Chelsea v Manchester United Betting Tips (FA Cup Final) – 19th May 2018

Chelsea head into this weekend’s FA Cup final on the back of a 3-0 hammering to Newcastle last weekend. The Blues finished the season by blowing their top four hopes, falling apart in the last week of the campaign. However, the damage was done much earlier, as the failure to invest last summer came back to bite the club. The side had little to offer other than the approach which many had already worked out how to counter, and as a result the Blues have looked predictable across the campaign.

Antonio Conte needs to change that this weekend, in what is set to be his final game in charge. The Italian is widely expected to depart following Saturday’s meeting with Man United and Jose Mourinho at Wembley, given that he bears the brunt of many of the club’s failings. Will he head out with silverware, as Chelsea look to go one better than last season in this competition?

Team News: Will Tinkering Conte Make Changes for Finale?

Chelsea have limited worries ahead of this one, with David Luiz likely to sit out yet again. The Brazilian defender is missing out on the World Cup after a tough season at the Bridge, and he’s likely waiting for a managerial change in the summer as he looks to resurrect his career. The only other player to miss out on Saturday in Ethan Ampadu, but this clash might have come a little too early in his promising career for the Welshman to feature.

The big issue for Conte again is the choice between a 3-4-3 or adding another body in central midfield, which he’s done in consecutive weekends. Against this United side, he may prioritise safety, leaving Eden Hazard and either Olivier Giroud or Alvaro Morata acting as the front two.

Man United have no players ruled out yet, but they do have doubts around Romelu Lukaku and Marouane Felliani this weekend. They could also miss French forward Anthony Martial, with the striker being linked with a summer switch to Stamford Bridge, having fallen out of favour under Mourinho. There are suggestions that the Portuguese will aim to mirror the Chelsea set up, with a potential three-man defence taking the field for the Red Devils this weekend.

Man United Form

Man United finished the season with a narrow win at home to Watford, days after a 0-0 draw at West Ham. They’ve limped across the finish line in the top flight, having won one, drawn one and lost one of their last three, seeing just two goals scored across those games. Their recent defeat at Brighton came with a much changed side, but it did mean that the Red Devils lost away at all three promoted sides this term, along with losing at home to bottom side West Brom, and drawing at Stoke. While they signed Romelu Lukaku to fix their issues against the worst sides in the division, United continue to struggle against unambitious sides.

Even if United had won all five of those matches mentioned, they’d have still finished five points shy of Man City. The Citizens have set a high bar this term, and United have struggled to match it. They’ve proved this term that there’s little between the four or five sides directly behind City, which is a worry for the likes of Tottenham and United, with Chelsea and Arsenal looking to rejuvenate this summer. The Red Devils have issues this weekend and next season, based on their inconsistency this term.

Chelsea v Man United Head to Head

The Red Devils won the previous meeting, but Antonio Conte has won three of the five meetings he has had with Jose Mourinho. Should the Italian be departing this summer, then he’ll be looking to head out with a positive record against a man who he has had plenty of fare ups with during a two season spell in England.

  • Manchester United 2-1 Chelsea, Feb 2018
  • Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United, Nov 2017
  • Manchester United 2-0 Chelsea, Apr 2017
  • Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United, Mar 2017
  • Chelsea 4-0 Manchester United, Oct 2016

Betting Tips

  • Under 2.5 Goals – 4/7 with BetVictor
  • Olivier Giroud to Score – 5/2 with Bet365

Manchester United are favourites for the clash at Wembley, as they come into this one priced at 8/5 with Coral to win this one in 90 minutes. Meanwhile, the Blues are 15/8 with Ladbrokes to claim another trophy, while this game is 2/1 with Betfred to go to extra time. United remain the favourites for glory, with Betfair making them 11/13 to lift the trophy via any means. The bookies are having a tough time picking between these two Premier League giants ahead of Saturday’s final. Can the Blues edge what is likely to be a close encounter?

Jose Mourinho is likely to make this a tight game, given his record in cup finals. The two managers are both conservative by their nature, and we could see Conte starting with three central midfielders to flood the middle of the park. We are expecting both sides to go with a cautious approach in this one, so we think it’s worth backing a low scoring affair. Under 2.5 goals is our first tip on this weekend’s cup final, which can be found at 4/7 with BetVictor.

Conte will have to pick between Morata and Giroud this weekend, and that pick will be crucial in what could prove a very close game. We can’t see any reason to go with the Spaniard, when you consider that the Frenchman has a brilliant Wembley record and remains unbeaten here, so Giroud should get the nod. With a strong record at this ground and in the FA Cup, Giroud is our pick to score, and he’s really well priced at 5/2 with Bet365.

Newcastle v Chelsea Betting Tips (Premier League) – 13th May 2018

After all of their hard work to get back into the top four race, Chelsea blew their Champions League hopes with a woeful display against Huddersfield. The Terriers secured their Premier League survival with a draw at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night, and that’s left the Blues with a difficult final weekend of the campaign on Sunday, as they need to win at St James’ Park and hope for a Brighton victory at Anfield in order to finish in the top four. That would be a big twist for the Reds, who have an unbeaten record at Anfield this term.

All Antonio Conte’s side can do this weekend is win in their trip to the North East, which will at least restore some momentum ahead of the FA Cup final. The draw with the Terriers summed up the issues which have plagued the Blues all season, with poor defensive errors, toothless attacking play and a lack of alternative approaches. That’s what has cost them so far this season, but will they get the chance to turn things around on the final day?

Team News: Conte to Restore First Team for Finale

The Blues went into their midweek clash without Olivier Giroud or Eden Hazard, which looks like a major mistake following the result. We expect Conte to fix that mistake this weekend, with his strongest team set to take the field on Sunday. However, they will be down in one area, as Thibaut Courtois is a doubt for this weekend. Meanwhile, David Luiz is ruled out of the final weekend game, he’ll likely be focusing on next season’s league campaign, given Conte’s likely exit during the summer.

Newcastle head here without former Chelsea man Christian Atsu, while Blues loanee Kenedy is missing against his parent club. The Brazilian has enjoyed an impressive spell in the North East, which has now come to an end. Another loanee who is set to depart is Leicester’s Islam Slimani, who is set to start for the Toon after coming back from suspension. Aside from that, the only other worry the hosts have is Ciaran Clark, who remains a doubt for this one.

Newcastle Form

Newcastle managed to start an inspired run of form in order to move to safety, but getting away from the drop zone has only made them complacent. They’ve now lost four straight matches ahead of the final game, with their place in the top flight secured. They’re still doing well just to stay in the division, given their Championship quality squad and lack of investment. Benitez turned them into a brilliant defensive unit to launch an unbeaten run, but they’ve been unable to sustain that form.

Losses to Tottenham, Watford, West Brom and Everton have all showed how the Magpies are struggling in the final stages, with their players casting an eye towards their summer break. The hosts have won as many matches as they’ve lost at home this term, while they’ve seen their fair share of low scoring matches at St James’, with 67% of their home outings finishing with less than three goals being scored, and with a tough finish to the season they’re going to likely approach this one with an eye on frustrating their opponents after their awful run of form.

