Manchester United v Chelsea Betting Tips (Premier League) – 25th February 2018

Can Chelsea claim three points in their return to Premier League action on Sunday? The Blues are bound for Old Trafford this weekend, as they look to dent Jose Mourinho and Manchester United’s push for the Champions League. Despite adding Alexis Sanchez to the side, the Red Devils have struggled in the league of late, losing back to back away games. The last thing they need after a couple of setbacks is to welcome the champions to Manchester. With just three points between these two sides heading into this clash, it could have a huge bearing on this season’s top four race.

Of course, this weekend does represent something of a missed opportunity for the champions. They could well have been lining up at Wembley this weekend, having lost out to Arsenal in the EFL Cup semi-finals. The Blues will be on their way back from Manchester as the first silverware of the season is contested, so it would be a pretty demoralising trip south should they lose to Mourinho’s men. Can Antonio Conte and his team avoid that fate by securing all three points against their top four rivals on Sunday?

Team News: Will Conte Push for a Five Man Midfield?

The big question heading into this game is over the system Antonio Conte decides to go with. The 3-4-3 has been relatively unchanged in recent weeks, but the Italian has moved to a 3-5-2 in big games this season, in order to control the midfield. They’re likely to come up against five United midfielders in this one, so a change could be necessary. The system also helped the Blues claim a 1-0 win at home to United in the reverse fixture, and now that Conte has enough bodies in midfield to play with a five across the middle, he could be tempted to make a change ahead of this crucial clash.

Much of the week’s discussion has been about Mourinho’s relationship with Paul Pogba. The Portuguese doesn’t seem all that keen on the club’s record signing, and he’s not hit the heights expected given his enormous transfer fee. The midfielder should play a part in this game, but for Mourinho to make him effective he needs to tweak his approach. The signing of Sanchez seems to have impacted their setup, which is now a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Pogba alongside former Chelsea man Nemanja Matic in central midfield. That’s likely to be the duo once again on Sunday, which is at least a powerful double act, if nothing else.

Manchester United Form

Two defeats from their last three league games have left United much closer to the top four battle than to leaders Man City. The Red Devils trail City by 16 points, although they do have a chance to close that gap temporarily this weekend. Fifth placed Tottenham went into the weekend just four points behind Man United, with the remaining three Champions League spots seemingly being contested by the four sides sandwiched between City and Arsenal.

United do have a good record behind them at home, unbeaten against all of the sides below them in the standings. They lost to City at Old Trafford, but aside from that they have 10 wins from 12 matches, which has seen them average 2.46 points per game. That has given them the second best home record in the division, so Chelsea have their work cut out in this weekend’s clash against a side that has scored more freely on home soil.

Manchester United v Chelsea Head to Head

Chelsea have been hosting Man United pretty regularly of late, which has seen them claim three wins from their last five encounters. Their recent record at Old Trafford hasn’t been too bad, losing just one of their last five trips to Old Trafford. However, that defeat came in their visit to Manchester last April, which brought a rare loss for Conte on the way to the league title.

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

Betting Tips

  • Under 2.5 Goals – 7/10 with Ladbrokes
  • Draw – 12/5 with BetVictor

Man United’s strong home form obviously makes them favourites for Sunday’s clash, and they’ve been priced up at 11/10 with Betfair to take the points. Meanwhile, the Blues are out at 11/4 with Betfred for a victory at Old Trafford. You can back the draw at 12/5 here, with these two sides looking quite even going into this weekend. Can the Blues pull off a victory, or will they be left outside of the top four and reeling from yet another blow to Conte’s position as manager?

While Chelsea have seen their fair share of high scoring away trips this term, we expect a different kind of game this weekend. These two managers may have a deep dislike for one another, but they come into this clash knowing that a safety first policy is probably the best way to go. We’ve all see how Mourinho sets up for big games, and if Conte goes for a midfield five once again then we’re likely to see a very cagey game played out between these two once again.

Only one of the last six meetings between these two have seen both teams score, while the last five meetings at Old Trafford have seen under 2.5 goals. Given how these two managers are likely to approach this game, we can see another low scoring affair on Sunday. We’re backing under 2.5 at 7/10 with Ladbrokes here. With four draws between the two at Old Trafford since 2013, we’re also going for this one to finish level, which is available at 12/5 with BetVictor. With a close game very likely, that seems like a great price.

Chelsea v Barcelona Betting Tips (Champions League) – 20th February 2018

Chelsea return to Champions League action this week, and they are about to pay the price for their second place finish in the group. The Blues slumped to finish behind Roma in their pool, leaving them facing La Liga leaders Barcelona in the last 16.

Given how the Catalans are very much on the up domestically – despite the sale of Neymar – the Blues are the outsiders in this one. Can Antonio Conte inspire his side to a victory over another Spanish side, or will they drop out of Europe at the first knockout round as they did in the 2015/16 season?

The bookies clearly see a victory for Barcelona, not just overall but in this first leg. Losing the opening clash would be a huge setback for the Premier League champions, with a trip to the Nou Camp coming up in three weeks’ time. Chelsea crashed out to PSG in 2016 when they were last in the competition, during their last dismal season following a title win. While things haven’t been quite as tough this time around, crashing out of Europe at this stage would be a setback which Antonio Conte can’t really afford at this stage.

Team News: How Will Blues Deal With Catalans?

Conte made his customary changes in their FA Cup clash on Friday night, but don’t expect anyone to be held back for this clash. Marcos Alonso should be fit again to take up his place on the left side of defence, while Victor Moses will be on the opposite wing. Olivier Giroud is available for selection despite playing a role in Arsenal’s Europa League campaign, but he’s not likely to start ahead of Alvaro Morata. The Spaniard showed his worth in the trip to Atletico Madrid earlier this season, and there’s hope that he can provide a similar impact in this game.

