Fulham vs Aston Villa
We get Thursday afternoon Premier League tomorrow, as the Villans head to Craven Cottage to take on Fulham. I wanted to break this game down because I find both teams pretty interesting right now, and I like one side a lot in the match. Let’s start with Fulham, who have had a strong start to their Premier League campaign.
They sit 12th in the table on 12 points, which is a success for a newly promoted side. They are led by striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, who leads the team with 7 goals. That’s 4th in the EPL, which is impressive relative to his last try in the first division. They are managed by Marco Silva, who is no stranger to the Premier League.
His teams definitely play an attacking brand of soccer, and this team is no different. However, his teams also leak goals at the back. Through only 10 matches mind you, but Fulham have the worst defense in the Premier League. They are conceding 2.15 NPxGA/90, which is just horrendous. I like their attack, but I expect them to drop right above the drop zone at the end of the season. You can’t land mid-table with these numbers.
Aston Villa on the other hand were expected to land in the top 10 this season, and be an above average side. Boy, have their underachieved that mark through 10 matches. They sit 17th in the table, and are only out of relegation due to goal differential. 9 points in 10 matches just isn’t good enough for the quality that this side possesses. And because of that, Liverpool legend and now manager of the Villans Steven Gerrard is on the hot seat a bit.
If this slide continues, I wouldn’t be surprised if he got sacked before the holidays. He knows this, and the team knows this as well. You can see the desperation when watching their 2-0 loss to Chelsea, a game in which Villa won the xG 2.45-1.24. This was at home, but they handily got the better of Chelsea, who are getting a bit lucky under new manager Graham Potter. xG aside, the eye test told me this was a team that is going to reel off a few wins here very soon. If we look at the season as a whole, they are just really underperforming where they should be. 17th in the table but 9th in NPxGD. 9 points but have 14.22 xPTS. They should be closer to mid-table for sure, and I liked the performance against Chelsea. They should be able to make Fulham’s poor backline pay come Thursday.
Aston Villa Pk (-123) 2.0 Units
Leicester City vs Leeds
I hate to be repetitive, but I think everyone knows what bet is coming with this one. I just can’t quit Leicester overs. I am a little gun shy on this one due to fixture congestion, as we saw 5 Premier League unders this Wednesday. However, I still have to bet this at this price. BTTS Yes / Over 2.5 (-105) parlay is my play here. This bet has cashed in 7/10, and just over 2.5 is 8/10. You could play Over 2.75 and take the BTTS out of this, but I expect both clubs to find the net. Leicester should find their shooting boots soon.
They just have too much attacking talent to not improve their xG numbers. On top of that, their defense is still below average. Palace were content with the 0-0 last match, which is a big part why that landed under. Every other match had legs. I won an under on Leeds / Arsenal that really wasn’t deserved. Leeds put up 2.02 xG on the league leaders, who have a really strong defense. Leeds press high up the pitch, and there is almost always chances at both ends in their matches. I will take the over, as I see goals here a higher % of the time than the market indicates.