Newcastle v Chelsea Head to Head

A string of home wins have given Chelsea an impressive record against the Magpies, and the Blues have claimed two victories over them already this season, after meeting them in the FA Cup. These two last met at this ground back in 2015, when Chelsea drew 2-2 with Newcastle during their troubled title defence. The manner of the Blues’s victories already this term has shown the gulf between these two, with the Pensioners hitting three goals in each of those wins.

  • Chelsea 3-0 Newcastle, Jan 2018
  • Chelsea 3-1 Newcastle, Dec 2017
  • Chelsea 5-1 Newcastle, Feb 2016
  • Newcastle 2-2 Chelsea, Sep 2015
  • Chelsea 2-0 Newcastle, Jan 2015

Betting Tips

  • Chelsea to win – 4/6 with Ladbrokes
  • Chelsea to win and Under 2.5 – 29/10 with Coral

Chelsea may not have much chance of finishing in the top four, but they’re still being backed to win their final league match of the season. The Blues can be backed at 4/6 with Ladbrokes to win at St James’ Park, while the home side are priced at 9/2 with Bet365 to claim three points in front of their own support. The draw is priced up at 14/5 with Coral, making Conte’s side the clear pick from the bookies. However, will they follow up on the favourites tag and finish the season by seeing off the out of form Magpies?

While the Blues’ weakened side slipped up in midweek, that ended a five game winning run. Boss Conte tinkered with a winning formula, which left his side struggling to retain their rhythm for their final home match of the campaign. He is set to use his strongest XI for this one, even if it is too late for them to leap into the top four. We still expect them to finish the season with three points, and at 4/6 with Ladbrokes, the Blues seem like good value for a victory this weekend.

Newcastle aren’t in great form here, and we can’t see them putting up a huge fight on Sunday. They’ve got nothing left to play for after securing their safety, and the club already seem to have turned their focus towards the summer transfer window, and the future of Benitez. We expect them to be shaded out by a Chelsea side who need to finish with a victory, and given that the Magpies have lost 1-0 in three of their last four games, we think you can get great value on an away win, with under 2.5 goals to be scored in the match.

Chelsea v Huddersfield Betting Tips (Premier League) – 9th May 2018

Chelsea kept their top four hopes alive on Sunday, after a 1-0 victory over Champions League finalists Liverpool. The Blues are now guaranteed to finish at least level on points with the Reds if they can win their two remaining games of the season. Meanwhile, they’ve closed the gap to fourth placed Tottenham to just two points, although Spurs also have two matches left to play, compared to Liverpool’s one. While Chelsea are back in the frame, the fact that the other two sides are at home in all of their remaining fixtures makes things quite difficult for them to turn it around.

The hosts will still want to finish on a high, even if they’re going to be kicking themselves for past slip ups as a result. Wednesday’s meeting with Huddersfield is a chance for Antonio Conte’s side to continue their fight into the final day, but there are still questions surrounding the Italians choices which put the team in this mess. Complicating matters further is Huddersfield’s push for survival, as a point would all but secure their top flight place for another year.

Team News: Conte Set for Final Bridge Selection

Antonio Conte isn’t one to switch from a winning formula, but the Blues boss might make a slight tweak as he looks for a more attacking display in what is potentially his final match in charge at Stamford Bridge. He won’t be able to make a change up top, with Alvaro Morata a doubt for the midweek encounter. Danny Drinkwater is thought to be back in contention, but he’s unlikely to feature with Conte likely to switch back to a 3-4-3 after using a 3-5-2 to frustrate the Reds at the weekend. That should see the inclusion of Willian, who has enjoyed an impressive season to date.

The Terriers also like to use a 3-5-2 set-up to frustrate their opponents, and we can see something similar coming from the visitors here. Fresh from a 0-0 draw with Man City, David Wagner’s men are going to push for a similar result. They’re unlikely to make big changes from the team which picked up a crucial point at City, although Terence Kolongo is a doubt ahead of this one. The visitors will have to ready themselves for a clash with a side who are looking to achieve something, rather than facing a team who appeared to be on autopilot.

Huddersfield Form

The visitors really needed that point at City, as it moved them three clear of the drop with two matches to play. The two sides below them – Southampton and Swansea – meet in Wales on Tuesday, so there could be a lot of pressure on the Terriers following that one. The visitors have only themselves to blame should they come up short this season, following a run of one victory in eight matches. A point or two more across that run would have made all the difference, and the West Yorkshire outfit now have work still to do.

Huddersfield finish the season at Chelsea and then at home to Arsenal. Taking on the Gunners in Arsene Wenger’s final match in charge is a difficult one, and it’s going to leave the Terriers sweating on their place in the top flight. Having averaged just 0.72 points per game on the road this season, they’re not expected to turn things around on Wednesday night.

Chelsea v Huddersfield Head to Head

Chelsea won 3-1 at the John Smith’s Stadium in December last year, the first top flight meeting between the pair in over 40 years. They last met at the Bridge over 10 years ago, when the Blues won 3-1 against the Terriers in the FA Cup. However, with only three meetings this century, there’s not a huge lot to take from the head to head record between these two – other than the relatively easy Blues win earlier in the campaign.

  • Huddersfield 1-3 Chelsea, Dec 2017
  • Chelsea 3-1 Huddersfield, Feb 2008
  • Chelsea 2-1 Huddersfield, Jan 2006
  • Chelsea 0-1 Huddersfield, Oct 1999
  • Chelsea 3-1 Huddersfield, Feb 1984

Betting Tips

  • Chelsea to Win to Nil – 31/40 with BetVictor
  • Olivier Giroud to score – 5/6 with Coral

The Blues’ push for a top four finish should get a boost this week, according to the bookies. They’ve been priced up at 2/11 with Betfred to win on Wednesday night, while Huddersfield are 18/1 outsiders with Bet365. The draw can be backed at 13/2 with Coral, with the Blues clearly expected to take the points. That would be a big blow for the Terriers’ hopes of staying in the division, and their away form certainly backs up those prices. Obviously the hosts aren’t great value to back outright for the victory, but there are other bets worth taking a look at ahead of this clash.

The home side have won five straight matches, following back to back 1-0 wins in the league. They are grinding out results in impressive fashion, which has kept them in the race for fourth. Meanwhile, Huddersfield come here having failed to score away to any top half side in the Premier League, which shows their issues up front. We expect Chelsea’s improved defence to continue that awful Huddersfield run, and we’re backing a home win to nil on Wednesday night, at 31/40 with BetVictor. In addition, another 1-0 wouldn’t be all that shocking, and that can be backed at 13/2 with Ladbrokes.

Olivier Giroud has been praised by Conte this week, and the French forward has really made an impact since arriving at the Bridge mid-season. He’s already faced the visit of Huddersfield once this season, scoring twice for Arsenal against them at the Emirates. With his recent form and a solid record against them so far, we think the Frenchman will once again make the difference for the Blues. We’re backing Giroud to score any time, which seems like good value at 5/6 with Coral.

