Will Pep’s City be too slick for United?

March 5, 2021

Another seven 1-0 results in this last extended round of the English Premier League drove home the point that I have hopefully been making for a few months, and hopefully you have been turning up trumps with your predictions.

Those crazy scorelines that we saw in the early part of the season dried up long ago. We had put those results down to the lack of fans, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns and the strange feeling that games resembled training sessions, where goals flew in at both ends.

“Normality” settled in around the same time Manchester City starting hitting their straps. Teams got used to playing in empty stadiums. As you can see below, the 1-0 scoreline has come up 56 times, with 2-1 being the next most common score, but only 36 times. All three games on Thursday night ended 1-0. In fact, 13 of the 17 games in the past round saw 2.5 or fewer goals.

So, throw in the fact that there’s still rain about even as we’re into Spring in the UK, it’s no surprise that we’re getting lower scores, and the relentless number of fixtures are making for tired legs and less end to end action.

Now, we’re into another round of matches. These are the most common scores for the season.

1-0: 56 times

2-1: 36 times

2-0: 30 times

1-1: 29 times

0-0: 23 times

3-0: 20 times

3-1: 10 times

This week’s games:

Burnley 1 Arsenal 1: The Gunners were impressive in beating high-flying Leicester away, but are still showing signs of inconsistency, winning two, losing three and drawing one of their last 6. You always know you’re gong to get into a scrap at Turf Moor and Sean Dyche’s men have the physicality to get something from this game.

Sheffield United 0 Southampton 1: The hosts have belatedly picked up points, winning 4 of their last 10 games, which included a win at Old Trafford. But, they’re still 12 points off the relegation cut-off and are doomed to being demoted. They meet a Southampton side who have lost 8 of their last 9 games. But, the Saints won the reverse fixture 3-0 and one goal here either way could win this game.

Aston Villa 1 Wolves 0: Villa surprising lost last time – their 2nd in their last 3 games – while Wolves held Man City at 1-1 with 10 minutes left before leaking three goals after 80 minutes. This reverse fixture saw Villa win 1-0 and this game should be another close affair.

Brighton 0 Leicester 2: Brighton will be looking over their shoulders at Newcastle and Fulham below them, because any more “L’s” could see them sucked into a relegation fight. But Leicester, despite earning 1 point from their last 6, are better than their recent form and expect a reaction to their defeat against Arsenal.

West Brom 1 Newcastle 1: Both teams have been poor with goals hard to come by. This is a huge six-pointer as Newcastle aren’t out of the relegation woods. Neither team has real quality in their side and the visitors also have been dealing with in-fighting and player/management flare-ups. 

Liverpool 2 Fulham 0: Surely, surely, Liverpool won’t lose a sixth successive match at Anfield. They’ve lost to Burnley, Brighton, Man City, Everton and Chelsea and have scored one goal in the process. The wheels have fallen off for the champions. But fortunately they’re up against a Fulham side that will scrap, but doesn’t have the quality to take points here. Surely?

Man City 2 Man United 1: The Manchester derby features 1st and 2nd on the table, but there are 14 points between the two sides and the city will again be blue at the end of the season. Can United prevent City making it 16 straight League wins? Absolutely. In fact, I’m tempted to go for the draw here, but it’s hard to back against City.

Tottenham 3 Crystal Palace 0: The Jose Mourinho rollercoaster is on the way up again and the dressingroom looks a happy place again. For now. So, cash in while you can, because you know with Spurs things are going to come crashing down again. But, with Bale turning on the charm, Spurs look like going on a mini run.

Chelsea 2 Everton 1: Only Sheffield United and Southampton have managed to breach Chelsea’s defence in Thomas Tuchel’s 8 League games in charge, in which he has won 5 and drawn 3. Is the German the real deal? He certainly seems to have the tactical nous to compete with the best. And Carlo Ancelotti is one of the best. This is no easy game for the hosts.

West Ham 2 Leeds 1: If any game this round has 2.5-plus goals in it I would venture to say it’s this one. In fact, that might be the way to bet. Both teams look to score and Leeds don’t tend to get involved in too many draws – they’ve drawn just 2 of their 26 games. West Ham win 50% of their home games and might sneak this one too.

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