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Chelsea v Manchester City best bets plus rest of the Premier League picks

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Chelsea v Manchester City best bets plus rest of the Premier League picks, including a 12/1 bet builder featuring Tottenham, Harry Kane and goals

  • Pep Guardiola’s champions head to Chelsea in the game of the weekend
  • Elsewhere under-fire Manchester United host basement boys Fulham
  • Arsenal will look to go 21 games unbeaten when they face Huddersfield
  • Here is Sportsmail’s analysis of the betting markets for this week’s fixtures 

Brian Lee for MailOnline

The armchair fan is in for a treat on Saturday with three live games featuring the top four teams in the Premier League.

Chelsea v Manchester City is the pick of the bunch and the timing couldn’t be much worse for Blues boss Maurizio Sarri. More on that down the page plus our game-by-game guide to the rest of the English top flight and the best bets across the fixture programme in England and Scotland as we get stuck into the busiest month of the season.

All kick-offs 3pm on Saturday unless stated.

Harry Kane is one of our goalscorer picks this week as the Premier League returns to action

Harry Kane is one of our goalscorer picks this week as the Premier League returns to action

Bournemouth v Liverpool – 12.30pm Saturday

We’re heading into a time for giving and sharing and all that but, for a team hoping to mount a serious title challenge after Christmas, December is a time for knuckling down and digging in. Liverpool dug very deep against Everton before Burnley gave them a battle, one they won to sit on their highest points total after 15 games of a top-flight season. Bournemouth away should provide another stiff test but one they should pass, especially with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino back in the XI after starting on the bench at Turf Moor. The Cherries’ recent results haven’t been great – a narrow win over Huddersfield halted a run of four straight losses but the most recent was against Manchester City where they gave the league leaders plenty to think about. Eddie Howe’s side rarely get hammered – 4-0 against Burnley remains an oddity – so Liverpool to edge it is the shout. The visitors are 8/13 with several bookies and 11/4 with a few to win by a one-goal margin.

Arsenal v Huddersfield

This one won’t be close. Huddersfield have lost two in a row by the odd goal but a hiding could be on the cards at the Emirates Stadium, where they lost 5-0 last season when Arsenal weren’t even that good. Now, the Gunners are on a 20-match unbeaten run, their longest since going 28 games in 2007. That hammering last term was one of seven away games Huddersfield have played against the big six and their return stands at two draws and five defeats, with just two goals scored. Arsenal are no better than 2/7 but you can get 15/8 for Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, whose partnership has ballooned into one of the most fearsome in the league, to both score. Arsenal still haven’t been leading a match at half-time and it’s 7/2 they win this after being all square at the break. Betfair’s 5/6 they’re winning after 45 minutes and 90 holds more appeal. 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looks well set to continue his fine goalscoring form for Arsenal

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looks well set to continue his fine goalscoring form for Arsenal

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looks well set to continue his fine goalscoring form for Arsenal

Burnley v Brighton

It’s almost tempting to back Brighton to win away. Almost. They’ve got a striker in form in Glenn Murray, two of their subs scored in the midweek win over Crystal Palace – handy if Murray doesn’t recover from his shoulder injury – and they’re facing a Burnley team who let the Eagles have 29 shots last weekend and allowed Liverpool 18 attempts on Wednesday night. But, for large spells the Clarets did impress, for the first time in a while, against Liverpool and can avoid a fourth straight loss and seventh in eight games. Last season these two dished up a pair of goalless draws and that means their last five league meetings have ended all square. That looks the best bet again and is 11/5 with bet365 while HT-FT draw-draw is 7/2 with the same firm and 1-1 is 11/2 with several bookies. Another thing to take away from Burnley v Liverpool was Jurgen Klopp getting annoyed at the rather tasty tackling from the hosts. Add to that the fact there’s been a red card in Brighton’s last four games and a sending off in this one, at 9/2 with bet365, is worth a look.

