Chelsea v Stoke Betting Tips (Premier League) – 31st December 2016

Chelsea’s final game of 2016 sees them host Stoke at Stamford Bridge on New Year’s Eve, can they finish the year six points clear? The Blues will be widely expected to continue their impressive winning run, which has led them to a commanding lead at the top of the Premier League. Can they extend that with a victory over 13th placed Stoke?

The visitors come here in a poor run of form, can they repeat the draw that they picked up here last season? This Chelsea side are a lot different, they’ve put together a fantastic 12 game winning run. They can equal Arsenal’s 13 game winning run record with a victory on Saturday. They’re heavy favourites for the points, especially now that Antonio Conte has almost a full strength side to choose from.

Team News: Conte Welcomes back Costa and Kante

Chelsea’s only missing player ahead of this game is John Terry, who hasn’t started a league game since the trip to Swansea in early September anyway. David Luiz, Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta are set to start at centre back for the 13th game running. They’ll be protected by N’Golo Kante, with the former Leicester man now back from suspension for this weekend’s game.

Kante and Diego Costa were both suspended for the victory over Bournemouth, but they return for the final game of the year. Cesc Fabregas came in to the side ahead of the last game, and he’s probably earned a place in the starting line-up. Nemanja Matic has started the last two games, and he could be rested here. Conte played Eden Hazard as a false nine, with Willian and Pedro in support. The Spaniard impressed, opening the scoring, so we expect the Brazilian to drop out for Costa. Conte is likely to shift back to the side which won 1-0 at Crystal Palace before Christmas.

Stoke have a couple of injury worries for this game, with Jack Butland once again missing in goal. Stephen Ireland and Geoff Cameron are both injured for this trip, while key attacker Marko Arnautovic is suspended. The Potters started with a back three at Anfield, but it’s hard to see them taking the same approach here. After all, the last sides who tried to match Conte’s system were Man City and Everton, and that didn’t finish well for either of them. Expect a more conservative team selection from Mark Hughes here.

Stoke Form

Stoke come here having failed to win any of their last four games. That includes their first match of the festive period, which saw them thumped 4-1 at Anfield. They took a shock lead against Liverpool, but they couldn’t cope with the Reds’ forward line. The way that back three crumbled doesn’t bode well for them in this trip, especially given how lethal the Blues can be going forward.

Stoke are usually a side who push for the top half, but they’ve spent a large chunk of this season fighting relegation. They’ve manged just over a goal per game in the league, while they’ve let in 28 in total before the half-way stage. There are clearly some big problems for Hughes to fix, and his side still needs plenty of work. A trip to Chelsea isn’t exactly what he would have wanted, given how Conte’s side are in incredible form and full of confidence.

Chelsea v Stoke Head to Head

The Blues really struggled in three meetings with Stoke last season. They were dumped out of the EFL Cup on penalties in October last year, before a 1-0 league defeat there the next month. Even their meeting at Stamford Bridge was disappointing, with a late equaliser giving the Potters’ a 1-1 draw. Chelsea did win home and away against Stoke on their way to the 2015 title, can they do the same this term?

  • Chelsea 1-1 Stoke, Mar 2016
  • Stoke 1-0 Chelsea, Nov 2015
  • Stoke 1-1 Chelsea, Oct 2015
  • Chelsea 2-1 Stoke, Apr 2015
  • Stoke 0-2 Chelsea, Dec 2014

Betting Tips

  • Over 2.5 Chelsea goals – 6/5 with BetVictor
  • Diego Costa to score first – 5/2 with Coral

Chelsea come in to this game as heavy favourites: they’re 1/4 with Ladbrokes to take the points on Saturday. Meanwhile, Stoke are 12/1 outsiders with Betfred. Clearly the leaders are expected to continue their excellent winning run, but will they make this a 13th victory out of 13? They’ll have to be careful, as Stoke have a decent away scoring record. They’ve found the net at Old Trafford, Anfield and the Emirates so far this season. The hosts have conceded just two goals in their winning streak, but backing them to win to nil here could be risky, especially as the Potters have scored on their last two trips to the Bridge.

