Author Archives: Graham

Liverpool v Chelsea Betting Tips (Premier League) – 25th November 2017

Chelsea head to Anfield on Saturday with three points very much on the agenda. There’s an intriguing top four battle emerging in the Premier League, and a win over Liverpool would lift the Blues above that and more towards a possible tilt at the title itself. They’ll have ambitions of being part of a top three with the Manchester clubs, rather than having to contend with the sides chasing fourth. A few impressive Premier League victories has seen expectations at Stamford Bridge raise, but can they continue to make life difficult for Liverpool at Anfield?

Antonio Conte is facing the only Premier League side that he’s failed to beat since arriving at the club last summer. The Blues won 30 of their 38 games on the way to the Premier League title, but they took just one point from a possible six against Liverpool last season. That was partly down to the similarities between the pair, as they were both looking to make the top four in a season without continental football. Now they’ve both made the jump to the Champions League, it will be interesting to see which team is best equipped to stay there.

Team News: Conte’s 3-5-2 is here to stay

Chelsea come into this game with only Michy Batshuayi on the injury list, which is a big boost for Antonio Conte. He has made a slight tweak to the system this season, using a 3-5-2 set-up for big games. That was always likely to be wheeled out at Anfield, but the system seems to be one that Conte is sticking with. He used it at West Brom last weekend, to great effect.

Post-match Conte talked up the understanding of the two strikers – Alvaro Morata and Eden Hazard. Those two played really well together at the Hawthorns, and that could signal a change in thinking from the Blues boss for the remainder of the season. A switch to a three-man defence worked wonders last season, Conte must hope a change to a three-man central midfield can do the same.

Liverpool have few injury worries going into this one, with Nathaniel Clyne their main absentee here. We’re unlikely to see any huge changes to the way they play – which tends to be a in a 4-3-3 set-up. Mohamed Salah is set to be one of the wide-men in that system, as he faces off against his former side. It will be interesting to see how the pace and pressing of that front three lines up against Chelsea’s three man defence, but they have N’Golo Kante in front to help alleviate the pressure at least.

Liverpool Form

The Reds are in impressive form in recent weeks, having strung together a three game winning streak in the league. However, those wins did come against Southampton, West Ham and Huddersfield. They struggled in slightly bigger games before that, losing at Tottenham, drawing with Manchester United and Newcastle. Their biggest Champions League home game saw the Reds draw with Sevilla, so you can question their form in big games. While they rattled four goals past Arsenal, Jurgen Klopp’s men followed that up with a 5-0 loss to Manchester City soon after.

Liverpool do have one of the strongest home records in the league, which makes this a dangerous trip. They’ve conceded just one home goal in the league – and that was to the Premier League’s resident upset merchants Burnley. They are unbeaten in 11 home matches, dating back to April’s loss to Crystal Palace. Having taken 14 points at home, scoring 12 times in six games, Anfield has become something of a fortress for Liverpool, but can Chelsea end that run?

Liverpool v Chelsea Head to Head

Anfield has been a friendly ground for the Blues to visit in recent times. They’ve escaped without defeat in their previous six visits, with their last loss coming five years ago. However, that side was heavily rotated by Roberto Di Matteo, as he battled fixture congestion to guide the side to the Champions League and the FA Cup. It’s over seven years since a full strength Blues side lost at Anfield, but can Klopp’s side end that run this weekend?

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

Betting Tips

  • Eden Hazard to score any time – 7/4 with BetVictor
  • 1-1 Draw – 6/1 with Coral

Chelsea come into this game as slight outsiders, as they’re priced at 21/10 with Betfred, while the draw is 5/2 with Ladbrokes. The Reds are 6/5 favourites with Bet365, which is understandable given their home form so far this season. However, it’s easy to also see why the home side are above evens, given that they’ve enjoyed a mixed record against the other top sides in recent encounters, with Manchester United taking a 0-0 draw back from Anfield last month.

Chelsea shouldn’t be as defensive as Jose Mourinho was that day, and they have the kind of mercurial talent behind the frontman that United wish they had. Eden Hazard looks great in his new role behind the frontman, and with Liverpool’s midfield not that defensively minded, we can see the Belgian slipping out of sight and finding some space. He’s scored five goals against Liverpool in his career, which is the highest number he’s scored against a Premier League side. We’re backing another strike from Hazard this week, and he’s priced at 7/4 with BetVictor to score any time.

While the Blues are unbeaten in their last six meetings with Liverpool at Anfield, four of those clashes have been draws. That includes the previous three meetings here, which have all finished 1-1. The draw has been the most popular result across the last eight encounters, landing in six of those clashes. We’re backing another 1-1 between these two here, which can be backed at 6/1 with Coral.

Qarabag v Chelsea Betting Tips (Champions League) – 22nd November 2017

Chelsea return to Champions League action on Wednesday, with a slightly earlier 5pm kick off. That’s because the Blues head East out to Azerbaijan, as they aim to book a spot in the last 16 of Europe’s premier competition. A strong run in Europe is going to be a key demand for the Blues this season, following their year out of this tournament last season, and the dismal way in which they exited the competition during the 2015/16 campaign. Can the 2012 European champions make another impressive run in this competition, or will Antonio Conte continue to disappoint on the European stage?

The Italian boss hasn’t got a great record when it comes to guiding side through the latter stages of the Champions League, he never took Juventus too far in this competition despite their domestic dominance. That’s something Conte is out to change, but it really depends on which version of his Blues side shows up for this game. Will they play like they did in their brilliant 2-1 win over Atletico Madrid, or the awful 3-0 defeat Rome last month? If they’re going to make it through this group, then the Blues need to be back to their best here and pick up all three points. Qarabag have improved in Europe of late, so they need to be taken seriously.