Barcelona may be known for the 4-3-3 which Pep Guardiola utilised to take them to incredible levels, but things have been different this season. The loss of Neymar, and the injury to his replacement – Ousmane Dembele – means Barca are no longer using their front three. Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez are their double act up front, with a four man midfield behind them. While a 4-4-2 isn’t what you’d usually expect from Barca, but the approach does seem to be working for them. Having moved seven points clear at the top of the table in Spain, it’s clearly an effective approach.

Barcelona Form

It’s hard to match Barca’s form this season, given that they’ve won 18 of their 23 league games, drawing the rest. It’s been too much for European champions Real Madrid to handle, who are 17 points behind the Catalans in the table. They’ve won 75% of their away trips this season, so can they take that form into this clash with the Premier League side?

The visitors have built their brilliant form on a strong defensive record, as they’ve conceded just 0.48 goals per game in the league this term. They’ve managed to keep a clean sheet in 61% of their outings in La Liga, which should worry a Chelsea side who have been hit and miss up front this season. However, the Catalans have drawn both trips to sides in the top three in Spain, so there’s a chance that they’ll struggle in another big game this week.

Chelsea v Barcelona Head to Head

The Blues have a fantastic record against Barcelona of late, having gone seven games unbeaten against the Catalans. That includes the last two meetings – the incredible double header in the 2012 semi-finals of this competition, including an incredible strike from Ramires and the late Fernando Torres strike. Can the Premier League side continue that run this week?

  • Barcelona 2-2 Chelsea, Apr 2012
  • Chelsea 1-0 Barcelona, Apr 2012
  • Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona, May 2009
  • Barcelona 0-0 Chelsea, Apr 2009
  • Barcelona 2-2 Chelsea, Oct 2006

Betting Tips

  • Under 2.5 Goals – 19/20 with Betfair
  • 0-0 Draw – 10/1 with Coral

Chelsea are 3/1 outsiders with Betfred heading into this game, despite their impressive record against the Catalans of late. Meanwhile, the visitors have been made favourites at evens with Ladbrokes, while you can back the draw at 13/5 with BetVictor here. It does seem like the recent record between the two sides is being largely ignored, and there’s also a case to say that Barca’s results in this competition are being ignored too. They’ve not been a side who have won at a canter in their recent away trips in Europe, so could they struggle at Stamford Bridge?

Barca have slipped up at top sides in Spain, and they come into this game with a mixed record in Europe on the road. The last few seasons have seen them toil in trips to all kinds of sides. They’ve managed just three wins in their last nine away in this competition, including just one victory in five. They lost to nil away to PSG and Juventus last season, before seeing a single goal scored across the last three European ties. An own goal gave them a 1-0 win at Sporting, while they drew 0-0 at Olympiakos and Juventus in the group. That doesn’t bode well for this clash.

With Chelsea having a mixed record going forward this term, we can’t see this being a high scoring game. We’re backing under 2.5 goals in this clash, which looks like good value at 19/20 with Betfair. Given how the Blues are unbeaten of late against the Catalans, having drawn most of those clashes we expect this one to finish up level too. While the draw seems like good value in this clash, we’re backing a goalless draw in this one, despite many predicting goals. A 0-0 draw is well priced at 10/1 with Coral.

Chelsea v Hull Betting Tips (FA Cup) – 16th February 2018

Chelsea are back in FA Cup action on Friday night, as Championship side Hull City head to Stamford Bridge. The Premier League champions are obviously heavy favourites to progress, given that they’re meeting a struggling second tier outfit in this clash.

While there have been problems surrounding the Blues in recent weeks, it’s hard to see a situation whereby they end up exiting the cup this weekend. After all, they should have far too much for the Tigers, even taking in heavy rotation into account. With the hosts aiming to go one better than last year in this competition, the stage does seem set for them to book a place in the quarter-finals.

Hull are hoping to lift the gloom after a tough 18 months by going on a cup run. The Tigers were finalists in this competition back in 2014, but can they go that far again? Having slumped in the Championship and after drawing the Premier League champions, you would imagine that the Tigers are cursing their luck. Having seen Chelsea just beat West Brom 3-0, you have to wonder how they’ll get on when they meet a poor side from the Championship this weekend.

Team News: Changes Likely Ahead of Catalan Visit

Antonio Conte doesn’t have a lengthy injury list this weekend, with Marcos Alonso and Ross Barkley both doubts. The Italian could have easily started without the pair anyway. With Barcelona heading for the Bridge in midweek, we expect that Conte will be looking to make changes for this clash. He’s likely to rest most of the back five, while Thibaut Courtois will sit out. Danny Drinkwater could make a start in midfield, while Willian and Pedro are the frontrunners to start behind Olivier Giroud this weekend, as Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata are held back for the clash with the Catalans.

Sadly, Hull man Ryan Mason retired in the lead-up to this game. It’s over a year ago that he fractured his skull at the Bridge in an aerial battle with Gary Cahill, and medical advice has told him not to return to the game. On top of that, the visitors have some selection issues to concern themselves with, as they have three Chelsea loanees. Ola Aina, Fikayo Tomori and Michael Hector are all unavailable for this game, so they all sit out. Without forward Abel Hernandez, the Tigers are significantly weakened going into this clash.

Hull Form

The Tigers have only just dropped down to the second tier, but they are battling against relegation to League One. They’ve found themselves in the relegation mix in recent months, having climbed out with a 2-0 win last weekend. They’ve won just six games in the Championship this term, suffering 14 defeats in 31 matches. Having scored less than a goal per game on the road in the league this term, which doesn’t bode well for a clash with Premier League opposition.

