez has scored in each of his last seven appearances for Manchester City in all competitions – the last player to score in more consecutively for the club was Sergio Aguero in January 2014 (8).
How to follow: Watch Norwich vs Manchester City live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League, or follow in our dedicated live match blog featuring in-game highlights. Full match highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel at the final whistle.
Anybody in the UK can watch highlights for free on the Sky Sports app or the Score Centre app on your iPhone or Android.
To watch the highlights on the Sky Sports App, download the app.
Sky Sports’ digital platforms are the home of live blogs for every Premier League game, including commentary, analysis and team line-ups. Users with a free Sky ID can watch in-game clips from Sky live games in our dedicated live blogs.
How to watch with Sky Sports YouTube
Head over to Sky Sports Football YouTube channel to watch highlights for free.
You’ll be able to enjoy action from all 380 Premier League games, as well as classic Premier League moments, goal compilations, in-depth analysis and exclusive player interviews.
Since launching in 2017 the channel has amassed over 2.5m subscribers, and also houses Football League highlights and Nations League goals.
With Manchester City pulling away at the summit and Liverpool and Chelsea on course for a top-three finish, West Ham, Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham and Wolves look set to battle it out for a top-four finish.
The battle for Premier League survival continued on Wednesday as Norwich drew 1-1 with Crystal Palace – but which team is best placed to avoid the drop?
Only five points separate the five sides at the bottom of the table – and basement boys Burnley have at least one game in hand on their rivals.
Essential Football Podcast: Top-four race & pressure on Rodgers?
After a winter break of its own, The Essential Football Podcast returns as guest host Charlotte Marsh is joined by Sky Sports football features writer Adam Bate and digital football journalist Ron Walker to look back on the midweek action and ahead to another captivating round of Premier League games which could have ramifications at both ends of the table.
PART ONE | With more rumours circulating around Old Trafford and two points dropped at Burnley, what’s the state of affairs looking like in Manchester United’s top-four chase? What’s been behind the upturn in form for Southampton, their opponents on Saturday? We discuss Spurs’ disappointing evening against the Saints in midweek, ask whether Wolves will stop them bouncing back, and decide who’s best-placed in the race for the Champions League spots…
PART TWO | How serious – and warranted – is the pressure on Brendan Rodgers at Leicester? How much can we read into West Ham, their next opponents, beating Watford on Tuesday night? What’s changed the mood at Newcastle so quickly, and will Aston Villa – and perhaps Jacob Ramsey – bring it crashing back to earth this weekend?
PART THREE | Frank Lampard takes charge of his first home Premier League game in charge of Everton this weekend, but is the pressure already on as Leeds visit Goodison Park? Are Manchester City really not the best in the world, as Pep Guardiola has said, and where do Norwich even begin to hope of taking any points off them at Carrow Road live on Saturday Night Football?