Team News: Conte Needs to Switch Approach from Group Opener

One thing is for certain here, Antonio Conte can’t use the same approach that he did for the home meeting with Qarabag. He rotated his side for the clash at Stamford Bridge, with a very much second string Chelsea side taking the Azerbaijani side apart with a 6-0 victory. The scoreline didn’t quite reflect the game ultimately, but things have changed quite a bit since then. With Chelsea second in the group and Qarabag taking two points from two meetings with Atletico Madrid, the Blues have to revert back to their strongest line up for this clash on Wednesday. Expect a full-strength team to take the field here, as Chelsea look to seal their place in the last 16.

We can’t see any reason why Qarabag would make any changes to the side which caused Atletico Madrid so much trouble in their recent encounters. They also tested Roma in their home game, so that 6-0 loss to Chelsea is a real outlier in their results in Europe this season. Qarabag have proven themselves to be a solid side at this level, and we expect them to name a similar side to the one which held Atletico, and they’re likely to give Chelsea a real test in this trip.

Qarabag Form

The hosts have impressed in the Champions League of late, while they’re on course for more domestic success. They’re top of the league in Azerbaijan, and they should extend that lead with a game in hand on the chasing pack. However, the Champions League is the big thing for them this season, given that they’re the first ever Azerbaijani side to play at this level in the Champions League. Can they follow that up by being the first to pick up a group stage victory?

If Qarabag are to win a game in this group, you’d expect that they’ll be targeting their final home game to pick up that victory. After some impressive displays in Europe, the hosts must be full of confidence ahead of this week’s meeting with Chelsea. Qarabag managed to draw 1-1 at Atletico Madrid last time out, following up a hard-fought 0-0 at home. Can they cause a similar shock against Chelsea in their final home game of this European campaign?

Qarabag v Chelsea Head to Head

The only meeting between these two was that 6-0 victory back in September. Obviously Qarabag’s lack of a European track record means they’ve missed out on big Champions League clashes, with these two clubs operating within different worlds. However, we expect this week’s clash to be a much closer affair.

  • Chelsea 6-0 Qarabag, Sept 2017

Betting Tips

  • Both Teams to Score – 21/20 with Bet365
  • Chelsea to win 2-1 – 8/1 with BetVictor

Chelsea are heavy favourites here despite Qarabag’s recent European results, with the Blues priced at 2/5 with Coral to take the points and move into the next round. Meanwhile, the hosts can be backed at 15/2 with Ladbrokes, as they search for a first win in this group. Having drawn their last two games, the Azerbaijan side will be out for another point against the English champions, especially after stopping a side like Atletico Madrid. You can back another draw for the group’s smallest side at 7/2 with Betfred. Obviously there’s not much value there in backing the Chelsea win, but we think this game will be closer than the odds make out.

The Blues should be worried about the increased confidence of the hosts here. In the first meeting at the Bridge Qarabag were finding chances, they just lacked the cutting edge to see them through. However, we don’t expect that to be the case here, especially after landing blows against the two other top sides in this group. Having scored away to Atleti and at home to Roma, we expect Qarabag will be more confident when it comes to burying their chances here. We expect them to grab a goal against the Blues, so our first tip here is both teams to score at 21/20 with Bet365.

We’re also backing a 2-1 win for Chelsea in this trip, as we see them having more fluidity up front than Atletico. The Spaniards have been struggling for goals across this European campaign, but the Blues should have enough cutting edge to take the win they need to maintain their push for top spot. Given that Qarabag lost 2-1 at home to group leaders Roma, that correct score bet looks like great value at 8/1 with BetVictor.

Chelsea v Manchester United Betting Tips (Premier League) – 5th November 2017

Chelsea are being made to wait this weekend, as they play in the final Premier League fixture before the international break. The Blues face Manchester United in the second of Sunday’s massive double header, one which could prove crucial to the title race. The Blues are hoping to get themselves back in contention for top spot with a result against the second placed side, but they’ve already come up short against Man City this term. There’s a nine point gap between the reigning champions and the current leaders, but can they cut in to that before the squad heads on international duty?

After the midweek loss in Roma, Chelsea need to go off on a high before the break. This has been a troubled spell for the Blues, who this time last year went through October and November without dropping points in the league. This time around, things have been quite different. The performances have been far from the standard required, leaving Conte facing questions over his future. Can the Italian do anything to silence the critics this week, or will Jose Mourinho get one over him once again?

Team News: Conte has Kante on the Fast Track to Recovery

It seems like Conte’s response to the shambles in Rome is to rush N’Golo Kante back into the side. The Frenchman has been an obvious absentee in recent weeks, as he does a job few in world football can accomplish. Without Kante’s energy and positioning, this Chelsea team just aren’t the same. Conte will be hoping his return improves them defensively, but Kante coming back frees up a change in formation. Conte should have the options to go with a 3-5-2 set up this weekend, which should make the champions much tougher to break down than they were in Rome.

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has one kind of approach in big games like this; don’t lose. The former Chelsea boss is well known for parking the bus in big games in England, and it seems like he’s becoming even more conservative as he ages. The way his side frustrated Liverpool and Tottenham last month was impressive, but United were clearly lacking an edge. The absence of Paul Pogba continues to leave United a little short, and he’s not returning any time soon it seems. The midfielder is out of this trip, which gives Conte’s likely three man midfield the edge in the middle of the park.

Manchester United Form

Manchester United have been solid for the most part, losing just once all season. That defeat came against Huddersfield on the road, which makes them a little nervy ahead of this trip. That’s probably why Mourinho refused to let the shackles off his team at Anfield earlier in the season, and why he kept things so tight at home to Tottenham. Those two matches failed to capture the imagination of United’s fans, and neither did the two wins over Benfica in the Champions League.

However, it’s difficult to argue with United’s defensive record. Oddly, the four goals they conceded came in trips to two separate teams, meaning they’ve kept a clean sheet in 80% of their league matches so far. Having shipped just one goal in four Champions League games. The Red Devils are obviously a solid defensive unit, even if they’re a bit dull to watch going forwards.

