Author Archives: Graham

Atletico Madrid v Chelsea Betting Tips (Champions League) – 27th September 2017

Atletico Madrid play their first Champions League game in their new stadium on Wednesday, in a game laced with undercurrents. The Blues are tough opposition for the side who made the final in 2016, while there are quite a few comparisons to be made between the two managers. Both are brilliant entertainment value on the touchline, and seeing them together should make for fascinating viewing. With the pair gunning for top spot in the group, just who will edge this tie?

Not only is this one of the highest profile games in the Champions League this week, it comes days after the two struck a deal for Diego Costa. The forward is heading back to Spain for a fee of over £50 million, ending the long running transfer saga between the two. That seems like the best move for all parties, as there’s no need to keep Costa around Cobham causing trouble, and he can’t really just stay in Brazil. The question is, will he appear at Atletico’s European housewarming, or will he serve his former side?

Team News: Conte could revert to Wembley roadmap for this crunch clash in Europe

Chelsea should take this game more seriously than they did against Qarabag in the last European game. Expect the Blues to be at full-strength for this one, as they can’t afford a defeat in this huge tie. Getting a result here would be massive for their hopes of progressing, and we can see Conte switching things up. The 3-5-2 set up he used against Tottenham at Wembley seems like it could be really useful in this trip. The Blues could start with a three-man centre midfield to dominate space and hopefully possession, with Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata providing the threat going forward. That set up should help to frustrate the Spaniards, and it could be a crucial switch for their European campaign if Conte does go that way.

Atletico can’t register players until January, so Diego Costa will play no part in this Champions League group stage campaign. Accommodating him in their current set-up will take time, so it probably helps Atletico to not rock the boat at this stage. They’re not likely to make that many changes, with a relatively settled starting line-up. That includes full-back Filipe Luiz, who played for Chelsea during the 2014/15 title winning campaign.

Atletico Madrid Form

Atletico Madrid have started the season with a few low scoring games, so it’s easy to see why they wanted Costa. They drew 0-0 with Roma in their opener in this group, which wasn’t the worst result. The Serie A side are a threat to both of these two, with Atletico desperate to make another push for the Champions League after coming so close in recent seasons.

Atletico remain unbeaten heading in to this clash, but can they add to that against Conte and Chelsea? The hosts have plenty of Champions League experience at their disposal, and they’ve made enough attempts to win this competition to show that they’re a really dangerous side in Europe, as the Blues found out in 2014 against Diego Costa and co.

Atletico Madrid v Chelsea Head to Head

Chelsea haven’t enjoyed the best of times against Atletico Madrid of late. Their semi-final exit in 2014 was the last time the Blues featured at the latter stages of the competition. The Blues came up short in the UEFA Super Cup to Atleti in 2012, while the last time these two met in the group stage was 2009, when the Madrid side were a completely different animal.

  • Chelsea 1-3 Atletico Madrid, Apr 2014
  • Atletico 0-0 Chelsea, Apr 2014
  • Chelsea 1-4 Atletico, Aug 2012
  • Atletico 2-2 Chelsea, Nov 2009
  • Chelsea 4-0 Atletico, Oct 2009

Betting Tips

  • Under 2.5 Goals – 8/13 with bet365
  • Draw – 9/4 with BetVictor

Atletico Madrid are favourites ahead of their first Champions League game at their new stadium, as they’re 15/13 favourites with Ladbrokes to take the points. Meanwhile, Chelsea can be backed at 13/5 with Betfred, while the draw is priced up at 9/4 with BetVictor. With a tight game expected, you might think the Blues are a little too big at that price, and we think there’s certainly value in going with Chelsea on the double chance market at 4/6 with Coral. That’s even more tempting if Conte does set up as we’ve predicted, looking to take a point from this game and then switching focus to the home meeting down the line.

Roma set a benchmark in their opening clash with Atletico. The Italians may have been at home in that clash, but they were as compact as the Spaniards, with the two struggling to create an opening. With those two sides and a Chelsea team who are so focused on positional play and preventing the opposition getting space, most matches in this group could go in that direction. We can chances being thin on the ground this weekend, and we’re not going to be backing goals in this clash. We think the value here can be found in backing under 2.5 goals, which is priced at 8/13 with Bet365. Given how the hosts set up, and the prestige of this occasion, we expect it to be a cagey affair.

We’ve already said that we think Chelsea could get something here, especially if they set up to frustrate. With two crunch meetings with Roma coming next, the Blues have little option other than to try and hold off last season’s semi-finalists this week. They can’t afford a defeat going in to those two vital matches against the Serie A side, while a point would give them a boost in a difficult away trip. We don’t see Chelsea doing enough to take all three points here, so going with the double chance isn’t exactly worthwhile. Instead we’re backing the draw in this one, which is available at 9/4 with BetVictor.

Stoke v Chelsea Betting Tips (Premier League) – 23rd September 2017

Chelsea came up short in their last Premier League game at home to Arsenal, but can they respond this weekend and get back to winning ways? The Blues didn’t look great in their draw at the Bridge with the Gunners, and the momentum they had previously built up evaporated pretty quickly in that game. Will they find it as difficult to break through Stoke this weekend? The Potters haven’t made the best of starts this season, and Mark Hughes will be worried that his side could suffer yet another loss when the champions roll into town this weekend.

Not only will Antonio Conte be thinking about this trip, but he also has to cast an eye forward to the Champions League tie with Atletico Madrid shortly after. That’s going to be a critical fixture in their group, with the pair battling for a place in the last 16. Chelsea may have added to their squad, to ensure they have enough depth for this campaign, but the key thing now is getting their first team through two vital away trips in the coming days, with a win at Stoke needed first to keep their title hopes alive.