Cardiff v Southampton

New Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl takes charge of his first game after watching his troops in action at Wembley against Tottenham in midweek. He can’t have liked what he saw as they were sloppy in front of goal and even worse at the back. He has a big job on his hands. If Hasenhuttl is hoping for a new-boss bounce he’s come to the wrong club – the last seven permanent managers at St Mary’s failed to get off to a winning start. Paul Sturrock way back in 2004 was the last to manage it, beating Liverpool. A Neil Warnock welcome awaits the Austrian and Cardiff’s veteran boss, who turned 70 last week, has won his last two home games and three of his last four. The 19/10 for a home win is the pick here while a 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1 to the hosts can be backed at 5/2 with Sky Bet. 

Manchester United v Fulham

Jose Mourinho has had a go at pretty much everyone who’s come within a mile of Manchester but it turns out he was nice to Claudio Ranieri as the Fulham boss revealed this week that his opposite number at United was the first to welcome him back to the Premier League. Ranieri should be looking forward to taking on Mourinho’s Manchester United – they’ve managed just two clean sheets in the league and Fulham do have some stardust in their forward options. But they seem to sprinkle it more at home as they haven’t managed a goal in their last three away games or in four of their last five. Apart from Liverpool at Anfield next Sunday, the festive fixtures have been kind(ish) to Mourinho with the Cottagers, Huddersfield, Cardiff, Bournemouth and Newcastle all to come, so if he wants to get back within touching distance of the top four, now is the time to start. The hosts are no better than 4/11 or 7/5 (BetVictor) to win while shutting Fulham out. 

Paul Pogba has a good chance to get back into Jose Mourinho's good books against Fulham

Paul Pogba has a good chance to get back into Jose Mourinho's good books against Fulham

Paul Pogba has a good chance to get back into Jose Mourinho’s good books against Fulham

West Ham v Crystal Palace 

West Ham are full of surprises. We certainly didn’t expect them to be one of only two teams outside the top two to kick off this busy month with two straight victories – Brighton also managed it. After beating Newcastle and Cardiff the Hammers are very backable to make it three in a row – something they haven’t done since 2016 – even without the injured Marko Arnautovic. They’re 13/10 to see off a Palace side who had the stuffing knocked out of them by their rivals Brighton on Tuesday as they fell to a fifth defeat in six away games in all competitions. Palace flyer Wilfried Zaha’s run of games without a goal will hit double figures if he draws a blank in this one but West Ham’s Lucas Perez has no such problems. He has four goals in his last five outings and is 21/10 with Paddy Power to score at any time. If he’s on the bench again, take a look at the 13/2 (Paddy Power) for him to score the last goal.

Chelsea v Man City – 5.30pm Saturday

The timing couldn’t be better for Manchester City to head to Stamford Bridge with Chelsea enduring their toughest spell of the season in the league with their only win in their last four coming against struggling Fulham. The Blues don’t look like the team they were a few weeks ago and the 3/1 available for them to win at home says much about how they’ve started to go in a different direction after just about keeping up with City for much of the season. City boss Pep Guardiola failed to win any of his first seven matches against Chelsea (all competitions) but worked them out last season, beating them twice, before his side outclassed them in the Community Shield back in August. Both victories last term were 1-0 with Chelsea restricted to just seven shots over two games. Bournemouth and Watford made City’s last two games interesting and this will almost certainly be harder but they should take the points. They’re 19/20 for the victory or 61/20 (Marathon) to win by a one-goal margin.

Chelsea will need Eden Hazard to be back at his best if they are to take anything from Man City

Chelsea will need Eden Hazard to be back at his best if they are to take anything from Man City

Chelsea will need Eden Hazard to be back at his best if they are to take anything from Man City

Leicester v Tottenham – 7.45pm Saturday

It’s bet builder time. Jamie Vardy has remembered how to score at home with one against Watford last weekend and Harry Kane finds the net wherever he is, so we’d love to get on both of them to be on the scoresheet. But Vardy has been declared unfit after missing Wednesday’s draw at Fulham, which gives Spurs a huge advantage. A Tottenham win with more than three total goals in the game (in the past four seasons we’ve had a 6-1, 5-4, 2-2 and a 4-3) is the pick for this primetime Saturday slot plus more than three corners for Leicester and more than four for Spurs. That little lot returns 12/1 with bet365. 