Chelsea v Manchester United Head to Head

The three meetings between these sides last season were all won by the home side, but things got gradually less impressive for Chelsea over the season. Their 1-0 win over United in the FA Cup was a really tight contest, and it took them a long time to break down 10 men. Meanwhile, the loss at Old Trafford saw Mourinho freeze out Hazard and nullify Chelsea, a tactic which others have adopted this season.

  • Man United 2-0 Chelsea, Apr 2017
  • Chelsea 1-0 Man United, Mar 2017
  • Chelsea 4-0 Man United, Nov 2016
  • Chelsea 1-1 Man United, Feb 2016
  • Man United 0-0 Chelsea, Dec 2015

Betting Tips

  • Under 2.5 Goals – 4/6 with Betfair
  • Draw – 9/4 with Betfred

Chelsea may be coming off the back of a nightmare result, but they’re priced at 29/20 with Bet365 to win this clash. Meanwhile, United are further out at 2/1 with Coral, but they’re priced at 8/15 with Ladbrokes to avoid defeat this weekend. Clearly the bookies are struggling to pick a winner between these two, which isn’t surprising in such a big game. Can either of these two grind out the result they need, or will this clash end up a stalemate?

The big worry for Antonio Conte has to be that his side are struggling at the back. If they put in a defensive display like they did in Rome, then there’s no way back against this United side. The champions need to be just as solid as United defensively, or else they’re going to suffer another defeat here. That is why we see Conte turning to the 3-5-2 set-up which they’ve used in big games already this season. Having lacked enough central midfielders for that system in Rome, Kante’s return changes things for the champions. They should be able to shore up the defence with more bodies in midfield, with a forward player likely to miss out on their place.

That should give us a really tight game on Sunday, and our tips reflect that. Three of Chelsea’s last four home games in the league have seen under 2.5 goals scored, and we see a similarly low scoring contest here. Both sides need to set up not to lose, which should result in a game of few chances. We think under 2.5 is great value at 4/6 with Betfair, while we’re backing these two to cancel each other out and share the points. The draw can be backed at 9/4 with Betfred here, and that seems like the most likely outcome between these two.

Roma v Chelsea Betting Tips (Champions League) – 31st October 2017

Chelsea face a tough trip to Rome on Tuesday night in the Champions League. After playing out a draw at home to the Serie A side from the Italian capital, the Blues head for Italy, as Antonio Conte returns to his home country. Will he make as big an impression there as he did in the Spanish capital earlier in this group? With Roma seriously pushing for a top two finish, this group is heading down to the wire, and that should have both sides nervy ahead of this huge clash. With the Blues not in the greatest form in the league, they can’t afford a slip up in Europe.

It’s easy to bemoan the position Chelsea are in following that 3-3 draw with Roma. They were 2-0 up and cruising, set to go seven points clear of Atletico Madrid, and five ahead of Roma. Chelsea now lead the Italians by two points, and the worst case scenario here is a loss to the hosts coupled with Atletico Madrid seeing off minnows Qarabag. That would leave Antonio Conte’s team in a tricky position heading into the final two games, and that would leave this group open for any of those three European heavyweights. There’s so much riding on this one, so the Blues need another big display.

Team News: Conte out to Avoid any Defensive Scares

The return of Danny Drinkwater is a boost for Chelsea, after he started the EFL Cup win over Everton. With N’Golo Kante back in the frame, Conte has midfield options once again. That boosts his potential use of the 3-5-2 formation, as seen against Tottenham, Man City and Atletico Madrid this term. We’re likely to see that team once again, as the manager looks for a more solid set-up to the one which conceded three at home to Roma in the last meeting. That’s a smart move to make with so much on the line in this game, and we expect to see the former Leicester central midfield line-up working together for the Blues in the near future. However, this game might come a little too soon for that.

Roma’s big injury concern here is midfielder Rick Karsdorp, who misses out after injuring his knee. Having just moved to the club in the summer, the defender hasn’t really had the chance to shine for his new employers. Despite that, he would have been a solid figure for Roma to call upon, and now they have more defensive concerns to worry about ahead of this crucial tie. Expect a similar side to the one which held off Atletico Madrid in their group opener, which set the Italians up for a solid campaign in this competition.

Roma Form

Roma have seemingly been preparing for this game with some tight matches, having given up attacking sides who tend to defend poorly. They beat Torino and Crotone by an aggregate score of 2-0, with those two sides conceding their fair share of goals over recent months. However, Roma were solid in both, grinding out much needed victories. Will that be the case once again on Tuesday night?

Roma have been solid in Serie A this season, while their Champions League form has been an odd mix. They started off with a 0-0 at home to Atletico, a genuinely tight game with really high stakes. They followed that up by looking poor at the back against Qarabag away, before that clash with Chelsea. Eusebio Di Francesco will be hoping for a better performance when his side return home in Europe.

Roma v Chelsea Head to Head

Roma have now scored three in both of their last two meetings with Chelsea, although those matches were separated by nine years, and many, many Chelsea mangers. It remains to be seen just how much of an impact their 3-3 draw will have on this game, but the two managers probably have to just start fresh and try and be more solid here.

  • Chelsea 3-3 Roma, Oct 2017
  • Roma 3-1 Chelsea, Nov 2008
  • Chelsea 1-0 Roma, Oct 2008

Betting Tips

  • Under 2.5 Goals – 5/4 with BetVictor
  • 0-0 Draw – 13/1 with Betfair

Despite throwing away two points in the first meeting, Chelsea come into this trip as marginal favourites. They’ve been priced up at 13/8 with Bet365 to claim the win. Roma are 17/11 with Ladbrokes. With the draw sitting at 12/5 with Betfred, it’s clear that the bookmakers are a tad confused by this one. Just how the two sides approach it will clearly have an impact on matters, but will we see another high scoring tie? The two sides will both be pushing for a place in the knockout round, but could that have an adverse effect on the match overall?

