Chelsea v Tottenham Betting Tips (FA Cup) – Saturday 22nd April 2017

Following a 2-0 defeat at Manchester United last weekend, Chelsea are now facing a challenge from Tottenham on two fronts. Spurs have cut the gap at the top of the Premier League to just four points, and they’re hoping to put pressure on the leaders in the closing stages of the campaign. However, before the league run-in gets under way, there’s a meeting between the top two sides in England at Wembley. The Blues face a rampant Spurs side in the FA Cup semis this weekend, can they quickly bounce back from their setback at Old Trafford? Antonio Conte will be desperate to mastermind a turnaround.

Tottenham come into this match in excellent form, with pundits raving about their recent displays. However, they do fear the national stadium, despite agreeing to move to Wembley next season. In four European games at this ground this term Spurs managed one win, as they recorded early exits from both the Champions League and Europa League. That’s something the Blues can exploit here, especially given the experience Conte has at his disposal, compared to this youthful side which Pochettino has established.

Team News: Conte sweating on Courtois and Alonso

Chelsea’s plain sailing on the injury front fell apart at Old Trafford, as late injuries to Thibaut Courtois and Marcos Alonso cost them in that game. Conte will be left worrying about the fitness of both players ahead of this tie. Alonso should have recovered from his virus, which would come as a huge boost. Eden Hazard looked lost without the Spaniard’s overlapping runs, something no one else could bring to that left-hand side.

Asmir Begovic is an able deputy for Courtois, but the Blues will still want their first choice stopper restored to the starting line-up for such a massive game. While Conte was rotating in the cup, he’ll be avoiding that as much as possible. This is no time for a farewell run out for John Terry, who announced his departure this week. The club captain will leave in the summer, but he’ll be hoping to celebrate two more trophies before he moves elsewhere.

The big team news as far as Tottenham are concerned is around their set up. They have Harry Kane back, and Pochettino’s men are firing on all cylinders right now. However, they could well change their approach in an attempt to nullify Chelsea, as Jose Mourinho did to such great effect at Old Trafford.

Tottenham Form

Tottenham come into this clash in fantastic form, having won eight straight games ahead of this showdown. Spurs have scored at least twice in their last 11 matches, which puts them in a great position ahead of this clash. While their winning run is going to face stern opposition in the run in, Pochettino’s men must be full of confidence coming into this meeting.

While pundits have been falling over themselves to praise Spurs’ after their recent form, it’s worth considering that they’ve won their last two against average sides. Beating Bournemouth and Watford isn’t exactly a huge challenge, those are two poor teams who have little left to play for. Winning those matches at home isn’t something that sets them apart as title winners, although it’s kept them comfortably in the top four, and kept them in touch with the leaders. Stepping up to beat the Blues is a much tougher task.

Chelsea v Tottenham Head to Head

Chelsea will be worrying about their last meeting with Tottenham ahead of this clash, having lost 2-0 at White Hart Lane in January. That loss ended the Blues’ 13 match winning streak, and it showed how to beat the 3-4-3 for the first time since Conte switched to it. However, the leaders beat Spurs 2-1 in that run, and they have a strong record aside from that loss.

  • Tottenham 2-0 Chelsea, Jan 2017
  • Chelsea 2-1 Tottenham, Nov 2016
  • Chelsea 2-2 Tottenham, May 2016
  • Tottenham 0-0 Chelsea, Nov 2015
  • Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham, Mar 2015

Betting Tips

  • Both teams to score – 4/5 with Betfred
  • Chelsea to qualify – 5/6 with Sky Bet

Chelsea come into this game priced at 8/5 with Bet365 to win in 90 minutes, while Tottenham are priced at 9/5 with Coral to come out on top. A draw between these two is 9/4 with BetVictor, and that’s not something we can rule out. Given Tottenham’s form and the small gap between them, this clash could well go to extra time. Following Chelsea’s loss to Manchester United, the weaknesses in their 3-4-3 set up seem to have been exposed. Can the Blues find a way to get around the man marking which troubled them last weekend?

A major worry for the Blues is that their defence has been far too open of late. They’ve now conceded in 10 straight Premier League matches, which doesn’t bode well for this weekend’s clash. The Blues are facing a Tottenham side who are in great scoring form, and we expect Mauricio Pochettino’s men to find a way through. However, we’re backing the Blues to find the scoresheet, so we’re backing both teams to score at 4/5 with Betfred.

Given the Blues’ struggles at the back, it’s hard to make a case for backing them on the match betting. This could be a long clash, especially if Tottenham set up to frustrate the leaders. While we think Antonio Conte’s side will eventually come through this tie, we could see extra time or even penalties when these two meet.

Spurs have an awful record at Wembley, winning just one of their four matches here this term. That’s why we’re avoiding backing Chelsea on the match betting, and backing them to qualify for the final instead at 5/6 with Sky Bet. Overall, that seems to be much better value, and it’s a bet which could keep going through 120 minutes and then some.

Manchester United v Chelsea Betting Tips (Premier League) – Sunday 16th April 2017

Chelsea head to Old Trafford on Sunday as they head in to the Premier League run in. The league leaders are hoping to maintain their seven point advantage over Spurs, and they’ve been warned to stay focused by boss Antonio Conte. The Blues need just five more victories to take back the title they last won in 2015. Will they be able to earn one of those wins over the man who led them to that last title? This is the first time that the Blues visit Old Trafford with Jose Mourinho in the home dug-out, which should make this a fiery occasion.

The former Chelsea boss has suffered two damaging defeats to his old club already this season, the first was a 4-0 loss in their last league encounter. A defeat at Stamford Bridge last month ended the Red Devils’ FA Cup hopes, can they get revenge by putting a dent in the Blues’ title push? It would certainly make for a nervy end if Spurs were to move within four points, so a loss here could be a massive blow to the leaders’ hopes of lifting the title next month. However, United’s Europa League exertions could just swing this towards the visitors.

