Saturday 5th December 2020
Chelsea: Played 10, 3rd position, 19PTS, 18.89 xPTS, 22 goals for, 16.16 xG, 10 goals against, 8.53 xGA
Leeds: Played 10, 12th position, 14PTS, 14.71 xPTS, 15 goals for, 16.89 xG, 17 goals against, 16.16 xGA
The North London derby will draw the attention of most this weekend, but my pick of the card is this match-up between two dynamic teams. Leeds have been hailed as the best of the promoted bunch, with many expecting them to push for a top half finish in their first season back in the top flight for 16 years. While their current position doesn’t quite match up to these expectations, we are barely over a quarter of the way into the season, and they have been relatively unlucky in their meetings with teams such as Liverpool and Arsenal. Remarkably, they have dominated possession in all of their games so far this campaign, including against Liverpool and Manchester City, who average 59.6% and 62.6% respectively. This embodies Bielsa’s philosophy and exemplifies Leeds’ approach – they are not afraid to go toe-to-toe with even the best teams in the league and impose their game plan.
Unsurprisingly, Chelsea have got off to a strong start this season after investing heavily in the summer – with distinct focus on the recruitment of exciting attacking talent. Interestingly though, their 5.84 difference between expected goals and actual goals scored suggests they may have been over-performing at the top end of the pitch. While this may suggest some reversion to the mean at some point down the line, it may also simply indicate the quality of their forwards; not to mention the fact they have also won four penalties so far this season in the league.
While I think there’s some value in a goal head-start for Leeds on the Asian Handicap market, my main play for this fixture will be Leeds shots. They rank 3rd in the league in this particular stat, only behind Liverpool and Manchester City, with an average of 15.3 shots per game. While Chelsea only concede on average 9.5 shots per game, it’s important to note that they have played the 5 weakest teams in the league in terms of shots taken. One other vital factor to consider with this specific type of bet is how often a team goes behind and has to chase the game. Given their attacking talent, I expect Chelsea to get on the score-sheet, and they have taken the lead in half of their games thus far; while Leeds have fallen behind in half of their games up to this stage.
I think 11 Leeds shots is an adequate starting line, and you can get this on SkyBet, Betfair, PaddyPower and Bet365. This line opened at 1.91 on Betfair/PaddyPower but unfortunately this has since shortened, with the best price now 1.83 with Skybet. I also like to take a few of the higher lines; if the game state is right, Leeds can really motor and rack up huge numbers, as seen in recent games against Everton and Arsenal. Stakes should be staggered in order to cover most/all of your total outlay if the first line is hit.
Leeds 11+ total shots – 1.83@SkyBet
Leeds 13+ total shots – 3.1@Betfair/PaddyPower
Leeds 15+ total shots – 6.0@SkyBet/Betfair/PaddyPower
Leeds 17+ total shots – 15.0@Betfair/PaddyPower