Football odds expert Dan Roebuck previews this one…
Manchester City put their status as odds-on Premier League favourites on the line this weekend as Pep Guardiola’s team travel to Chelsea in undoubtedly their biggest test of the current campaign.
Both teams came away with maximum points from their midweek European sorties, but there’s no doubt Antonio Conte’s side’s win over Atletico Madrid was the more impressive performance. After the success at the Wanda Metropolitano, the Italian manager was bemoaning the fact that this fixture comes up so quickly after the trip to Spain, but a win for Chelsea will definitely push the Blues back into the title picture. Should it be a heavy defeat for City – coupled with a win for Manchester United at home to Crystal Palace – the Sky Blues could conceivably lose their position as market principles. All will be revealed in what could be a seminal weekend of top-flight action.
Goals To Flow But Points To Be Shared At The Bridge
Chelsea are 9/5 to defeat Manchester City despite their brilliant display in the Spanish capital and the fact they did the double over the Mancunians last term. Don’t take it from me that Conte got his game-plan right against Diego Simeone’s men in midweek – the Atleti coach admitted afterwards that Chelsea were ‘better tactically and physically’. And they’ll need to play with the same intensity to beat Pep Guardiola’s team, who strolled to victory over Shakhtar Donetsk 24 hours earlier.
The Citizens are 29/20 favourites to win in the capital, but it’s worth pointing out that Guardiola has never managed a team to victory in 90 minutes over Chelsea in seven attempts. Moreover, while historical stats can always bend to any narrative, there is something about Conte’s style that brings the best out of his players.
The obvious punt here, at 5/2, is the draw – and one that features goals (2-2 trades at 10/1, with 3-3 34/1). City have scored 21 goals in their six Premier League matches so far this season – only Newcastle in 1994 and Manchester United in 2011 netted more in the same period (neither, though, went on to win the title). Chelsea’s haul is nine fewer, but backing over 2.5 goals in each of the last five meetings between the pair has paid dividends, and that’s something that should be backed at 7/10.
Kane Not Bitter At John Smiths
First up on Saturday is Tottenham’s trip to Huddersfield. As those merciless memes from last season suggested, this is a good opportunity for Spurs to put some pressure on those teams above them. The Twitter trolls will never appreciate Mauricio Pochettino’s side, but punters are always quick to latch onto trends, and those that have backed Tottenham away from home in the league this term have been rewarded with three straight victories – the last time they achieved four on the spin they went on to lift the title.
At 4/11 to win they’re not going to make you rich, but Spurs should be the cornerstone of weekend accumulators. An away win ‘to nil’, at 8/13, is slightly more palatable for singles backers. Harry Kane is 15/8 to net the opener and 11/20 to score at anytime, following his midweek hattrick in the Champions League, but the England star hasn’t got fond memories of John Smith’s Stadium. In 2011, whilst on loan at Leyton Orient, he did score but he was also sent off.
Magpies Skipper To Steal Headlines
In 44 Premier League meetings between Newcastle and Liverpool, there’s never been a 0-0 draw – those that believe there could be some regression to the mean on Sunday at St. James’Park can back a goalless affair at 23/2. After Jurgen Klopp’s side missed a hatful of chances when being held by Spartak Moscow in midweek, I could buy into half of that result, but the Merseysiders defensive woes makes me think that they won’t keep a clean sheet in the northeast. Liverpool haven’t managed a shutout on their travels in any competition this term, and while Newcastle are hardly blessed with attacking talent, their prowess from set-pieces will worry Liverpool’s backline.
Jamal Lascelles has netted twice in his last three appearances, and might just be the answer for first goalscorer punters at a big looking 25/1 (he’s 10/1 to score at anytime).
Top Trio For Three O’Clock Tryst
My best of the rest treble, that pays a shade under 10/1, hopes that Leicester, after a difficult run of fixtures, can win at Bournemouth; West Bromwich Albion, unlucky to come away with nothing from the Emirates after showing plenty of ambition, can beat Watford; and West Ham can down a Swansea side bereft of confidence.