Team News: Blues expected to be back at full strength

After making plenty of changes for the League Cup clash with Nottingham Forest, the Blues are set to be back to full strength for this clash. Eden Hazard is a player we can see starting, after his slow comeback from injury saw him left on the bench for the Arsenal clash. However, Stoke away probably isn’t an ideal place for the Belgian to start, as he’s likely to be kicked around in 90 minutes at the Bet365 Stadium. Conte may choose to rest a couple ahead of the Champions League trip in midweek, but we struggle to see anything but the strongest possible side taking the field for this trip, after a mixed start in the Premier League from the Blues.

Stoke were also in EFL Cup action in midweek, but that’s not going to be a priority for them this term. While a side like Stoke should be pushing in that competition, they’re much more concerned with securing Premier League safety. They are likely to start in a 3-4-3 set-up this weekend, after using that formation away to Newcastle last week. The concern for Hughes is that teams who try and match the Blues man for man don’t always come off too well. Stoke are set to be without Chelsea loanee Kurt Zouma, which weakens their three man defence.

Stoke Form

Stoke lost 2-1 to Newcastle last weekend, which was just their second defeat of the season. That loss has left them sitting in mid-table in the early standings, with five points from a possible 15. Stoke have taken most of those points against top sides, but will they be able to add to their haul when Chelsea visit this weekend?

After a 1-0 win at home to Arsenal and a 2-2 draw with Manchester United, Stoke are in form against top sides at home. However, could they have just caught them at the right time? Hughes and his team lost at home to five of the top six last term, and that’s bound to worry them before the Blues pay a visit on Saturday. After conceding twice in their last to league games, Stoke shouldn’t put up too much resistance to Chelsea’s attack this weekend.

Stoke v Chelsea Head to Head

Chelsea have a pretty mixed record against Stoke overall, despite winning home and away last season. The Blues have won just three of their last six trips to this ground, with Stoke coming out on top in the other three. Will this be another victory for Mark Hughes and his side, or can Antonio Conte get his team through another difficult trip to the Bet365 stadium?

  • Stoke 1-2 Chelsea, Mar 2017
  • Chelsea 4-2 Stoke, Dec 2016
  • Chelsea 1-1 Stoke, Mar 2016
  • Stoke 1-0 Chelsea, Nov 2015
  • Stoke 1-1 Chelsea, Oct 2015

Betting Tips

  • Both teams to score – 19/20 with Bet365
  • Alvaro Morata to score any time – 21/20 with Coral

Chelsea head to Stoke as odds-on favourites to take the points this weekend. You can back the Blues at 8/13 with BetVictor on Saturday, despite their mixed record at this ground. Meanwhile, Stoke are 9/2 with Betfred to take the points this weekend, while the draw here can be backed at 14/5 with Ladbrokes. The champions need to get back to winning ways after their slip against Arsenal, but will they take maximum points against the Potters? With the Manchester clubs starting to pull away at the top, the Blues can’t afford to drop any more points if they’re going to retain their title this season.

The problem for Chelsea is that they’ve not looked defensively solid for a while now. All season there’s been some concern over their backline, and now David Luiz is suspended for the Blues, which leaves them a little short. Stoke have been scoring a few goals, while they hit three goals against the champions last term. We can see Stoke scoring here, after scoring against United and Arsenal in their home matches already this term. We’re backing both teams to score here at 19/20 with Bet365.

While Alvaro Morata didn’t score against Arsenal last weekend, the Spaniard still looked sharp. He’s already scored in three of his first five games, failing to find the net against Tottenham and Arsenal. He should find things easier against Stoke, and we’re expecting the Spanish international to grab a goal on Saturday. Given how poor Stoke have looked at the back in recent games, there should be a few opportunities for Morata and co this weekend. We’re tipping a goal for the Spaniard, who is priced at 21/20 with Coral to score at some point during the game.

Chelsea v Nottingham Forest Betting Tips (EFL Cup) – 20th September 2017

Chelsea kick off their EFL Cup campaign this week when they host Nottingham Forest. The Championship side have made a solid start to the season, but can they pull off a major shock at the home of the champions? The Blues made an early exit this competition last term, just as they started the winning streak with bought them the title. They could have added the EFL Cup to that collection with that run, but can they make amends when they return to the competition this week? After a run to the FA Cup final last season, a quick return to Wembley would be a bonus for the champions. Could they add to their 2015 win in this competition?

It’s hard to see this being a priority for Antonio Conte, the Italian has already bemoaned the number of games his side have to play in September. Having made plenty of changes for their first clash in the Champions League, the Italian is likely to switch out a few first team stars for this clash. Given that Forest have already seen off Premier League opposition this season in this competition, that could be a risk. Will we see the Championship side triumph at Stamford Bridge, or a straightforward win for the champions?

Team News

Chelsea’s team against Qarabag should give us a clue of what direction Conte will go in here. The Blues have added strength in depth to the side which won the title last term, and their win in Europe suggests they can compete across all fronts. They rested the likes of Alvaro Morata and Eden Hazard, and we should see the same thing happen against Forest, though Hazard might start after starting on the bench in the 0-0 draw against Arsenal on Sunday. This trophy comes bottom of Chelsea’s list, and they’re facing a Championship side. Surely we will see a few changes, with Willy Caballero likely to feature in goal for this clash. Others who could feature are Michy Batshuayi, Davide Zappacosta and Charly Musonda.

Forest may be facing Premier League opposition, but gone are the days when this was a big occasion. Heading to a top flight side probably feels like a chore in the EFL Cup, when so many Championship sides kick off the season aiming for a place among the elite. Forest are at least in play-off contention this term, so there’s little reason for them to go all out this week. Expect plenty of changes from the away side in this tie.

Nottingham Forest Form

Forest have made a solid start to the new season, taking 12 points from a possible 21 in a very competitive league. Having beaten relegation on the final day of the Championship season last time out, they’re clearly off to a much better start this time around. Recent defeats to Leeds and Sheffield Wednesday have shaken them, but Forest should be looking forward to testing themselves against a Premier League side.