Hull have been particularly poor on the road this season, having lost nine of their 16 away trips. The Tigers have managed just two away wins in the Championship, and the highest placed team they’ve beaten on the road is 17th placed Nottingham Forest. In 12 meetings with the top nine sides, they’ve won none, losing nine. While victories against Blackburn Rovers and Nottingham Forest have taken them in to the Fifth Round of the FA Cup, the Tigers are likely to struggle when they meet the Premier League champions.

Chelsea v Hull Head to Head

Chelsea come into this clash having won their last six clashes with Hull. They won to nil home and away to the Tigers last term, as the two sides went in very different directions. The first victory last term – a 2-0 win at Hull – was the first time Conte started out with a back three as Chelsea boss. That win was a shaky one, but it kicked off the winning run which fired the Blues towards last season’s Premier League title.

  • Chelsea 2-0 Hull, Jan 2017
  • Hull 0-2 Chelsea, Oct 2016
  • Hull 2-3 Chelsea, Mar 2015
  • Chelsea 2-0 Hull, Dec 2014
  • Hull 0-2 Chelsea, Jan 2014

Betting Tips

  • Chelsea half-time/full-time – 3/4 with Ladbrokes
  • Chelsea to win 2-0 – 5/1 with BetVictor

The Blues are priced at 1/5 with Betfred to win this game, while they’re 1/14 with Betfair to qualify for the quarter-finals. The draw can be backed at 6/1 with Betfair in this game, while you can back Hull at 16/1 with Coral. The Premier League side are clear favourites for this clash, but can they live up to that favourites tag? We’ve had a look around at the betting on this one, as we look to find a couple of alternative picks with some better value.

While the Blues are likely to make changes, they’re set to include some big money signings in the mix. The likes of Willian, Pedro and Giroud should all make enough of an impact to leave key names out, as Conte looks to balance his side’s chances across multiple competitions. Of course, the Tigers are more significantly weakened than Chelsea – even with rotation taken into account. We struggle to see how the Championship side get anything out of this game given the gulf in class between them.

We’re backing Chelsea to take control of this tie early on, as we’re tipping them to be ahead at the end of each half. They seem like great value at 3/4 with Ladbrokes on the half-time/full-time market, which is our first tip. We’re also backing a comfortable 2-0 win for the Blues, given their excellent winning run against the Tigers. They won both meetings last season 2-0, while the last three encounters at Stamford Bridge have seen the Blues win 2-0, so we’re backing a repeat at 5/1 with BetVictor.

Chelsea v West Brom Betting Tips (Premier League) – 12th February 2018

Chelsea have had a week break since their thumping at the hands of Watford, so how will they get on at home to West Brom? Alan Pardew takes his side to the Bridge on Monday night in a game which the champions need to win, but it isn’t going to be easy. Having conceded seven goals to Watford and Bournemouth in recent games, Antonio Conte’s men are really struggling. They need to improve, especially with both Tottenham and Arsenal chasing them for fourth place. While the Italian is currently safe in his position as manager, he needs to show signs of turning things around or else the Blues could turn to an alternative.

Will Conte manage to shake things up at the Bridge this week, or are his side set to drop out of the Champions League spots? West Brom have to be respected, given that they make this trip having recently won at Anfield to put Liverpool out of the cup. The Baggies are starting to turn a corner under Pardew, and taking on the Blues could provide a welcome boost for the strugglers. The champions need to be on their toes heading in to Monday’s meeting, especially given how lethargic and uninterested they looked in the game a week ago.

Team News: Can Giroud Start Lift The Blues?

Chelsea’s hopes of improving on their poor form have taken a blow on the injury front, with a few problems for Conte to deal with. Tiemoue Bakayoko is obviously absent following his red at Watford, while Andreas Christensen is out through injury. On top of that, Alvaro Morata, Ross Barkley and Pedro are all considered to be doubts, while Marcos Alonso faces a late race to get fit in time for this clash. Despite that and the recent results, Conte isn’t expected to make any significant changes to the formation. In brighter news, Olivier Giroud looks set for a first start for his new side and will provide another option.

Former Blue Daniel Sturridge should feature for the Baggies, who are likely to start with him and Jay Rodriguez in attack. West Brom are likely to use a three man defence in this one, as they seem sure to set up in a 3-5-2 system. However, they have significant issues at the back too, with Jonny Evans, Nacer Chadli and Grzegorz Krychowiak all missing out in this trip to the capital.

West Brom Form

The Baggies currently sit bottom of the Premier League table, making them perfect opposition for a side like Chelsea right now. The Blues may be struggling in their last couple of fixtures, but they’ll be expecting to prove themselves against the worst side in the league at the moment. The visitors are in an awful shape on their travels, and they come into this game having suffered eight away defeats already this season.

Only Stoke have fewer away points than West Brom this season, with the Baggies claiming just two points from their last six trips in the Premier League. That form points to them dropping down into the Championship, and you’d imagine that the champions will have more than enough quality to deal with them. Not only have the away side played six of the bottom eight on their travels and lost every game, but they have just one point from five meetings with the top four this term.

Chelsea v West Brom Head to Head

The Blues have won their last three clashes with West Brom, a run which includes their victory in May which sealed the league title. A 4-0 victory back in November was one of the champions’ most impressive results this term. Having won four of the last six meetings between the pair at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea will be expected to come out on top once again.

  • West Brom 0-4 Chelsea, Nov 2017
  • West Brom 0-1 Chelsea, May 2017
  • Chelsea 1-0 West Brom, Dec 2016
  • Chelsea 2-2 West Brom, Jan 2016
  • West Brom 2-3 Chelsea, Aug 2015

Betting Tips

  • Chelsea and Over 2.5 Goals – evens with Coral
  • Both teams to score – 21/20 with Ladbrokes

Chelsea may be struggling of late, but that hasn’t really affected their odds in this one. The Blues are still as short as 1/3 with BetVictor to take the points on Monday night. Meanwhile, you can back the draw in this game at 4/1 with Betfair, while the Baggies are a long odds 9/1 shot with Betfred to add to Chelsea’s misery. Going by recent form, you’d have to say that the champions are far too short in the betting for this game, and we’ve decided to look elsewhere for our bets on Monday’s encounter.

