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Premier League Odds: Sheffield United v Nottingham Forest, Chelsea v West Ham, Crystal Palace v Manchester United

With the Premier League drawing towards a conclusion, we look at the league's most eye-catching stats ahead of another pivotal weekend at both ends of the table.

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Read more: What is xG? Expected Goals explained

Premier League

Sheffield United v Nottingham Forest

Nottingham Forest fans have every right to be concerned. They have one win in 10 at the wrong time in the season and are sliding towards the relegation zone with two season-defining games to come.

First up is Sheffield United, who’ve already been relegated. You could make an argument that the Blades may play with more freedom now the threat of relegation has dissipated, but all season, United haven’t looked like a team who were nervous, but a team who were sorely lacking in the quality required to stay in the top flight.

Forest can take a big step towards survival this weekend with a win over the beleaguered Blades, and despite recent results being against them, their xG remains sound.

Their xGD at the time of Steve Cooper’s departure was -0.41/90, but since the arrival of Nuno Espirito Santo, it’s improved to 0.23/90.

Over the course of the season, they’re at -0.09/90, which is still better than West Ham, Wolves and even Manchester United, but since the arrival of Santo, their xG is better than the likes of Aston Villa and Tottenham.

Their set piece woes speak for themselves, conceding a wretched 22 goals from ser pieces – five worse than Luton on 17, but Forest should leave South Yorkshire with all three points.

Nottingham Forest to win – 4/6

Chelsea v West Ham

Last week we looked at West Ham’s results this season, and their peculiar trend of getting better results the less possession they have.

Prior to the Liverpool game, they’d had less than 30% of possession four times (Arsenal (a), Tottenham (a), Chelsea (h), Brighton (a)) and won all four. The draw with Liverpool was the first time the Hammers have failed to win with less than 30% of the ball, but the draw to a title-challenging team is an impressive result regardless.

Chelsea’s attack has looked more cohesive in recent weeks and they were good value for their 2-0 win over Tottenham, but Spurs have shown a real vulnerability to sides who sit deep, and it’s something the Blues can expect to face on Sunday.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side are showing more chemistry than they did at the start of his tenure, but they’ve often struggled to capitalise in games where they’ve dominated the ball.

In the two games where they’ve had more than 75% of the ball, they’ve won both. But in the 13 games where they’ve had between 64%-75% of the ball, they’ve won just once (at home to Luton).

Expect Chelsea to dominate possession, West Ham to allow Chelsea to dominate possession, and the Irons to make things difficult for the hosts at the weekend as they did for Liverpool last time out.

West Ham +1.0 Asian Handicap – 1.910

Crystal Palace v Manchester United

There are three certainties in life: death, taxes, and Crystal Palace finishing between 10th and 15th in the Premier League on between 41 and 49 points.

It’ll happen again this season as it has for all 10 of Palace’s Premier League seasons since returning to the top flight.

But next season might be different under Oliver Glasner. There’s a chance Palace lose Michael Olise while there’ll no doubt be interest shown in Ebere Eze and they’ll do well to replace their stars, especially following the departure of Dougie Freedman, the sporting director who’s helped oversee transfers of Olise and Eze, as well as Marc Guehi, Cheick Doucoure, Jefferson Lerma and most recently Adam Wharton.

Freedman may well depart for Manchester United, who Palace host on Monday night. There’s a growing narrative around the Red Devils at the moment, that ‘you don’t know what you’ll get from them’ or that Erik ten Hag’s men are ‘unpredictable’, neither of which are true. Manchester United under the Dutchman have become one of the most predictable sides in the league, and it’s what will likely cost him his job after the FA Cup final.

While some clubs employ an ‘organised chaos’ strategy, Ten Hag is overseeing disorganised chaos. Beyond that it’s hard to identify what Ten Hag’s Manchester United actually are. They’re not a high-pressing team – certainly not an effective one – they don’t dominate possession, yet they’re not a dangerous counter-attacking team like they were under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Ten Hag claimed he wanted his team to be the best transitional team in the world and his side aren’t lacking in practice. Their games often resemble basketball matches and their xGD of -9.0 is frankly atrocious. It’s the sixth-worst in the division – worse than Crystal Palace, Nottingham Forest and Everton – and only the individual quality of their players has got them through games.

Crystal Palace netted a late equaliser against Fulham and the game became frantically end to end with both sides chasing a winner that neither really needed.

At a rocking Selhurst Park on a Bank Holiday Monday, Palace won’t be taking any backward steps, and goals should be on the cards once more

Over 3.0 Goals (Asian Line) – 1.850

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