Of course, Forest have already tasted a giant-killing this season, thanks to their 3-2 win over Newcastle United at St James’ Park. That came in round two of this competition, meaning they’ve now won four of their last five in the League Cup. They’ve also managed five wins in their last six away, with their only loss coming at Tottenham in 2014.

Chelsea v Nottingham Forest Head to Head

With just one meeting this century, it’s fair to say there’s little recent record between the sides. Forest were regulars in the Premier League during the early years, so there are quite a few clashes in the late 90s. Given that the former European champions haven’t been back in the top flight since, meetings have been few and far between. Will we see a repeat of the Blues’ 3-0 FA Cup win 10 years ago?

  • Chelsea 3-0 Nottingham Forest, Jan 2007
  • Forest 1-3 Chelsea, Feb 1999
  • Chelsea 2-1 Forest, Sept 1998
  • Forest 2-0 Chelsea, Jan 1997
  • Chelsea 1-1 Forest, Sept 1996

Betting Tips

  • Over 3.5 goals – Evens with Coral
  • Both teams to score – 23/17 with Ladbrokes

Chelsea are unsurprisingly heavy favourites to take the points in this game. It’s hard to see Forest closing the gap, with the visitors priced as the 18/1 outsiders with Betfred to take a win. Chelsea’s team selection may give the away side a chance here, but we struggle to see anything but a home win. The Blues will want to avoid an upset, which could derail their season just as it got back on track. Given Antonio Conte’s relentless attitude, we can’t see him allowing a cup competition to pass his players by, we expect the Blues to go out fighting for a place in the next round.

Of course, we saw against Qarabag that players are playing for a starting spot. The fringe players were looking to make an impact and get more minutes, which is a situation Chelsea haven’t really had in a number of years. Their squad is growing, and we expect that to pay off when Forest come to visit. These players aren’t going to accept a 2-0, they’ll keep pushing forward like they did in the Champions League. We see the Blues pushing for another big win, so we’re backing over 3.5 goals in this match at evens with Coral.

We can also see plenty of goals here because we think Forest can score themselves. While Chelsea beat Qarabag to nil, their clean sheet came thanks to some good fortune. Their were big chances missed, and we think that the likely absence of Courtois makes it easier for Forest to get a goal. The visitors scored in eight of their first nine games, and we expect them to follow that form up with another goal After hitting three at St James’ Park, one against a weakened Chelsea seems very possible. With the visitors likely to have chances, we like both teams to score in this one at 23/17 with Ladbrokes.

Chelsea v Arsenal Betting Tips (Premier League) – 17th September 2017

Chelsea are looking to continue their winning run when Arsenal visit Stamford Bridge on Sunday. The Blues cruised to a 6-0 victory over Qarabag in the Champions League in midweek, making it four straight wins for Antonio Conte’s men. Given how they bounced back from adversity to record a 13 game winning run last term, could they be about to go on a similar run? With the Gunners up next, the champions will be out to strengthen their top four credentials, while they’ll be looking to keep pace with both Man City and Man United.

The Gunners aren’t in such a good position, despite Chelsea being in crisis after their loss to Arsenal at Wembley in August. Arsene Wenger guided his men to the Community Shield and an opening day win, but after two defeats already in the league his side are struggling. With a title challenge looking unlikely from Wenger’s men, they’ll be desperate to at least return to the top four this term. Winning at Stamford Bridge would be a huge boost to their Champions League hopes, but that’s a tall ask for the visitors, who have an awful record here.

Team News: Starters likely to return to the fold

Antonio Conte made plenty of changes ahead of their Champions League return against Qarabag, which didn’t seem to hamper the Blues. A 6-0 win came without starting Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata, so the champions should have their top stars rested ahead of this huge clash. With Arsenal looking shaky, playing a full strength side with a week’s break is a huge way to capitalise. Given how Chelsea performed last season with a week in between games, we think a fully rested side should do well. The only big question for Conte here is if Victor Moses returns to the side, given how well Davide Zappacosta fared on his debut at right-wing back.

Arsenal head into this game with most of their top stars back from injury. They started the campaign with some problems, but they’re almost back to full strength after four games. The Gunners are likely to line up in a 3-4-3 formation, the one that Wenger turned to after Conte’s success with it last term. We expect the Gunners to take basically the same team which beat Bournemouth 3-0 at the weekend.

Arsenal Form

Arsenal’s season has seen two awful defeats sandwiched between home victories. The Gunners opened up with a win over Leicester, while they easily saw off Bournemouth at the Emirates. However, trips to Stoke and Liverpool have seen them lose without scoring a goal, so they have to be worried about this trip to Stamford Bridge. Can Arsene Wenger’s side turn their form around with a victory on Sunday?

Their 4-0 defeat to Liverpool doesn’t suggest that they can do that. That loss was the latest that Arsenal suffered away to a top side. Their record against the rest of the elite away wasn’t great, in fact Arsenal won just one of their away trips to the top 10 last season. That awful run in likely to continue when they head to the champions, who had an incredible record in front of their own fans last season.

Chelsea v Arsenal Head to Head

Chelsea have a mixed record against the Gunners of late. We’ve left out the Blues’ 3-0 summer friendly win over Arsenal, with Wenger’s side having the edge in recent meetings. The last two clashes have both come at Wembley, with Arsenal lifting trophies at Chelsea’s expense on each occasion. The Blues have won their last five at home to Arsenal, so there’s a clear advantage when these two meet at the Bridge. Will that carry on this weekend?

  • Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea, Aug 2017
  • Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea, May 2017
  • Chelsea 3-1 Arsenal, Feb 2017
  • Arsenal 3-0 Chelsea, Sept 2016
  • Arsenal 0-1 Chelsea, Jan 2016

Betting Tips

  • Chelsea to win to nil – 27/10 with BetVictor
  • Chelsea to win 2-0 – 10/1 with Bet365

Chelsea head into this game as the clear favourites, but their price of 4/5 with Ladbrokes seems fair. There’s certainly value in that bet, but we think we’ve found a couple of bigger prices to take advantage of this weekend. We’re certainly avoiding the draw at 11/4 with Betfred, while Arsenal look far too short at 7/2 with Betfair. Given how poor the Gunners have been at this ground, it’s hard to justify backing anything in their favour. After a poor start away from home this term, we are likely to see Arsenal struggle when they head across London this weekend.

