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Sunday 7 August 2022 16:00, UK
After pinpointing Ben White to be carded at 6/1 on Friday night, Jones Knows casts his eye over Sunday’s games as the Premier League returns.
Forgive and forget. That’s my motto with Leicester City and their underperformance last season.
They finished a disappointing eighth in the Premier League last term, picking up 52 points. It was a 12-point underachievement on what we had seen from Brendan Rodgers’ side in the two previous seasons. Key defensive injuries cost them the opportunity to play Wesley Fofana and Jonny Evans together as a partnership last season. That was massive. Having a fully-fit Fofana ready to go from the first whistle is an exciting prospect. To my eye, he’s the best young centre-back in world football. No wonder Chelsea are toying with the idea of paying £80m for him.
With a far more settled side and no European football to negotiate, there is enough quality in the dugout in Rodgers and in his exciting young side to really kick-on again this season. Read here why I’m backing them for a top-six finish and if they are going to be capable of those heights, Brentford really shouldn’t be giving them too many problems.
It may sound completely ludicrous to say this about Manchester United, but this season may just be seen as a lengthy pre-season for when the real judgement on Erik ten Haag can be made during the ’23/24 campaign. This is a chance to put some building blocks in place to make sure United can flourish again. Easier said than done in this era of expectant and inpatient football fans.
The signings of Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez seem a sensible start, though, and I’ll be watching closely to see if the new boss can get his message across early to a dressing room that looked so divided and unmotivated last season. Quite frankly I have no idea how they will fare this weekend against a dangerous and supremely coached Brighton side. The draw it is.
The prices around the performances of Jadon Sancho are ones to keep on the radar as I’m expecting him to flourish under the guidance of the new boss.
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The 22-year-old’s first season in the Premier League saw him score three goals and provide three assists and rarely show his true ability. Yet, there have been signs in pre-season that Sancho might be about to recapture some of his Borussia Dortmund form, scoring three goals and playing with much more aggression and zip.
That confidence could filter through to his shots and shots on target potential over the next few weeks, where he is being priced up on the basis of last season’s numbers. Like my overall opinion on Manchester United, he’s best watched rather than punted this week but keep a close eye on him.
Trying to predict when Manchester City are going to lose a football match is a bit of a thankless task. But such is their skinniness in the markets most weeks, it’s something I’m always looking to consider.
This could be the right time to strike.
To beat City you need the opposition to play with great pace and power in transition, defend deep and cause a threat from set-pieces. The Hammers tick all of those boxes in what should be another profitable season for David Moyes, whose job has become easier keeping hold of Declan Rice and Jarrod Bowen.
Those two are capable of producing performances to compete with City’s star men but there is a nagging doubt in my mind that Pep Guardiola will have his boys much further forward than they were in the Community Shield. And let’s not forget, Man City’s only defeat in their final 28 Premier League games last season (W23 D4) was the 3-2 defeat vs Tottenham in February. A narrow away win it is.
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Premier League predictions: Jones Knows thinks Man Utd will be held by Brighton – Sky Sports