BetMGM UK Golden Goals: Matchday 12

We are back for some more Golden Goals predictions ahead of a huge weekend of Video Assistant Refer… football, we mean football.

There can, however, be no getting away from the endless rolling controversy that is VAR in the Premier League and how it continues to dominate the way players, coaches and fans experience the game.

In the instant classic that was Tottenham 1-4 Chelsea on Monday evening, there were no fewer than nine VAR checks on the action in the first half alone. These spawned 12 minutes of added time, one red card, one penalty and three disallowed goals among the chaos.

Other headlines from last weekend include a massive win for Nottingham Forest against Aston Villa, a first defeat of the season for Arsenal at Newcastle (in another VAR-centric game) and wins for Manchester United, Brentford, Crystal Palace, Manchester City and Sheffield United.

Luton, meanwhile, came within a whisker of a shock win over Liverpool before conceding a last-gasp equaliser. Everton and Brighton also shared the spoils.

It was not our week last weekend, with just two correct results and no correct scores. Can we do better on Matchday 12 ahead of the international break?

Remember: if you can pick the correct six scorelines, you could win up to £2 million. You don't even have to get all six to earn something. If the jackpot is not won, just get more scores correct than your BetMGM peers to win a share of our prizepool, which has now increased to £5,000.

Here is an insight into this weekend’s matches…

Arsenal vs Burnley

Form (all competitions) Arsenal: WLLWW Burnley: LLLLL

If you were an under-pressure football manager of a team which has scored just two goals in five matches, conceding 14 in the process, low on the list of teams you would want your charges to play is Arsenal at the Emirates.

Unfortunately for the embattled Vincent Kompany, he has to find a tune out of his misfiring Burnley charges or face a sixth defeat on the bounce.

Time seems to be slowly ticking to an inevitable conclusion for the Belgian but he can take some hope from his club's recent record at the Emirates. They are unbeaten in two Premier League games in North London, with a 0-0 draw coming in January 2022 after a 1-0 win in 2020 thanks to a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang own goal.

They need to be better in front of goal if they are to get anything here – no team has fewer in the bank than the Clarets, who have managed to find the net on just eight occasions in 11 games this season.

The Gunners are not enjoying a great time of it themselves, though. After a win over Manchester City before the last international break they have been dumped out of the EFL Cup by West Ham and suffered a damaging defeat to Newcastle in the Premier League.

Fewest PL goals

They have also lost key players Gabriel Jesus and Martin Ødegaard to injury while in-form winger Bukayo Saka picked up a knock in their comfortable win over Sevilla in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

There remains concern around some underlying stats. Arsenal manage 25.82 shot-creating actions (SCA) per 90 minutes – a decent number but still behind the likes of Brighton, Aston Villa and a struggling Manchester United – and also sit in the bottom half of Premier League teams for shots-on-target percentage (32.2%) below Bournemouth, Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace.

A recent 5-0 win over Sheffield United boosted the Gunners’ goals-for column but, generally, the numbers point to a need to improve their attacking output.

However, while Arsenal sometimes struggle in the final third, they control games effectively nonetheless. With an average possession of 60.5% in the league only Brighton (61.5%), Chelsea (61.6%), and Manchester City (63.2%) have more of the ball over the 90 minutes.

Combine that control with Burnley’s lack of threat and we are going with an Arsenal win here.

Prediction: Arsenal 3-0 Burnley

Crystal Palace vs Everton

Form (all competitions) Crystal Palace: WDLLW Everton: DWWLW

Although this fixture was a 0-0 bore draw last season, recent history dictates that this tends to be a game in which both teams find the net. Indeed, that has happened in five of the previous seven meetings between them.

A simple truth this time round is that they are both struggling in front of goal this season though; Crystal Palace have scored just 10 goals while Everton have 11. Despite that, we are going to make an argument for both teams bulging the net once more.

XG vs Actual Goals

Of the two teams in the bottom half of the league, the Eagles (132) and the Toffees (159) are leading the way for number of shots taken and both are massively missing the target when it comes to taking their chances with respective goals-to-expected-goals underperformance of -2.0 and -9.4.

That suggests something has to give – and we can see this ending in a score draw.

Prediction: Crystal Palace 2-2 Everton

Manchester United vs Luton Town

Form (all competitions) Manchester United: LWLLW Luton Town: DLLDL

After 42 minutes of easily their most accomplished performance of the season away to a good FC Copenhagen outfit in the Champions League on Wednesday night, Manchester United were cruising. They were 2-0 up, dominating possession and creating chance after chance.

Then disaster struck. And, with it, a massive metaphor for their horrific season unfolded before everyone's eyes. Marcus Rashford was sent off then they conceded twice within four minutes and came in level at half-time. After retaking the lead through a Bruno Fernandes penalty, the Red Devils again conceded twice in four minutes towards the end of the game to fall to an agonising defeat and ensure a nigh-on impossible task of climbing out of the group stages.