Team News: Conte unlikely to change ahead of final big test

Once again Antonio Conte has no injury worries ahead of the weekend, let’s hope he isn’t getting too comfortable with having a full squad. While the stability and options are pushing the Blues clear at the top, the challenge comes next season when they’re playing two games per week. However, the run in allows them enough recovery time to keep a settled side, so we expect Conte to keep the same XI which saw off Bournemouth last weekend. Having reverted back to the strongest side, it’s hard to see any reason to change ahead of one of the last big challenges which the leaders face in their title push.

Mourinho’s Manchester United are a perfect example of the problems caused by a fixture pile up. Former Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata misses out on Sunday, while Ashley Young is also unavailable. Defenders Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are out, which leaves the Red Devils looking a little short on numbers at the back. The big question is over Mourinho’s formation. Las weekend he seemed to revert to the 4-3-3 he used when he first arrived at Stamford Bridge, but we wouldn’t rule out a 3-5-2 set up, to try and match Chelsea’s midfield.

Manchester United Form

Manchester United are unbeaten in 14 Premier League matches, but they’re not winning enough games to push on into the top four. The Red Devils have drawn 56% of their outings at Old Trafford, which is mostly down to their scoring woes, with a huge overreliance on Zlatan Ibrahimovic, as shown in their toothless FA Cup loss at the Bridge last month.

United’s real success this season has been in the cups, with the League Cup won by Mourinho once again. He’s hoping to add a Europa League winners medal to their haul this term, and the Portuguese admitted that European silverware is more important than their push for fourth. He’s basically going to have to ape one of his great rivals this term, or fail completely. Does he take Arsene Wenger’s fourth place trophy, or follow in Rafa Benitez’s footsteps by leading an English giant to a second rate European trophy? It sounds like Mourinho’s nightmare.

Manchester United v Chelsea Head to Head

Before the recent Conte v Mourinho clashes, things were pretty even between these two sides. They drew both meetings last term, both of which came after Mourinho was dismissed from the Stamford Bridge dugout. The last meeting between these sides at Old Trafford was almost 16 months ago, and it’s safe to say the Blues’ fortunes have changed since then.

  • Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United, Mar 2017
  • Chelsea 4-0 Manchester United, Oct 2016
  • Chelsea 1-1 Manchester United, Feb 2016
  • Manchester United 0-0 Chelsea, Dec 2015
  • Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United, Apr 2015

Betting Tips

  • Chelsea draw no bet – 19/20 with Coral
  • Eden Hazard to score any time – 2/1 with SkyBet

This game is incredibly even according to the bookies, who can’t seem to settle on a clear favourite. Manchester United are just out in front in the betting, with Betfair making them 17/10 to take maximum points at home. However, Chelsea aren’t far behind at 9/5 with BetVictor. Meanwhile, you can back the draw at 11/5 with Bet365. Clearly there’s little between the two sides, and with United focusing elsewhere, they could well come up short at home to the leaders. We can’t see much value in the match betting, so we suggest looking elsewhere for a punt on this game.

We do like the look of Chelsea on the draw no bet market, seeing as United could be left running on empty. The Red Devils don’t have the biggest squad at their disposal right now, thanks to their injury list. That doesn’t give Mourinho a lot of options to change things between Thursday and Sunday, so we could see the leaders pulling off a result. By backing it on the draw no bet market, there’s a definite safety net. United have drawn nine of their last 13 at home in the league, so we’re backing the visitors draw no bet at 19/20 with Coral.

If anyone can inspire Chelsea to the victory, it’s Eden Hazard. Just as he did in 2015, the Belgian is picking up the slack from Diego Costa in the back half of the campaign. Once again, the Spaniard has seen his goals dry up after the turn of the year, but Hazard has scored three in his last two, all of them crucial goals. In a massive meeting with Manchester United, we expect the Belgian to make the difference. We’re backing him to score any time at 2/1 with SkyBet.

Bournemouth v Chelsea Betting Tips (Premier League) – 8th April 2017

Chelsea got their title challenge back on track following a 2-1 win over Manchester City in midweek. Can the Premier League leaders build on that when they travel to Bournemouth? Antonio Conte has demanded that his team hit the 90 point mark this season, which would mathematically seal the title for them. Tottenham are showing no signs of choking as yet, so the Blues need to take their challenge seriously for now. However, Spurs have a history of bottling things and a much tougher run in, so they’re likely to ultimately fall short of glory once again.

The Blues will be counting on all their experience in the final eight games of the campaign, starting at the Vitality Stadium. While it seems like a straightforward affair, it’s a potentially tricky one. Bournemouth are just coming back in to form after a poor run of results, and they’re likely to trouble the Blues defence here, given their strong scoring record at home. This is another potential banana skin for Conte and his team, and they’ll all be out to avoid another slip up this weekend.

Team News: Conte needs right-wing reshuffle

Chelsea haven’t had to deal with many injury problems all season, but something was always going to hit their stability eventually. Who’d have thought that the absence of Victor Moses would prove to be a huge issue? The right wing-back has no real replacement, with Pedro struggling there against Palace. Cesar Azpilicueta played there for 45 minutes against City, but he was moved centrally once Kurt Zouma came off. Conte is hoping that the Nigerian can recover in time for this trip, but if he doesn’t it’s likely that Azpilicueta will be moved once again. Pedro’s struggles from the start against Palace should keep him further up the pitch.

Bournemouth are without the suspended Tyrone Mings, while forward Callum Wilson is injured ahead of this game. Aside from that, the hosts are set to have their strongest side out, as they look to push into the top half of the table. The Cherries have been lining up in a 4-4-2 of late, which they occasionally switch to a 4-4-1-1. The Blues’ back three should have enough to deal with that attack, and it leaves the two sides evenly matched in midfield.

Bournemouth Form

Bournemouth come into this game on the back of a 2-2 draw at Liverpool on Wednesday night, claiming their fourth point against the Reds this season. They’ve drawn three of their last five matches, but that’s an improvement on their early 2017 run of form. Having recorded one draw and six defeats in seven, their recent unbeaten run has been a huge relief for manager Eddie Howe, moving the Cherries away from the drop zone.

