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14/11/2008 No.52
Kevin Pullein
Fri Nov 14, 2008
If any of the "big four" in the Premier League are playing away to somebody else, how many goals will they score? In just over half of all games, the answer, perhaps unexpectedly, is either none or one. As Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal rarely lose, it follows that their opponents will almost always score very few goals indeed and it is sometimes possible to find value bets about them doing so.

With Paddy Power and Blue Square you can bet on the exact number of goals a team will score in a match. With Boylesports you can bet over or under a line while with other bookmakers you can bet on clean sheets.

The bets that sometimes represent value for money are on a low number of goals being scored by teams in fixtures that are expected to be one-sided. The figures that follow are from Premier League games played during the past four seasons by Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal against teams outside the "big four". They kept a clean sheet in 56% of their home games and in nearly nine out of every 10 they conceded either one goal or none. Away from home the proportions were slightly smaller - clean sheets in just under half of their games, and no more than one goal conceded in over eight out of 10.

The popular impression of the quartet is that they thrash almost everyone else. However in more than six out of 10 home games, and nearly eight out of 10 away, they scored two goals or fewer.

Goals, like many other things, occur less often than most people imagine. For bettors, good prices can sometimes be found about few goals being scored by the top dogs, but even more often about few goals being scored by the underdogs.

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