The champions have struggled of late, although this game does seem to be the perfect time for them to return to form. They are going up against a side with an awful away record, while the Blues have dominated the recent meetings between the pair. We do expect a high scoring game, as we don’t really have a huge amount of faith in the Chelsea defence right now. They look a little shaky without Christensen, while David Luiz is set to start in his place despite some awful recent form. With the Baggies starting with two up front, that’s something they’ll be out to exploit.

We expect to see West Brom making this into an open game, given their likely set-up. We expect both sides to find the net, given how many goals the champions have been conceding, so we’re backing both teams to score at very tempting odds of 21/20 with Ladbrokes. We’re also backing the Blues to edge a high scoring game this weekend, given that West Brom currently sit bottom of the Premier League table. We’re going for a Chelsea victory and over 2.5 goals to be scored, which can be backed at evens with Coral.

Watford v Chelsea Betting Tips (Premier League) – 5th February 2018

Chelsea head to Watford on Monday night as they look to recover from their mauling at home to Bournemouth. While the transfer deadline didn’t exactly go to plan for Antonio Conte and his side, their loss to the Cherries was an even bigger disaster, which has put their Champions League hopes at risk. The Blues need to be finishing in the top four as the minimum achievement this season, but now they have Tottenham and even Arsenal bearing down as the Blues toil just inside the top four. Can they turn things around at Vicarage Road?

The pressure on Antonio Conte has only grown more intense after that 3-0 loss, and it seems like his off field complaints are transferring across to the team. While Conte is showing little concern over his place in the Stamford Bridge dugout next season, he can’t depart the club having left them right back where he started – outside of the Champions League. This title defence is nowhere near as disastrous as the last, but the crisis club tag hasn’t deserted Chelsea for much of the campaign. Another loss on Monday night, and those claims will only grow.

Team News: Will Conte Hand Giroud a Quick Debut?

Chelsea are expected to go into this game without Alvaro Morata once again, with the forward still side-lined. That should lead to a first start for new signing Olivier Giroud, who has taken up Michy Batshuayi’s role as understudy to the club’s record signing. However, the Frenchman showed his reliability over the years at Arsenal, and he could well emerge as a first choice if he hits the ground running. We don’t expect starts from the other January signings – Ross Barkley and Emerson Palmieri. The pair need to get back to fitness, as the former Everton man showed in the Bournemouth defeat. Despite the nature of that loss, we can’t see too many other changes for Conte to make this week.

While Watford blamed their collapse in form on Marco Silva, they come into this game with a lengthy injury list. Among them is former Blue Nathaniel Chalobah, while Craig Cathcart and Younes Kaboul miss out in defence. The Hornets are expected to have as many as seven players absent for this game, which obviously affects their chances. That’s bound to have played a big part in their collapse in form, and we expect the hosts to find things tough once again.

Watford Form

The Hornets have recently switched manager, sacking Marco Silva following a dismal run of results. His admiring glances to Everton earned him no favours from the Watford board, who quickly turned on him when relegation became a concern. It’s not hard to see why, as the hosts have been in awful form of late. They have just two wins since the tail end of November, a run spanning 14 matches, and one of those was against Championship opposition.

The hosts have won one of their previous 12 in the top flight, while they have one win in their last six at home. They do have a habit of falling apart around this stage every season, but they should get enough points in the final stages of the campaign to survive. However, that aim is quite a step down over what they were hoping for when Silva had them flying. Can new boss Javi Gracia manage to restore some hope to the Watford faithful with a victory over the champions in his first home game?

Watford v Chelsea Head to Head

Chelsea have a solid record against the Hornets, barring the season after the previous title win. Of course, that campaign brought plenty of poor displays against average sides, and the Blues drew home and away to the then newly promoted side. Things have looked up for them recently, and Conte has a 100% record against the Hornets since taking charge, despite a couple of close calls.

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

Betting Tips

  • Both Teams to Score – 19/20 with Betfair
  • Chelsea and Over 2.5 Goals – 6/4 with Coral

Chelsea head to Vicarage Road as favourites; they’re priced up at 4/7 with BetVictor to come away with the points on Monday night. The Hornets can be backed at 5/1 with Betfred to pull off a victory and turn their form around, while the draw is priced at 29/10 with Ladbrokes here. The Blues aren’t too badly priced for the win in this clash, but we think we’ve found a couple of bigger priced predictions ahead of the final game of the Premier League weekend.

While Watford don’t have a huge amount going for them in terms of form, they do have an impressive attacking record backing them up going in to this clash. They’ve found the net in seven straight home games, the only issue is that they’ve conceded in their previous six. The hosts have conceded 2.08 goals per game at home this term, so Chelsea shouldn’t worry too much about scoring, it seems like a perfect place for Giroud to make an impact. Given that the hosts have scored in 75% of their home games, and in four of their last five meetings with the Blues, we’re backing both teams to score at 19/20 with Betfair.

We expect a high scoring game, especially given that the Blues have won four of the last six encounters – with over 2.5 goals scored in each of those victories. Watford have seen over 2.5 in 67% of their home matches, while it has also landed in 67% of Chelsea’s away trips this term. We expect the Blues to take advantage of Watford’s awful form, but we should see goals in the process. An away win and over 2.5 goals is out second tip here, which is priced at 6/4 with Coral.

Chelsea v Bournemouth Betting Tips (Premier League) – 31st January 2018

Chelsea have had a cup double header over the past week, but they refocus on the Premier League on Wednesday night as they host Bournemouth. While there could be a few behind the scenes who are busy trying to get last minute deals over the line, the players won’t have too much time for that as they’re in action almost up until the window slams shut at 11pm. However, Antonio Conte needs to keep his focus away from the transfer business here, although according to him that won’t be too hard.

