The end is nearly upon us, but there are so many outcomes still to be determined in this Premier League season.
This weekend marks the penultimate weekend of Premier League action for the 2022/23 season, and there are certain to be games in which clubs begin to scramble and attempt to pick up points by any means necessary. This panic and need for points can only mean one thing: Fouls, and plenty of them.
Fortunately, we have you covered for Saturday’s Premier League games with our best foul bets for the penultimate weekend of action. Feel free to back any of these as singles, or use as many as you like to combine into a possible accumulator.
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Spurs v Brentford
Ryan Mason’s hopes of taking Tottenham Hotspur into Europe took a huge blow with the 2-1 loss at Aston Villa last week, a result that left them a point behind Brighton and Hove Albion having played two more games.
The penultimate weekend of the season sees them host Brentford in their final home game and their chances have improved thanks to the absence of Ivan Toney, a ban that also has a big effect on weekend bet builders given his love for committing and drawing a foul.
Spurs are the team in the ascendency here, likely to see more of the ball and will want to push for victory in front of their home crowd. Mason has overseen four matches and in that time, opposition right-sided centre-backs, central midfielders and left-wingers have struggled to contain his team.
With Toney and Christian Norgaard missing and Frank Onyeka in and out of the side, new names need to be looked at for Brentford and Vitaly Janelt is who I’m looking at here. The German commits 0.8 fouls per 90 minutes and has committed a foul in six of his last ten matches.
When an opposition has played a sole defensive midfielder in a three, they have committed two and one fouls against Spurs, no doubt thanks in part to the way Harry Kane drops in – he is fouled 1.6 times per match.
Liverpool v Aston Villa
Liverpool’s hopes of a Champions League place looked dead and buried. A Champions League knockout and humiliation at the Etihad sparked their season into life and they enter this game having won seven on the bounce.
However, they haven’t faced the strongest opposition, a barnstorming 4-3 victory over Spurs aside, and Aston Villa will certainly be a test having won nine of their last 13 in the league to mount a European charge of their own.
While Villa are the most fouled team in the Premier League, they also rank in the top ten for most fouls committed and with Liverpool in such good form, they will be looking to stifle their opposition away from home.
Looking at Liverpool’s opponents in recent weeks, it’s notable that central midfielders are heavily involved, committing five, four, four, two and four fouls in their last five matches.
I’m therefore looking at John McGinn, the feisty Scotsman who is also Villa’s captain. The midfielder has committed an average of 1.3 fouls per 90 minutes played this season and eight in his last three starts in the centre of midfield, which is where he has returned to in recent weeks after a spell on the right-wing.
He will up against Curtis Jones here who has been fouled in eight of his last nine appearances having finally been given a run in the Liverpool starting XI.
Wolves v Everton
Sean Dyche will be hoping Wolverhampton Wanderers are settling themselves down on the beach having recently reached the 40-point mark but Julen Lopetegui has got his team performing at Molineux.
Wolves have won each of their last four on home turf and haven’t conceded a goal in that time despite facing Chelsea, Brentford, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa. However, they did come up short in a controversial game against Leeds United and Everton will be hoping a similarly bold and aggressive display can see them come up trumps.
There’s no doubt Everton are going to have to be tenacious and manage the game and that’s why I’m backing James Garner to commit a foul. The ex-Manchester United youngster has been given a run of games in the absence of Amadou Onana and hasn’t been afraid to stick his foot in, committing a foul in five of the six matches in which he has played at least 30 minutes under new manager Dyche.
It works out well against a Wolves side that like to take possession in central areas and draw in their opposition, leading to a high number of fouls. Opposition midfielders have committed three, four, seven, five and seven fouls against them in their last five matches meaning Garner will be stuck right in the action.
Bournemouth v Manchester United
A fixture that is more important to the visitors than the hosts as Erik Ten Hag looks to cement his team’s place in the top four amid a strong, late challenge from long-time rivals Liverpool.
Their attempts to do that see them take on a Bournemouth side who have stunned most by avoiding relegation comfortably, springing from the depths of the table to win six of nine matches. They have tailed off in recent weeks but all sides get themselves up the visit of Manchester United.
Manchester United’s game often sees them commit down their left-hand side, helped by the technical quality of Luke Shaw, Christian Eriksen and Marcus Rashford down that flank a lot of the time. Opposition right-back and right-midfielders have committed at least one foul in each of United’s last four matches while opposition strikers have committed six in their last three, coinciding with Harry Maguire stepping out of the backline in favour of Luke Shaw and Raphael Varane.
Dominic Solanke is therefore the man I’m backing to commit fouls here. The powerful forward will have his work cut out, sitting on United’s defensive midfielders in defensive areas before springing forward to close players down and his work rate will be important.
Solanke has committed four, three, three and two fouls in his last four games, leaving him with an average of 1.3 per 90 this campaign.
Nottingham Forest v Arsenal
The battle for survival has been up and down all season but Nottingham Forest can all but secure their safety with a victory over an Arsenal side humiliated last weekend by Brighton and Hove Albion and look set to finish the season in second spot having run out of steam at the last.
Despite their issues, Arsenal have remained a side teams have had to stop at source rather than risk being beaten 1 v 1 and turned over. That has led to a high number of fouls from the opponents in various positions on the pitch, making this a potentially lucrative one if you fancy using this game for a bet builder.
I’m focusing on the left-back situation here. Bukayo Saka is one of the most dangerous players in the division these days with 24 goal contributions. The England man attempts over four and a half dribbles per 90 minutes played, leading him to be fouled nearly twice per 90. It’s therefore little surprise that the opposing left-back has committed 12 fouls in five matches against Arsenal.
Renan Lodi will be the man up against Saka here whether Forest play with a back four or five and the Brazilian has not been shy in committing a foul, doing so in seven of his last eight starts. Notably, he committed five last time out against Chelsea and also committed two against Brentford three matchdays ago.
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