Roma did have a cagey opener with Atletico, and we can see them reverting to that form in this game. While the last meeting was a six goal thriller, you have to wonder how Roma would have approached it if they were level at half-time. They didn’t do anything to deserve to be 2-0 down in that clash, and they only really opened up because they had to. They were welcomed in with open arms by the Blues’ backline, with a shambolic defensive display that can’t happen again.

You have to ask if the game gets on a bit, will there be another 0-0 on the cards for Roma? They’ve been playing with more restrictions in the league of late, and we expect Conte to instruct his men to keep things tight against them. We’re backing under 2.5 goals in this game, which looks like solid value at 5/4 with BetVictor. We’re also liking the look of a 0-0 draw between the two sides, which can be backed at 13/1 with Betfair. With so much on the line, a really low scoring tie seems likely in our book.

Bournemouth v Chelsea Betting Tips (Premier League) – 28th October 2017

Chelsea are back in the top four in the Premier League, and they’ll want to hang on to that when they travel south on Saturday evening. The Blues head to Bournemouth this weekend, a ground where they have a perfect record in Premier League matches. Having seen off an impressive Watford side at the weekend, the Blues will be hoping for another three points to keep their season on track. However, in order to do that they’ll need to improve on last weekend’s showing.

The champions need to fix their issues, with many trying to compare this season to their dismal time under Jose Mourinho in 2015. That title defence was rocky from the outset, but it’s hard to draw too many comparisons. After all, but Blues are only three points worse off this time around than they were at this stage last season. They were fourth at this stage last term too, with Manchester City leading the way at the top. Plenty changed over the following 29 matches, could the same happen this season?

Team News: Could Watford Win Lead to Formation Change?

The Blues had success after making changes against Watford, which involved getting Pedro, Willian and Eden Hazard on the pitch together. The Blues could try and find a way of including those three behind Alvaro Morata here to switch things up, but that would involve a 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-2 with Hazard playing centrally. It would be a big change from Conte from the start, but he’ll want to get the Belgian as involved in the game as possible. The Blues are going to be without N’Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater once again this weekend, which leaves Cesc Fabregas and Tiemoue Bakayoko as the only two options in central midfield.

Bournemouth aren’t likely to make many changes after picking up a vital three points on Saturday. Having seen off Stoke at the Bet365 Arena, it’s hard to see Eddie Howe going out of his way to make changes for this one. He may be tempted to add a little more resilience to his side ahead of a clash with the defending champions, especially after the Blues scored four times without playing well on Saturday. Two notable names who are likely to start in this one are former Blues Asmir Begovic and Nathan Ake. The pair left Stamford Bridge for the south coast in the summer, and now they’re set to face off with their former side.

Bournemouth Form

The Cherries are struggling at home of late, with just one home win in their last four matches. A victory at Stoke on Saturday failed to take the Cherries out of the drop zone, and they’re left in the bottom two. There’s no pressure on Eddie Howe despite their strong start, he has even been linked with the Everton job following Ronald Koeman’s departure.

The Cherries have lost six of their nine matches overall, which would be cause for panic for most sides. Only Crystal Palace’s dismal start has prevented the Cherries from sitting bottom, so Chelsea should be able to take advantage of Howe’s side. While the club should stabilise over the coming weeks, there are serious issues for Bournemouth to deal with right now.

Bournemouth v Chelsea Head to Head

Chelsea have won the last three meetings between these two sides, following a shock 1-0 loss to the Cherries at Stamford Bridge in 2015. That was part of their awful title defence, which must raise alarm bells ahead of this clash. Given the rate that the Blues are conceding goals, they are likely to slip up to this Bournemouth attack once again.

  • Bournemouth 1-3 Chelsea, Apr 2017
  • Chelsea 3-0 Bournemouth, Dec 2016
  • Bournemouth 1-4 Chelsea, Apr 2016
  • Chelsea 0-1 Bournemouth, Dec 2015

Betting Tips

  • Over 2.5 goals – 7/10 with BetVictor
  • Eden Hazard to score anytime – 17/10 with Betfair

Chelsea come in to this game at 4/7 with Bet365 to take all three points and they are worthy favourites. That said, they should be slightly longer given their recent struggles, which could affect them in this trip. The draw here can be backed at 3/1 with Ladbrokes, while Bournemouth are out at 9/2 with Betfred for the points. Can the Cherries cause an upset at the Vitality, or will the Blues build on their win over Watford? Conte can’t really afford another slip up here, which would mean they’ve lost to both of the current bottom two. That would be a real blow to their title defence.

Chelsea’s recent defensive issues could give Bournemouth a chance here, and that’s exactly why we’re avoiding siding with the Blues in the match betting. The champions have made too many sloppy errors at the back, which should see Bournemouth get a goal here. The Cherries have scored in three of their four meetings with Chelsea, including both their clashes at the Vitality. However, the Blues have won 7-2 here on aggregate in their two trips, so we expect to see plenty of goals in this game. We’re backing over 2.5 goals in this clash, which has landed in every Chelsea away game this season. It looks like great value at 7/10 with BetVictor.

While the late fightback against Watford saw plenty of Chelsea players come out with credit, one man who didn’t was Hazard. The Belgian did get an early assist, but he was left out of the late fightback for the most part. He should get a chance to make up for that this weekend, given that he tends to enjoy playing against Bournemouth. The Cherries haven’t got the best record against the Belgian winger, conceding four goals in their last three meetings with him. With the possibility of Hazard moving into a central role, we are backing him to score any time at 17/10 with Betfair.