Chelsea have restored their defensive record with two straight home wins to nil. Given Arsenal’s failure to score on the road, we can see a clean sheet for the champions this weekend. The Blues have captain Gary Cahill back, and they have numbers to rotate defensively and that should help them going forward. With plenty of options, Conte should have a strong backline coming into this side, while we could see Tiemoue Bakayoko and N’Golo Kante screening in midfield. Given that defensive strength, we think a win to nil for the champions is great value. It can be backed at a huge 27/10 with BetVictor.

Chelsea have scored at least twice in their last seven home league matches. They’ve hit at least two in their last six home games against Arsenal, and in every Premier League match this term. It’s hard to see much more than a 2-0 win for the home side, who are looking to limit themselves with a busy schedule coming this month. After a 2-0 win at home to Everton in their last game at this ground, we’re backing the same scoreline at the Bridge this weekend. That also looks like a big price, at 10/1 with Bet365.

Chelsea v Qarabag Betting Tips (Champions League) – 12th September 2017

Chelsea return to the Champions League this week, with Qarabag the visitors to Stamford Bridge. Can the Blues kick off their return to Europe with a victory? Having steadied the ship after an awful start to the season, the Blues will be hopeful of a strong season in Europe, although they don’t exactly have the squad depth to compete across all four fronts. After a season absence at this level, Antonio Conte has to be focused on getting the champions off and running in Europe, especially given that the Italian badly needs some success on the continent this term.

Conte’s time at Juventus saw them win three league titles after the club had dropped to mid-table before he arrived. While they dominated in Italy, they struggled for results in the Champions League. The season after the manager departed, Juve reached the Champions League final under Max Allegri. He’s taken Juve to the final twice since 2015, so Conte needs to prove himself among Europe’s elite this season. Kicking off with a game at home to Qarabag seems to be the perfect chance for Conte and co to get a win on the board, with much tougher challenges coming in this really tricky group.

Team News: Rotation possible with heavy schedule looming

Ahead of the transfer deadline, Antonio Conte warned of the dangers lurking within Chelsea’s schedule. They have seven games in three weeks of September, so there’s going to be need for some rotation. While the EFL Cup clash with Nottingham Forest is a prime contender for that, this game is also a chance for Conte to make a few changes. He could rest a couple here, with Eden Hazard likely to need a break after returning to the side at the weekend after a long layoff. Given the level of Chelsea’s coming opponents, we can see a weakened team taking the field here, with a changed side surely still good enough to take the points at home to Qarabag.

With new signings Danny Drinkwater and Davide Zappacosta on board to help with squad depth, both could feature here. The pair have international experience, and should be able to step up to this competition after their deadline day moves. Michy Batshuayi is another who could feature, after making a few appearances since the start of the season. Alvaro Morata won’t be able to feature across all of the Blues’ games this month, so we’re expecting a change up top from Conte.

Azerbaijani side Qarabag are made up with a real mesh of nationalities alongside a few homegrown players. They tend to line up in a 4-3-3 formation on Europe, but they could change that ahead of one of the biggest clashes in their history, if not the biggest. Taking on Chelsea is a huge leap for the visitors, and they might make a few sacrifices up front in order to try and keep things tight here.

Qarabag Form

While Chelsea’s campaign is only just getting underway, this is the furthest Qarabag have ever made it in this competition. They managed to knock out Copenhagen in the last round, becoming the first ever Azerbaijani side to make it to the group stage of the Champions League. That’s a massive landmark in itself, but how will they fare in their opener?

The visitors have managed to win their opening three games domestically, so it’s been a strong start overall from Qarabag. They’ll be out to make an impression in this competition, but they have a tough task after the draw. Their form may be impressive so far, but it doesn’t suggest they can take a result from Chelsea, Atletico Madrid or Roma in this group.

Chelsea recent Champions League results

With no head to head record to go through, we’ve cast an eye back over Chelsea’s recent European results. The last Champions League game at Stamford Bridge was a 2-1 defeat to PSG in 2016, and that’s a result the Premier League champions will want to reverse. Their 4-0 win over Maccabi is more in line with what we expect here, with the hosts heavy favourites for the points.

  • Chelsea 1-2 PSG, Mar 2016
  • PSG 2-1 Chelsea, Feb 2016
  • Chelsea 2-0 Porto, Dec 2015
  • Maccabi Tel Aviv 0-4 Chelsea, Nov 2015
  • Chelsea 2-1 Dynamo Kyiv, Nov 2015

Betting Tips

  • Chelsea to win to nil – 3/5 with BetVictor
  • Chelsea with a -2 handicap – 11/10 with Betfair

Chelsea will be glad to have a straightforward return to Europe, as they’re 1/10 with Coral to take the points in this game. You can get odds of 8/1 with Betfred on the draw here, while Qarabag are 20/1 with Bet365 to get the victory and cause a massive shock. While the Blues lost to Burnley in their first home league game of the season, we can’t see them suffering an even bigger collapse in this game. They should live up to their pre-match odds.

Given Chelsea’s price, we think seeking something a little longer is prudent and the hosts are well priced to win this game to nil. They’re 3/5 with BetVictor to win and keep a clean sheet, and we’ve already said that we see the away side playing defensively here. We don’t expect Qarabag to come out on the attack, and Chelsea should easily deal with any threats they do face. A home win to nil does seems like great value given the gulf between the pair, so it’s our first tip here.

With such a gulf in class between these two sides, we can see a big win for the Blues this week. They should be out to send a message on their return to the big time, and playing a side with little European experience should help the Premier League champions race to a big victory. We’re backing Chelsea with a -2 goal handicap, at 11/10 with Betfair.