Chelsea v Liverpool Betting Tips (Premier League) – 6th May 2018

Can Chelsea bring Liverpool back down to earth with a victory on Sunday? The Reds make the trip south with their minds drifting towards their meeting with Real Madrid in the Champions League final at the end of the month, which marks a huge step up for the Merseyside outfit. Jurgen Klopp is about to take charge of his biggest game as Liverpool boss, having guided them through against Roma with a 7-6 aggregate win. However, before all of that the Reds need to get their minds back on to the league, ahead of their trip to Stamford Bridge.

The Blues know that three wins from three would see them finish the season level on points with Liverpool, although they’d be trailing in terms of goal difference. However, it would be impressive if they could cut the gap to the Reds, given the praise lavished on Klopp’s side, while Conte’s men are having a poor campaign all around. Can they muster the skill and invention required to finish on a high with a victory in the weekend’s biggest top flight clash?

Team News: Can Blues Inspire a Top Four Fightback?

Chelsea have no new injury concerns ahead of this clash, and they should set up with a side who can push Liverpool in this one. We expect a strong side from the hosts, who are missing David Luiz and Danny Drinkwater once again this weekend. The hosts should stick with their 3-4-3 set-up, which has helped them to four straight victories ahead of Liverpool’s visit this weekend. With so much on the line, we can’t see Conte making any big changes for the weekend clash, and yet again his only real decision is to settle between Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata. The Italian has also been handed a boost, with Marcos Alonso ready to return at left-back after serving his suspension.

Liverpool have a considerable injury list ahead of this trip, which could see as many as eight players ruled out. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip are all expected to miss out, while Adam Lallana and Emre Can should join them on the side-lines. While Klopp has been used to making changes in between European games of late, he could be forced into more shuffling of the pack when they visit Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Liverpool Form

The Reds are coming off a 4-2 loss in Rome, which was just enough to send them to Kyiv following their 5-2 win in the first leg. The visitors were lucky at times, and they certainly made life difficult for themselves with some poor defensive mistakes. They’ll be hoping to cut those out ahead of this clash, especially with an eye towards their showpiece clash in Ukraine. However, in the short term, Klopp’s side are coming in to Sunday’s game on the back of a Premier League clean sheet.

The Reds were held to a 0-0 at home to second bottom Stoke last weekend, as they continued their struggles throughout April. They’ve won just one match in the league this month, as they’ve struggled to split attention between two competitions. That’s probably in part due to their issues at the back on their travels, as 73% of the goals they’ve conceded in the league have come on the road so far this season.

Chelsea v Liverpool Head to Head

The Blues have really been struggling against Liverpool of late, with their last home win coming over three years ago. They’ve been waiting since 2013 to claim a Premier League victory against the Reds here, when Samuel Eto’o scored the winner. Meanwhile, the Reds are unbeaten in six meetings, having won both of their visits here under Klopp’s stewardship.

  • Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea, Nov 2017
  • Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea, Jan 2017
  • Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool, Sept 2016
  • Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea, May 2016
  • Chelsea 1-3 Liverpool, Oct 2015

Betting Tips

  • Draw – 13/5 with Betfred
  • 2-2 Draw – 12/1 with Bet365

Chelsea come into this clash priced at 5/4 with BetVictor for the victory, despite Liverpool’s European heroics. The visitors can be found at 11/5 with Coral to claim the three points, while the bookies are clearly expecting some entertainment from this one. You can back both teams to score at 6/10 with Ladbrokes, which could prove an interesting option to many who see this one producing goals. Will this clash live up to expectations this weekend, or will the Reds come here looking to shut down the hosts and scrape a point? That’s hardly been Klopp’s style so far, and we don’t expect him to start now.

The visitors don’t really have it in them to play for a clean sheet, but they’d certainly take a point from this game if offered before kick off. A draw is all they need to secure their place in the top four, so it’s not the worst result, especially just days after returning from a tough away trip in Europe. The visitors are bound to be riding high, and refocusing on this one is likely to be a challenge, so getting their domestic campaign back on track could be key. The visitors have drawn three of their last four in the league, while the Blues have won just one of their home meetings with the top seven, so we’re backing a draw at 13/5 with Betfred.

We can see quite a high scoring clash in this one, given that the visitors have conceded quite a few goals on their travels this term. However, in 18 away trips in the top flight Liverpool have scored at least twice in two-thirds of those, so they are certainly capable going forward. Half of the Reds’ trips have seen over 3.5 goals scored in total, and we think there’s value in backing a 2-2 correct score in Sunday’s match, which looks like a temping option at 12/1 with Bet365.

Swansea v Chelsea Betting Tips (Premier League) – 28th April 2018

Fresh from their victory at Wembley on Sunday, Chelsea head to Swansea this weekend as they look for a strong finish to the campaign. The Blues know that the Champions League is a tall order for them with just four games remaining, but at least 12 points from those matches would send them off on a high. They also have an FA Cup final to prepare for, and a winning run would be the perfect way to approach the showpiece clash at Wembley. Can Conte’s side take all three points at the Liberty Stadium this weekend?

The visitors do have some decent form behind them, which has raised hopes slightly in terms of a top four finish, but it still requires a huge slip from Tottenham or Liverpool. The Blues need to win all of their games to make it happen, including the clash with the Reds at Stamford Bridge, but first they’re out to claim a win against a Swansea side who are battling against the drop. It does seem like an opportunity for Conte and his side, but they have to be wary as they’re travelling to a side who are in danger and fighting for their lives.

Team News: Will Conte Go With Two up Top?

Chelsea come here knowing Emerson Palmieri will start at left-back for the third consecutive game, with Marcos Alonso still suspended. The Blues are also without Danny Drinkwater and David Luiz, neither of whom were likely to start in this one. The club may have finalised a cut-price tribunal fee for Ethan Ampadu this week, but the versatile Welshman is ruled out of this trip to his homeland due to injury. There aren’t too many big issues for Conte to wrestle with, as the only question is around Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata. Will the Frenchman lead the line, or will they form a partnership yet again?

The last time these two sides met, former Chelsea assistant manager Paul Clement was in charge of Swansea. However, Carlos Carvalhal has been called in as a firefighter, after Clement left them rooted in the drop zone. The former Sheffield Wednesday boss hasn’t made that many noticeable changes, but he’s turned things around at the club. They are currently lining up with a 5-4-1 formation in recent weeks, and against a Blues side who are starting to pick up a little momentum they’re likely to use a similarly defensive approach. The absences of Renato Sanches and Wilfred Bony won’t help the hosts either, but they still head into this one with options in attack.

Swansea Form

Swansea come into this clash down in 18th in the table, so facing off against one of the top six isn’t what they need right now. It’s not an easy weekend for rivals Southampton and Stoke, but the Welsh side are in danger of the drop after some poor recent form. They’ve failed to win in six matches, which culminated in their 5-0 thrashing at newly crowned champions Man City last weekend. Bouncing back from that loss is going to be a challenge for Carvalhal and his men.