However, we can see quite a few goals for the Blues this weekend. They’re up against a side who have conceded far too many in recent games. The Potters shipped four at Liverpool, three at Arsenal and two at home to a 10 man Leicester side. With Chelsea in excellent form and scoring for fun, we can see them adding to Hughes’ misery. Six of the Blues’ last nine games here have seen them score three or more goals. We’re backing a repeat of that, with over 2.5 goals for the hosts priced at 6/5 with BetVictor.

Costa wasn’t missed last time out, and the forward got a much needed rest. He’ll walk back into the side for this game, given that he’s the league’s top scorer. We can see him being refreshed, given that he’s had two weeks break heading into this game. That’s bad news for Stoke, and we’re backing them to suffer. Costa has six goals in his last eight outings, and we’re predicting him to open the scoring this weekend, which is priced at 5/2 with Coral.

Chelsea v Bournemouth Betting Tips (Premier League) – 26th December 2016

Can Chelsea make it 12 straight league wins with a victory at home to Bournemouth on Boxing Day? They’re out to extend their six point lead at the summit and keep their fantastic run going. If they can carry their excellent form in to 2017, then it’s hard to see how the rest of the title hopefuls can catch them. However, they need to watch out against a useful Cherries side.

Bournemouth sit in the top half of the table, they’ve been pretty solid in their second season in the top flight. They’ve got a couple of dangerous players, and they recently beat Liverpool 4-3 after a fantastic comeback. This is another new challenge for Antonio Conte, can he inspire his side to another victory? The Blues come in to this one as heavy favourites for the points.

Team News: Suspensions leave Conte without key men

Chelsea have built their excellent form on the back of little rotation, keeping much of the same side across this run. However, that isn’t going to be the case on Monday, as they face a couple of big suspensions ahead of this clash. Diego Costa and N’Golo Kante are both out here, after picking up yellow cards at Crystal Palace last weekend. Those two have been key parts of the title push so far, so just how will the Blues fare with two big absentees from the spine of their team?

Luckily, there are a couple of easy solutions for Conte ahead of this game. Cesc Fabregas has been pushing for a place in the team, so he can step in for Kante. While the Frenchman will be missed, Nemanja Matic will have to pick up the defensive slack. Between him and Fabregas, they should be able to make up for it. Meanwhile, Michy Batshuayi can finally get a league start with Costa out. The Belgian can at last start to show why he cost so much in the summer. He’s been limited to substitute appearances so far.

Bournemouth are missing some players ahead of this trip too, with Lewis Cook, Andrew Surman and Junior Stanislas all set to miss out for the Cherries here. Eddie Howe should be able to cope with those absences, although they’re going to miss a key man at the back. Nathan Ake has established himself in their defence, while he’s also been in strong scoring form of late. However, the Chelsea loanee is unavailable for this clash against his parent club.

Bournemouth Form

Bournemouth took a couple of big wins recently, seeing off Leicester 1-0 at the King Power. That came off the back of their win over Liverpool, so clearly the south coast side are not to be taken lightly. However, they’ve not got the greatest record on their travels. Will they be able to cause a massive shock at Stamford Bridge?

They’ve managed just one victory in seven away matches this season, which isn’t the kind of form they want to take into a tough match like this. Even that win at Stoke was surprising, and they followed it up with back to back defeats at Arsenal and Burnley. When you compare that to the Blues’ form going into this clash, it’s hard to see how the visitors can cause a shock on Boxing Day.

Chelsea v Bournemouth Head to Head

These two sides have only met twice before, and both of those came last season. The first meeting, their only encounter at Stamford Bridge, was one of the lowest points of Jose Mourinho’s tenure. They lost 1-0 to the newly promoted Cherries in December last year, before turning that around for the second meeting. Guus Hiddink led them to a 4-0 win at the Vitality in April. Hopefully Conte can produce something closer to Hiddnk’s result, rather than another home collapse.

