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.

Chelsea v Leicester Betting Tips (Premier League) – 13th January 2018

Chelsea return to league action on Saturday, with the previous two Premier League champions clashing at the Bridge. The visitors come in to this one in much better shape than they were in last term, as the Foxes are now on the verge of the European spots. They come into this clash aiming to apply some pressure on to seventh placed Burnley, with the Foxes likely desperate for European football after their brilliant stint in last season’s Champions League. Can they pick up a result at Stamford Bridge to go towards their push for a place in the Europa League?

The Blues are also focusing on European football, as they look to book back to back seasons in the Champions League. They’ve slipped 16 points behind runaway leaders Man City, but the champions will be pleased about their five point lead over fifth placed Tottenham, with a real battle forming for the top four places. Liverpool – who are directly behind the Blues – have taken a blow in that battle after selling Philippe Coutinho to Chelsea’s upcoming Champions League opponents Barcelona. That, along with Liverpool’s meeting with City this weekend, gives the Blues a chance to really establish themselves in the top four.

Team News: Old Foxes Likely to Face Puel’s Men

Since Leicester’s title success, Chelsea have dipped into the market to pick up two of their championship winning midfielders. N’Golo Kante formed a brilliant partnership with Danny Drinkwater at the King Power, we expect that to be turned on the Foxes in this clash, with both likely to start. We see Conte going with a 3-5-2 set up here. Despite that, we see this game coming a little early for Ross Barkley. David Luiz may have returned last weekend, but we don’t expect him to feature in this one, after a pretty poor display when he came back in against second tier opposition.

Leicester will have to find a way to counter the midfield which helped them to the title, but they now at least have Drinkwater’s replacement available. The Foxes made the smart signing of Sporting Lisbon midfielder Adrien Silva, but given the late and very far from smart confirmation of the deal, he couldn’t be registered until January. The visitors make this trip without a pair of full-backs, with Ben Chilwell and Danny Simpson both out. The visitors are likely to start with a 4-4-1-1 set-up, with Silva likely to be the second defensive midfielder alongside Vincente Iborra.

Leicester Form

Leicester come into this game with a similar result to Chelsea last weekend – a disappointing 0-0 at lower league opposition. They drew at Fleetwood – Jamie Vardy’s former side. They now face a replay against the League One outfit in mid-January, with the Blues going up against Norwich. That result was a blow to the Foxes, who will be targeting a cup run. They will want to push for silverware, while boss Claude Puel took Southampton to Wembley in the EFL Cup last term.

In the league, the Foxes ended a four game winless run by beating Huddersfield 3-0 on New Year’s Day, which has pushed them up the table. They’re continuing to look for a top seven finish, which could bring European football. However, their back to back league defeats on the road haven’t helped that push, and neither has their poor record against the league’s top six sides.

Chelsea v Leicester Head to Head

While the Blues picked up a single point against Leicester in the Foxes’ title winning season, they have a great record against them of late. Back to back wins in the Blues’ latest title success were accompanied by a 4-2 win after extra time in the EFL Cup last term. The 2-1 victory at the King Power this season continued that run, and we expect another impressive result from the home side this weekend.

  • Leicester 1-2 Chelsea, Sep 2017
  • Leicester 0-3 Chelsea, Jan 2017
  • Chelsea 3-0 Leicester, Oct 2016
  • Leicester 2-4 Chelsea, Sep 2016
  • Chelsea 1-1 Leicester, May 2016

Betting Tips

  • Both Teams to Score – Evens with Betfair
  • Over 2.5 Chelsea Goals – 11/10 with Betfred

Chelsea come into this clash as heavy favourites for the points, priced at 1/4 with BetVictor to win on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Foxes are 11/1 with Coral to take a shock victory, with the draw out at 9/2 with Ladbrokes. You have to think those prices are deserved, given how the visitors have managed to win just three away games all season so far. They’re unlikely to add to that when they head to the champions, given how poor they’ve been when they’ve met the league’s big six clubs so far this season.

Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal have all claimed victories over Leicester at home this term. The Pensioners should add to that run, thanks to some decent form at Stamford Bridge of late. They’ve won 73% of their games here this season, including all of their last seven in the Premier League. That should make this another win for Antonio Conte and his men, with Leicester losing their last two on the road to Watford and Liverpool. This could be another defeat, but that doesn’t mean the high-scoring visitors are about to easily roll over in this trip.

While Leicester haven’t got the greatest away record this season, they have seen both teams score in 82% of their away trips to date. That run has seen them average 1.64 goals per game in their away trips, and we’re backing them to add to that with a strike at the Bridge. On top of that, we’re also backing a few goals for the champions. The Foxes have struggled at the back on their travels, while the hosts are coming off the back of a 5-0 win over Stoke. As a result, we’re going for over 2.5 goals for the hosts at 11/10 with Betfred.