Leicester v Chelsea Betting Tips (Premier League) – 9th September 2017

Chelsea return from the international break aiming to continue their winning form. With new bodies through the door on transfer deadline day, the Blues hierarchy believe they have a squad capable of challenging for the Premier League title. It remains to be seen just how true that is, or how much Antonio Conte shares their opinion. The new additions could make an appearance this weekend, as the Blues kick off a run of seven games in three weeks straight after many of their squad flew around the world for international clashes.

Of course, Leicester have the same issues given the number of internationals they now have on their books. The former champions have made a solid start to the new campaign, and they’re certainly looking like contenders for a European spot. Having added plenty of squad depth – something which Chelsea and Conte struggled to do – the Foxes have to be respected this term. They gave Arsenal a game on the opening day, whilst they kicked off their campaign at home with a 2-0 victory over Brighton. Can they add to that win when the champions visit the King Power.

Team News: Conte ready to welcome back Hazard

Chelsea may have added in a couple of bodies to the squad, but the key thing for them is the return of Eden Hazard. The Belgian hasn’t featured for the Blues since May, but despite missing preseason he still lined up for his international team over the break. He’s now fit to return for the Blues this weekend, which is a massive boost as Conte gets to line him up with Alvaro Morata. Given the nature of Chelsea’s squad right now, getting everyone back to fitness is crucial. That should see Willian and Pedro competing to play alongside Hazard, with competition across the team once again. That gives the manager the option to rotate ahead of the club’s return to European football next week.

Leicester have been lining up with a 4-4-1-1 formation this term, with Jamie Vardy as their central striker. Having lost Danny Drinkwater to Chelsea, the Foxes have signed Sporting Lisbon captain Adrien Silva to replace him. He could start in an impressive midfield alongside Vincente Iborra, which will be tough for Chelsea to break through. With those two likely to feature just behind Shinji Okazaki, the Foxes work rate will be tough to match. The hosts are certainly in much better shape than when they last hosted Chelsea, with the club then spiralling towards the drop zone.

Leicester Form

Leicester head in to this game on the back of one win from three, but they’re playing much better than that suggests. Having met Arsenal and Manchester United away in the opening weeks of the season, this has been a tricky start for Craig Shakespeare. They weren’t blown away in either of those two, holding out against United for 70 minutes before losing 2-0. Their clash with Arsenal was a seven goal thriller, in which the Gunners hit two late goals to secure the points. Having tested themselves against those two, the Foxes will certainly be up for this challenge on Saturday.

Leicester did manage to win their only home, game pulling off a 2-0 win over Brighton. The Foxes were able to cruise past most of the bottom half sides last term, but they did struggle against top teams. They may have plenty of options in their squad, but can that bridge the gap between themselves and the Blues? It’s going to take a huge step up for them to get anything from this clash.

Leicester v Chelsea Head to Head

Chelsea took advantage of Leicester’s problems last season to claim two 3-0 victories, which helped propel them to the title. The Blues also beat Leicester in the EFL Cup, but they weren’t as successful the season before. Having lost at the King Power, Jose Mourinho then lost his job. Antonio Conte will be hoping the same doesn’t happen when his Blues take their title defence to the King Power.

  • Leicester 0-3 Chelsea, Jan 2017
  • Chelsea 3-0 Leicester, Oct 2016
  • Leicester 2-4 Chelsea, Sept 2016
  • Chelsea 1-1 Leicester, May 2016
  • Leicester 2-1 Chelsea, Dec 2015

Betting Tips

  • Chelsea to win – 4/5 with Betfred
  • Morata to score any time – 23/20 with Coral

Having claimed back to back wins, Chelsea will be aiming to carry that momentum across the international break. With a packed schedule on the horizon, the Blues need to kick off with a win here, and the bookies are reflecting that in their prices. The draw here is available at 13/5 with Bet365, while you can back Leicester at 15/4 with BetVictor to claim a home win. Those odds are probably fair, despite the Foxes impressing at times this season. Their results so far make them underdogs.

Chelsea head into this one as deserved favourites, and we’re backing them at solid enough odds of 4/5 with Betfred. Having won two matches on the spin against top sides, the Blues have shown that they’re back to their title winning form of old. They’ve impressed against both Tottenham and Everton, and they should use that form to get a result at the King Power. We’re backing the away win here, which looks like a great price given how the Blues have picked up since losing to Burnley.

Morata has looked strong for the Blues since joining from Real Madrid, and he reiterated his debt to Conte during the international break. He’s always been desperate to play for the Italian, and we see him repaying that debt this weekend. His great start should continue against a Leicester side who have shipped goals to both Arsenal and Manchester United’s new big money strikers. We see Morata piling in on top. He’s priced at 23/20 with Coral to score any time this weekend.

Chelsea vs Everton Betting Tips (Premier League) – 27th August 2017

Chelsea saw off Tottenham at Wembley last weekend to claim their first points of the new Premier League season, but can they build on that against Everton? Spirits at Stamford Bridge have certainly been raised after that victory, while the board are still hard at work looking for new signings. Things are starting to look up for the champions, but the last thing they need is to have their momentum sapped by this hard-working Everton side. With an international break right around the corner, Antonio Conte will want his men departing from club duty on something of a high.

However, Everton have shown that they are tricky opponents in their opening games of the season. The Toffees do have a busy calendar after midweek Europa League action, but can they cause a shock at Stamford Bridge? With a poor record at this ground, it’s going to be tough for the visitors to take anything away from this one. With the opening day loss to Burnley in mind, the Blues need to be completely focused heading into this clash, or they could well drop more points.

Team News: Will Conte change his victorious side?