The Swans saw their form pick up thanks to their impressive run in the FA Cup earlier this season. Getting results in the cup did seem to give them a boost in the league, but they’ve picked up just two points since a 3-0 hammering by Tottenham in the quarter-finals on St Patrick’s Day. That leaves the Welsh side in a tough position, as they look for a morale boost ahead of a crucial home clash.

Swansea v Chelsea Head to Head

Chelsea come into this clash following back to back wins against the Swans, but their performances against the Welsh side of late haven’t been great. They’ve taken a point from their last two visits to this ground, after throwing away a winning position under Antonio Conte here last term. We’re hoping for a more entertaining clash than the 1-0 Chelsea win the pair played out in November.

  • Chelsea 1-0 Swansea, Nov 2017
  • Chelsea 3-1 Swansea, Feb 2017
  • Swansea 2-2 Chelsea, Sept 2016
  • Swansea 1-0 Chelsea, Apr 2016
  • Chelsea 2-2 Swansea, Aug 2015

Betting Tips

  • Both Teams to Score – 5/4 with Coral
  • Olivier Giroud to score – 7/5 with Ladbrokes

Chelsea visit Wales as 11/20 favourites with BetVictor, as they look for a strong finish to the season. You can back the draw at 3/1 with Bet365, while the hosts are 6/1 with Betfair. After improving their form, the former champions are now widely expected to follow that up by claiming the points in their trip to the Liberty Stadium. However, will they do Swansea’s relegation rivals a favour by claiming a win, as the visitors look to keep their faint Champions League hopes alive.

Swansea are out of form overall, but they’ve picked up in their home matches. The hosts have scored in eight of their last nine at home ahead of this clash, and they’ll be looking to punish the Blues. The visitors are without a clean sheet in eight on the road, with little sign of that changing. There’s a clear lack of leadership within the side, and the Swans should take advantage. With that in mind, our first tip here is to back both teams to score at very handsome odds of 5/4 with Coral.

The Blues have looked good with Giroud up top and the striker scored against Southampton at Wembley on Sunday. That should earn him a starting place for this clash, and we feel like the forward can cause problems against the Swansea defence. He could well have Alvaro Morata creating space for him too, so we are backing Giroud to find the net in Saturday’s late game. He’s our pick for an anytime goal scorer, which seems like a good value bet at 7/5 with Ladbrokes.

Chelsea v Southampton Betting Tips (FA Cup) – 22nd April 2018

Chelsea are up against Southampton for the second time in eight days, as they travel to Wembley on Sunday for an FA Cup semi-final. The Blues pretty much know that the cup is their last chance of taking anything from this season. It would put the Blues into the Europa League group stage, which isn’t exactly the greatest prize, but it’s still something. Given the competitive nature of the Premier League, the Blues will want to secure a place in that competition to boost their hopes of making their way back to the Champions League down the line.

Of course, in the shorter term Antonio Conte is simply aiming to win another trophy at Stamford Bridge, adding a line to his CV before his likely summer job-hunt. The Italian has endured a testing second season at the club, but he can at least tick something off his checklist this term. The former Juventus boss failed to win the Italian Cup in his spell in Turin, something the club have done every year since he left. Can he end his wait for a domestic cup win, redeeming himself after last season’s defeat to Arsenal in the final?

Team News: Can Blues Book Wembley Return?

Chelsea could possibly have David Luiz back for this weekend’s game, although his form this season and issues with Conte mean he probably won’t feature anyway. The Blues have a concern up front now that Olivier Giroud is pushing for a place in attack, while Alvaro Morata has struck up some form in recent weeks. Settling on one of that duo is going to be the biggest choice for Conte. Elsewhere, he should just go along with the first choice side, although with Marcos Alonso in line for a ban we’re set to see either a huge game for Emerson Palmieri, or Cesar Azpilcueta shunted out to the left.

Southampton don’t have any major issues going into this weekend’s clash. They’ve got Jack Stephens ruled out through suspension, but aside from that Mark Hughes has a full strength side to pick from. The only issue for them is that there’s been so few standout players in this Saints squad this season that settling on a side for such a huge occasion is bound to be difficult. The Saints caused problems by lining up with a 3-4-3 system last weekend, and they have little reason to change that for Sunday’s encounter.

Southampton Form

The Saints have suffered back to back 3-2 defeats against London sides, and they’ll be out to avoid a similar scoreline here. Hughes has taken over at St Mary’s, and his first move was to guide them through to the last four of this competition, with an impressive win over Wigan. The Saints have actually been much better under Hughes, despite the negative spell he had at Stoke this term and his early struggles for results with Southampton.

However, the Saints have won just one league clash since November, which suggests that their board waited too long before making a managerial change. They are out to improve their form, with the cup proving to be a bit of a release for the struggling side this season. Will they use their Wembley clash as a chance to rescue a potentially disastrous campaign, or are Hughes and co. going to play to form with yet another defeat on Sunday?

Chelsea v Southampton Head to Head

The Blues added to their strong run of form against the Saints with a victory last Saturday, although they had to come from two goals behind in the process. After five straight wins against the south coast outfit, the Blues will be expected to rack up another victory when the pair clash at Wembley on Sunday. However, can it live up to the drama of the latest meeting?

  • Southampton 2-3 Chelsea, April 2018
  • Chelsea 1-0 Southampton, Dec 2017
  • Chelsea 4-2 Southampton, Apr 2017
  • Southampton 0-2 Chelsea, Oct 2016
  • Southampton 1-2 Chelsea, Feb 2016

Betting Tips

  • Both Teams to Score – Evens with Ladbrokes
  • Olivier Giroud to Score – 11/10 with Betfred

Chelsea’s victory at St Mary’s seems to have had an impact on the betting here, as the Blues are priced up at 4/9 with Bet365 to win within 90 minutes in this clash. The Saints are 13/2 outsiders with Coral, while the Premier League strugglers are priced at 7/2 with Betfair to force a draw against the recently dethroned champions. Antonio Conte’s side have clearly landed a plum draw in the last four, as they’re 1/5 with BetVictor to reach the final through any means. On the other hand, the Saints are 11/4 with Bet365 to qualify for a Wembley return.

After last weekend’s 3-2 clash at St Mary’s, we obviously have to fancy goals in this one. That game showed how poor the Blues are defensively, and they don’t exactly have a Plan B to switch to. We’re set to see another clash of two sides playing 3-4-3, and that hasn’t worked for the Blues for much of this season. Going man for man has caused problems for the Stamford Bridge side in recent matches, so we’re expecting both teams to score in Sunday’s semi, which is nicely priced at best odds of evens with Ladbrokes.

As we mentioned earlier, Giroud or Morata is Conte’s big decision for this game, but who will he settle on? In our eyes, it has to be the Frenchman after his two goal salvo against the Saints last weekend. He has that form backing him, along with 14 FA Cup goals since moving to England. With multiple wins in this competition to his name already, we see Giroud impressing at Wembley, so we’re backing him to terrorise this Saints defence yet again, as we’re going with the French forward to score at any time at 11/10 with Betfred.

