Sometimes I wonder whether the bookies are better off just giving every team a level 25% chance of keeping a clean sheet. Such is the delicacy of a Premier League back line this season that we’ve seen nothing like the defensive rigidity of years gone by. At this point last season, Liverpool had conceded just 5 goals. Man City had conceded 6.
This season, both are in double figures.
Goals-wise, things have looked much rosier. But with midweek fixtures comes the ever impending threat of rotation, which makes this week’s question not just one of who is most likely to return, but also who is most likely to start.
Let’s see who the bookies are backing for Gameweek 15 success.
Gameweek 15 Clean Sheet Odds & To 2.5+ Goals Odds
Palace vs Bournemouth unlikely to be a classic
I like to think I’m an optimist when it comes to the football. On the occasions where I am able to watch a match, I’ll invariably expect to see goals. Plenty of them, too.
For the first time ever, Gameweek 15 will be shown – in its entirety – on Amazon Prime. That means I’ll have the chance to watch every single match – like the team on Soccer Saturday or someone from the USA.
I’m excited, but not for the Palace vs Bournemouth match. The bookies have given both teams a less than 25% chance of scoring more than 2.5 goals. Palace have only conceded 1 more goal at home than Man City (and the same amount as Liverpool) this season and Bournemouth, whilst not in trouble yet, have hardly been scintillating either.
Unless you’ve got a multi-screen situation going on, I’d probably prioritise the City game.
Liverpool tricky to predict
On the face of it, owners of Liverpool owners should be quietly optimistic about their players’ prospects in Gameweek 15. Everton have been poor recently, whilst Liverpool…well, they’ve won 13 of their 14 Premier League matches so far.
But derbies are weird. In the last 4 Premier League matches between these two great rivals, Liverpool have scored just 2 goals.
Though Everton come to Anfield off the back of two defeats, they looked much improved in their Gameweek 14 tie against Leicester. Expect plenty of resilience and guile in this Everton team, buoyed by the knowledge that they’ve successfully frustrated the league leaders in their most recent clashes.
Villa still underestimated
Chelsea have been given a more than 50% chance of scoring 2.5+ goals against Villa on Wednesday. A 48% chance of keeping a clean sheet is also up there with the best in the league ahead of Gameweek 15.
Unfortunately for Chelsea attacker owners (of which I’m certainly included), things probably aren’t going to be as smooth sailing for Lampard’s men as the bookies may think.
Firstly, they’ve scored just 9 goals at home this season. That’s only 2 more than Newcastle, and less than teams like Sheffield United, Brighton, West Ham and – you guessed it – Aston Villa.
Villa aren’t too shabby on the road either. A 2-2 draw at Old Trafford last week follows goals away at Spurs, Arsenal and Wolves. They also put 5 past Tim Krul at Carrow Road too.
I’d expect goals at both ends in the Chelsea vs Villa game, and would be wary of putting too much stock in your blue assets.
Gameweek 15 Anytime Goalscorers By Position
Should he stay or should he go?
Tammy Abraham tops the bookies’ odds of keeping a clean sheet for the second week in a row. The question, of course, isn’t whether he’s likely to score, but whether he’s likely to actually play.
Lampard said today that he’ll be giving the forward “every chance” to prove his fitness, and given Chelsea failed to score without him last gameweek, there could be a lot riding on his ability to start.
The problem – as is so often the case in FPL – is that it’s ambiguous. Lampard may be new to managerial life in the Premier League, but he has quickly picked up a talent for equivocal remarks when it comes to player health.
Behind him his Jamie Vardy: he’ll surely be the week’s most popular captaincy pick.
Salah back at the top…somehow
Mohamed Salah is back at the top of the midfielder goal scoring odds, despite doing very little to earn his place there.
The Egyptian maestro has scored just 3 goals in his last 9 Premier League games, but more worrying than that is how he looks on the pitch. The man cuts a frustrated – if diminutive – figure, constantly wincing in anguish as another ball escapes from his once-magnetic grasp.
It’s not just the eye-test he fails: the underlying stats seem to support the notion that Salah has lost his golden touch. In the last 7 games, he has a non-penalty xG of 2.11. That’s less than the likes of James Ward-Prowse and Neal Maupay. In fact, it’s outside the top 20.
The plus side for Mo, of course, is that he is on penalties. With tensions always higher in a derby, could he capitalise on a careless foul inside the box? Those who have stuck with him this far will be desparately hoping he can.
Lundstram a must-start
John Lundstram has been quiet for his standards in recent weeks. He’s had some tricky fixtures too, to be fair.
But in Gameweek 15 Sheffield United will host Newcastle, and Lundstram’s goal scoring and clean sheet odds have never looked higher.
He’s up there for a reason. It’s not just that he’s a midfielder masquerading as an FPL defender – there have been plenty of those over the years. Rather, it’s that he’s actually a very productive midfielder too. The budget hero is 6th for non-penalty xG over the last 4 games, beating out goalscoring favourites like Raul Jimenez, Tammy Abraham, Sergio Aguero and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
He’s the gift that the bookies expect to keep on giving.