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

Betting Tips

  • Michy Batshuayi to score any time – 5/6 with Coral
  • Chelsea to win to nil – 29/20 with BetVictor

This game will represent a huge moment for Conte and his team. The lack of European football has given them plenty of time to prepare for each game, while it has also allowed them to keep basically the same side across their winning run. There’s been a core of nine players, plus four others who have made starts. That all changes this week, with a couple of suspensions forcing Conte’s hand. On top of that, he might want to rest a couple of players, with a busy Christmas period coming up for the Blues. Could that lead to a new look side taking the field on Boxing Day?

We know that striker Costa is going to miss out and without the forward in the team the Blues will look a little short on goals. The Spaniard has hit 13 goals in 17 appearances, so obviously he’s a huge player to have to do without. This is the perfect chance for Batshuayi to step in. The forward cost £33million last summer, but he’s spent most of the season on the bench. He’s been Conte’s most used substitute so far, and he’s managed a few goals off the bench. We see him finding the net in his first league start, so we’re backing him to score any time at 5/6 with Coral.

We’re also backing another win to nil for the Blues. They’ve kept a clean sheet in nine of their last 11 games, which has been a huge help to their winning run. While Kante misses out, the usual back five will start. They should be good enough to keep out the Cherries, so we’re backing a clean sheet here for the Premier League leaders. We’re also backing their excellent winning run to continue, as we’re going with Chelsea to win to nil at 29/20 with BetVictor.

Crystal Palace v Chelsea Betting Tips (Premier League) – 17th December 2016

Can Chelsea continue their title push when they travel to Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon? The Blues are in action early this weekend, as they make the trip across London for a 12:30 kick off. Will they be able to continue an excellent run of form and keep up their push for the biggest prize available to them this season? They need to be careful, as this Palace side are desperate for points.

The Eagles are hanging around the drop zone, with boss Alan Pardew under pressure going into a busy Christmas period. Surely this is the last game that the Palace boss would want when his job is in jeopardy. Will the former Newcastle supremo be able to pick up some crucial points, or will Antonio Conte’s men continue their roaring form?

Team News: Expect changes in rare return to midweek action

Chelsea aren’t expected to have too many absentees for this weekend’s game, they are likely to miss Kurt Zouma and Marco van Ginkel once again. Both are out due to a lack of match fitness, having been injured earlier in the season. They’re both suffering from a lack of fixtures for the Blues, which restricts who gets minutes on the pitch. Making that even harder is the great form the team are in at the moment, which has seen just 13 players start in the last nine matches. How will that affect them here?

Surely there are going to be changes, having played three games in the space of a week. That’s nothing new for the club, but it isn’t something they’ve done that often this season. The Sunderland trip was just their fourth midweek clash of the campaign. We can’t see Conte sticking with the same side throughout the week, so expect a couple of changes for this clash.

Crystal Palace are without Pape Souare and Connor Wickham, who are both set to miss the rest of this season. They’re also without Loic Remy, who is on loan from Chelsea. He’s also struggling with injury, which has prevented him from playing for his new club this season. They’re likely to rely on Christian Benteke up front, but he’ll have a tough time finding space against the three centre-halves. He did manage to get a goal for Liverpool against the Blues towards the end of last season though and is a threat on his day.

Crystal Palace Form

A year ago, Palace were in excellent form, with absolutely no relegation fears whatsoever. They were pushing for a place in Europe, and they ended up in the top six. After that the Eagles dropped like a stone, and things haven’t really looked up for them since. They may have taken a 3-0 win over Southampton at home recently, but Pardew still found a way to ruin that for himself. Having accused the club’s new American investors of not knowing the game, he seems like a man sleepwalking towards the sack after those ill thought out remarks.

Last weekend saw Palace draw 3-3 with a very poor Hull side, which showed their defensive woes. That came shortly after a 5-4 loss at Swansea. Clearly this is a defence which Diego Costa and Eden Hazard could have fun against. They’ve looked every bit like a struggling side in recent weeks, and now they’re facing a hugely creative attack from one of the top sides in the league. Expect Pardew to be worrying quite a bit ahead of this clash.