Burnley v Chelsea Betting Tips (Premier League) – 19th April 2018

Chelsea return to action on Thursday night, as they play their rearranged Premier League fixture from the coming weekend. The Blues are busy at Wembley on Sunday in the FA Cup semi-final, so they’re in league action against the Clarets this Thursday, with Sean Dyche’s side flying high in seventh, compared to the troubles of the visitors. Their differing fortunes kicked off when the two met at Stamford Bridge in the opening game of the campaign, with the Clarets winning 3-2 in that one. That victory kicked off a strong campaign which has put them in to the top seven, just two points off the top six.

While these two are on opposing sides on Thursday, their interests will align come the weekend. Although they are languishing in the bottom three in the Premier League, Southampton are actually the biggest danger to Burnley’s chances of making Europe. Should the Saints win the FA Cup, they’ll take a Europa League spot. However, a Chelsea win on Sunday would all but secure Europe for Sean Dyche and his men. Given that they sit nine points clear in seventh, the Turf Moor outfit can start looking forward to continental trips if the Blues book a cup final spot.

Team News: How Will Conte Prepare for Wembley

The looming prospect of the weekend’s semi-final will focus the minds at the Bridge, but it remains to be seen how that match will impact Thursday’s team. After moving within seven points of fourth at the weekend, Chelsea basically have to commit to chasing down the Champions League spots, despite that being a doomed cause. As a result, we expect to see the usual system and approach kept for the midweek game. While Victor Moses and Olivier Giroud started on the bench at the weekend, the pair are likely to step in to the first 11 for this clash.

Burnley have got a few long term absentees, with Ben Mee the latest on that list. Steven Defour, Jon Walters and Robbie Brady are all missing for this weekend’s clash, although recent form suggests that the Clarets are getting on regardless. The hosts have tended to start in a 4-4-2 formation this season, and they are likely to adopt that same approach here. Former Blue Jack Cork will take up a place in the middle for the home side, after playing every minute of the campaign so far.

Burnley Form

Burnley come into this clash in fantastic form, after winning their last five matches. They come here after some impressive results, which has pushed them in to European contention. That run of form culminated in the weekend victory against eighth placed Leicester, which put the Clarets nine points clear in the top seven with just five matches left to play. Can they extend that advantage with a victory over the Blues on Thursday night?

The hosts are middling in terms of home form, as they come into this clash with the ninth best home record in the division. They’ve won fewer than half of their home matches so far, claiming more points on the road than at home. The hosts have been successful on the road to the top sides, but they’ve not been able to translate that form into meetings with the big six at Turf Moor. While they’ve managed to win five on the bounce, most of those did come against out of form sides, which should serve to temper Sean Dyche’s optimism ahead of this clash.

Burnley v Chelsea Head to Head

Chelsea were upset in the last meeting between the two teams, but the Clarets have lost just one of four encounters. They’ll be confident going into the game, although the Blues have won two of their last three trips to Turf Moor in the Premier League. The Blues will be going all out to add to that good run this weekend, as they try to get some revenge for their opening day defeat at the Bridge.

  • Chelsea 2-3 Burnley, Aug 2017
  • Burnley 1-1 Chelsea, Feb 2017
  • Chelsea 3-0 Burnley, Aug 2016
  • Chelsea 1-1 Burnley, Feb 2015
  • Burnley 1-3 Chelsea, Aug 2014

Betting Tips

  • Both Teams to Score – Evens with Ladbrokes
  • Chelsea and BTTS – 17/5 with Coral

Chelsea’s weekend victory sees them posted as the favourites in this one, as they’re priced up at evens with Betfred to win. The Clarets may be in fantastic form, but they sit out at 7/2 with BetVictor for the three points. Meanwhile, you can back the draw at 12/5 with Bet365, which could tempt many a punter. Will the Blues come out with a victory to take into their FA Cup semi this weekend, or will Burnley continue their push for European football?

Chelsea head here on the back of a 3-2 victory over the Saints, but if they’re to rotate anywhere ahead of the semi final it’s likely to be the defence. The issue for the visitors is that they’re now nine games without a clean sheet, conceding in their last seven trips across all competitions. Burnley are in great form, which has seen them pick up in front of goal. However, four of their last five matches have seen both teams score, and in the other West Ham wasted plenty of chances to draw a blank. As a result, we’re backing both teams to score at odds of evens with Ladbrokes.

On top of that, Burnley do have clear issues against top sides at home. They may have done well away to the top sides, but they’ve taken a single point in five home games with the top six. They’ve conceded in all of those games, while Man United, Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal have all won here. With that in mind, we think an away win and both teams to score is a good bet here, which is priced at 17/5 with Coral.

Southampton v Chelsea Betting Tips (Premier League) – 14th April 2018

Chelsea took the disappointment of losing to Tottenham into last weekend’s top flight game, and they dropped another two points at home to West Ham. That demoralising result has only added to the sour mood around the camp, with Cesar Azplicueta all but labelling their Premier League campaign as a disaster. Having fallen from champions to mere Europa League hopefuls in the space of 12 months, the players just haven’t offered enough over the course of the last 32 games. With a 10 point gap between themselves and fourth place, will the Blues have any reason to up their game for this weekend’s trip to the South Coast?

Chelsea head to 18th placed Southampton at the weekend, their opponents in the FA Cup semi-final later this month. The champions are coming off a slip to another relegation threatened side. Having dropped five points to David Moyes’ West Ham, the Blues have failed to assert themselves against the worst sides in the league. Can they improve on that record when they visit Mark Hughes’ new side, or will the former Stamford Bridge hero get a boost after a tough start to his reign as Saints boss?

Team News: Is It Time for Conte to Rotate?

We suggested last week that the Chelsea side should incorporate younger players after the Champions League got away from them. However, Antonio Conte upped the age of the team last weekend as Gary Cahill returned for Andreas Christensen. That feels quite counterproductive, but there’s simply no case for making a Champions League push now, with the gap up to 10 points. These two sides meet again at Wembley a week on Sunday, so keeping a few players back might be worthwhile. The Blues are without Ross Barkley, David Luiz and Davide Zappacosta, but they still have plenty of room to rotate. However, Conte is likely to avoid rocking the boat in this trip, so don’t expect him to make any changes in this trip.

Steve Davis is the only real concern Southampton have right now, so they should name a strong side here. Hughes’ went with a 4-4-2 on his return to Premier League action, but that resulted in a loss at West Ham. They looked much better going forward at Arsenal, where they used a 3-4-3 set-up. The wing-backs and attackers flourished with that approach, while Pierre Emil Hojberg and ex-Chelsea man Oriol Romeu act as a shield in front of the three man back-line. That system has troubled the Blues this term, which isn’t a good omen for either of the upcoming clashes with Saints.

Southampton Form

Mark Hughes took charge of Southampton last month, and he managed to inspire a 2-0 win at Wigan in his first game in charge. Since then, the former Stoke boss has dragged his team in to the drop zone, following defeats to West Ham and Arsenal, conceding three goals in each.