Conte needs to make sure the Blues’ return to Premier League action brings another three points, as they are still chasing Champions League football. The fight for the top four isn’t going to be easy, with Tottenham in fifth and Liverpool in fourth looking to overhaul the Blues. While Conte’s side may have their eye on a second place finish, the main objective is simply bettering fifth. That might not be the ideal campaign for some, but the Blues can ill-afford another season outside of Europe’s biggest competition.

Team News: Can Blues Return to High of Brighton Display?

With Alvaro Morata set to start up front, the Blues shouldn’t have too much to worry about in terms of attacking selections here. They come into this trip with few injury concerns, although Cesc Fabregas and Gary Cahill aren’t expected to feature. Having made changes across the recent cup games, Conte should revert to his strongest available side for this clash. The Blues are expected to start in their usual 3-4-3 system here, with Thibaut Courtois looking as though he will return in goal. It would seem that Willian is leading the race to start alongside Hazard and Morata up top, with Pedro struggling for form of late.

The visitors make this trip without Jermain Defoe, but he’s their only real concern ahead of this clash. They tried a three at the back approach for clashes with Man City and Arsenal, but that formation usually backfires when used against the Blues, who are masters at matching sides man for man in their now favoured set up. Should Eddie Howe go with that approach, it could cost them.

Bournemouth Form

Bournemouth have done well in recent weeks to drag themselves away from the drop zone, but they could have done much more early on in the campaign. The Cherries were in the bottom three early on, but they kept faith with Eddie Howe and he has guided them into the relative safety of mid-table. However, that doesn’t mean their form has been great of late. While they have kicked off an unbeaten run in the league, there are signs they could struggle here.

Bournemouth haven’t lost in any of their last five matches, but they’ve only managed two wins across their last 12. They’re without a win in six on the road, while they’ve lost half of their away trips so far this season. With 11 defeats to their name already this term, the South-coast side have struggled at times, and they’ve mostly done that against the top sides, having claimed just seven points from a possible 39 against the top 10 teams this season.

Chelsea v Bournemouth Head to Head

While Chelsea’s first meeting with Bournemouth resulted in an embarrassing 1-0 loss at Stamford Bridge, the Blues have enjoyed better form against the Cherries of late. They’ve won all of their previous five meetings with Howe and his men, including two clashes already this season.

  • Chelsea 2-1 Bournemouth, Dec 2017
  • Bournemouth 0-1 Chelsea, Oct 2017
  • Bournemouth 1-3 Chelsea, Apr 2017
  • Chelsea 3-0 Bournemouth, Dec 2016
  • Bournemouth 1-4 Chelsea, Apr 2016

Betting Tips

  • Chelsea to win and over 2.5 goals – 8/11 with Betfred
  • Chelsea to win to nil – 15/13 with Ladbrokes

The Blues are heavy favourites coming into this one, as they’re priced up at just 1/4 with BetVictor to take the three points from this game. The Cherries are 11/1 with Betfair to secure another shock win away to the champions – as they did in 2015. You can back the draw at 9/2 with Coral here, which isn’t a result Conte and co can really afford right now. Having put together an impressive run of form against Bournemouth, we can’t see Chelsea surrendering the points at home in this one. However, they’re obviously too short to go backing on the outright market.

We are backing a Chelsea win, but we do feel like there are opportunities to get a little more value out of it. For instance, the visitors have shipped four goals to Man City and Liverpool in a couple of recent big games, which could worry them going in to this trip. Another issue for the visitors is that they’re one of the sides Eden Hazard tends to enjoy playing against, as he has recorded five wins, five goals and an assist in six meetings with them. Recently the Blues have only really played well going forward when the Belgian has been on good form, so we could see a few goals from the champions. With that in mind, we’re tempted by Chelsea to win and over 2.5 goals in this one.

On top of that, the visitors do have a problem in terms of their attack against top sides. Having made four trips to the top six this season – failing to score in any of them. On top of that, the two sides they have yet to travel to – Chelsea and Liverpool – both beat them to nil at the Vitality Stadium. The Cherries tend to have a poor attacking record against top sides, and that won’t bode well against a side who have kept six clean sheets in their last seven in the league. As such, we’re backing a home win to nil as our second tip at odds of 15/13 with Ladbrokes.

Chelsea v Newcastle Betting Tips (FA Cup) – 28th January 2018

Chelsea have already exited one domestic cup this week, will they be knocked out of a second this weekend? Rafa Benitez takes his Newcastle side to the Bridge for the second time this season, aiming to cause a shock and to add to Antonio Conte’s misery. Having put in two woeful displays in the Third Round against Norwich, the Premier League champions need to up their game ahead of this weekend’s clash. On the back of another two poor displays in the League Cup semis, it feels like Conte has his work cut out with this side.

Of course, it doesn’t seem like this squad will be Conte’s problem for much longer. His midweek outburst following the League Cup semi-final defeat will have only irked the board even more, and there’s a gulf growing between the manager and those above him. Having criticised the club’s transfer policy and claiming that he’s been shut out of discussions over new signings, there’s clear anger from the Italian at the failure to build on last season’s title win. However, that’s only made his exit seem all the more likely. Will he manage to lift a domestic trophy for the first time as a manager before his expected departure this summer?

Team News: Will Conte Risk Changes Following Midweek Cup Exit?

One of the key causes of Conte’s anger in midweek was that the pack of alternatives outside of the first team left him picking youth players to plug the gaps. That wasn’t entirely clear on the pitch – the average age of Chelsea’s side on Wednesday was just over 27. You assume he was talking about Ross Barkley and Michy Batshuayi who came off the bench, but they cost the club a combined £50 million.