Bournemouth have claimed wins over West Ham and Swansea in recent home games, which has helped them push up the table and move towards the top half. They troubled Arsenal in a home game late last year, going 3-0 up before slipping to a 3-3 draw. However, a 2-0 defeat at home to Manchester City shows that the Cherries can’t quite mix it with the best in current form. They’re mostly picking off sides below them as they push for survival.

Bournemouth v Chelsea Head to Head

There have been just three recent meetings between these two sides, and they didn’t get off to the best of starts for the Blues. A 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge was part of Jose Mourinho’s tough third season here. Guus Hiddink avenged that defeat by winning 4-1 in their only trip to the Vitality, before a 3-0 win earlier this season kept up the Blues’ brilliant winning run after their tactical switch. Can they record a third straight victory when they travel to the south coast this weekend?

  • Chelsea 3-0 Bournemouth, Dec 2016
  • Bournemouth 1-4 Chelsea, Apr 2016
  • Chelsea 0-1 Bournemouth, Dec 2015

Betting Tips

  • Both teams to score – 10/11 with Betfred
  • Chelsea to win & BTTS – 12/5 with Coral

Chelsea can be backed at 3/5 with Sky Bet ahead of the late game on Saturday. The hosts are 6/1 outsiders with Betfair, while BetVictor price the draw at 16/5. The league leaders are clearly expected to avoid a slip-up in consecutive weekends, but will they get over the line against the Cherries? Having conceded in both meetings last term, it’s easy to see Thibaut Courtois being troubling in the Blues net once again, given how exposed he has been in recent weeks. All of a sudden, the defenders in front of him are looking a little unreliable.

Obviously there’s a possible selection worry at the back for Antonio Conte, but the problems date back much further than Moses’ injury. It’s now eight straight league games without a clean sheet for the leaders, which is a worrying run of form. They take on a Bournemouth side who scored twice at Anfield on Wednesday, one who score 1.73 goals per game at home this season. They’ve found the net in 80% of their home league outings, and we expect another goal for the Cherries. We’re backing both teams to score for the ninth straight occasion for the Blues in the Premier League, and that’s priced at 10/11 with Betfred.

While the Blues are likely to concede again, we can’t see that stopping them from taking maximum points. They can’t afford to slip up with Tottenham in hot pursuit of top spot, and their manager has demanded six wins from the final eight games of the season. We’re backing the visitors to win and concede in this game, something they’ve made a habit of after their recent poor showings at the back. The Blues haven’t won a league game to nil since January, so we’re backing Chelsea to win and both teams to score, which is 12/5 with Coral.

Chelsea v Manchester City Betting Tips (Premier League) – 5th April 2017

Chelsea’s hopes of winning the Premier League suffered a blow in a 2-1 home defeat by Crystal Palace at the weekend. The Blues were given plenty of time to claw back that disadvantage, but they failed to break through Sam Allardyce’s well organised side. They have a quick opportunity to bounce back, and this time they aren’t up against what would be described as an organised defence. Manchester City, fresh from drawing 2-2 at Arsenal on Sunday, are the visitors to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night. Will they make it back to back defeats for Antonio Conte?

These are two sides who aren’t exactly keen on each other, as shown by the scenes towards the end of their first encounter this season. There’s still a chance that Chelsea could meet City in the FA Cup final, so this might not be their final clash of the campaign. However, this match is crucial for Conte and his team, they can’t allow Tottenham to move within four points of top spot. Can the Blues complete a double over City?

Team News: Will Conte ring the changes after Palace shock?

The slip up against Palace has probably raised quite a few questions for Conte ahead of this game. The Italian said he thought his side deserved a draw, but even that wouldn’t be enough to keep the former Juve boss happy. He’ll have demanded answers, and he could make a few changes after keeping a mostly settled side this term. Victor Moses should recover to reclaim his spot at right wing-back. One of N’Golo Kante, Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas should drop out, with the Serbian seriously underperforming against Palace.

Pep Guardiola is making odd team selections a routine these days. His choice of Jesus Navas at right-back must be something Blues fans are desperate to see repeated. Eden Hazard going up against Navas would certainly be entertaining. City lined up with an impressive front four at the Emirates, with David Silva, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane in support of Sergio Aguero. That attack would certainly cause problems for the Chelsea back three.

Manchester City Form

Manchester City find themselves fourth in the table, certainly not where they expected to be under Pep Guardiola. They come into this game having won just one of their last five, which was an FA Cup win over Middlesbrough. In that time they crashed out of the Champions League, while the Citizens have slipped up in crucial games against their rivals for a spot in the top four. Will this be another tough game for them against a top side?

City have managed just one victory from their last nine matches against sides in the top seven of the Premier League. While they beat Arsenal at home in December, their five matches since against top sides have seen them claim just three points. That’s hardly the kind of record City would have expected when they splashed out on Guardiola, and when they basically gave him a blank cheque to remodel the squad.

While he has long term ambitions, it’s those kinds of matches which really test his abilities as a manager. Going into this meeting with the best side in the Premier League, there’s little hope for them turning around that rotten run of form any time soon. To make matters worse, this is their penultimate meeting with one of the top sides in England this season in the league.

Chelsea v Manchester City Head to Head

Chelsea struck a huge blow to Pep Guardiola’s side in a fiery 3-1 victory at the Etihad. That was a key moment in the Blues’ brilliant run of form earlier in the season, while City clearly cracked in that loss. They had two players sent off late on in that defeat, just how is that going to affect them ahead of this trip to the Bridge?

  • Manchester City 1-3 Chelsea, Dec 2016
  • Chelsea 0-3 Manchester City, Apr 2016
  • Chelsea 5-1 Manchester City, Feb 2016
  • Manchester City 3-0 Chelsea, Aug 2015
  • Chelsea 1-1 Manchester City, Jan 2015

Betting Tips

  • Diego Costa to score – evens with Coral
  • Chelsea to win – 7/5 with BetVictor

Chelsea will surely take confidence from City’s awful record in big games, with Guardiola’s side clearly lacking something to get them over the line. It wasn’t too long ago when people were saying that Conte’s side were unable to claim big results. Their win at City changed all that, and Chelsea will be hoping to see off the Citizens once again and get their season back on track. After all, the Blues have won 86% of their home matches in the league so far.