Chelsea v Arsenal Betting Tips (EFL Cup) – 10th January 2018

Wednesday night sees Chelsea meet Arsenal for the second time in a week, which is just one of three encounters between the sides this month. They kick off their EFL Cup semi-final with the Gunners at Stamford Bridge, as they look to progress to Wembley. However, will the Blues be able to see off Arsenal following their dramatic draw at the Emirates last time out? Having the second leg in north London does make things difficult, especially if Antonio Conte isn’t taking this competition all that seriously – just as he did last season. Will he put that to one side going into Wednesday’s clash?

This is a competition that the Gunners could push for, especially as it’s one competition which Arsene Wenger has yet to win. Having already beaten Conte to lift the FA Cup last year, will this be another disappointment at the hands of the Frenchman? With the Premier League title already gone, this semi-final is pretty important for the Blues. Having enjoyed plenty of success in the League Cup during the Abramovich era, his could be some more silverware for the champions, providing they can navigate a path past Arsenal.

Team News: Will Conte Keep Weekend Changes for Gunners Clash?

The big question ahead of this clash is over Antonio Conte’s team selection. The Blues haven’t taken this competition seriously under the Italian’s stewardship, he’s tended to rotate in the cups since arriving at Stamford Bridge. The question is will he maintain that policy when the Gunners visit on Wednesday night. While he’s made changes to every side he’s named in this competition, we expect the Blues to bring back some of their top stars after the weekend’s FA Cup action. They need to get off to a flyer in the first leg ahead of their trip to the Emirates, so we’re backing them to go with a strong side in midweek.

The Gunners are in a similar boat, having rotated their side frequently throughout the season. They’ve rested their top stars in the Europa League, EFL Cup and FA Cup this season, preferring to push for the top four in the Premier League. Will they go for it now they’re in the semi-finals, or is this competition still a distraction for Wenger? The Frenchman has never really taken much interest in this competition, which is partly why they’ve never won it. They’re likely to stick with a weakened side in this one, as they look to secure a return to the Champions League.

Arsenal Form

The Gunners have hit a rough patch of form in the league, which has seen them drift five points off the Champions League spots. They’ve drawn three of their last four in the league, and they’ve been struggling to win matches. That’s certainly a concern coming into a cup semi-final. While they have a strong record against the Blues of late, they have work to do to turn their form around ahead of this game.

The Gunners have won just twice on the road since the start of November, claiming a controversial win at Burnley and a narrow victory against Crystal Palace. Can they add to that dismal run here? Given that they’ve won twice within 90 minutes in their last seven away trips in this competition, that doesn’t seem promising. The Gunners have been handed home ties through their run to the semis, which could hurt them in this tie.

Chelsea v Arsenal Head to Head

Meetings between Chelsea and Arsenal have been pretty frequent in recent times, they’ve met six times in the last 12 months. That includes an FA Cup final and a pre-season friendly. The draw between them last week was just the latest blow which Wenger has delivered to Conte in recent times, having beaten the Blues in the cup final and dishing out a 3-0 defeat in their meeting at the Emirates in late 2016.

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

Betting Tips

  • Chelsea to win – 4/5 with Ladbrokes
  • Chelsea to win and BTTS – 12/5 with Betfred

Chelsea head into the match as favourites for the points, priced up at 4/5 with Ladbrokes. The draw can be backed at 13/5 with Coral here, while the Gunners are slightly bigger at 14/5 with BetVictor. While the Blues are odds-on favourites, they have their work cut out to end their recent struggles against Arsenal. With games between the pair being so close in recent weeks, which of these two will be able to carve out an advantage and win this semi-final? Will Arsenal’s record of three wins and four defeats from 11 away league games play a part?

The Blues are more likely to name a full-strength side, and that could be the difference. They were already the better team in both league meetings this season, and Conte’s side have put together some strong form at Stamford Bridge. They were a solid display from Alvaro Morata away from a thumping win last week, and we expect better from the forward this week as the Blues look to pull off a first leg victory. While the recent meetings between these two have been close, we expect Chelsea’s home form mixed with Arsenal’s troubles away this term to swing this one in favour of the hosts. We’re backing a home win here at 4/5 with Ladbrokes.

In addition to that, the Blues have seen both teams score in four of their last five meetings with Arsenal, conceding in five of the last six encounters. We can see the visitors getting a goal in this one, which has us backing a Chelsea win and both teams to score. You can back a home victory and BTTS at 12/5 with Betfred ahead of this clash.