Following his outburst, Conte’s team selection this weekend will be very interesting. The two signings he’s been chasing this window – Emerson Palmieri and Edin Dzeko – aren’t going to be wrapped up in time for this clash. Given the Italian’s usual approach in the early rounds of cups is to rotate, he’s likely to make even more changes where possible, although the fitness of Alvaro Morata and Willian could force Hazard into starting.

Newcastle made quite a few changes for their Third Round win over Luton, but will they adopt a similar approach for this clash? Given their hopes of winning the cup are slim, they may rest their big names to focus on the relegation battle. The Magpies are only a point above the drop zone, which should scare them into making changes here. After all, Mike Ashley’s board did once come out and link cup success to relegation for smaller clubs, so they aren’t likely to be desperate for a cup run,

Newcastle Form

The visitors haven’t got a great record of late, as they’re hanging just above the bottom three in the top flight. They’ve got a side comprised of Championship players, which does make them look a little out of their depth, as they did last weekend when they lost 3-1 away to Man City.

Newcastle have just two victories from their last 10 away, and those came against West Ham and Stoke – two of the league’s biggest strugglers. They’ve lost away to every top half side they’ve travelled to this season, and they have one point from their 11 meetings with the top 10 sides overall this term.

Chelsea v Newcastle Head to Head

Chelsea have had the upper hand against Newcastle in recent meetings, winning their last two on the spin. They’ve won their last five meetings at home with the Magpies, and that run is expected to continue when they visit on Sunday. Having scored 15 goals across their last five games at home to the Toon Army, it’s probably worth backing a high scoring tie here.

  • Chelsea 3-1 Newcastle, Dec 2017
  • Chelsea 5-1 Newcastle, Feb 2016
  • Newcastle 2-2 Chelsea, September 2015
  • Chelsea 2-0 Newcastle, Jan 2015
  • Newcastle 2-1 Chelsea, Dec 2014

Betting Tips

  • Chelsea to win and over 2.5 goals – 10/11 with Betfair
  • Eden Hazard to score anytime – Evens with BetVictor

Chelsea come into this clash as heavy favourites to progress, you can back them at 2/5 with Betfred. Meanwhile, the visitors are priced at 13/2 with Coral to be victorious. The draw is priced at betting odds of 10/3 with Ladbrokes, although that’s the last thing Chelsea need. With extra fixtures this season already putting strain on the squad, they’re struggling to cope with the demands of the season as it is. Adding yet another cup replay to the mix is not something that would exactly please Conte and his team right now.

Luckily, the Blues are facing a poor Newcastle side who are in awful form on their travels. We can’t see them suddenly turning around their form against the top sides with a result here, especially as Conte is likely to include Eden Hazard out of necessity. We expect a strong performance up front from the Blues, who regained their attacking swagger with a 4-0 win over another promoted side, Brighton, last weekend. With that in mind, we’re going for a home win and over 2.5 match goals as our first tip here, which can be backed at odds of 10/11 with Betfair.

Hazard has proved to be so vital for Chelsea in recent weeks, as he was the main focal point in attack in midweek. Brighton gave him space to roam last weekend, and he punished them as a result. He should play in an advanced role here once again, and we’re backing the Belgian to make an impact against the Magpies. He tormented them last month when the sides last met, and he scored twice in that game. That has us backing him to score again this weekend, and he’s priced at evens with BetVictor to find the net.

Arsenal v Chelsea Betting Tips (EFL Cup) – 24th January 2018

Chelsea head for the Emirates on Wednesday night, as they go in search of a place in the EFL Cup final. It’s fair to say that January has been far from the ideal month for the Blues, but they come in to this clash just 90 minutes away from yet another trip to Wembley. Can they manage to see off their London rivals in this big clash and take a big step towards adding some extra silverware to the cabinet this season?

This has got to be a big game for Antonio Conte, who will be aiming to win a domestic cup for the first time in his glittering career. It’s fair to say that the Italian has a fairly spiky relationship with both Arsenal and Arsene Wenger, so getting one over on the Gunners would be a big boost for him. This clash also sees the Blues boss facing another encounter with his newest rival – VAR. Having seen an incredible game last Wednesday decided by the new technology, the former Juve boss is likely to be pushing for video replays which he’ll hope will send his side into another cup final.

Team News: Conte Adds Firepower as Spaniards Return with Suspensions Served

Antonio Conte welcomes back two of his key forwards, just in time for the Blues to boost their attacking prospects. Losing Alvaro Morata and Pedro for the weekend was a blow given how poor the champions have been going forward of late, but the pair are back in line for a start at the Emirates. It’s hard to say if Pedro will get the nod on the wing, as the Italian could retain the 3-5-2 system he likes in these big trips. While that offers a little more security, it doesn’t seem to swarm opposition defences, which is what brought the title back to the Bridge last season.

Arsenal are enjoying a bit of a fire sale at the moment, but they’re not exactly looking stronger due to their January deals. Wenger’s stubborn choice to stick with David Ospina in goal during cup games could cost him, as he’s set to take the place of Petr Cech for this big game. You’d think that they’d settle on going with their first choice keeper in a tie like this, but those slight tweaks could be what ultimately stops the Gunners from making the final.

Arsenal Form

The Gunners must be thankful for their meetings with Chelsea, as they’ve saved their 2018 so far. Arsenal have had an awful couple of weeks in the New Year, and they seem vulnerable heading into this meeting based on their recent defeats. While they’ve had two draws with the Blues in January, those were both followed by damaging defeats.

The Gunners exited the FA Cup in the Third Round, losing 4-2 against Nottingham Forest. Having lost at Bournemouth this month in a shambolic display, it’s been far from comfortable viewing for Arsenal fans. When you mix in the January transfer window as well, you can see why the anger with Wenger is starting to rise again, although recently he’s dealt with that by pulling off a result against Chelsea.