Chelsea v Crystal Palace Head to Head

Chelsea opened up 2016 with a victory over Crystal Palace, can they pick up another win here towards the end of the year? Palace were one of the first sides to take advantage of the Blues’ awful season last time around, winning 2-1 at Stamford Bridge. However, the last two meetings here went in Chelsea’s favour, including a 2-1 win on their way to the 2015 title. Can they pick up another victory here to continue the push for top spot this season?

  • Crystal Palace 0-3 Chelsea, Jan 2016
  • Chelsea 1-2 Crystal Palace, Aug 2015
  • Chelsea 1-0 Crystal Palace, May 2015
  • Crystal Palace 1-2 Chelsea, Oct 2014
  • Crystal Palace 1-0 Chelsea, Mar 2014

Betting Tips

  • Both teams to score – 10/11 with Bet365
  • Over 2.5 Chelsea goals – 7/4 with Coral

Chelsea come into this game as 8/15 favourites with Betfred, while Palace are 6/1 outsiders with BetVictor. The Blues deserve to be favourites, they should manage to make short work of the Eagles, but how will they handle the hosts’ attack? Can their strong defensive record continue in this trip? It’s easy to see Pardew’s side making things difficult at the back. They have some tricky wingers, which is a new test for the two wing-backs.

Since playing Chelsea here, Palace have failed to score just twice in 15 league matches at Selhurst Park. The Blues are facing a tough week with three league fixtures, so it’s easy to see them being a little slow to react at the back. However, Pardew’s side have only kept three clean sheets in those 15, so a Chelsea goal seems inevitable. We’re backing both of these sides to find the back of the net, which is generously priced at 10/11 with Bet365.

A Chelsea goal here isn’t likely going to be a surprise, seeing as Palace have been struggling to keep goals out for a while now. They’ve conceded three or more in five of their last seven matches. That includes five against struggling Swansea, three at Burnley and four at home to Liverpool. This defence is clearly wide open, and the Blues have the players who can take advantage. We can see a big win for the visitors this weekend. That’s why we’re backing the Blues to hit over 2.5 goals in this trip, which is 7/4 with Coral.

Sunderland v Chelsea Betting Tips (Premier League) – 14th December 2016

Can struggling Sunderland deliver a blow to Chelsea’s title hopes with an unlikely win at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday night? It’s a rare return to meaningful midweek action for the Blues, who are missing out on European action this term. This is the start of a busy December for Antonio Conte’s side. The Italian is going to have to get used to English football’s packed festive period of frequent fixtures. It could come as quite a culture shock for a man well used to the European winter break.

A narrow, hard-fought win over West Brom at the weekend kept the Blues top of the Premier League table. They have a three point advantage over second placed Arsenal, and a full seven point cushion between themselves and Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. Meanwhile, Sunderland are now rock bottom in the top flight, as they can’t seem to get away from the relegation battle. Can they record a shock win over the leaders, or will they be pushed even closer to the drop here?

Team News: Conte planning midweek rotation?

Chelsea make this trip without too many worries at the back. John Terry is once again available for selection, but he’s not likely to make a start here. We could see a few changes in this game, given their fixture schedule. They’ve played two of six December fixtures, with a trip to Spurs to come in the opening days of 2017. Expect the 3-4-3 to stay, but we could see a couple of stars given a break.

Given his recent performances, Cesc Fabregas will be pushing for a starting slot. He impressed at the Etihad, and he was unlucky not to start against West Brom at the weekend. He could well step in for Nemanja Matic once again. He could replace N’Golo Kante, if Conte decides to rest the Frenchman. We also wouldn’t be surprised to see a little rotation in the wide positions, as they are key, demanding roles which will be tested this month.