City are going to be relying on Sergio Aguero here, a man who has suddenly hit form, but the Blues have their own leading man up front. Diego Costa has been in excellent shape all season, and he will be aiming to add to his strike against the Citizens at the Etihad earlier this season. When you look at the problems City have been having at the back, it’s hard to see the Spanish forward not getting a chance to add to his goal tally for the season. Despite that, Costa is priced at evens with Coral to score any time, which seems like great value.

Given City’s poor record in big games, we’re siding with the leaders to bounce back this weekend. Barring last season, Chelsea have always been a team who can bounce back after a shocking defeat like that. It’s a quality which helped them to numerous trophies in the past, and it might just seal the Premier League title if they can see off City. Given their excellent home record, and the fact that City have one point from their last four away to top seven sides, we like the look of a home win at 7/5 with BetVictor.

Chelsea v Crystal Palace Betting Tips (Premier League) – 1st April 2017

Chelsea return to action following the international break and they’ll be eager to get another win under their belt as they seek to win the title as soon as possible. The Premier League leaders take on Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge, with the Eagles just hitting form.

While the Blues have been lucky to avoid injuries all season, they are going to have to deal with a number of players returning from all corners of the globe with varying levels of fatigue. Can Antonio Conte deal with that, and lead his men to another crucial league victory? They’ll be hoping to extend their 10 point lead at the summit of the table.

Palace have seen their results pick up under Sam Allardyce, which makes this a tricky game for Conte and co. On the bright side, they do have a 13 game winning run at their own ground to back them up. That’s a run of victories which has taken them top of the table and into an FA Cup semi-final. With the sides below them facing some tough matches this weekend, this is a must win clash for Chelsea. Can they claim some revenge for their loss to the Eagles in their last visit to this ground?

Team News: Conte faces selection worries after international break

Eden Hazard is Chelsea’s only absentee at the minute, as the winger missed the international break through injury. He was unable to meet up with the Belgium squad, facing a couple of weeks on the side-lines. That was after Hazard missed the Blues’ last match against Stoke. In addition to the Belgian, Conte is going to have concerns over a couple of his international stars. Diego Costa and Pedro were both away with Spain, while Willian linked up with Brazil. Keeping a stable team has been key to Conte’s side this term, but they may have a few stars coming in to this game struggling for fitness.

Palace are without a few players ahead of this trip to Stamford Bridge. Loic Remy, on loan at Selhurst Park from Chelsea, is unavailable for this clash. Mathieu Flamini, Connor Wickham and Pape Souare are all set to miss out. The Eagles set up with a 4-2-3-1 against Watford last time out. Despite winning that clash, Palace were dominated in possession. They can expect a similar sort of game away to the best side in the division, so that formation might just cause problems this weekend.

Crystal Palace Form

Crystal Palace have moved out of the bottom three after a strong run of form. They’ve won three straight games under Sam Allardyce, moving them up to 16th in the table. The Eagles are now four points clear of the drop, with the former England boss set to complete another remarkable turnaround. They claimed back to back home wins over Middlesbrough and Watford, two sides who were in awful form coming in to clashes with the Eagles. Those were two straightforward games, although they did claim three points away to West Brom in their last trip.

That win was impressive for Palace, and it showed signs of much needed improvement from Allardyce’s team. However, travelling to Stamford Bridge is a huge step up for them to face. Wins against struggling, out of form sides isn’t going to prep them for a clash with top of the table Chelsea. Having won just two of their last 11 trips, including losing at Arsenal and Tottenham, Palace can’t hold out much hope for a result on Saturday.

Chelsea v Crystal Palace Head to Head

The Blues have a solid record against Palace, barring their home defeat in 2015. That was part of their awful title defence, which allowed plenty of sides to pull off a result at Stamford Bridge. The meeting between these two earlier this season was a real battle, with a goal from Diego Costa settling things. That clash came during the Alan Pardew reign at Selhurst Park, which ended very poorly for the Eagles. They’ve seen an improvement under Allardyce, but can that lead to another shock win?

  • Crystal Palace 0-1 Chelsea, 17th Dec 2016
  • Crystal Palace 0-3 Chelsea, 3rd Jan 2016
  • Chelsea 1-2 Crystal Palace, 29th Aug 2015
  • Chelsea 1-0 Crystal Palace, 3rd May 2015
  • Crystal Palace 1-2 Chelsea, 18th October 2014

Betting Tips

  • Willian to score any time – 7/4 with BetVictor
  • Chelsea to win and both teams to score – 12/5 with Coral

Chelsea come into this game as the 3/10 favourites with Betfred, so clearly the bookies aren’t predicting another win for the visitors at Stamford Bridge. The visitors are 10/1 with Ladbrokes to repeat their win here from 2015, while a draw is priced at 4/1 with Bet365. We aren’t going to back the leaders on the win market, we’re looking elsewhere for value on this clash.

While the Blues have concerns over Eden Hazard’s fitness, their trip to Stoke proved that they can survive without the Belgian. That 2-1 win at the Bet365 saw Willian score from a free kick, something which hasn’t been as common this term. The Brazilian lost his place in the team earlier in the campaign, but with Hazard missing he should get a rare start at the Bridge. Having found the net last time out, we think it’s worth backing Willian to chip in with another goal. The winger is priced at 7/4 with BetVictor to score any time this weekend.

Given the results Palace have been picking up of late, they should be confident ahead of this trip. The Eagles will be hoping to take advantage of the Blues’ poor defensive record, which has seen them concede in their last six league outings. That poor run hasn’t cost them points, as Conte’s men have enough quality to fight back after conceding. The leaders score close to three goals per game at Stamford Bridge, so we’re backing a home win and both teams to score at 12/5 with Coral.

