The race to finish in the top four is hotting up, with three teams effectively vying for just two places and given that the season is about to enter the home straight, Saturday’s meeting between two of those sides, Chelsea and Tottenham, takes on extra significance.
Aided by home advantage, the Blues will kick-off as Skybet’s even money favourites for the points, odds reflecting their improvement under Roberto Di Matteo while Spurs are as high 3/1 with Stan James to tighten their grip on a Champions League berth and it’s 11/4 via Paddy Power to finish all square.
That was the outcome when the pair met at White Hart Lane in December and Coral quote a repeat of the 1-1 scoreline from that one at 6/1 on this occasion, a price that isn’t without appeal given that Harry Redknapp’s men are perhaps due a change of fortunes on the road where they haven’t had the rub of the green at times in recent weeks.
Indeed, writing off Tottenham ahead of this intriguing clash would be dangerous, especially as the hosts might have half an eye on Tuesday’s showdown with Benfica and Spurs are subsequently worth considering at 9/5 in BetVictor’s ‘Draw No Bet’ market or at 4/5 when starting a goal to the good in Blue Square’s handicaps.
Fernando Torres’ last home game saw the previously out-of-form Spaniard grab a brace and punters could feel that this makes the Blues front man worth backing at 13/2 (William Hill) to open the scoring. However, Spurs attacker Emmanuel Adebayor broke the deadlock in the reverse fixture and he looks marginally better value at 8/1 via BetVictor to repeat the feat.
Title-chasing Manchester City will hope to pile pressure on leaders Manchester United, who aren’t in action until Monday and Ladbrokes chalk Roberto Mancini’s troops up at 8/13 to survive a tough physical examination at Stoke, where they’re 5/2 with Boylesports to prevail by a one-goal margin. Carlos Tevez was important in City’s dramatic victory over Chelsea midweek and the Argentine is 11/8 with BetVictor to score anytime and 5/1 to score the last goal of the game.
United however, should respond by seeing off Fulham, a result Stan James price at 2/7 and punters seeking heftier odds at Old Trafford can back Sir Alex Ferguson’s side at 10/11 (Partybets) to win ‘to nil’.
At the Emirates Stadium, Coral’s 4/9 favourites Arsenal are set to keep their top four hopes alive by beating Aston Villa and Skybet penalise the Gunners by a goal at tempting odds of 6/5 in the handicaps. Meanwhile, at the bottom, Paddy Power make Bolton 13/10 to boost their survival chances by conquering Blackburn in what should be a frantic derby at the Reebok Stadium and the Wanderers’ gain could be QPR’s loss as Mark Hughes’ troops are 5/6 courtesy of Betfred to succumb to a defeat at Sunderland. Also likely to emerge empty-handed in the battle to stay up, are Wigan and Wolves, who are 3/10 (Boylesports) and 5/6 (Partybets) respectively to go down at Liverpool and Norwich.
Finally, Blue Square quote West Brom at 7/5 to edge out Newcastle at the Hawthorns on Sunday and BetVictor mark 5/4 against a Swansea triumph at home to an Everton team likely to be prioritising Tuesday’s FA Cup replay at Sunderland.