Sunderland have a few worries in midfield, with Jack Rodwell and Lee Cattermole both unavailable for this clash. Paddy McNair and Duncan Watmore both miss out; they’re set to spend the rest of the season on the sidelines for the Black Cats. They’ve been finding joy of late with Victor Anichebe and Jermain Defoe up top, but expect them to change for this one. It’s hard to see them playing two strikers against the Blues. Conte’s system tends to pack the midfield, so it should do well against a 4-4-2. It’s hard to see David Moyes giving his opponents that opportunity.

Sunderland Form

Sunderland slipped back to the bottom of the Premier League over the weekend. Their 3-0 defeat at Swansea was a total humiliation for the Black Cats, who had started to climb back up the table. They would have been out of the bottom three with a result in Wales on Saturday. However, they are now propping up the league, which isn’t a position which any side would want to be in coming up to Christmas. The side bottom in December tends to end up dropping down to the Championship.

Sunderland have taken three victories from their last five games, which includes back to back wins at the Stadium of Light. Those have been against Hull and Leicester, two of the worst away sides in the division. Will that be a platform for the Black Cats to build on, or were they just favourable results against teams who tend to suffer defeat on the road anyway? A game against Chelsea isn’t exactly the time to judge that, but it’ll certainly be a much bigger test for Moyes and co than their recent home matches have been. The Blues have won four straight away league matches, conceding just one goal in that time.

Sunderland v Chelsea Head to Head

Chelsea’s recent record against Sunderland is a lot more mixed than it should be. Conte will be looking for his side to avoid a recent trend in these fixtures; the home team have scored three times in the last three encounters. It’s hard to see that happening here, the hosts average just 0.93 goals per game in the Premier league this season. Of course, this is a very different Chelsea side from the one which lost 3-2 in the North East in May last season.

  • Sunderland 3-2 Chelsea, May 2016
  • Chelsea 3-1 Sunderland, Dec 2015
  • Chelsea 3-1 Sunderland, May 2015
  • Sunderland 0-0 Chelsea, Nov 2014
  • Chelsea 1-2 Sunderland, Apr 2014

Betting Tips

  • Chelsea to Win to Nil – 6/5 with Bet365
  • Draw/Chelsea HT/FT – 17/5 with BetVictor

Having won nine straight games, Chelsea come into this trip as 3/10 favourites to claim all three points. However, the West Brom game showed that they can be frustrated. They once again impressed at the back, keeping their seventh clean sheet in their last nine league matches. It seems Conte has brought his Italian defensive steel with him to Stamford Bridge.

The Blues have a fantastic defensive record all season, conceding just 11 times in their 15 matches so far. Nine of those goals came in the first six, too. We’ve already mentioned Sunderland’s poor attacking record; we can see them being the latest side to be blunted by this strong Blues backline. We’re also backing this winning run to continue, so we’re going with an away win and clean sheet at 6/5 with Bet365.

While we see a Chelsea win, this won’t be an easy one. Sunderland will still be confident here after their recent home wins, and they’ll be buoyed by West Brom’s display at the Bridge. The Black Cats can keep this one tight early on, with the break through coming in the second half. Sunderland concede 71% of their home goals in the second 45, while Chelsea score 75% of their away goals after half-time. That’s why we’re going for Draw/Chelsea on the half-time/full-time market. It’s well priced at 17/5 with Bet Victor.

Chelsea v West Brom Betting Tips (Premier League) – 11th December 2016

After a fantastic victory at Manchester City, Chelsea are now three points clear at the top of the Premier League. They look to have a favourable schedule over Christmas, and that starts with the visit of West Brom this weekend. Can they continue their amazing winning run when Tony Pulis’ side visit Stamford Bridge at midday on Sunday?

After eight consecutive wins, the Blues are obviously heavy favourites to take the points here. Chelsea are looking more and more like title contenders each week, and that was shown by the manner of their win at City. Now they need to build on that, and ensure they aren’t caught out by the recent upturn in form of their next few opponents. This may also be the time for Antonio Conte to think about a little rotation.

Team News: Has Fabregas tied up starting spot?