Chelsea v Everton Betting Tips (EFL Cup) – 25th October 2017

Chelsea return to EFL Cup action on Wednesday night, as the Blues look to wrap up a place in the quarter-finals. This is a competition that Antonio Conte’s side crashed out of early last season, but can they hang in and try to claim League Cup glory? While this will be bottom of Chelsea’s list of priorities, there’s still silverware on the line, and it’s a competition in which the Blues have been successful over the last few years. The champions have a big test to make the next round, as they host Everton.

The Toffees started this season as one of the dark horses for silverware, after a big spending summer at Goodison. Things haven’t been going so well for them lately, but they still have a strong squad and plenty of talent to choose from in this game. The Toffees have enough quality to cause problems at Stamford Bridge, but can under-fire boss Ronald Koeman get them into the next round of the cup?

Team News: Conte Expected to Make Sweeping cup Changes

Chelsea have almost always made big changes in cup games. The FA Cup run last season was built on a second string side, even in the semis Eden Hazard and Diego Costa started on the bench. The EFL Cup isn’t a competition that’s worth risking the likes of Alvaro Morata in, so we expect an almost entirely different 11 where possible here. Michy Batshuayi should get a start, while there could be room to test a few youngsters against Premier League opposition. Charly Musonda would have been a contender to start, but his recent Instagram rant could see him left out of the side for this one.

Everton’s dismal results in the league and Europe recently mean that they should take this game seriously. We could see Wayne Rooney brought into the team, given that he has a decent record at Stamford Bridge in his career. Overall, the Toffees are struggling for pace in their side, but Ronald Koeman seems reluctant to start any of their younger players. Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Oumar Niasse were the two scorers in the last round for Everton, and they’re both in contention to start this trip.

Everton Form

Everton come into this game in awful form, and they’re on the verge of an early exit in Europe. Their defeat at home to Lyon leaves them with one point from their opening three group matches in the Europa League. That loss to Lyon was the 10th time in 12 matches that the Toffees have failed to win, with their only clean sheet in that run coming in this competition against Championship side Sunderland. Can they improve on their recent run at the home of the champions?

It’s hard to make a case for the Toffees here, given that they’ve failed to win their last six away games. Their only victory on the road this term came at Ruzomberok in the Europa League, and that was almost three months ago. Ending that wait is going to be difficult for the Toffees, who have lost seven of their last nine meetings with top six sides. They’ve not got a lot of hope coming in to this one, they’re just going to have to rely on an understrength Chelsea side failing to click here.

Chelsea v Everton Head to Head

Everton had a decent run of form against Chelsea, until Antonio Conte arrived at the Bridge. The Blues have since won three meetings with Everton, scoring 10 and conceding none. The champions already have a result against the Toffees this term, having won 2-0 at Stamford Bridge at the end of August. Will they be able to secure another home win this week and move in to the quarter-finals of the cup?

  • Chelsea 2-0 Everton, Aug 2017
  • Everton 0-3 Chelsea, Apr 2017
  • Chelsea 5-0 Everton, Nov 2016
  • Everton 2-0 Chelsea, Mar 2016
  • Chelsea 3-3 Everton, Jan 2016

Betting Tips

  • Both teams to score – 10/11 with Bet365
  • Over 2.5 Chelsea goals – 6/4 with Coral

Chelsea are widely expected to make it through, as they’re 2/5 favourites with BetVictor for this game. They’ve surely benefited from Everton’s poor form, which has the Toffees out at 7/1 with Ladbrokes for the points. Meanwhile, the draw here can be backed at 39/10 with Betfair, so obviously few are expecting this to be a long night. There’s not a huge amount of value in backing the home win at that price, especially when there’s going to be a huge number of changes being make by Antonio Conte. However, we believe we have found value elsewhere here by looking towards the goal markets.

The hosts have been far from solid at the back in recent weeks, and their second string side are likely to suffer the same kinds of issues. The Blues have played two home League Cup games under Conte, which have seen them concede three against Bristol City and Nottingham Forest. All four of their matches in this competition under Conte have seen both teams score, so we’re backing that as our main tip for this game at 10/11 with Bet365. While the visitors are struggling for results, they should have enough quality up front to take advantage of a changed Chelsea defence.

We’re also backing Chelsea to grab a few goals here, with over 2.5 for the hosts priced at 6/4 with Coral. The Blues have Michy Batshuayi in impressive form when he gets a chance outside of the Premier League, after he hit a hat-trick in the last round. With genuine squad depth now, the Blues should have a strong attack on show against Everton, and we can see them racking up a few goals against a side who are in awful form. That makes us think that over 2.5 goals from the home side is the best value bet here.

Chelsea v Watford Betting Tips (Premier League) – 21st October 2017

Chelsea suffered yet another setback as they threw away two points at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night. The Blues went from 2-0 up against Roma to 3-2 down in a crucial Champions League tie. They ultimately drew 3-3, which is still not a great return for the champions. Having dropped points to Manchester City and Crystal Palace in the league, that display has left fans somewhat unsettled. It’s been a tough couple of weeks for Antonio Conte’s team, with the manager clearly showing that these performances have got to him in his post-match press conferences.

Facing Watford is a tough test for a Chelsea side who are well below par, with the Hornets impressing under Marco Silva. The Portuguese boss has taken the Vicarage Road side in to the top four, and they currently set a place above Chelsea in the table. Having beaten Arsenal last weekend, Watford are going to be out for another scalp on Saturday. The question is, will they go out and push the Chelsea defence, or try to frustrate the hosts? Regardless of how they approach this game, there’s certainly a chance for the visitors to take advantage of Conte’s selection woes and his side’s current slump.

Team News: Defensive Concerns Leave Conte with a Puzzle

Chelsea are very clearly missing N’Golo Kante in midfield, his injury over the international break has led to two poor defensive displays. He’s such a unique player that he’s difficult to replace, with Conte playing David Luiz and Tiemoue Bakayoko in front of the defence against Roma. That system worked a treat with Kante and Bakayoko giving Cesc Fabregas support in the three man midfield, but his absence has been telling. The bad news for the Blues is that he’s missing here once again, leaving a big gap for Conte to fill. On the bright side, he finally has Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata fit to start together, which could be a very fruitful partnership.