Arsenal v Chelsea Head to Head

These two sides meet for the third time this month, and for the eighth time since Conte took charge back in July 2016. That’s a frequent set of encounters, and they’ve all basically gone the same way of late. The Gunners struck late to win May’s FA Cup final, and since then the pair have drawn every meeting. The one worrying thing is that Conte has claimed one victory against Wenger since taking charge, and that’s something he needs to change this week.

  • Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal, Jan 2018
  • Arsenal 2-2 Chelsea Jan 2018
  • Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal, Sept 2017
  • Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea, Aug 2017
  • Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea, May 2017

Betting Tips

  • Chelsea to win – 6/5 with BetVictor
  • Chelsea and Under 2.5 Goals – 5/1 with Betfair

Chelsea may be away from home, but they’re favourites for this second leg. The Gunners seem to have been written off here, having been priced up at 23/10 with Ladbrokes for their home leg. Meanwhile, the Blues are being backed as 6/5 favourites with BetVictor. Given the recent history of draws between these two, you can back this one to finish level at 12/5 with Coral. That would obviously send the clash to extra-time, which the visitors are being backed to win. The Blues are priced at 4/7 with Betfred to qualify by any means, so they’re clearly fancied to shake off their problems going forward when they visit the Gunners.

There are so many problems surrounding Arsenal right now that it seems to have driven up their price. Losing players, matches and hope of silverware is really damaging morale around the club. A defeat here could leave them focusing on the Europa League – a competition which Wenger has refused to take seriously so far. However, it does feel like a typical Arsenal thing to do to crumble at this point, especially given how close they were to losing to Chelsea at the Emirates earlier this month. We think Conte’s Blues can get the job done here, so we’re backing an away win at 6/5 with BetVictor.

The Blues do have some issues up front, and that’s bound to come up again in this tense clash. We still expect the visitors to get the three points, but we can’t see this being an open tie. The recent meetings between these two have been low scoring, and Conte is likely to be relying on his defence given the form of the forwards, and that counts double if he does stick with the 3-5-2 set-up. As a result, our second tip on this semi-final is to back an away win and under 2.5 goals at 5/1 with Betfair.

Brighton v Chelsea Betting Tips (Premier League) – 20th January 2018

Chelsea return to Premier League action in this weekend’s opening match, which sees them head to Brighton. Their trip to the south coast is likely to be tricky, as the Blues are showing a few worrying signs in their top four push. With the sides around them strengthening and picking up form, could we see the champions left outside of the Champions League spots? That’s got to be the concern, as they can’t risk missing out on Europe’s top competition once again. Will they be able to return to top form when they head to Brighton this weekend?

Going up against a promoted team is obviously something that should boost the Blues, but this isn’t the easiest of trips. The South-coast outfit are well drilled, and they could pose a test here. We’ve seen the Blues have trouble on the road to sides who were far from in form, so going up against a difficult Seagulls side has to be a bit worrying. While many demand January signings, Conte also needs to re-jig the current approach.

Team News: How Can Conte Fix Blues’ Scoring Woes?

It’s hard to see what big change the Blues can make ahead of this clash, as they look to change things around. They’ve had an odd approach in their attacking play, desperately looking for Eden Hazard – who is also being targeting by the opposition. Despite that, the Belgian will obviously start here. They shouldn’t make too many big changes, although a switch back to the 3-4-3 formation would be largely welcomed. The midfield-heavy 3-5-2 does leave Hazard and Morata slightly stranded. Playing a creative talent like Fabregas alongside Kante would be useful, along with adding the directness of Pedro.

Former Blue Steve Sidwell won’t be appearing for Brighton any time soon, but aside from that the Seagulls come into this clash at full strength. It will be interesting to see how they shape up in the home meeting, given that the Stamford Bridge clash was only last month. This reverse of the Boxing Day meeting is a completely different challenge, so Brighton aren’t likely to vary the approach one which saw them lose 2-0 in the capital. They went with a 4-5-1 on that occasion, but that tends to be how they shape up at home. They did start with a 4-4-2 at home to Crystal Palace in their last home game, but we expect them to go for a 4-4-1-1 here instead.

Brighton Form

Brighton are coming into this game on the back of a poor result, having just lost away to relegation rivals West Brom. The Baggies had been on a long winless streak before that victory, and yet the Seagulls ended up losing at the Hawthorns. However, their away form of late has been poor, as Chelsea can attest to given their recent encounter at the Bridge which Chelsea won 2-0.

That obviously doesn’t have a huge impact on Brighton’s home form, which has been very impressive for a side who have just made it into the Premier League. While the Seagulls can be accused of being a tad unadventurous, they should be seen as a side who are capable of causing sides problems on their own patch. They come into this one unbeaten in four games at home, and that is a run they’ll be out to extend.

Brighton v Chelsea Head to Head

The Blues have a solid recent record when it comes to meetings with Brighton. They’ve won their last seven clashes with the Seagulls heading into this game, and they’ll be out for an eighth successive victory. The only problem is, this run started long before the players were born. The first win in the sequence came during the 1960s, while their last meeting before this season came in the late 80s, before the Premier League came along and changed English football entirely.

  • Chelsea 2-0 Brighton, Dec 2017
  • Brighton 0-1 Chelsea, Mar 1989
  • Chelsea 2-0 Brighton, Oct 1988
  • Chelsea 1-0 Brighton, Dec 1983
  • Brighton 1-2 Chelsea, Sep 1983

Betting Tips

  • Under 2.5 Goals – 8/11 with Betfair
  • Draw – 33/10 with BetVictor

Despite Brighton having some solid home form, the Seagulls have been priced up as the 15/2 outsiders here with Betfred. Meanwhile, the Blues have been cut to a very short 4/9 with Coral. The draw is available here at 33/10 with BetVictor, while Brighton are available at 28/17 with Ladbrokes to simply avoid defeat against a Blues side who just aren’t scoring goals at the moment. There have to be major concerns for Antonio Conte coming into this one, and we’re taking that into account when it comes to our predictions on this match.