There are plenty of concerns for the Saints this season, including the fact that they’ve won just three home matches all season. The highest placed team they’ve beaten so far is ninth placed Everton, having claimed three of their five league wins against bottom four opposition. That run has left Hughes and his team in trouble, and with no home win since November, the Saints are facing the prospect of playing Championship football next season.

Southampton v Chelsea Head to Head

Chelsea edged a win in a meeting with Mauricio Pellegrino’s Southampton earlier this season, when the pair met at Stamford Bridge. The Blues were brilliant in a 2-0 victory at this ground last season, which is one of three victories they’ve recorded at this ground in their last four trips. Can they match the highs of last season, or will this be another slip for Conte and his men?

  • Chelsea 1-0 Southampton, Dec 2017
  • Chelsea 4-2 Southampton, Apr 2017
  • Southampton 0-2 Chelsea, Oct 2016
  • Southampton 1-2 Chelsea, Feb 2016
  • Chelsea 1-3 Southampton, Oct 2015

Betting Tips

  • Both Teams to Score – 10/11 with Betfred
  • Draw – 5/2 with Coral

Chelsea come into this game as favourites, but it’s rare that you’ll see the defending champions priced at 17/20 with Ladbrokes to win at a relegation threatened side. With almost 30 points between the sides, the Saints are priced up at 18/5 with BetVictor to record a much needed victory, while you can back the draw at 5/2 with Coral this weekend. Given recent form from both sides, it is hard to settle on a winner between the pair. Chelsea do seem like a decent price, but can they shake their recent problems and find something to fire them up for this clash?

The Blues have clear concerns at the back, and the three man defence hasn’t really been effective for over a year now. Problems emerged towards the end of the previous campaign, and now Conte seems lost for a way to combat that. The champions aren’t up against the highest scoring of opponents this weekend, but the Saints did just score twice at in-form Arsenal last weekend. The Blues have failed to keep a clean sheet in eight, while they’ve recorded one away clean sheet in the league in 2018. With that in mind, we’re backing both teams to score at 10/11 with Betfred.

Chelsea’s defensive woes are causing plenty of dropped points, with just two wins in nine away trips in the league. They’ve recorded 12 points from their last 11 matches, and that could offer the Saints a chance to get something out of this clash. Both Tottenham and Arsenal – the teams either side of Chelsea in the table – both drew 1-1 at this ground, with the Saints securing seven draws at home this term. They’ve picked up a point in 13 Premier League matches this season, so the draw seems worthwhile at 5/2 with Coral given how the visitors are playing right now.

Chelsea v West Ham Betting Tips (Premier League) – 8th April 2018

Chelsea head into Sunday’s clash with West Ham in a real state of limbo. Quite where they go from this point is tough to figure out, as they sit eight points off the top four. They’re set for a season in the Europa League next time out, while they’re heading into the weekend expecting to lose their champions tag. It seems like Antonio Conte’s reign at the club is fizzling out, as failure to make the Champions League isn’t something which the Blues board are going to take lightly. So with seven games remaining, this season seems to lack a sense of direction for the hosts.

Last weekend’s defeat showed a clear issue with the current side, which is a lack of ideas when Plan A doesn’t go well. The switch to a 3-5-2 was problematic and quickly scrapped, while the Blues have transformed into a squad built to play three at the back in the last 18 months. Part of the run-in will have to involve finding a way forward for the club next season and beyond, even though Conte’s stay at the Bridge surely won’t last longer than nine games at the most.

Team News: Will Conte Bother Naming his Strongest 11?

Chelsea’s strength last season was a settled 11, one which barely changed across the title winning campaign. There have been considerably more changes this term, but there’s still little depth outside of the first team. Conte does have a favoured side, but is there any point sticking with them here? Tottenham’s fixture list basically guarantees they won’t let an eight point lead in fourth slip, while the Blues basically have to go all in for the FA Cup. Keeping their main men out of the firing line might be good, and it could shake up the team.

With Chelsea now looking towards next season, it might be worth going in different directions with selection here. Other systems, players and approaches should probably be tested out. While it’s hard to see Conte ditching the side he seems to always stick with, some rotation might just do the Blues some good in this clash.

West Ham head here with a number of injury worries to consider, as they’ve lost Manuel Lanzini, Pedro Obiang and Winston Reid. Unsurprisingly Andy Carroll is ruled out through injury, facing the side he was ludicrously linked with back in January. With as many as six players out, David Moyes is limited in what he can do in this trip.

West Ham Form

West Ham visit the Bridge on the back of a huge 3-0 win over Southampton, which sent them up to 14th place in the Premier League. The Hammers are edging towards safety, which doesn’t really seem like a huge achievement given the poor quality of some of the sides left in the division.

West Ham have managed to muster just two away wins to their name this term, and they’ve suffered a defeat in over half of their away matches. They’ve lost seven of 10 trips to teams above them so far, and we expect them to struggle once again in this visit.

Chelsea v West Ham Head to Head

Chelsea suffered a real low point in their last clash with West Ham, which saw them lose 1-0 at the Olympic Stadium back when David Moyes and his men were in real trouble. The Blues’ previous three meetings with West Ham have been played in East London, but Chelsea have won four of their last six at home to the Hammers, going unbeaten in that time. Surely with that record behind them they can get a result and put last weekend’s loss behind them?

  • West Ham 1-0 Chelsea, Dec 2017
  • West Ham 1-2 Chelsea, Mar 2017
  • West Ham 2-1 Chelsea, Oct 2016
  • Chelsea 2-1 West Ham, Aug 2016
  • Chelsea 2-2 West Ham, Mar 2016

Betting Tips

  • Alvaro Morata to score – 5/6 with Ladbrokes
  • Both Teams to Score – 11/10 with Betfair

Chelsea may not have the greatest form behind them going into this clash, but they are still heavy favourites against the Hammers. The hosts have been backed in to 1/4 with Coral to get back to winning ways, which is something Conte’s side really need to do this weekend. You can back West Ham at 11/1 with BetVictor to take the points from this one, while the draw is 9/2 with Betfred. However, will the visitors be able to upset the odds and pull off a shock result in this clash?

The one bright spot for the Blues from the game against Tottenham was Alvaro Morata and his return to scoring form. The striker now has the most headed goals of any one in the Premier League this term, and the Chelsea man should take confidence from his strike against Spurs. That should earn him a start for this game, and luckily enough Morata is going up against the side who have conceded the most headed goals away from home in the top flight. While the ex-Real Madrid man has plenty of talents and can cause trouble in other ways, his aerial prowess should hurt the Hammers. We’re backing another goal for the Spanish forward, and he’s priced at 5/6 with Ladbrokes to score at any time.

Chelsea are in awful losing form, with five recent defeats in the league. Things are going downhill for the Blues, but they should still score against a poor Hammers defence. However, the visitors have been strong going forwards on the road, and they have found the net in their previous eight away matches. West Ham should hurt Chelsea at the back going off current form, yet you can back both teams to score in Sunday’s encounter at 11/10 with Betfair, which seems like great value as far as we are concerned.