Stoke v Chelsea Betting Tips (Premier League) – 18th March 2017

Can Chelsea build on their FA Cup quarter final victory over Manchester United when they face Stoke at the weekend? They make the trip to the Potteries on Saturday, as they aim to continue their push for the Premier League title. After their win over the Red Devils on Monday night, there’s a very real possibility that Antonio Conte’s men can end the season with a league and cup double. However, they need to keep their focus in the remaining weeks, with a queue of top sides lining up behind them.

With Liverpool facing Manchester City, another one of the top four is guaranteed to drop points this weekend. That can boost the Blues’ position at the top of the table, as long as they can see off Stoke this weekend. This will be a brand new test for Conte, but he’s built a side which should be able to withstand any challenge they face at the Bet365 Stadium. This trip is their final match of the month, can they round off an impressive run in March by winning against the Potters?

Team News: Changes unlikely after cup success

It’s hard to see Antonio Conte making too many changes for this game. He kept his full strength side for the clash with Manchester United, bringing in Willian for Pedro and Nemanja Matic for Cesc Fabregas. Those two switches helped them to victory over a top six rival, and they should help them through a difficult away trip. The combination of Matic and N’Golo Kante in midfield is a bruising partnership, while Willian offers more tracking back. That leaves more room for Eden Hazard, who’ll play in support of Diego Costa. Conte isn’t going to feel the need to change from that, especially with no club game for another two weeks.

Mark Hughes doesn’t have the same injury free squad as Conte. They’re missing first choice goalkeeper Jack Butland, while Xherdan Shaqiri is also out for the Potters. They’ve been lining up in a 4-2-3-1 formation of late, which sees Peter Crouch as their main focal point in attack. The forward has caused plenty of problems for Chelsea in the past, including a goal at Stamford Bridge earlier this season. However, just how will that setup fare at home to the 3-4-3 system employed by the league leaders?

Stoke Form

Stoke come into this game in patchy form, following a 0-0 draw with Manchester City. That point was a solid result, but the Potters had their backs to the wall at the Etihad. While that was a hard earned point, they have still won just two of their last seven matches. An early exit in the FA Cup was a serious blow to their campaign. They lost 2-0 at home to Championship side Wolves, who Chelsea then dumped out a couple of rounds later.

Stoke are currently ninth in the Premier League, which would represent a good finish to the campaign, after a poor start. Hughes was under pressure at the Bet365 earlier this season, but he’s managed to straighten things out for the Potters. They’ve been in pretty mixed form at this ground so far, winning six of their 14 home league matches. Unlike in previous years, most of those victories have been against weaker sides, with no big scalps of note. Heavy defeats to Tottenham home and away have shown that Stoke have fallen slightly, after once possessing a fortress like home record.

Stoke v Chelsea Head to Head

Recent meetings between these two sides have been very mixed, including a couple of poor results for the Blues away to Stoke in the past. A league defeat and a penalty shootout loss here in 2015 didn’t do much for Jose Mourinho’s hopes of holding on to his job. The Blues did claim a victory in their last meeting, which proved more difficult for the league leaders than they’d imagined.

  • Chelsea 4-2 Stoke, Dec 2016
  • Chelsea 1-1 Stoke, Mar 2016
  • Stoke 1-0 Chelsea, Nov 2015
  • Stoke 1-1 Chelsea, Oct 2015
  • Chelsea 2-1 Stoke, Apr 2015

Betting Tips

  • Both teams to score – evens with Betfred
  • Chelsea to win and over 2.5 goals – 31/20 with Coral

Chelsea come into this match as 8/13 favourites with Sky Bet, despite travelling to the Bet365 Stadium. While this tends to be a tough place to go, Stoke are priced at 11/2 with BetVictor to get a result here. Meanwhile, Betfair are offering 3/1 on the draw. It’s telling that the Blues are such heavy favourites in this kind of difficult fixture. While trips to Stoke aren’t as difficult as they once were. Can the Blues take full advantage of some patchy Stoke form and continue their push towards the Premier League title?

Chelsea should be worried about their defensive record of late, after conceding in their last five Premier League matches. They struggled against Stoke’s attack in their previous meeting, despite coming out 4-2 winners. Hughes’ men found a way around an excellent Blues defence, and they’ll be confident of scoring against a side who have looked more open in recent weeks. The leaders should be able to find the net in this game, after scoring in 86% of their league matches. That’s why we’re backing both teams to score, which is priced at evens with Betfred.

Chelsea should still take the points, despite their problems at the back. Stoke are a side who look vulnerable, especially against those at the top of the table. While we see Stoke getting a goal, their recent form against Tottenham, two 4-0 defeats this term, makes us think that Conte’s men will be able to hit a few goals. After all, 63% of their league matches this term have seen over 2.5 goals. That’s why we’re backing an away win and over 2.5 goals, which is priced at 31/20 with Coral.

Chelsea v Manchester United Betting Tips (FA Cup) – 13th March 2017

A second consecutive Monday night clash for Chelsea sees them welcome back Jose Mourinho to Stamford Bridge. The former Blues boss will be looking to improve on his last visit here, which ended in a demoralising 4-0 defeat. There’s considerably more on the line this time around, as the Red Devils come here aiming to book a place in the semi-finals of the FA Cup. This tie pits the Premier League leaders against the League Cup winners, but which will move closer to the FA Cup final?

Antonio Conte will be aiming to complete a league and cup double, reminiscent of Carlo Ancelotti’s first season in charge. After their win at West Ham last week, the Blues seem to be uncatchable at the summit of the Premier League. United certainly can’t get near them, something even the belligerent Mourinho has admitted. He has tried some mind games, suggesting that the Blues have already won the league, allowing them to completely focus on this huge game. For United, this is sandwiched in between two Europa League games against Russian side Rostov.

