Falling adrift of the pace after the loss at West Ham Chelsea will be hoping for a draw in Sunday’s Manchester derby but the Blues can close the gap on the top two before that match is played by beating struggling Sunderland, a result Coral rate at 5/6.
The Black Cats are just one place and a single point above the relegation zone following their loss at Norwich last Sunday, a result that has certainly turned the heat up on boss Martin O’Neill and things are expected to get worse for the hosts before they get better.
Indeed the statistics ahead of this one make grim reading for Sunderland, who have not only lost on Chelsea’s last seven visits to Wearside but have also gone down in 13 of the pair’s last 14 meetings anywhere.
The visitors just can’t be opposed then, despite being in something of a dodgy spell themselves, the midweek win over Champions League whipping boys FC Nordsjaelland excepted, and a narrow away win looks likely at the Stadium of Light.
Stan James rate Rafa Benitez’s men at 14/5 to shade it by a one-goal margin but as a low-scoring affair, containing fewer than 2.5 goals (5/6, Skybet), is a distinct possibility given the lack of goalmouth action in the Black Cats’ home matches this term, it might be worth taking a punt, at 6/1 via Ladbrokes, on the visitors to nick it 1-0.
At the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal are 1/2 with BetVictor to see off West Brom but the Gunners’ form is far from reliable enough to warrant such a short quote and with Swansea’s victory over Arsene Wenger’s side last week still fresh in the memory, the Baggies are worth a modest interest at 11/2 in Coral’s ‘Draw No Bet’ market.
The points meanwhile, could be divided at the DW Stadium, where Betfred make Wigan and rock bottom QPR 12/5 to draw and staying at the foot of the table, Ladbrokes offer evens about Southampton boosting their survival hopes with a victory over Reading and Blue Square consider Aston Villa to be slender 6/4 jollies at home to Stoke.
Finally, BetVictor’s 20/23 for Swansea to overcome Norwich would usually be worth considering but the Canaries’ decent form makes us wary of this fixture.