Chelsea v Tottenham Betting Tips (Premier League) – 1st April 2018

Chelsea’s Champions League hopes hang in the balance this weekend, as Tottenham head to Stamford Bridge. With just eight games of the Premier League season remaining, there’s so much on the line when the fifth placed Blues host the side directly above them in the table. The champions need to claim all three points in order to close the gap on the top four, and anything short of a win will leave Antonio Conte’s side staring at a season in the Europa League. There’s plenty of pressure on the hosts ahead of this huge game on Sunday, but just how will the hosts approach this massive derby clash?

Of course, this is a crucial game for Spurs as well, who are eying up the likes of Man United and Liverpool ahead of them. Such ambitions are long gone for Chelsea, who will just want to secure fourth and make their way into the Champions League yet again. Having recently missed out on Europe and slogged through the Europa League, they’ll know exactly what is on the line in this clash. On top of that, fans will remember stealing Tottenham’s Champions League spot after winning the competition in 2012, so pipping them to the post would be incredibly rewarding in a tough season.

Team News: Blues Close to Full Strength for Champions League Decider

Chelsea are only without David Luiz and Ross Barkley once again this weekend, although neither of those two would have featured in this clash anyway. Conte will want to stick with his most trusted side for this clash, and that’s going to see them stick with a 3-4-3 set-up. We expect no major changes from the usual set-up, which is a boost ahead of a game which the Blues can’t afford to lose.

Tottenham’s major worry for this game is the fact that Harry Kane remains on the side-lines. He’s set for a month out of action, and that could well derail Tottenham’s push for the top four. There’s now a gap up front for the visitors, who don’t have that much strength in depth in attack. Forward Fernando Llorente – a player Chelsea were haggling over in August – is likely to step up in his place.

Tottenham Form

Tottenham come into this game with five wins in their last six matches, having lost at home to Juventus in the Champions League. That’s their only defeat since Christmas, which is an impressive run from Spurs. However, they have a tough test in this clash, which puts that record in jeopardy; as they’ve only travelled to one top six side during that run.

Spurs have fixed up their home form, as they’ve adapted to their temporary home. They’re unbeaten in six away trips, but before that they picked up a single point in five league matches on the road, Given that those games included meetings with sides who were all in the top half at that stage, that doesn’t bode well for this trip.

Chelsea v Tottenham Head to Head

History is on the side of Chelsea here, given that Spurs are without a win at the Bridge since 1990, having failed to win in their last 26 attempts at this ground. Three of the last four encounters here have gone the way of the Blues, and they will be hoping to add to that against their rivals on Sunday. The Blues have won the last two clashes – which both came at Wembley. Can they now claim three points in front of their own fans?

  • Tottenham 1-2 Chelsea, Aug 2017
  • Chelsea 4-2 Tottenham, Apr 2017
  • Tottenham 2-0 Chelsea, Jan 2017
  • Chelsea 2-1 Tottenham, Nov 2016
  • Chelsea 2-2 Tottenham, May 2016

Betting Tips

  • Under 2.5 Goals – 4/5 with Betfred
  • Chelsea to win 1-0 – 7/1 with Coral

Chelsea need a win in this game, and they do come into the encounter as favourites for the three points. The Blues can be backed at 13/10 with Ladbrokes for the victory, while the draw is out at 12/5 with BetVictor. Meanwhile, Tottenham have been priced up at 23/10 with Betfair to take the points back from the Bridge on Sunday.

However, we can’t see the visitors getting a result out of this crucial trip, especially given that this is a must win game for Conte and his charges. However, that doesn’t mean that we’re anticipating an open game, as the Blues are likely to be on the spot at times, so they’ll need to be solid at the back in order to stave off the visitors.

Luckily, that’s been the case in most of their big home clashes this season. We recently saw them hold off Barcelona for almost all of the game at the Bridge, and their big clashes domestically have gone in a similar direction. Arsenal have drawn 0-0 twice at this ground; once in the league and once in the EFL Cup. The Blues have beaten Man United 1-0 here and lost 1-0 to City despite a solid performance. With that form in mind, we can see a low scoring game against Spurs outfit who will miss Harry Kane. We’re backing under 2.5 goals as our tip here, which is priced at 4/5 with Betfred.

Tottenham have a bit of an issue when it comes to top sides, as they’ve had four trips to the top six this term and claimed just one point. A draw at Anfield was a fortunate result for Spurs, while they were beaten by Man City, United and Arsenal this term. That follows on from their troubles on the road last term, which saw them win just one of their meetings at top 10 sides. With Spurs in poor form in their trips to this ground, we are going with a narrow win for the Blues. We like the look of a 1-0 correct score, which you can back at 7/1 with Coral ahead of this clash.

Leicester v Chelsea Betting Tips (FA Cup) – 18th March 2018

After their Champions League exit in midweek, Chelsea head to Leicester in the FA Cup on Sunday. The Blues are aiming for a return to Wembley, as they chase the only silverware on offer for them this term. While the main focus for the campaign will be securing a place in the top four, Antonio Conte has unfinished business with this competition. The defeat to Arsenal in the final last term will still anger the Italian, and he’ll want to put an end to a record which has seen him lift four domestic titles without succeeding in a cup final as a manager.

Of course, the Blues are taking on a Leicester side who are chasing silverware to follow up their 2016 title win. The Foxes are having a strong season, as they push for a Europa League spot in the league. But can they add a cup run to Wembley on top of that? They’ll be out for a win on Sunday, but their memory of losing out at this stage of the EFL Cup in December is likely to hang over the Foxes’ heads going into this weekend’s big clash.

Team News: Conte Can’t Afford to Rotate at King Power

Chelsea remain without David Luiz and Ross Barkley, but neither of those two were likely to feature in this game anyway. The Blues boss tends to make changes in this competition, but given the current state of the campaign the champions can ill-afford to risk dropping out of the cup. With a two week international break to come before the top four push restarts, the Blues have no reason to try and switch things up or this trip to the King Power.

We expect to see a strong side to start for the visitors, although Conte may continue to make Willy Caballero the goalkeeper for cup matches. Aside from that, there’s little reason for Conte to rotate, so don’t expect too many changes from the side which took the field at the Camp Nou.

Leicester have no major injury concerns this weekend, which gives Claude Puel plenty of room when he approaches his team selection. The Frenchman has tried playing a 3-5-2 system with the Foxes recently, but last weekend saw them win at West Brom with a 4-2-3-1 set-up. They have tried going with a 4-3-3 featuring two wingers, and that kind of approach is probably best when taking on this Chelsea side, so we expect that to be the system Puel uses for this clash.

Leicester Form

Leicester’s 4-1 victory over West Brom last weekend keeps them in European contention, as they remain eighth in the Premier League. They’re just eight points shy of underperforming Arsenal, while they’re only three short of seventh. With three of the top five still in this competition – and each them are favourites in their respective ties – it’s likely that one will lift the cup, opening up a final seventh European place in the Premier League. Can the Foxes claim that?