Watford have leapt into the European spots thanks to some impressive squad depth, which marks them out from most of the league. They have so many options now that Troy Deeney has been relegated from indispensable captain to a man on the fringes, vying for a starting spot. As a result, predicting their team is tough. They are missing former Chelsea man Nathaniel Chalobah, who is suffering from a long-term injury after impressing in the early stages of his Watford career.

Watford Form

Watford’s only defeat of the season was a big one, as they lost 6-0 at home to Manchester City. Apart from that hammering they’ve been in great form, which has lifted them in to the Champions League places. Strangely, they’ve won four, drew three and lost two of their last nine matches, losing both of those to City by an 11-0 margin. Aside from those heavy losses, the Hornets have really impressed, having taken 10 points from four away trips so far.

Watford’s 2-1 win over Arsenal last weekend helped them earn even more plaudits, and it’s a result that will worry Chelsea. The Hornets hung in when Arsenal applied pressure, and they knew that they’d eventually be able to bully the Gunners. They won’t have the same ease of access past the Chelsea defence, but we expect Marco Silva to have worked out a way to make things difficult for the champions’ back four.

Chelsea v Watford Head to Head

Recent meetings between these two at Stamford Bridge have been high scoring, and this game could well go the same way. Watford have little reason to show fear, and going on the attack at Chelsea has brought them five goals in two trips, compared to the one point from two defensively minded meetings at Vicarage Road. If Silva is looking back on the recent meetings between the pair, it might encourage him to be more offensive than he was in his visit with Hull earlier this year.

  • Chelsea 4-3 Watford, May 2017
  • Watford 1-2 Chelsea, Aug 2016
  • Watford 0-0 Chelsea, Feb 2016
  • Chelsea 2-2 Watford, Dec 2015
  • Chelsea 3-0 Watford, Jan 2015

Betting Tips

  • Both Teams to Score – 19/20 with Coral
  • Over 3.5 Goals – 17/10 with BetVictor

Despite their recent struggles, the bookmakers have plenty of faith in Chelsea this weekend. The Blues are priced at 4/11 to take the points in this game. Despite the Blues’ problems of late, they’re 9/2 with Betfred to draw this game, while Watford are 7/1 with bet365 to claim all three points. The Hornets are priced at 27/10 with Coral to avoid defeat in this game, which we think is great value given the form of the respective sides. With Watford set to be full of confidence and with Kante out, we can’t help but see a tough game for the champions on Saturday.

With Chelsea shipping three goals at home in midweek, it’s hard to imagine them turning things around with a clean sheet here. Not all of the mistakes at the back are down to Kante’s absence, but his absence is a significant one. The champions have three clean sheets in their last 12 home league games, and after Wednesday night’s incredible game we can’t help but expect goals in this clash. We’re backing both teams to score in this game, and it looks like excellent value at 19/20 with Coral.

Watford come here having scored at least twice in their previous five Premier League away games, which shows the kind of threat they have up front. We are already expecting both teams to score, but the Hornets have scored at least twice in their last two trips to the Bridge, both of which have turned into thrilling games. Given how open Chelsea’s game with Roma ended up on Wednesday, we can see at least four goals being scored here, so we’re backing over 3.5 goals at 17/10 with BetVictor.

Chelsea v Roma Betting Tips (Champions League) – 18th October 2017

Chelsea have taken six points from six in the Champions League, leaving them in a great position ahead of this clash with Roma. However, their weekend loss to Crystal Palace means the Blues need a response this week, with the Italians likely to smell blood after the Premier League champions lost to the league’s worst side. There certainly are issues for Antonio Conte to deal with, chief amongst them being the absence of N’Golo Kante in midfield. Will that continue to plague him, or can the Blues get a win here?

The Palace result clearly irked Conte, as it should have done. This was a massive blow for the champions, who have already dropped enough points at home this term. That defeat means some are already talking about switching focus to the Champions League, with the Manchester clubs seemingly running away with the Premier League title. If that is the case, then Conte needs his men to claim a victory here. Losing at home to Roma would open this group up again, undoing the good work Chelsea did by claiming a win in Madrid.

Team News: Conte Likely to Race Back Morata

While Alvaro Morata had little history of being a regular starter before his move to Chelsea, he’s proving to be a key member of the side. His absence was felt against Palace on Saturday, and that’s partly why Conte is seemingly racing him back to fitness to get him in to the team this week. While that’s a risk, the Blues do need the Spanish forward fit and firing if they’re to have a strong campaign. They also need Kante, but his absence means that Tiemoue Bakayoko and Cesc Fabregas are the only two fit central midfielders once again.

Roma have quite a few issues up front ahead of this game, with Stephan El Shaarawy, Patrick Schick and Gregoire Defrel all missing out in attack. They are more hopeful over defender Rick Karsdorp and midfielder Kevin Strootman, who are both likely to return to fitness ahead of this game. Roma tried out a 4-2-3-1 formation in their clash with Napoli at the weekend, which saw Nadja Nainggolan pushed forward. That came after criticism over their 4-3-3 formation and the manager’s reluctance to divert from it. We are likely to see them revert back to a three man midfield for a clash of this magnitude.

Roma Form

Like Chelsea, Roma are sat fifth in their domestic league ahead of this game. The Blues are looking to deliver a blow to the Italian’s hopes of making the Champions League knockout round, with the Giallorossi worrying about their future place in this competition. Serie A is developing into a competitive battle for four Champions League spots this year, with Napoli, Juventus, Lazio and the two Milan clubs all in the mix. It’s not just the Premier League that has a big six, with both of these two slightly worried that they face a battle just to return to the Champions League next season. Given that both missed the group stage last year, they won’t want to miss out again.

