Of the three sides last week which had higher than a 50% chance of keeping a clean sheet only Manchester City kept a clean sheet. Liverpool’s normally solid backline was breached three times against a Palace. United on the other hand took the foot off the accelerator and let Brighton back into the game.
There were 6 clean sheets last week with a normally hopeless Arsenal being one of the surprise defensive packages. That hope was soon destroyed after Arsenal’s FA Cup tie against Manchester United. Burnley were gameweek 23’s biggest upset having only a 18.26% chance of keeping a clean sheet away to Watford. Burnley have looked far better defensively since Heaton has replaced Joe Hart.
In gameweek 24 there is expected to be a lot of clean sheets due to the the fact none of the big six (or seven if you include Everton) face off against one another. It could be a very high scoring game week, with all of the top 7 having over a 39% chance of a clean sheet.
Manchester City have picked up some form defensively as of late picking up clean sheets in their last 6 games. Something which looked foreign to them not too long ago. After defeating Burnley in the FA Cup it has been confirmed that City will have a double game week in gameweek 25. Something which should definitely be in consideration when picking assets over the coming weeks. In game week 24 they come up against Newcastle. A side which have lost 8 times in their 12 home games this season. A fortress, St James Park, is not. Surprisingly Newcastle have scored in 4 of their last 5 head to head match ups with City. That being said, I fully expect Rafa to keep 11 men behind the ball and leave a deep block against City. What this means is that City could be susceptible to a counter attack. It also means they’ll also be very unlikely to concede from anything other than a counter or a set-piece. This is a game in which I fully expected City to win by 3+ goals in. I would also expect Kevin de Bruyne to play a massive part in if he does start.
Defensively, you would be looking at options which are unlikely to be rotated. Given their double gameweek against Arsenal and Everton in GW25, Ederson and Laporte are two of the only defensive options in which you believe will get a lot of minutes. Man City have this week’s highest expectancy to keep a clean sheet. The Citizens have a 56.05% chance of keeping a clean sheet.
Liverpool have conceded 13 goals in their opening 23 games this season. 23% of those goals came in their gameweek 23 fixture against Crystal Palace. With a home tie against Leicester they will be hoping that game week 23 was a freak occurrence. The reds have had injury problems as of late, with Gomez, Matip, Trent Alexander Arnold and Lovren all picking up injuries. There is hope for Liverrpool after Klopp revealed that Van Dijk and Fabinho, who have missed training due to illness, will likely recover in time GW24. Trent Alexander Arnold is still doubtful though, with Klopp saying:
“It will not be long [for Trent], but is he ready for Leicester? I don’t know, we will find out. Then it’s West Ham and then Bournemouth. After that he will be 100 per cent [back] but until then, we have to see.”
Liverpool have a 55.65% chance of keeping a clean sheet this week.
Burnley have just a 9.43% of keeping a clean sheet in game week 24. Given Ole Gunnar Solskjaer watched on in their 5-0 defeat to City, you might think he’ll have found some weaknesses in their backline. While Heaton has improved the Burnley backline, United have been in inspired form since OGS has replaced Mourinho. I was cynical, I thought that the team just wasn’t that good. But OGS has the United fanbase dreaming again. Burnley could have back to back 5-0 defeats from the Manchester sides on their hands. Unfortunate timing to play two sides in good form.
Newcastle. They play against Man City.