Team News: Conte to end cup rotation while United plug striking gap

Antonio Conte has made quite a few changes to his team in the FA Cup so far, but the line-ups he’s named have become gradually stronger as the rounds went on. As we predicted ahead of the Wolves tie, this is likely to be the time when the first team turns up in the cup. This a huge tie between two big contenders for the competition, and Conte has no reason to rest players here. Rotating would cancel out their big advantage over Mourinho’s side, as the Blues have a fully fit squad once again. It’s likely we’ll see a similar team to the one which hammered United last time the sides met.

Mourinho has a couple of things to juggle in this game. While he’d prefer to win another FA Cup than the Europa League, the Champions League place on offer in the later makes it United’s priority. With two tricky Europa League games either side of this match, expect the Red Devils to make a few changes for this tie. They have one major enforced change to worry about, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic starting a three game domestic ban. He’s been key to their season so far, so the Swede will be a massive miss for the visitors.

Manchester United Form

Manchester United come into this game on the back of a 1-1 draw against Bournemouth in their last domestic outing. That result was a big blow to their Champions League hopes, which suits Chelsea even more. United slipped three points off Liverpool, and they could be as many as six points off fourth by the time this one kicks off. That heightens the importance of the Europa League to them, devaluing this competition. Their main priority has to be their two methods of returning to the Champions League, and their form of late hasn’t been good enough to secure that.

United’s recent big wins, over Saint Etienne in the Europa League and Southampton in the EFL Cup final, came via brilliance from Ibrahimovic. The Swede scored six in his last five matches. Without him, you have to ask how Mourinho’s side will fare. He’s scored 38% of their league goals this term, while he hit the winner at Blackburn in the last round. While they’ve been getting results of late, this is going to be a very different side.

Chelsea v Manchester United Head to Head

That win over United in October is the obvious stand out in their recent encounters. Aside from that, the other clashes between these sides have been fairly tight. Neither of the meetings between these two last term came with Mourinho in charge, the 0-0 at Old Trafford was around a week after his dismissal.

  • Chelsea 4-0 Man United, Oct 2016
  • Chelsea 1-1 Man United, Feb 2016
  • Man United 0-0 Chelsea, Dec 2015
  • Chelsea 1-0 Man United, Apr 2015
  • Man United 1-1 Chelsea, Nov 2014

Betting Tips

  • Over 1.5 Chelsea goals – 11/10 with Betfair
  • Diego Costa to score any time – 11/10 with Sky Bet

BetVictor are pricing the Blues as the 5/6 favourites for this game, no doubt in part to United’s other commitments. The lack of Zlatan Ibrahimovic should make a major difference, that’s seen United drift out to 7/2 with Coral to win at the Bridge. This game would go to extra time if drawn, after the FA scrapped quarter final replays, and Bet365 make it 13/5 for this clash to be level after 90 minutes. Neither side would want the extra hassle of that, but they’ll both be desperate to book a place in the last four. The bookies seem to believe that Conte’s men are going to progress, but we’re looking elsewhere for value on this clash.

Following Chelsea’s hammering of United here last time out, the Blues have been in excellent scoring form at home. They hit eight in two home FA Cup ties, while they’ve scored two or more in their last seven outings at Stamford Bridge. Since that win over the Red Devils in October, they’ve scored three or more in 70% of matches at this ground. We can see the travel weary United conceding another couple here, so we’re backing over 1.5 goals for the hosts, which is very well priced at 11/10 with Betfair.

We’re also backing Diego Costa to score one of those goals, following his strike at the London Stadium. You have to wonder just how much louder the outcry would have been if was Costa and not Ibrahimovic elbowing for revenge last weekend. However, the Spaniard is a changed man, and he’s in lethal scoring form. We can see him putting United to the sword, and getting one over Mourinho. He’s priced at 11/10 with Sky Bet to score in the match.

West Ham v Chelsea Betting Tips (Premier League) – 6th March 2017

Chelsea play after their rivals in the Premier League this weekend, as they travel to West Ham on Tuesday. The Blues will be aiming to build on the 10 point gap they opened up last weekend, especially as we get close to the run in. This game represents one of their biggest remaining away tests, having travelled to Man City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs already. The Blues haven’t found trips to West Ham easy in recent years, but how will they fare at the Olympic Stadium?

Chelsea did lose their first trip to this ground, which came in the EFL Cup back in October. That’s the only competition that the Blues have been eliminated from so far this season, as they aim to win the league and cup double in Antonio Conte’s first season in charge. Taking the points here could be a huge step forward for their aim of sealing the championship, especially as they’ll know how their rivals have done when they step out at the London Stadium on Monday night. However, you can bet that the hosts will be up for this game, seeing as they have so little aside from local pride to play for.

Team News: Conte to return to London Stadium with reinforcements

Once again Conte can pick from his full squad, but he’s unlikely to make too many changes. Cesc Fabregas started and scored against Swansea, but this might be the kind of game where Nemanja Matic and N’Golo Kante are needed in the middle. Otherwise, this should be the usual team taking on the Hammers. That makes quite a change from the rotated side who lost 2-1 at this ground in the League Cup. That game was one of Conte’s early outings with the 3-4-3, only with a weakened side. Can the full strength team step up and claim revenge for that defeat? Given how brilliant they’ve been since the defensive switch, they should come here full of confidence.

West Ham’s season has been hampered by injuries, and they’re still missing a few players ahead of this game on Monday. Former Chelsea man Gokhan Tore is out injured, alongside Diafra Sakho. Angelo Ogbonna is also injured ahead of this game, while key man Michail Antonio is suspended after being sent off at Watford last weekend. The former Nottingham Forest man was linked with a move across London to Stamford Bridge in January. His attacking talent and ability to play at right back made him a potential right wing back, and he would have been a real thorn in the Blues’ defence had he appeared here.

West Ham Form

West Ham have had a turbulent time since their switch to the Olympic Stadium in the summer. What should have been a bright new start for them has been very problematic, and they’ve slumped down the table as a result. They’ve won just 38% of their Premier League matches since their move to the new ground. They’ve lost just as many games, while they’ve crashed out of the Europa League and FA Cup in disappointing defeats at their new home.