This trend of falling to pieces after conceding is very worrying for Erik ten Hag – the under-pressure Dutchman has seen his side ship two goals in 10 minutes on seven occasions this season. It speaks to a lack of composure when they need it most.

Copenhagen vs Man Utd Momentum

In facing Luton, they have a chance to bounce back. Anything other than a victory would mean United head into the upcoming international break under the darkest of clouds.

It is not the best time to be playing the Hatters, either. A morale-boosting draw at home to Liverpool last time out would have been so much better but for a last-minute goal from Luis Diaz denying them a famous win.

However, the hosts should still win this. Luton let other teams have the ball – they average 36.2% in possession per 90 minutes this season, the lowest in the league – and Ten Hag likes his side to have control of matches.

So long as they keep their collective heads, we are predicting a comfortable home win.

Prediction: Manchester United 3-1 Luton

Brighton vs Sheffield United

Form (all competitions) Brighton: WDDWL Sheffield United: WLLLL

There is an elephant in the Amex. It's an entertaining elephant that plays phenomenal football and participates in breathtaking matches… but it's an elephant nevertheless.

You see, Brighton have won just one of their last six Premier League matches and have not managed to keep a clean sheet in that time either.

When you dig under the bonnet, their defensive woes are a puzzler. They're in the top six for the fewest shot-creating actions against per 90 minutes, which means they are better at limiting the opposition from creating shots than most teams.

Indeed, they are surrounded by teams such as Manchester City, Arsenal and Aston Villa Villa in that metric. Yet they have conceded 20 goals, the joint fifth-highest in the division ranking them alongside the likes of Luton Town and Burnley.

After a miserable start to the campaign, there was finally some joy for Sheffield United and their beleaguered boss Paul Heckingbottom last weekend.


A late penalty with 99 minutes and 16 seconds on the clock at home to Wolves got the Blades their first three points of the season. It was the third-latest winner in Premier League history and fans will hope it is the injection they desperately needed.

They still have so much work to do – no team has conceded more goals than United this year. They are rock bottom for shot-creating actions (averaging just 13.64 per 90 minutes which is 4.45 behind the next closest team, Burnley) while the same goes with goal-creating actions, where they have garnered just 0.73 per 90 minutes.

This one will go to the Seagulls despite the filip for the Blades last time out.

Prediction: Brighton 4-1 Sheffield United

Liverpool vs Brentford

Form (all competitions) Liverpool: LDWWW Brentford: WWWLD

Since Brentford first came up to the Premier League two seasons ago, there have been goals in this fixture.

The last four encounters between the two have produced 14 of them with Brentford winning one, Liverpool winning two and a thrilling 3-3 draw in there to boot. That's an average of 3.5 goals per game.

The Reds are yet to drop points at Anfield this season, scoring 14 goals and conceding just two in their five home games. It feels like an impenetrable fortress but, in Brentford, they face a similarly in-form side.

Liverpool Brentford XG

Thomas Frank's team have won their previous three games – beating Burnley, Chelsea and West Ham – to shoot up the table into ninth.

In Ivan Toney's absence, forward Bryan Mbeumo has stepped up with six goals and two assists in 11 matches. He's getting into great positions, too. He has the fourth-highest xG in the entire league at 0.60 per 90 minutes. Don't bank against him scoring again here as a result.

It’s bound to be an exciting game. We’re going with a score draw.

Prediction: Liverpool 2-2 Brentford

Chelsea vs Manchester City

Form (all competitions) Chelsea: WWDLW Manchester City: WWWWW

The game of the weekend has to be Chelsea vs Manchester City – and it's the final Premier League match before the international break too.

The Blues will be somewhat buoyed after their 4-1 win over the in-form Tottenham Hotspur on Monday but their profligacy in front of goal when playing against nine men was borderline shambolic. It took them 20 minutes to exploit Spurs' relentless and bizarre application of the high defensive line, which they continued to utilise despite their considerable numerical disadvantage.

Only two goals in stoppage time added the gloss to a game they came close to throwing away. It marked only the third time they have managed more than two goals in this campaign so far and Mauricio Pochettino will need his players to improve in front of goal.

Spurs Chelsea MM

That mightn’t be likely against the champions. Chelsea’s recent record against them is appalling – they have lost six straight games without even scoring a goal.

After a recent blip, or as close to a blip as City get these days, Pep Guardiola has his team playing some magical stuff again. A 6-1 win over Bournemouth last time out means no team has managed more goals this season (28) or conceded fewer (8).

The Citizens will make it seven in a row against Chelsea.

Prediction: Chelsea 1-3 Manchester City

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