Conte went with a 3-5-2 set up last time out, but we can’t see a repeat of that here. That was a more defensive minded set up with Spurs having plenty of attacking options. At home, Conte will want a little more in attack, so expect a 3-4-3 set up this weekend. That frees up space for another advanced player, with Pedro the most likely to come in. Eden Hazard remains out, and it’s unlikely the Blues want to rush him back and risk him being called up by Belgium for their international games.

Everton played a similar 3-5-2 to Chelsea last weekend, and that is likely to be their approach here. That denied space to City and gave them counter attacking options, and we can see them trying to use that system again. However, Koeman may be slightly worried by the fact that he tried to match Conte’s three at the back here last season, and ended up being hammered 5-0.

Everton Form

Everton have made a strong start to the new season, as they’ve taken four points from their opening two. They came close to winning at Manchester City, but the Toffees had to settle for a 1-1 draw at the Etihad. Having beaten Stoke on the opening day, Koeman’s team have also been progressing well in Europe. They’ve managed to keep things tight so far in all their games, while they do have a few concerns up front. Wayne Rooney has two goals in two, but is he really enough up front to be effective for the season? Unless they add another forward the Toffees could be short on goals this term.

Everton’s European ambitions could hamper them here, following their game in Croatia on Thursday night. That’s not much of a window to return back and prepare for this game, so we might see a more undercooked Everton this time around. Antonio Conte knows how key it is to have a week to build up to big games, having enjoyed a season with next to no midweek commitments last term.

Chelsea vs Everton Head to Head

Chelsea were big winners home and away against Everton last year. Their 5-0 win at the Bridge continued a strong record over the Toffees, as the Blues have now won five of the last six meetings at home. Can they carry that on this week and make it two wins from two? Having seen how Ronald Koeman set up at City, it’s certainly going to be a tough test for Conte and co.

  • Everton 0-3 Chelsea, Apr 2017
  • Chelsea 5-0 Everton, Nov 2016
  • Everton 2-0 Chelsea, Mar 2016
  • Chelsea 3-3 Everton, Jan 2016
  • Everton 3-1 Chelsea, Sept 2015

Betting Tips

  • Both teams to score – 11/10 with Betfred
  • Pedro to score – 7/4 with Ladbrokes

Chelsea are huge favourites coming into this one, with Coral making them just 2/5 to take the three points. Given how the Blues started the campaign, that price does feel a little short. After all, it’s hard to see a heavy victory for the hosts, as Everton have been pretty solid so far. That doesn’t mean the visitors won’t be an attacking threat here, as they’ve scored in every competitive game they’ve played this season. This does seem like a tricky tie for the hosts, as this is easily the best Everton side to visit Stamford Bridge in recent years. Will the Toffees’ take something away from this clash?

We can at least see a goal for the away side here. Everton do have counter attacking talent, especially if Sandro Ramirez is fit enough to start alongside Rooney. Not only that, but the Blues have an awful defensive record in 2017, having kept just two home league clean sheets. They’ve managed a single clean sheet in their last nine at home in the league, and we think that will continue here. A Chelsea goal is widely expected, as they’ve looked great going forwards in both games so far. That’s why we’re backing both teams to score here, which is priced at 11/10 with Betfred.

We expect Conte to go with a more attacking set up in this one, and Pedro is one man who could benefit from that. The Spaniard was key for much of last season, and he showed that across two meetings with Everton. Having scored home and away against the Toffees last season, we can see the former Barcelona man making an impact this weekend. He’s priced at 7/4 with Ladbrokes to find the net at any time, which feels like great value for a key attacking player of his standing. With Chelsea expected to grab at least one goal, Pedro should be one of their main threats, and we predict he’ll get on the scoresheet.

Arsenal v Chelsea Betting Tips (Community Shield) – Sunday 6th August 2017

Chelsea kick off their season just as they finished the last, facing Arsenal at Wembley. This time the Community Shield is on the line, a trophy which ranks fifth in the Blues’ list of priorities. However, this is the best indicator of where the champions are in their preparations for the new season, following a busy summer of incomings and outgoings. This is also a test of the squad, something which could prove key to the last month of transfer business at the Bridge.

The Blues are limited in terms of selection, but they have plenty of last season’s star names ready for a new campaign. After the poor title defence we saw during 2015/16, Conte needs to keep these players hungry for success, their performances could be key, alongside some new signings to add competition for places and squad depth. We’ll know more about what the Blues need following this Arsenal game, but will they be able to warm up for a new campaign and their return to the Champions League by claiming silverware at Wembley?

Team News: Chelsea to revert to type in curtain raiser

While Chelsea’s transfer business in 2017 has been hugely successful financially, they’ve arguably come out of the summer weaker so far. They’re looking light on bodies, especially with Tiemoue Bakayoko missing the start of the campaign. With limited options, we see the champions going with a 3-4-3 set-up once again, as Conte doesn’t have the capacity in his squad to switch things up.

The Blues are missing Victor Moses, who was sent off in the FA Cup final against Arsenal, while Eden Hazard is injured. That’s likely to see Cesar Azpilicueta step across to right wing-back, with Antonio Rudiger coming into the back three. Cesc Fabregas will partner N’Golo Kante, while Michy Batshuayi is rivalling Alvaro Morata for a place in the side. After starting every preseason game, the Belgian must be in with a shout, and he’s surely in better shape than the £58million new boy.

Arsenal have a new striker of their own on show, with Alexandre Lacazette set to start up front. He’s likely to be supported by Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez in a 3-4-3 formation, which Arsenal switched to following Chelsea’s success with the tactic last term. With no other major signings, don’t expect to see too many changes from the Gunners’ last clash with Chelsea at Wembley.

Arsenal Form

Arsenal managed to end their Bayern Munich hoodoo in preseason, beating the Bavarians on penalties. That probably sums up the unpredictability of preseason. The Gunners were able to celebrate two trophies, one of which came after that victory against Bayern. The resulting presentation did see Petr Cech having to tell his teammates to not go overboard in their excitement to lift a meaningless trophy.