Things haven’t exactly picked up for the Hammers of late, as they’ve won just one of their last five home matches. While they saw off a struggling Crystal Palace side, they have conceded nine times in two meetings with Man City. They also slipped to a defeat against Manchester United, and drew 2-2 with West Brom. This ground is far from a fortress, so the Blues should have no fear ahead of this trip.

West Ham v Chelsea Head to Head

Recent meetings between these two sides have been quite mixed, especially last season. The Hammers were on the rise last term, and that led to them taking four points in the two league matches, and they were unlucky not to win in their match at Stamford Bridge. However, the Blues opened their title push with a 2-1 win over West Ham, and they’ll be hoping to maintain their lead at the top with another victory.

  • West Ham 2-1 Chelsea, 26th Oct 2016
  • Chelsea 2-1 West Ham, 15th Aug 2016
  • Chelsea 2-2 West Ham, 19th Mar 2016
  • West Ham 2-1 Chelsea, 24th Nov 2015
  • West Ham 0-1 Chelsea, 4th Mar 2015

Betting Tips

  • Chelsea to win and over 2.5 goals – 11/8 with Coral
  • Diego Costa to score first – 10/3 with SkyBet

The Blues come into this game as 4/7 favourites with Ladbrokes, while West Ham are 19/4 outsiders with Bet365. That clearly points towards an away win, but we aren’t going to back the leaders at that price. While their full strength team should be able to reverse that 2-1 away defeat, we can see this being another high scoring encounter between these two sides.

Both meetings between the east-west rivals this term have seen three goals scored, while the last four encounters between them have seen at least three goals. The Hammers have been conceding far too many against the top sides, with Arsenal and City both racking up five goals in their recent visits here. The Blues should be confident of scoring a couple, but they have conceded in four straight league matches. While we’re backing an away win, we’re also going with at least three goals. Chelsea to win and over 2.5 is priced at 11/8 with Coral.

One man worth keeping an eye on is wing back Victor Moses, who played for West Ham on loan last season. He’s priced at 4/1 with BetVictor to score against his former teammates. However, we think Diego Costa is the one to go with in the goalscorer markets. He’s hit 16 league goals, half of which have opened the scoring. We’re tipping him to make a quick impact at the London Stadium, as we’re backing the forward to score first at 10/3 with Sky Bet.

Chelsea v Swansea Betting Tips (Premier League) – 25th February 2017

Can Chelsea continue their push for the title against a former coach? Their meeting with Swansea sees a return to Stamford Bridge for Paul Clement, who took over at the Liberty Stadium last month. The former Blues assistant left a role at Bayern Munich to take over in Wales, and he’s overseen a revival in the Swans’ fortunes. They’re now out of the relegation zone, having performed well in big away games in the league. Their impressive recent performances should see them make this trip high on confidence. Can they continue their solid form away to the Premier league leaders on Saturday?

The Blues saw their lead at the top cut down to eight points in the last league weekend. Their draw at Burnley allowed Manchester City to move eight points off the top, so Chelsea can’t afford another slip. Recent weeks have seen a rotating roster of title challengers, which has worked in the leaders’ favour. Allowing any team to get too close is dangerous. Can they return to winning ways when they host the Swans? After 11 straight home victories, you’d expect that Antonio Conte’s men will take all three points.

Team News: Conte to return to full strength side

Chelsea continue to have no injury worries, which gives them a fully fit squad ahead of this home game. Last weekend saw several changes for the FA Cup tie with Wolves, with quite a few big names rested. Conte is likely to revert to his strongest side ahead of their return to league action. Nathaniel Chalobah had the unenviable task of standing in for N’Golo Kante. Expect the former Leicester man to return here, alongside the first choice back three. While they’re up against a team who are stuck towards the bottom of the Premier League, they can’t afford to rotate this weekend.

Swansea are missing long term absentee Jefferson Montero, the winger hasn’t featured since August. They’re also missing midfielders Ki Sung-yueng and Leon Britton. Paul Clement has set his team up in a 4-3-3 formation since taking over, that set up has helped them to climb the Premier League table. Will their new approach help them to cause problems at Stamford Bridge?

Swansea Form

Swansea were propping up the Premier League table back in January, which was when Clement took charge. While he suffered an early elimination in the FA Cup, their league form has been impressive. They’ve won four of six matches since Clement took over, which has seen them jump up to 15th place in the table. They now have a four point cushion on the bottom three, which represents a huge turnaround. They’ll be hoping to widen that gap this weekend. Survival looked very unlikely under Bob Bradley, so the former Chelsea assistant deserves a lot of praise for his work so far.

The Swans have made a couple of tough trips since Clement took charge too. Not only did they beat the champions Leicester at home, but they claimed three points at Anfield last month. Their 3-2 win over Liverpool was impressive, especially given the nature of their performance. The Welsh side looked assured in possession, and they controlled the tempo of the game. They came close to taking a point at Man City, as a last minute goal saw them suffer a 2-1 defeat. Clearly they won’t be overwhelmed by their trip to Stamford Bridge this weekend.

Chelsea v Swansea Head to Head

Recent meetings haven’t been kind to the Blues, they’ve won just two of their last five encounters with the Welsh side. Their 2-2 draw with the Swans here last season was the beginning of a season of turmoil. That was followed by a 1-0 defeat at the Liberty later on in the campaign. Their draw at Swansea this season was the first time the team dropped points under Conte. Can they claim revenge for that in the reverse fixture this weekend?

  • Swansea 2-2 Chelsea, Sept 2016
  • Swansea 1-0 Chelsea, Apr 2016
  • Chelsea 2-2 Swansea, Aug 2015
  • Swansea 0-5 Chelsea, Jan 2015
  • Chelsea 4-2 Swansea, Sept 2014

Betting Tips

  • Over 2.5 Chelsea goals – 23/20 at BetVictor
  • Chelsea to win and both teams to score – 2/1 at Betfred

Chelsea come into this game as heavy favourites to take the points. They are priced at 2/9 with Bet365 to take the victory, while the visitors are outsiders. The Swans are priced at 10/1 with Sky Bet, while Coral make the draw 9/2. It’s hard to see anything but a home win, given their excellent record at Stamford Bridge. While the Swans have claimed a win at Anfield, that was against an out of form Liverpool side. This will be a much tougher test despite their impressive recent record against the Pensioners.

