The Premier League action continues after midweek action that saw Chelsea drop points following their draw with Liverpool however both Arsenal and Spurs failed to capitalise following a loss and a draw respectively. Only Man City of the chasing pack managed to gain something from the week following their comprehensive win over West ham. This weekend all eyes will be on Stamford Bridge as Chelsea host Arsenal in the big London Derby. Victory for Antonio Conte’s side will take the Italian one step closer to a debut title and effectively end the Gunners hopes. Leading football website TEAMtalk preview the weekend’s action with their top tips exclusively for Betsafe.
BETSAFE TREBLE 9/1!
Mnchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham all to win at 9/1!
Leicester City v Manchester United
You wouldn’t know it from Jose Mourinho’s spikey comments following the midweek draw against Hull City, but Man Utd are currently on a 14-match unbeaten run – the longest of any club in the Premier League. And yet, despite that, they probably look no more likely to break into the to four right now than they have at any other point in the season.
That has to be a source of frustration for Mourinho and the reason for United’s lack of upwards momentum in the league was evidenced once again against the Tigers: half of that unbeaten run have been draws. Dig a little deeper, and you see that five of those draws have been at Old Trafford, and then it all starts to become a lot clearer.
The good news for Man Utd and Mourinho, though, is that this week’s game is away from home, and their form has been exceptional when on their travels of late, winning four of their last six games in the league.
Leicester, meanwhile, are in trouble. The midweek defeat at Burnley left them just two points above the relegation zone as they look as far removed from reigning champions as it’s surely possible to get.
They know they are in trouble, too. They refused to sell a player to Sunderland on deadline day for fear of strengthening a rival. That is surely the first, and probably last, time such a sentence will ever be legitimately said about a reigning Premier League champion.
The Foxes’ home form has let them down too, losing three of their last six at the King Power Stadium. Can you ever dismiss the champions? Probably not, but you’d certainly not back them right now either.
Tottenham v Middlesbrough
You probably don’t need me or anyone else to tell you why you should fancy Spurs to win this one, probably with a minimum of fuss. However, let me take a slightly different approach and tell you why you certainly should expect Middlesbrough to lose it.
The fact of the matter is that Aitor Karanka’s men are absolutely wretched on the road. They have won just once away from the Riverside all season, and that one was all the way back in August.
Boro simply don’t score enough goals. They are, in fact, the lowest scorers in the Premier League, and when both Sunderland and Hull are out-scoring you, your problems are probably serious ones. Tottenham drew a surprise blank in front of goal themselves last time out, but it’s difficult to envisage them being so bad twice in a week.
In fact, no team have managed to stop Spurs scoring at White Hart Lane in any competition since Crystal Palace almost a whole year ago.
It all amounts to this simple equation: You would expect Tottenham to score in this game and you’d expect Middlesbrough not to, and if reality follows then the outcome is clear for all to see.
Chelsea v Arsenal
It’s February and everything looked like it was going brilliantly, so it’s unlikely that anyone was that shocked by Arsenal’s 2-1 home defeat to Watford in midweek. Let’s face it, inexplicable implosions around this time of year is kind of what Arsenal do.
Still, defeat to the Hornets probably stung Gunners fans no less, and this week they face the biggest challenge of all if they are going to bounce back and regain winning ways.
Chelsea, of course, are a tough side to back against. They hold a commanding lead at the top of the Premier League and they look more than robust enough to hang on to whatever advantages their sheer talent provides.
And yet, despite every fact and figure and ounce of common sense screaming ‘Chelsea win’, there is just something about this fixture that leaves me keen to back Arsenal. There is just something very ‘Arsenal’ about it.
We are, after all, talking about the most unpredictably predictable team in the Premier League here, the team who, for years, have somehow managed to defy all logic on a regular enough basis to lead you to come to expect it.
Lose to Watford at home and win away at Chelsea in the same week? That’s about peak level Arsenal and it wouldn’t surprise me at all.
TRIPLE CHANCE 6/5!
Costa, Sanchez or Hazard to score first at 6/5!
Best of the rest
Manchester City are just starting to look like they are clicking into gear again of late. In the last week they have demolished Crystal Palace in the FA Cup and battered West Ham in the league.
The crazy part is that it has happened without striker Sergio Aguero, which would have been unthinkable a few weeks ago.
In the Argentine’s continued absence, raw Brazilian Gabriel Jesus has stepped up to the plate and delivered, flanked brilliantly by fellow-youngsters Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sané. It feels like a turning point for the Citizens.
This week, they host in-form Swansea City, and you wouldn’t be surprised to see plenty of goals shared between the two.
You can get odds of 12/1 with Betsafe on there being over 6.5 goals, and it looks a delicious punt.
Liverpool, meanwhile, head to Hull hoping to build on their gritty 1-1 draw with Chelsea in midweek.
The Reds will be boosted by the likely return to the starting line-up of Sadio Mane and both he and Liverpool will be expecting him to make an impact.
He is available at 13/3 to open the scoring at the KCOM stadium and 7/1 to score two or more goals for Jurgen Klopps men.
About Michael Graham
Michael Graham is a contributor for TEAMtalk.com, one of the UK’s leading websites for football news, views, transfer rumours and features.