BOURNEMOUTH entertain Crystal Palace on the BBC on Saturday night. Matthew Kirby (@M_Kirby95) delivers his betting analysis.
Bournemouth vs Crystal Palace | Saturday 20th June 2020, 19:45 | BBC
The Premier League has returned and the Saturday night clash on the south coast will go down in the history books – the first Premier League game to be shown live on the BBC.
Bournemouth still have work to do to guarantee their top-flight status. They sit in the final relegation spot on goal difference and it’s a massive nine games for the club.
The Cherries were dealt a blow on Wednesday when Ryan Fraser rejected a short-term contract extension meaning he’ll leave the club at the end of the month. Meanwhile, Artur Boruc, Andrew Surman, Simon Francis and Charlie Daniels have all accepted short-term extensions.
Crystal Palace sit comfortably in 11th place and are just two points behind Tottenham in 8th. The Eagles will want to chase down their London rivals, but three of their next five games come against sides in the top-four, so it’s a tricky return to action for Roy Hodgson’s men.
Hodgson has admitted that he could use some of his young, academy talent in the final games of the season. Nine subs can be named with five being allowed, so Tyrick Mitchell and Nya Kirby could make their Premier League debuts, with Brandon Pierrick getting more minutes too.
Stats say go low
This might not be the game for the purist. Palace usually set-up to frustrate and although safe, are likely to do the same here, while Bournemouth will have to start taking chances if they want to keep their heads above water.
Both of these sides struggle in the final third with both having netted fewer than 30 goals. And in terms of chances created, Palace have the second-lowest Expected Goals (xG) in the division at 28.2 – Bournemouth’s isn’t much better at 32.6.
Putting the ball into the net might not be either of these sides strong suits, but neither is pulling the trigger. These two rank the lowest for shots per 90 in the Premier League – Bournemouth 10.17 and Palace just 9.79.
It says something about the Eagles that they’re in 11th place despite these lowly numbers, which you’d generally associate with a struggling side staring in the face of relegation – but they’re not.
Before the break Palace’s results had been rather binary. Five of their last six had been Under 2.5 Goals, with four of their last five ending 1-0. If Hodgson does go with the 4-5-1 then it could be a similar story here with them looking to utilise the pace of Wilfried Zaha on the counter-attack.
Referee Stuart Attwell could be in for a busy evening with this game being something of a midfield battle. Tenacious central midfielders like Luka Milivojević, James McArthur, Philip Billing and others could mean plenty of fouls being racked up, especially with the hosts having plenty to play for.
It was noticeable on the team stats that Palace have suffered the second-most fouls in the Premier League and although Bournemouth have committed the second-lowest amount they have to contend with the pace of Zaha and Andros Townsend.
Breaking it down further, Zaha has been fouled 93 times, which is the second-highest amount behind Villa’s Jack Grealish, while Ayew has been brought down 75 times making him the fourth-fouled man.
Going the other way, Callum Wilson sits third for fouls committed on 45, while Billing and Lerma rank highly for the Cherries. On top of that, Wilson sits second for being caught offside (25), so it’s worth a dip into backing Crystal Palace free kicks.
In the reverse, Palace were reduced to 10 men early on, but by full-time, Bournemouth had given away 15 fouls, so when Palace win back possession, they’ll try and get it to their main men to run at this Bournemouth backline.
The Bournemouth line-up will be crucial to some of the player prop markets because you’ll have to target those facing up against Zaha. The 26-year-old has completed the most successful dribbles (138) this term, while he’s also been dispossessed 129 times – the most.
So, it’s worth taking Bournemouth’s right-sided players who’ll face him. At Selhurst Park, Adam Smith and Harry Wilson faced Zaha and both made five tackles.
Looking through some of the data of players facing Zaha, then you’ll see an obvious trend. Watford’s Kiko Femenia made eight tackles, Brighton’s Dan Burn four and Everton’s Seamus Coleman made three.
Team news will be important to see who Eddie Howe goes with. Before the break, Jack Stacey started three consecutive games at right-back with Adam Smith at left-back. Sky Bet have Smith 3+ at 5/6 and 4+ at 21/20, while Stacey is 6/4 for three-plus tackles.
There’s a bit of a price difference in the cards market in regards to Stacey. Bet365 go 11/4 while Sky Bet go 6/1. If he starts, that 6/1 will be a huge price considering he’ll up be against Zaha and that’ll be worth taking.