Leicester are not in good form. They’re without a win in their last four matches, two of which came against top-six sides – Tottenham and Man City.
In fact, Leicester have failed to register a single point against top-six sides this season, losing to Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal in addition to the two mentioned above. The only one missing? Saturday’s opposition, Chelsea.
Everything therefore points to a Chelsea win, all the more so given the Blues’ pretty decent run of results, including that famous victory over City. They haven’t tasted defeat at Stamford Bridge in 2018-19, so why should it be any different this weekend?
That’s probably why they’re 3/10 in the Match Odds market. So with that in mind, we’re looking for a bit of added oomph and taking the home side at a (-1) handicap. At 10/11, we reckon that’s a decent-value punt.
They say Christmas is a time for miracles, but many people would argue that the job Rafa Benitez has done since he took over The Magpies in March 2016 has been nothing short of that and he’s seemingly at it again this season.
After gaining just three points in their opening 10 games, Benitez has his sinking ship righted again as Newcastle now sit in 14th position – four points above the drop zone.
Speaking of the need for the miraculous, that’s what Claudio Ranieri seems to require to stop his Fulham side from conceding at the moment. The Cottagers have let in a goal in every single Premier League game to date and their defence looks leakier than a Theresa May-led Cabinet meeting.
The Magpies may not score a whole pile, but they might not need to try hard here given Fulham’s insistence on gift wrapping goals for their opponents. We reckon some more Rafa magic is on the way and Newcastle fans will go into Christmas feeling jolly thanks to a 10/11 victory.
City have fallen into a pattern at the Etihad recently. Their last three home league games have finished 3-1, and if you fancy a fourth you can take a bigger price at 8/1, but we think the run stops here When Roy Hodgson’s men travel to Manchester.
The Eagles have managed to shake off their early season goal shyness, being shut out in just 2 of the last seven league games, including a big 1-0 win without Wilfried Zaha in their last game.
They haven’t been facing the toughest of opponents though, and those two blanks came against Man United and Spurs.
Meanwhile, the Sky Blues have the second best defensive record in the league, conceding just 10 goals so far.
They have been allowing teams to get one goal regularly, but when you look at Palace, it’s not clear where they might get one from. Midfielder Luka Milivojevic is their leading scorer with four goals, thanks primarily to his penalty taking.
Zaha is back from his suspension, so they’ll have him to carry some threat, but he’ll likely have to do it all himself if the Londoners are to register on the scoreboard. We’d bet against it happening for him on Saturday.
Oh, and City will win, obviously.
It’s all starting to look a lot like Christmas for Manuel Pellegrini whose Hammers side are on a four-game winning run after a dodgy start to the Chilean’s reign.
And while both teams are bang on 24 points – only Watford’s -2 goal difference separates them for admin purposes – the free-scoring West Ham have bagged 11 goals scored and conceded just three.
Watford clung on to beat Cardiff 3-2 last time after taking a 3-0 lead by the 70th minute, but they’d been a bit hit or miss before that and haven’t won on the road (two wins, two draws) since beating Wolves away in October. Their other away win was against Burnley on the opening day of the season.
West Ham are 13/10 to get the job done and that looks more than fair on their home patch with Javier Hernandez, Lucas Perez and Felipe Anderson in net-busting form.
*Odds correct at time of posting