Norwich v Chelsea Betting Tips (FA Cup) – 6th January 2018

Chelsea return to FA Cup action this weekend as they look to make up for last season’s defeat to Arsenal in the final at Wembley. The Blues are coming off the back of another late blow from the Gunners, after an injury time equaliser saw them draw 2-2 at the Emirates on Wednesday night. Having been on the verge of a much-needed victory, that was certainly not what Antonio Conte wanted against Arsene Wenger’s men. Will the Italian be able to inspire his side into bouncing back against Championship opposition this weekend or will we be in for a giant killing?

The Premier League champions head for Norwich on Saturday evening for their Third Round game, which comes just before another meeting with Arsenal. This month is a big one in terms of domestic cups for the Blues, as they meet the Gunners in the two-legged EFL Cup semi-final. With the FA Cup kicking off and then returning at the end of January, we should have a much clearer idea of where this season is going for the Blues once the month draws to a close, especially with Man City already runaway leaders in the Premier League, ruling out any chance of Conte’s men retaining their title.

Team News: Conte Set For Cup Rotation

After consistent cup rotation across the last 18 months, it’s expected that Conte will shuffle his pack ahead of this clash. He’s not been one to go all out in the early rounds of the cup competitions, but that hasn’t done him too much harm with a final and semi-final under his belt already. That should strengthen his belief in the second string to get a result here, so expect to see plenty fringe and youth players taking to the field at Carrow Road.

The hosts were without Harrison Reed on New Year’s Day, and he’s expected to miss out this cup tie too. Norwich won’t have either of their long term absentees – Matt Jarvis and Louis Thompson – back in time to take on the champions. However, they’re more hopeful over forward Cameron Jerome, who is in contention to start for the Canaries, providing he passes a late fitness test ahead of this clash.

Norwich Form

Norwich City were hoping to capture some of the quality which shot Huddersfield back into the Premier League this season, but their attempts have failed. Despite poaching staff from the Terriers and backing a young German coach, the Canaries are stuck in the bottom half of the Championship table. Of course, given how tight that division is they’re still only nine points shy of a play-off place.

Norwich have won just 35% of their Championship games this term, having won just four of their 13 home matches in the league. They’ve been beaten at Carrow Road by the Championship’s top two, while they drew 0-0 with promotion hopefuls Bristol City. All of that points to a Chelsea win on Saturday, as there’s little about the Canaries which suggests that they can trouble the champions’ rotated side. Having exited the Carabao Cup to Arsenal, it seems likely Daniel Farke’s men could be about to crash out to another London side in the FA Cup, based on their current form.

Norwich v Chelsea Head to Head

The Blues haven’t clashed with the Canaries since the Norfolk side were relegated from the Premier League in 2016. Chelsea did manage to do the double over the side from Carrow Road that term, which was a fine feat in a campaign littered with slip-ups. They last met in the cup back in 2007, when the Blues were 4-0 victors at Stamford Bridge. Could we see a similarly thumping win for the champions when they head for Carrow Road this week?

  • Norwich 1-2 Chelsea, Mar 2016
  • Chelsea 1-0 Norwich, Nov 2015
  • Chelsea 0-0 Norwich, May 2014
  • Norwich 1-3 Chelsea, Oct 2013
  • Norwich 0-1 Chelsea, Dec 2012

Betting Tips

  • Michy Batshuayi to score anytime – 5/4 with Betfred
  • Chelsea to win and Under 2.5 Goals – 16/5 with Coral

Chelsea come into this trip as odds-on favourites for progression. Given that Norwich have crashed out at this stage four years in a row, it’s little surprise that they’re out at 6/1 with Betfair to claim the home win. The draw can be backed at 18/5 with BetVictor, while the Blues are as short as 4/9 with Ladbrokes to progress to the next round. It’s hard to justify backing Conte’s side at that price, despite their good form coming into this one. This is likely to be another early exit for the Canaries, but will they be able to trouble the champions in Saturday’s clash?

The Blues have a fantastic record against Championship sides in the cup, winning 16 of their last 17 ties against sides from the second tier. That good form should continue in this clash, especially as Norwich have lost at home to the current top two in their own division. That should make this little problem for the champions’ second string side, which has taken them into the semis of the EFL Cup. We think one man to benefit from a start will be Michy Batshuayi, which will be welcome after Alvaro Morata’s poor display against Arsenal. The Belgian is priced at 5/4 with Betfred to score here, and we think that’s a great bet.

We can’t see the Blues racking up a big win in this one, they’ll probably look to do just enough to secure progression and get away. We can’t see this being a goal-packed affair, with Norwich looking poor going forward and the Blues now playing well at the back with plenty of options at centre-half. Expect a strong defence to take the field at Carrow Road, which means we the Blues should avoid conceding. We’re backing an away win and under 2.5 goals to be scored in the game at 16/5 with Coral.