Chelsea might be top of the Premier League, but the coming weekend will show the true mettle of the team, as it takes on Manchester City in a clash of the titans. Let's take a look at the best bets for that match, and all the others in the Premier League.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 3
Manchester City vs. Chelsea
After getting off to a flying start, Manchester City has found it tougher of late to steamroller opponents who are able to press them high up the pitch. Chelsea under Antonio Conte looks like a dynamic, mobile team, and has won its last seven Premier League games on the bounce.
Although this is a Chelsea team that looks capable of beating anyone on current form, City is a degree tougher than the opponents since the September 3-0 defeat to Arsenal. In a match likely to be possession-based and with few errors, a draw looks a strong possibility.
Top Bet: 13/5 with BetStars for a draw
Crystal Palace vs. Southampton
Bottom of the form table having lost the last six Premier League games, Palace is in a terrible nosedive, with the 5-4 defeat to Swansea last weekend exposing some major issues in the side, which seems not to be responding to manager Alan Pardew any more.
This match against Saints, who have already beaten Palace 2-0 in the EFL Cup, could decide the fate of Pardew, and whether this is truly a relegation battle for what seems like a talented team in need of a new plan. Southampton's win over Everton confirmed that it is a side capable of grinding out results while still playing good football, something we should expect to see again at Selhurst Park.
Top Bet: 7/5 with Paddy Power for a Southampton win
Stoke City vs. Burnley
Stoke has had some great results recently, and won last weekend. Added to Bruno Martins Indi beginning to blend well with the defence, and it seems likely the Potters can improve on the current 11th place, and a goal difference of -5.
Whether it can be done against Burnley is an open question. A 2-1 loss to Manchester City was no disgrace, especially considering the denial of a clear penalty in Burnley's favour that would have earned a draw. Given the upturn in fortunes for the Clarets, it would not be a shock for this match to end in a draw.
Top Bet: 3/1 with BetVictor for a draw
Sunderland vs. Leicester City
The epitome of inconsistency, Leicester finds itself in 14th place with no wins in its last four Premier League games. That the same team has three wins and a draw in the Champions League suggests issues with concentration and motivation, something Claudio Ranieri alluded to in his post-match interview at the weekend.
Sunderland showed enough desire to annoy Jürgen Klopp on Saturday, with Jason Denayer starring in a holding midfield role, and will be up for a battle, but if Leicester gets a week of defensive coaching and the high-quality squad refocuses, this ought to be a narrow Foxes victory.
Top Bet: 3/1 with Betfair for Leicester to win by one goal
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Swansea City
There's a word that's been doing the rounds on social media, "spursy", meaning inconsistent and flaky in high-pressure situations. Something really weird has happened at White Hart Lane since the excellent victory over Manchester City; it might just be the hangover of the title disappointment last season, but there seems to be a lot of tiredness too. Four draws, a win and a loss in the last six games is not title-challenging form.
Swansea, on the other hand, might have just found the fight needed to get out of the relegation zone. One match is not a pattern, and winning 5-4 at home to Crystal Palace is not to be taken as an indication of an upturn, but the match at least showed that Fernando Llorente is still a high-quality striker.
The Swans are rank outsiders for this match, but a smart option might be to take the visiting side to win on a Spurs Win No Bet - this way, if your risk doesn't pay off and this is a routine home win, you don't lose out.
Top Bet: 19/10 with bwin for a Swansea win on a Tottenham Win No Bet
West Bromwich Albion vs. Watford
Tony Pulis has got West Brom in decent form, with two wins and a draw in the last three games, and ninth place exceeding most people's expectations for this stage in the season. In spite of losing at the weekend, Watford is still eighth, making this an unlikely but deserving top-half clash.
Watford, rarely if ever consistent, hardly ever loses two matches in a row, and seems to have enough pace in attack through Nordin Amrabat and Isaac Success to grab an away win.
Top Bet: 27/10 with BetVictor for a Watford win
West Ham vs. Arsenal
That draw at Old Trafford was no fluke: West Ham might still be 16th in the table, but the team is improving and is perfectly capable of grabbing a point against Arsenal too. There were tell-tale signs of Arsenal tiredness against Bournemouth in a narrow Gunners victory, and it might be that West Ham, assuming Dimitri Payet is playing, can exploit that.
Top Bet: 3/1 with Betway for a draw
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 4
Bournemouth vs. Liverpool
Even though Bournemouth lost to Arsenal last weekend, and is clear favourite to do so again against Liverpool, this is a Reds team shorn of the injured Philippe Coutinho and with Daniel Sturridge apparently injured again. Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Divock Origi present a big threat regardless of absences, but it gives the Cherries more of a chance.
Bournemouth often plays well at home, and with Liverpool starting quite a few Premier League games slowly in recent weeks, we might be looking at a win for Liverpool but an early home goal.
Top Bet: 8/1 with Ladbrokes for Liverpool to win from behind
Everton vs. Manchester United
In the days of Sir Alex Ferguson, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs et al, this match was a gimme for United. More recently it's been harder to predict who will prevail at Goodison Park. Everton is again losing winnable games, and Romelu Lukaku seems the plan A, B and C, with no other options for attacks if he is not on form.
United showed precious little imagination against West Ham, and with Jose Mourinho still not trusting Henrikh Mkhitaryan enough to start him, that might continue to be true against Everton. The stage is set for a dreary game which the visiting side will have just enough to grind out a win from.
Top Bet: 14/5 with Betfair for Manchester United to win by one goal
MONDAY, DECEMBER 5
Middlesbrough vs. Hull City
A few weeks ago, this could have been marked down as a boring, mistake-ridden game, but Middlesbrough's unfortunate 2-2 draw against Leicester, which really should have been won and would have been if not for a late penalty, was a bit like the most boring of office accountants showing he can breakdance.
Part of the increased positivity on Teesside is because Alvaro Negredo, the Spanish Emile Heskey, turned the Earth on its axis with two poacher's goals. He, and former Hull loanee Gaston Ramirez, will be key to Boro breaking down Hull's fragile defence; this ought to be a Boro win.
Top Bet: 2/1 with BetVictor for a half-time/full-time result of Middlesbrough/Middlesbrough
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