While Clement has led to some improved results, he hasn’t done much to end the Swans’ problems at the back. They’re still the worst defence in the Premier League, having conceded eight times in their last five, despite their move up the table. The Blues have an excellent attacking record this season, and they’ll be expecting to add to that this weekend. They’ve scored three or more goals in five of their last six outings. We’re backing over 2.5 goals for the hosts, especially with Diego Costa and Eden Hazard in excellent form. That’s priced at 23/20 with BetVictor, and it seems much better than backing them on the match result market.

We’re also going with a goal from the visitors, based on their recent away trips. They’ve scored at Anfield and the Etihad in recent weeks under Clement. Swansea have scored twice in their last two visits to Stamford Bridge, so they should be confident of getting a goal here. We’re backing a home win and both teams to score, which is priced at 2/1 with Betfred. They’ve scored in seven of their last nine away, so we expect them to get a goal away to the leaders.

Wolves v Chelsea Betting Tips (FA Cup) – 18th February 2017

Can Chelsea continue to compete on two fronts when they travel to Wolves this weekend? The Blues are facing a team who have already claimed two Premier League scalps this season, which puts them in a tough position. While the visitors are the big favourites and they are expected to win with a rotated squad, they’re facing a team who have belief against top flight opposition, at a ground which will be packed full of fans hoping for a cup shock. Can Antonio Conte break hearts at Molineux on Saturday evening? A win here would be a major step towards a potential league and cup double.

This is the toughest test the Blues have faced in the FA Cup this year, after home ties against Peterborough and Brentford. However, they’ll be happy to face off against Championship opposition again, as long as they can record a similar result. We know not to expect the strongest 11 on the field here, but that can be said of both sides. Is this the end of Wolves’ fantastic FA Cup run, or are they going to claim a win over the Premier League leaders and book a place in the quarter finals?

Team News: Conte likely to ring changes ahead of this trip

Conte has made consistent changes in the FA Cup so far, despite not having to juggle European games alongside their push for the title. The lack of Champions League or Europa League duties mean that the fringe players need game time, as evidenced by Kurt Zouma’s recent comments about possibly leaving the club. The defender basically revealed that he has been promised minutes in the cup by the manager, so expect to see the big defender slot into central defence for this trip, possibly in place of David Luiz or Gary Cahill.

Given how Conte has rotated, we expect to see John Terry back, along with Nathan Ake. Hopefully Ruben Loftus-Cheek will get a little more time on the pitch, while Cesc Fabregas and Willian have both done enough for inclusion. At a certain point, the manager is likely to start fielding some first team stars in the cup, but that’s not likely to start until the quarter finals, should the Blues progress this weekend. Until then, expect the top names to be given a break ahead of their next Premier League outing.

Wolves come here without defender Mike Williamson, plus Michal Zyro and Jordan Graham are both ruled out. Despite being 18th in the Championship table, Paul Lambert is likely to make changes of his own for this clash. Even in their previous victories over Premier League outfits Stoke and Liverpool, Wolves named a rotated side from the start. That shows where their priorities are, while it also sends out a worrying message about the importance of the FA Cup. Their cup heroes so far, Andi Weimann and Helder Costa, should both feature in this clash.

Wolves Form

Wolves head into this game struggling in the Championship, despite their big money takeover last summer. They’ve spent quite a bit in the second tier, and tried to pull off some big moves, but former Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert was brought in to stabilise the club. Back to back defeats have left them in trouble, as they’re just six points above the drop zone. They could be set for a dreaded relegation into the third tier, not long after stating their aim to make the top flight.

Part of Wolves’ troubles this season has been their home form. They head into this cup tie having pulled off both their shocks away from home, which explains how they were able to beat top flight opposition. They’ve lost half of their Championship games at Molineux this season, conceding 1.64 goals per game and picking up just 1.07 points per match. That’s not good enough to trouble Chelsea, they’ll have to up their game in order to cause another shock on Saturday.

Wolves v Chelsea Head to Head

These sides haven’t met since 2012, the last encounter being a painful one for the side from the West Midlands. As one would expect, Chelsea have had the better of the most recent meetings between the pair.

  • Chelsea 6-0 Wolves, Sept 2012
  • Wolves 1-2 Chelsea, Jan 2012
  • Chelsea 3-0 Wolves, Nov 2011
  • Wolves 1-0 Chelsea, Jan 2011
  • Chelsea 2-0 Wolves, Oct 2010

Betting Tips

  • Both teams to score – 17/20 with Coral
  • Chelsea -1.5 Asian Handicap – 43/40 with Bet365

The Blues are the obvious favourites, priced at 4/11 with BetVictor, while the hosts are 13/2 with Sky Bet to cause a shock. There’s quite a gulf between the two sides, which is all too clear judging by their differing league campaigns. While the cup is the great leveller, can it really put a side fighting relegation to League One up against the Premier League leaders and see a shock? It’s hard to see anything but an away win, although those 4/11 odds aren’t exactly great value.

While the Blues are heavy favourites, we can still see them conceding a goal here. They’re up against a team who have recently recorded cup shocks, plus they’re a side with nothing to lose. Wolves never thought they’d get this far, and now they have a huge game against the potential champions of England. They should have a go at this rotated Chelsea defence, and we’re backing them to score, given that they’ve found the net in 70% of their league games this season, and scored four times in two away trips to top flight teams.

However, we’re backing the gulf in quality to shine through in the final score. The Blues have scored four times in each of their FA Cup games so far, winning by at least three goals in each. They’ve won by two or more in 63% of their league victories, and they should find things easier against the Championship’s second worst home record. That has us backing the visitors with a -1.5 Asian Handicap, which is priced at a decent 43/40 with Bet365.