Roma’s Champions League hopes were dealt a blow on Saturday, as they lost 1-0 to league leaders Napoli. The Giallorossi did push the high flying leaders close in that encounter, but it ultimately wasn’t enough for them to stop the Partenopei. It was quite similar to how the Blues lost at home to Man City recently, managing to subdue the flow of such an attacking side, without fully stopping them. Roma have five wins from seven in Serie A so far, after a win and a draw in this group, they do pose a threat.

Chelsea v Roma Head to Head

Chelsea’s two goals against Roma in their 2008 Champions League group were both scored by John Terry. The Blues finished behind Roma in that group, with that season ending with the controversial semi-final loss to Barcelona. That’s the only recent encounter between these two, and a rematch has been a long time coming.

  • Roma 3-1 Chelsea, Nov 2008
  • Chelsea 1-0 Roma, Oct 2008

Betting Tips

  • Both teams to score – 8/11 with BetVictor
  • Chelsea and over 3.5 goals – 16/5 with Ladbrokes

Chelsea come into this game as 4/6 favourites with Coral, despite their weekend slip. The Blues are expected to take the three points, with the draw priced at 3/1 with Bet365. You can also back an away win at 9/2 with Betfred, which shows how Roma are already being written off. Their previous form in this competition is likely to play a role in that, as is the nature of their away win in Azerbaijan. While they saw off Qarabag, that performance was far from convincing, which can be said about many of their matches under new boss Eusebio Di Francesco. Can the club from the Italian capital end those criticisms with a result in London on Wednesday?

With Roma playing well at times this season, they have a great chance of taking advantage of Chelsea’s defence. The Blues haven’t been defending well for a while now, and Conte’s insistence on playing anyone over Andreas Christensen doesn’t help that. The Blues shipped two goals to a Palace side who hadn’t scored all season, so there’s obviously some kind of issue there. Roma have a solid attack, which includes former Man City forward Edin Dzeko. We see the Blues getting at least a goal, but they’re also likely to slip up at the back. Both teams to score is our main tip at 8/11 with BetVictor.

Roma’s recent record in the Champions League isn’t great. In their away ties in their last group campaign they conceded three each at Bayer Leverkusen, Barcelona and BATE. We see them struggling at the back once again, so we’re backing Chelsea to edge a high scoring encounter. We’re going with Chelsea and over 3.5 match goals here, which is priced at 16/5 with Ladbrokes.

Crystal Palace v Chelsea Betting Tips (Premier League) – 14th October 2017

Chelsea return from the international break to face the bottom side in the Premier League. The Blues may have come up short against the title favourites, but they’ll expect better when they take on the team tipped for relegation. After back-to-back hammerings by the Manchester clubs, it’s hard to see Palace having that much confidence to take into this game. Will this be another straightforward win for Antonio Conte and his side?

With ambitions of retaining the Premier League title, this isn’t really a game that Chelsea can slip up in. They may be facing a Palace side who are gradually improving under Roy Hodgson, but the Eagles are making the worst start to a season in the history of the top flight. Without a point so far, or even a goal, it’s hard to see how they can possibly match up to the champions. With the league campaign getting back underway, this seems like the perfect way for Conte’s men to get the ball rolling this month, ahead of some important matches.

Team News: Blues could rotate ahead of busy week

While Chelsea are only getting back in to domestic action, they head straight into a busy fixture list. They’ve got a much bigger task on their hands than last season, when the team really only had to focus on 38 games in the league. This time around, Conte needs to shuffle his pack for three games in seven days. A crucial Champions League clash with Roma is sandwiched between their next two league games. That should give us some idea as to which competition the manager is prioritising. The Blues welcome back David Luiz from suspension, but the South American contingent could be rested after their long journey back to Cobham in midweek.

Crystal Palace have some major injury concerns here, including the absence of key man Wilfred Zaha. They are also lacking in firepower up front, with Christian Benteke and Connor Wickham both out. The fact that they’re playing Chelsea makes life even more difficult for Palace, as that rules out arguably their most impressive player so far. Chelsea loanee Ruben Loftus-Cheek has done well as a number 10, but he can’t feature against his parent club. That just makes this task much tougher for Hodgson, who has little room for manoeuvre in attack.

Crystal Palace Form

The Eagles are in terrible form coming in to this game, on the back of seven straight defeats. They’re set for a drop to the Championship after their awful start to the new campaign, as they’ve left themselves with a gap to make up after struggling for so long at he start of the campaign. To make matters worse, as said, they haven’t even managed to score a goal yet.

Palace are fighting a losing battle to stay up already, given that they’ve made such a bad start to the new season. If you include the final game of last term, they’ve now lost eight straight league matches without scoring a goal. That run has come under three managers, which makes it even more worrying. Will that form suddenly change when the Eagles host the reigning champions on Saturday? It seems unlikely to say the least.

Crystal Palace v Chelsea Head to Head

That said, Palace have previous when it comes to causing a shock against Chelsea of late. We saw that last season, as they were one of just two sides to avoid defeat at Stamford Bridge. It’s hard to think of a team who played better against Chelsea at the Bridge last term, with Palace leading early and looking dangerous throughout. However, the nature of the Palace hot seat means that they’ve made two managerial appointments since that last meeting.

  • Chelsea 1-2 Crystal Palace, Apr 2017
  • Crystal Palace 0-1 Chelsea, Dec 2016
  • Crystal Palace 0-3 Chelsea, Jan 2016
  • Chelsea 1-2 Crystal Palace, Aug 2015
  • Chelsea 1-0 Crystal Palace, May 2015

Betting Tips

  • Chelsea -1 handicap – 15/13 with Ladbrokes
  • Chelsea to win to nil – 23/20 with BetVictor

Chelsea come in to this game priced at 4/11 with Betfred to take the points, which shows just how much Palace are struggling. The hosts are priced at 8/1 with Bet365 to claim a win, while the draw is available at 19/5 with BetVictor. Given how poorly Palace are playing, you have to say that Chelsea don’t look that short for the points in this one. There’s a huge gulf between them at the moment, and that isn’t really reflected in the prices. However, we think there are much better value bets for this weekend’s clash than backing the straightforward Chelsea win.