The Gunners’ last game saw them lose 2-1 to Sevilla, before being presented the Emirates Cup as a result of the number of goals they’d scored. All of that will count for little at Wembley this weekend. Arsenal have played more minutes in preseason, but they may have gone a little overboard in terms of travelling.

Arsenal v Chelsea Head to Head

Our head to head record for these sides doesn’t include a meeting between them this summer, during their preseason tours. Chelsea won that game 3-0 despite having significantly less preparation, but that should mean little here. Both managers are experienced enough to avoid taking much from friendly games, especially as the Blues went and lost to Bayern and Inter shortly after.

  • Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea, May 2017
  • Chelsea 3-1 Arsenal, Feb 2017
  • Arsenal 3-0 Chelsea, Sep 2016
  • Arsenal 0-1 Chelsea, Jan 2016
  • Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal, Sep 2015

Betting Tips

  • Chelsea to win – 23/20 with BetVictor
  • Michy Batshuayi to score – 7/4 with Betfred

The Blues’ Wembley defeat in May hasn’t affected the bookies’ confidence in them. Not only are they leading contenders for the title, but they have been made favourites for this clash. However, they seem to represent good value at 23/20 with BetVictor. While Chelsea are missing a couple of star names, they do have players to step in during the short term, although reinforcements are needed. The Blues should be able to manage without Moses at right-back, it may actually help them based on his display during the cup final. Hazard’s absence is a blow, but having Willian, Pedro and Fabregas on the pitch should create chances.

While those three in the same team can be seen as a risk – Fabregas in a midfield two always feels like a weak link – Azpilicueta’s solidity should help. He won’t venture forward at the same rate as Moses, meaning that Rudiger, Cahill and Luiz will have plenty of cover. That should be enough to frustrate Lacazette, so we’re backing the champions to take a victory from the curtain raiser. Barring an awful start against Bayern, Chelsea have been solid this summer, and they will be itching to make up for their FA Cup defeat. We see more silverware for Conte, and we’re backing the Blues at 23/20 with BetVictor here, with a win to nil looking very tempting at 3/1 with Bet365.

The one area that we can see Conte pulling a surprise is up front. The players available to him mean he can only really play a 3-4-3, which forces a choice between Batshuayi and Morata. The Belgians’ late flourish, preseason displays and his summer bulk make him a serious contender for a starting spot. Morata made one start this summer, before being taken off after 65 minutes. He might not be ready for a competitive game, while Batshuayi is an adept replacement who hit two against Arsenal last month. We’re backing him to score any time at 7/4 with Betfred and he’s also worth a punt to score first we fancy.

Chelsea v Arsenal Betting Tips (FA Cup final) – Saturday 27th May 2017

Can Chelsea add the FA Cup to the Premier League title they lifted last weekend? After the party atmosphere against Sunderland at Stamford Bridge, this is going to be a very different occasion. This is the first time since 2007 that two of the top five have met in the final of this famous competition. The Blues won the cup that day, with Didier Drogba sealing the cup in the first final at the new Wembley. They’ve been regular visitors since, winning the competition four times in the last 10 years.

However, it’s been five years since they last won this competition, with Arsenal winning it in 2014 and 2015. Arsenal are also the joint leaders in the all-time FA Cup winners table with 12 and this will be their 20th final, more than any other side.

The Blues won the league and cup double for the first time in 2010 under Carlo Ancelotti, something they’re aiming to emulate here. Roberto Di Matteo won this competition alongside the Champions League in 2012 during his first campaign as manager. Will Conte be the latest Italian boss to lift two trophies in his debut season in charge? To do so he has to see off one of the most successful sides in FA Cup history. Can the Gunners move clear of Man United with their 13th FA Cup trophy on Saturday?

Team News: No early changes as Conte demands focus

Chelsea have no injury concerns this weekend, with Conte able to give his first choice players a run out against Sunderland. The Blues were heavily changed for their win against Watford, but they were basically at full strength during the game with the Black Cats. While they gave John Terry a guard of honour mid game on Sunday, Conte won’t stand for anything like that in such a huge game.

The Blues will need 100% focus on this massive occasion, so we expect the strongest possible line up here. Having claimed league success thanks to their consistency in selection, we expect that to continue when they head to Wembley.

Arsene Wenger has been forced in to switching to a 3-4-3 set up of late, after struggling for results. He decided to ape Conte’s formation, and so far it’s brought Arsenal positive results. We expect them to continue with that set up, despite their current defensive problems. The Gunners lost Gabriel and Laurent Koscielny in their win over Everton, which means they’re short of options in central defence. With three slots to fill, we could see both Per Mertesacker and Rob Holding starting at the back for Wenger, which would leave them potentially very open at the back.

Arsenal Form

The Gunners recently pushed themselves back in to the fight for the top four after a string of victories, thanks to their decision to move to a 3-4-3 set up. Arsenal won their FA Cup semi-final with Manchester City during that run, but they needed extra time in order to see off the Citizens. It’s been a tough year for the club, brought on by the uncertainly over Wenger’s future.

The Gunners have won their last five games coming into this match, but they were recently beaten 2-0 at Tottenham. Chelsea’s FA Cup semi-final opponents comfortably saw off the Gunners, sealing one of the most one sided north Lon derbies ever. That result pushed Arsenal even further from the top four, and now they’re facing the prospect of Europa League football next term, regardless of the result at Wembley.

Chelsea v Arsenal Head to Head

Chelsea’s two matches against Arsenal this term have been key. The 3-0 defeat might be the most important result of Conte’s tenure, as he switched to a 3-4-3 following that heavy loss, kicking off a great run of form. They won 3-1 in the return leg, easing to a victory thanks to their new approach. The Gunners managed to win the last meeting between these two at Wembley, in August 2015, but can the Blues claim revenge for that defeat with a victory this weekend?