They’ll have to boost their home form to take seventh, having passed up plenty of chances to leapfrog Burnley of late. The Foxes have drawn three of their last four at this ground, with their only win coming against Championship opposition in the FA Cup. While they have two wins at home in this competition behind them, recent draws at home to struggling sides have to worry Puel.

Leicester v Chelsea Head to Head

Chelsea have a strong record against the Foxes, having gone unbeaten in six encounters. The Blues have also managed to win three of the last four meetings between these sides, along with a 4-2 victory at this ground in the EFL Cup last term. The Blues have only failed to win once at this ground since the hosts returned to the top flight, and that was during Leicester’s title winning season. With that in mind, the Blues have a great chance of progressing here.

  • Chelsea 0-0 Leicester, Jan 2018
  • Leicester 1-2 Chelsea, Sept 2017
  • Leicester 0-3 Chelsea, Jan 2017
  • Chelsea 3-0 Leicester, Nov 2016
  • Leicester 2-4 (AET) Chelsea, Sept 2016

Betting Tips

  • Both Teams to Score – 8/11 with Betfair
  • Over 1.5 Chelsea Goals – 21/20 with Coral

Chelsea make this trip as favourites to win the clash, priced up at 11/10 with Betfred to get the three points. Meanwhile, the Foxes are 12/5 with Ladbrokes to delight their home faithful with a victory, while the draw is 5/2 with BetVictor this weekend. Of course, a draw here wouldn’t force a replay at Stamford Bridge, with quarter-finals going straight to extra time these days. Can the champions live up to their billing as favourites, or will this be the week which sees their season fall apart?

The visitors will have to be a little concerned about their defensive form this weekend, having conceded in their last four. They make this trip having lost five straight away trips, which has seen them ship 12 goals across those matches. The Blues’ defence at the moment isn’t the most experienced, and we think that is playing a part in their defensive issues. While the side looked organised in Barcelona, it was defensive errors which cost the game. Unfortunately, that’s not the first time that has hit the Blues this term.

We see both teams scoring here, based on Leicester having scored in all but two of their home games this term. That outcome can be backed at 8/11 with Betfair. While the hosts are strong going forward, they aren’t that effective at the back. Leicester have conceded two or more in four of their home clashes with the top five, including a 2-1 loss to Chelsea. The Blues have scored twice in five of their last six trips here, and we’re backing over 1.5 goals for the visitors at 21/20 with Coral.

Barcelona v Chelsea Betting Tips (Champions League) – 14th March 2018

Chelsea are back in Champions League action for potentially the last time this season, and maybe the last time for a while. The Blues head into this trip to Catalonia with the bookmakers making no secret of their expectations here, as the Spanish league leaders are heavily backed to win the second leg and the tie overall. With the Blues now in fifth position in the top flight, they could fail to qualify for this competition next term, which would be a disaster for the reigning Premier League champions. Can they boost their season with a shock victory at Barca?

Having recently come under fire after a poor display against Man City, it will be interesting to see how Antonio Conte approaches the second leg. Will his side play a high intensity game in this trip and risk burning out towards the end, or will there be another defensive set-up on display? With a potential final appearance among Europe’s elite coming up, hopefully the Blues can produce a memorable performance at the very least.

Team News: How Will Conte Handle the Catalans?

Conte will be hoping that N’Golo Kante is at full fitness for this huge clash, as his presence will be crucial for the Blues to get anything out of this trip. Without the Frenchman, the Blues lack organisation and dynamism, which cuts a large chunk out of their game. It’s already a huge ask for Chelsea to get anything out of this game, and their approach here will depend on the fitness of Kante.

Without him we could see Conte compensate by using a five man midfield. On top of that, the Chelsea boss has to decide if his team are going to go all out for a crucial away goal or not. However, we think the recent visit to the Etihad may be the blueprint that the champions turn to on Wednesday. Whether such tactics could be at all successful remains to be seen of course.

Barcelona shouldn’t have any major issues ahead of this game, as they don’t have any big selection worries. The hosts have been going with a 4-4-2 system this term, and that is working out pretty well for them so far. We don’t expect them to make any big changes to that approach ahead of this visit from the Blues, especially with Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi playing so well right now.

Barcelona Form

Barcelona come into Wednesday’s meeting in fantastic form, having won all but two of their last 18 home matches. That’s not only put them top of La Liga, but the Catalans are making good progress in Europe and in the Spanish cup. With a potential treble on the horizon, it’s hard to argue with what Barca have been producing this season, and that’s why they’re expected to make it through here.

While Barca’s away problems in the Champions League made us think that the Catalans were going to have some issues at the Bridge, it’s a very different story in the Camp Nou. Barca have won 18 of their last 19 in this competition at home, while it’s almost five years since their last home defeat in the Champions League, and that was in a clash with that season’s victorious Bayern Munich side, who won a treble of their own. With that kind of run behind them, La Liga’s leaders will be expecting a victory this week.

Barcelona v Chelsea Head to Head

The first leg meeting between these two continued the string of draws between them. There’s been six draws in the last seven encounters, which means that we might see a closer game once again. Given how we’ve seen Chelsea approach the recent encounters with Barca and Man City, we’d have to expect them to make things tough for the Catalans, which could lead to yet another draw.

  • Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona, Feb 2018
  • Chelsea 2-2 Barcelona, Jul 2015
  • Barcelona 2-2 Chelsea, Apr 2014
  • Chelsea 1-0 Barcelona, Apr 2012
  • Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona, May 2009

Betting Tips

  • Under 2.5 Goals – 11/8 with BetVictor
  • Under 1.5 Barca Goals – 17/10 with Betfair

Having struck late to come away from London with a draw, Barcelona are now heavy favourites to book a place in the quarter-finals. The Catalans are priced up at 4/9 with Betfred to win this clash within 90 minutes, while the Blues are a huge 13/2 with Ladbrokes to come away with a victory this weekend. The Blues did qualify with a draw here in their last trip to Catalonia, and Coral make it 7/2 for this clash to finish all square. However, the Premier League side would need a 2-2 draw to progress on away goals, which can be backed at 16/1 with Betfair.

However, it’s hard to see this game racking up quite that many goals. The hosts may be strong at the Camp Nou in Europe, but they’ve seen a few low scoring matches of late. Eight of their last nine in all competitions have seen fewer than three goals scored, as have five of their previous six in this competition. With Chelsea likely to come here looking to make things difficult for the Barca attack, we don’t see this becoming a high scoring tie. We’re backing under 2.5 goals in this trip, which can be backed at 11/8 with BetVictor.

Chelsea do need an away goal, but a key thing for them will be keeping the score down in this visit. We’re backing the visitors to put in a strong defensive shift, especially given they restricted Europe’s strongest attack – Man City – to just one goal and very few chances in the meeting at the Etihad earlier this month. Following on from that display, we’re backing under 1.5 goals for Barca in this game, as they were well-marshalled in the first leg. That bet seems well priced at 17/10 with Betfair ahead of this clash.