Not only are Palace being beaten, but they’re being blown away by most sides they come up against. A 9-0 aggregate defeat in their trips to Manchester shows how poor they’ve been against the best in the league, while losses to Swansea, Burnley and Southampton of late have seen them cut adrift. The Eagles aren’t matching up to the sides around them, so how on earth do they expect to compete with the top sides in the league? Facing Chelsea is likely to be beyond them on current form, so we’re backing a comfortable away win. Chelsea with a -1 handicap is our tip here, at 15/13 with Ladbrokes.

We’re also going for an away win to nil, which is priced at 23/20 with BetVictor. Given that Palace are yet to score a league goal this season, we think that represents serious value. The Eagles are looking really short up front in terms of personnel, but their poor scoring run started with the big names in the team. They’re clearly not creating enough chances, and there’s also a lack of quality up front to score when they do. We think it’s worth backing the Blues to keep a clean sheet in this trip, meaning a ninth straight blank for Palace.

Chelsea v Man City Betting Tips (Premier League) – 30th September 2017

Chelsea are gearing up for the biggest game of the Premier League season so far on Saturday, with two title contenders going head to head. The Blues are aiming to lay down a marker in their push to retain the title. While the Blues have picked up some impressive results of late, the main focus of the title battle is on Manchester right now, with City starting the season in impressive form. Meanwhile, Manchester United sit level with them on 16 points, and they’ll be looking to take advantage of this huge meeting at the weekend.

Can Chelsea match up to City and their array of technical talents? The visitors are playing some brilliant football, but can they repeat that in their biggest test so far? They may have blown away Liverpool, but City are going to find a much more organised team here, and Pep Guardiola knows that too well. The City boss has a lot of respect and a little bit of fear for Antonio Conte. Can the Italian play on that when these two meet at Stamford Bridge?

Team News: Could Conte go defensive ahead of this challenge?

Chelsea could well go with the 3-5-1-1 they used so well against Tottenham here, as the formation really worked in their clash at Wembley. Packing the midfield like that was an impressive trick, the only issue is that David Luiz can’t step in to that midfield role due to suspension. We could still see the Italian flooding the midfield, while all his talk about Alvaro Morata and Eden Hazard forming a partnership could hint that those two will be starting up top together as the champions’ only forwards.

Manchester City’s squad depth means it’s hard to predict their midfield, but Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus are both likely to feature up front. The pair have been in brilliant form together, so they’re likely to link up in attack once again. Benjamin Mendy is set to miss out after picking up an injury in midweek, while the Blues are set to face former player Kevin De Bruyne.

Man City Form

Manchester City’s incredible scoring streak came to an abrupt end in midweek, as they faced Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League. While City won 2-0, they wasted plenty of chances in that one and were really made to work for the victory. They didn’t find as many openings as usual, while their forwards weren’t quite at the races.

Of course, before that result City had just scored five goals for the third successive Premier League game. That’s a scary record to have, and it’s something Conte will have to find a way to deal with ahead of this crunch clash. However, City weren’t great in big matches last term, winning just two of 12 meetings with the top seven, so that could leave them vulnerable.

Chelsea v Man City Head to Head

Chelsea’s recent record against Manchester City is a little mixed, but it does include home and away victories last season. The Citizens got the better of the two sides in 2015/16, although an FA Cup win for the Blues over City’s reserves was sandwiched in between those defeats. After getting the better of Guardiola twice last season, can Conte repeat the trick at the Bridge this week?

  • Chelsea 2-1 Man City, Apr 2017
  • Man City 1-3 Chelsea, Dec 2016
  • Chelsea 0-3 Man City, Apr 2016
  • Chelsea 5-1 Man City, Feb 2016
  • Man City 3-0 Chelsea, Aug 2015

Betting Tips

  • Both teams to score – 4/7 with Ladbrokes
  • Over 1.5 Chelsea goals – 5/4 with Coral

While Chelsea are at home, Manchester City come to Stamford Bridge as favourites this weekend. The Citizens have been made 6/4 favourites with Betfred, while you can back the hosts at 15/8 with BetVictor. Betfair have priced the draw out at 12/5 this weekend, but surely this will be a close game.

After casting an eye over the markets and prices, it’s very clear that the bookmakers are expecting a high scoring tie this weekend. Given the form they’re both in coming into this match, we can see why. Not only are City playing some breath-taking stuff, Chelsea have the in-form Morata leading the line in this one, with the champions finally starting to click together this term.

The issue for Chelsea here is the fact that they managed just one clean sheet against the top six in 10 meetings last term. Manchester City aren’t exactly great at the back either, they had the same record against the league’s elite. The Blues are likely to concede to a side who have so many options to choose from up front, but this isn’t going to be the walkover some are predicting for City.

The visitors conceded chances to poor sides of late, just making it through because their opponents were unable to finish. Chelsea are in clinical form and they will take opportunities that come their way, so we see the hosts getting a goal. We’re backing both teams to score in this clash, which is priced at 4/7 with Ladbrokes.

While we see both teams scoring, we actually think Chelsea can find the net more than once. The Blues only failed to score two or more in three of their 19 home matches last term. With 12 goals in six Premier League matches this term, the Blues are in excellent scoring form going in to this meeting with City. The visitors were really poor on their travels last term when it came to the top sides, losing at all of their top four rivals, taking just four points from a possible 18 at the top seven. We can see City slipping up at the back to top class opposition once again, with over 1.5 goals for the hosts looking like great value at 5/4 with Coral.