  • Chelsea 3-1 Arsenal, Feb 2017
  • Arsenal 3-0 Chelsea, Sept 2016
  • Arsenal 0-1 Chelsea, Jan 2016
  • Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal, Sept 2015
  • Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea, Aug 2015

Betting Tips

  • Over 1.5 Chelsea goals – 4/5 with Ladbrokes
  • Chelsea -1 Asian Handicap – 52/35 with BetVictor

Chelsea are priced at 5/6 with Betfred to win the match, while they’re as short as 4/9 with Bet365 to lift the trophy. The draw, and extra time, is priced at 11/4 with Coral. Arsenal can be backed at 7/2 with Betfair, with the Gunners drifting out of contention according to the bookies. While the Blues are tempting at just below evens to claim the win, we think there is other bets here which represent much better value.

Chelsea come into this match facing an Arsenal defence which is down by two men. If Arsene Wenger persists with his new 3-4-3 set up, then he’s going to have a field a couple of below par players at the back. If he switches, they could be going back to the poor form they exhibited earlier in the season, during which Chelsea beat them 3-1. We think this Blues’ attack will get plenty of chances, and over 1.5 goals for the Blues looks like cracking value at 4/5 with Ladbrokes, especially when you consider how their last FA Cup clash at Wembley went.

With Chelsea likely to get chances, we’ve turned our focus to the defence. The likes of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil don’t tend to do much in big games like this, they were absent against a weak Manchester United side recently. The Blues have a solid backline which looks back to its best right now, and we can see that holding out. However, we aren’t going for the win to nil, as the -1 Asian Handicap looks better value. It’s priced at 52/35 with BetVictor for the Blues to win by two or more goals, with a refund should they only win by one.

Chelsea v Sunderland Betting Tips (Premier League) – Sunday 21st May 2017

For the second time in three seasons, Chelsea are going to lift the Premier League title against Sunderland at Stamford Bridge. The Blues have the title wrapped up, and they’ll finally get their hands on the silverware after this meeting with the already relegated Black Cats. Neither side has much to play for on the final day of the season, but don’t expect the champions to slack off. They can move on to 93 points for the season with a victory over the worst side in the league, which would leave them two shy of the Premier League record.

Chelsea can also become the first side in a 38 game season to claim 30 Premier League victories. They’re massive favourites to take the points in this game, so it seems likely they’ll claim that record. After all, it would ruin the occasion slightly if the title was lifted after slipping up to a side who are on their way down to the Championship. Given the nature of boss Antonio Conte, whatever side he names for this game should be focused on taking the three points. However, just how big a part will the prospect of the cup final play?

Team News: Final Terry run out as he teases retirement

While we expected rotation from Chelsea on Monday night, the whole-sale changes made by Conte were quite surprising. It remains to be seen if that was purely down to the team playing twice in four days, or if the title celebrations took their toll on the first choice players. However, with the FA Cup final just six days away, it’s hard to see the first XI taking the field for this game with little on the line. There are plenty of fringe players who are ready to step up and try to earn their place.

Sunderland have a lengthy injury list, one which has played a big part in their relegation this season. They’ve been without Paddy McNair and Duncan Watmore for a lengthy period. Defensive midfielder Jan Kirchoff is unavailable, while forward Victor Anichebe also misses out. One time Chelsea target Steven Pienaar is another name who sits out for the Black Cats this weekend. They switched to a 3-5-2 set up at Arsenal in midweek, and that is likely to be the approach they take at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. After all, the same formation helped Watford to three goals on Monday night.

Sunderland Form

The Black Cats have one win in their last 12 games, as they head down to the second tier with a whimper. That victory was at Hull after they were relegated, and it looked like Sunderland were going to kick on with no pressure on them. However, back to back defeats at home to Swansea and at Arsenal have left them bottom, and they’re set to wrap up a dismal season in the top flight on Sunday.

Sunderland’s away form has been terrible, which is a huge part of their quick relegation to the Championship. They’ve lost 14 of their 18 away games, averaging just 0.56 points per game on their travels this term. Having conceded 64 goals across the season, the visitors are likely to struggle in this trip. Having lost five of their last six games on their travels, we’re expecting another loss for David Moyes’ men this weekend.

Chelsea v Sunderland Head to Head

The Blues claimed a narrow 1-0 at the Stadium of Light back in December when these two sides last met. Chelsea have won 3-1 in back to back meetings with the Black Cats at Stamford Bridge. They’ll be hoping to avoid a repeat of the 3-2 defeat they suffered in May last year, which looked like it would be John Terry’s final match in a Blue shirt. It seems like this meeting with the Mackems will be his last Chelsea game.

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

Betting Tips

  • Chelsea to win and over 2.5 goals – 4/5 with Coral
  • Cesc Fabregas to score – 7/4 with Bet365

Chelsea come into this game priced at 1/6 with Sky Bet to take the three points, while Sunderland are massive 28/1 outsiders with Ladbrokes. The draw can be backed at 15/2 with Betfair, but we can’t see anything but a home win this weekend. That’s despite the collapse the Blues suffered at the back on Monday night. Following three straight wins to nil, the champions then edged out Watford 4-3 on Monday night to make it four straight home victories. However, their rotated side clearly struggled, with Cesc Fabregas scoring late on to secure a win.

While Sunderland aren’t prolific scorers at home, they’ll fancy their chances of troubling Chelsea’s second string defence. They’ve found the net in five of their last six visits to this ground, scoring eight goals across those six trips. With nothing to lose in their final game at this level, we expect the Black Cats to push forward. However, the champions should be able to rack up a few goals against one of the worst defences in the division. We think this game will be filled with goals, so we’re backing Chelsea and over 2.5 at 4/5 with Coral.

We expect most of the side which started against Watford to feature here, it’ll likely only have a few first team players involved. We can see a spot in the side for Cesc Fabregas, who will be looking to build on his goal against Watford. The Spaniard has been in wonderful form of late, while he struck the only goal when these two sides met earlier in the season. We’re backing him to get among the goals once again, as we’re tipping Fabregas to score any time at 7/4 with Bet365.