These two sides will both look to keep things solid at the back, which shouldn’t be too hard considering the pair are awful going forward. A string of 0-0 draws have left Chelsea slipping down the standings, while Brighton have averaged 0.74 goals per game in the league this season. The Seagulls haven’t exactly been the great entertainers in the top flight this term, with just 30% of their league matches seeing both teams score. With that in mind and the Blues’ recent woes in front of goal, we’re backing under 2.5 goals here at 8/11 with Betfair.

The Blues have been drawing all over the place in January, and that’s a run which could continue in this trip. The Seagulls have lost just twice at home this season, with both defeats coming against the league’s top two scoring sides. Aside from that they’ve drawn six times at home this term, and eight of their games have finished level this term. The Blues come here with just one defeat in their last 15 in the league, so we can’t see a home win. With the Blues seeing plenty of draws of late, a repeat seems to be really well priced at 33/10 with BetVictor.

Chelsea v Norwich Betting Tips (FA Cup) – 17th January 2018

Chelsea host Norwich on Wednesday night as they look to book a spot in the next round of the FA Cup. They struggled to break down the Championship side in the first meeting at Carrow Road, but can the Blues fare any better in this clash? We’re probably set to see another weakened side from the Premier League champions, with Antonio Conte using the FA Cup as a chance to blood youngsters and hand out a few minutes to the fringe players. While that does hamper the chances of Chelsea winning the cup, the second string should have more than enough to see off Norwich.

The much-changed side which met the Canaries at Carrow Road included the likes of Willian and Michy Batshuayi, who are still expensive attacking options. The main stars were saved for the meeting with Arsenal in the EFL Cup, which was another 0-0 draw for the Blues. It does feel like the once unplayable 3-4-3 set-up is becoming a little stale, with the Blues’ attacks becoming too predictable regardless of who Conte picks to play up front. That has to be a worry, and we see the visitors coming here and aiming to make the most of that, as they’re likely to push for another stalemate.

Team News: Conte Likely to Rotate, While Barkley Could Feature

Conte’s strategy of resting players in the domestic cups isn’t likely to change here, as he looks to bring the Blues in to the fourth round. The English champions have enough depth in their squad to cope with a few changes, especially after adding Ross Barkley in midfield. The former Everton man looked like a great value buy at £15 million, and this seems like the perfect game in which to give him a start. The boyhood Everton fan has struggled with injury problems this term, but Antonio Conte seemed confident that he would be available for the Blues soon, meaning this could well be the stage on which to give Barkley minutes.

Norwich are likely to look to build on their 0-0 draw with the Blues, so expect a more defensive minded set-up from the visitors. They are probably going to come into this one setting up to deny space to the hosts, while aiming to play on the counter when they get the chance. They set up in a 3-4-3 similar to Chelsea’s in the first meeting, but they could follow Conte’s lead and switch that in to a 3-5-2 system, or even a 3-6-1 in order to restrict the champions.

Norwich Form

The Canaries are still in mid-table in the Championship, but they’re still not quite out of the race for the play-offs. While making the top six is going to be a much bigger ambition for them than simply making it through the Third Round of the cup. Despite that, they should be out for a result when they head to the Bridge this week.

The visitors have a pretty average record in the league on their travels, losing six of their 13 games on the road. They’ve claimed five away wins, but given that they’ve lost at every top six side they’ve faced on the road this term there’s clearly some issues on the road for the visitors to fix if they’re to pull off a huge shock in this week’s replay.

Chelsea v Norwich Head to Head

The Blues have now taken a bit of a setback in their head to head record with Norwich, following that 0-0 draw at Carrow Road. The Blues also recorded a 0-0 at home to the Canaries back in 2014, which is a result they simply can’t afford to repeat in this replay. Even a repeat of the 1-0 win in 2015 wouldn’t be great, but it would at least send them through to the next round.

  • Norwich 0-0 Chelsea, Jan 2018
  • Norwich 1-2 Chelsea, Mar 2016
  • Chelsea 1-0 Norwich, Nov 2015
  • Chelsea 0-0 Norwich, May 2014
  • Norwich 1-3 Chelsea, Oct 2013

Betting Tips

  • Chelsea and Under 3.5 Goals – Evens with Coral
  • Under 2.5 Goals – 11/8 with Betfair

Chelsea are obviously heavy favourites to see off the lower league opposition this week, as they’re priced up at just 1/5 with Ladbrokes to secure progression in to the next round. Meanwhile, the Championship outfit can be backed at 16/1 with Betfred to cause a shock at Stamford Bridge. The draw comes in at 43/10 with Betfair, while the champions are incredibly short to qualify for the Fourth Round by any means on Wednesday night. We see the Blues securing a win within 90 minutes, but this might not be the easiest clash for Conte and his side.

Changing around the side entirely for this clash is likely to hamper the Blues, but it is certainly needed. With this clash sandwiched between league matches and just a week before a crucial EFL Cup semi-final second leg match, it’s obviously going to take a back seat in terms of priorities for the Blues. With a much-changed Chelsea side going up against a Norwich unit who are out to frustrate, we could see another big challenge for the hosts as they look to break down the Championship side. Could we see another low scoring meeting?

We’ve seen low scoring ties between these two at the Bridge in their recent league meetings, so we’re backing a match which is low on goals. We think the Blues have enough quality to make it through to the next round, while we like the look of a home win and under 3.5 total goals at evens with Ladbrokes. On top of that, there also seems to be value in backing under 2.5 goals in this match, which can be backed at 11/8 with Betfair. Given how the Blues are looking in attack at the moment, we think that’s a great price.