Last weekend saw Nemanja Matic drop out of the team, with Cesc Fabregas replacing him. That was a surprising inclusion, the Spaniard didn’t seem suited to a holding role in a trip to the Etihad. He was impressive, and he supplied the assist for the equaliser. Could that have earned the former Barcelona man a place in the side for this Sunday’s game? You’d imagine he’s going to get more freedom to create in a game like this, and that could help Eden Hazard and Pedro kick on even more.

John Terry missed the game at the Etihad, he’s still a doubt for this game, although he’d likely be limited to the bench anyway. While Gary Cahill scored an own goal last weekend, it’s hard to see Conte making any changes to his back five. Kurt Zouma and Marco van Ginkel are still searching for fitness, so they’re unlikely to be involved. It’s hard to see too many changes for this game, the settled side that the manager has been using is paying off. Although, they can’t play every game in December. At some stage, changes are needed.

West Brom are set to be without Saido Berahino, although he’s barely kicked a ball for them all season. Aside from that, the Baggies have a fully fit squad for this weekend’s game. They’ve hit a good spell of form themselves, so it’s hard to see too many changes to a winning side.

West Brom Form

West Brom’s win last weekend lifted them to seventh in the table, they’re just starting to hit form ahead of the Christmas period. They’ve won three and drawn one of their last four, which has restored faith in Pulis. They’ve gone from the verge of a relegation fight to the edge of the European spots, but can that rise continue? If they could claim three points here, it would a hugely impressive victory for the Baggies.

West Brom’s strong record doesn’t include their recent away from, which is really poor. They’ve won just one of their last seven on the road, which includes a League Cup elimination to Northampton. They drew 1-1 with Hull last time out, and the Tigers are one of the worst sides in the league. While West Brom are in good form, they are yet to repeat that on their travels.

Chelsea v West Brom Head to Head

The Baggies really troubled Chelsea last season, although most sides did. The Blues conceded twice in both games, but they took four points from those meetings. While they don’t have the best record up against West Brom, that’s mostly in their trips to the Hawthorns. In their last 11 trips to the Bridge, WBA have taken just a single point. That isn’t the kind of record which will fill their fans with confidence ahead of this one.

  • Chelsea 2-2 West Brom Jan 2016
  • West Brom 2-3 Chelsea, Aug 2015
  • West Brom 3-0 Chelsea, May 2015
  • Chelsea 2-0 West Brom, Nov 2014
  • West Brom 1-1 Chelsea, Feb 2014

Betting Tips

  • Eden Hazard to score anytime – 19/20 with BetVictor
  • Chelsea to win and both teams to score – 21/10 with Coral

It’s hardly a surprise that Chelsea come into this game as big favourites. They’re usually expected to beat West Brom, but now they have an eight game winning streak to continue. There’s a lot of talk about the fixture calendar, with Chelsea facing five very winnable games between now and the end of the year. Their next big challenge will be a trip to White Hart Lane in the New Year, but can they continue their form going into that one? Given their record over West Brom, it’s easy to see them continuing their strong run on Sunday.

Eden Hazard has revealed a joke agreement he has with Diego Costa over the big individual awards. The Belgian said he’ll give the striker the Golden Boot, as long as he can win back the Player of the Year trophy he took in 2015. He’s certainly in with a chance, and he could well threaten Costa’s hopes of finishing as top scorer. Hazard is joint fourth on the scoring charts, three off the Spain international. His highest tally across a season is 14 goals but now he has eight in just 14 games. Given his form, we think the Belgian is worth backing to score again this weekend. He has nine in his last 12 for club and country, and he’s 19/20 with BetVictor to add to that this weekend.

While we see a home win, it might not be as straight forward as Conte would like. The defence is now looking a little more open, having conceded in their last two. There were a few worrying moments in the game at City. West Brom have scored in all but one of their last nine away league games. We can see them scoring in a defeat here, which is why we’re backing Chelsea and both teams to score at 21/10 with Coral.