Jamie Vardy is back among the goals for Leicester but he won't faces Tottenham on Saturday

Jamie Vardy is back among the goals for Leicester but he won't faces Tottenham on Saturday

Jamie Vardy is back among the goals for Leicester but he won’t faces Tottenham on Saturday

Newcastle v Wolves – 4pm Sunday

Newcastle don’t make it easy for punters. You couldn’t track them with a radar when they post three straight wins, then lose 3-0 at home to West Ham – and it could’ve been more – before holding an Everton side who took Liverpool all the way to the death. It’s hard to back against Wolves after their midweek win over Chelsea but they don’t score many away from home – five goals in seven games and never more than one in a match. They’ve lost three, drawn two and won two on the road and another draw looks the best bet here. A share of the points is 11/5. 

Everton v Watford – 8pm Monday

Bank your weekend winnings but maybe keep a bit aside to pile on Everton. They look like a home banker against Watford but you’ll have to wait until Monday night. 

BEST BETS FOR THE WEEKEND 

HOMES: West Ham, Everton, Birmingham, Leeds, Portsmouth 24/1 several firms 

AWAYS: Liverpool, Sunderland, Doncaster, Arbroath 14/1 Marathon/BetVictor

DRAWS:  Blackpool v Charlton, Burton v Shrewsbury, Scunthorpe v Gillingham 36/1 bet365

ANYTIME SCORERS: Lucas Perez, Jamie Vardy, Harry Kane, Leroy Sane 50/1 several firms 

Both teams to score in 1st half: Leicester v Tottenham, Wigan v Derby 18/1 Coral/Ladbrokes/Sky Bet 

From oddschecker.com – correct at time of publication – subject to change 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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Tweets and Photos: Liverpool players celebrate reaching Champions League last-16

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Liverpool are through to the Champions League knockout rounds after a 1-0 win over Napoli at Anfield last night. Mo Salah’s first-half goal and…

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Granit Xhaka A Massive Revelation For Arsenal Since Unai Emery’s Arrival At The Emirates

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Arsenal fans have been crying out for a quality holding midfielder for the past decade and their wish had been fulfilled with the arrival of Borussia Mönchengladbach captain, Granit Xhaka in 2016.

Xhaka promised so much, long-range passing, brilliant shooting, and leadership to name a few qualities, however after a short cameo in his first season, he promised very little thereafter.

Lunging into unnecessary challenges, leading to a booking and slow on the ball were the main problems which left Arsenal fans frustrated at times.

However, with Unai Emery coming in this year, Granit Xhaka was made 1 of the 5 captains on his list. He also introduced different strategies and tactics to the Swiss which has been a revelation till now for Arsenal.

3-4-3 : SEVEN Changes Made With Mkhitaryan, Iwobi To Start | Strongest Arsenal Lineup Against Qarabag

Xhaka has shown many positive changes since Unai’s arrival – better passing, commanding the ball well, better defensive record and yes scoring through some wonderful free-kicks.

Lucas Torreira’s arrival has benfited Xhaka’s form more than anything else. Torreira’s defensive capabilities unleash the Swiss’ passing as well as attacking skills. Their partnership in the midfield has been very crucial to the Gunners’ Unbeaten Run.

In my opinion, this has to go down to Emery. He must have instructed the players not to get too comfortable. Players will start as per their performance, not prestige, as we can see with Ozil’s situation.

One can say Xhaka is in his prime years and is only 25 years old which makes the Arsenal’s midfield future proof.

Emery knew the potential of the Swiss International and hence adorned him the captain’s arm-band, hoping to keep discipline while maintaining leadership.

Xhaka hasn’t got a single red card this season, but earned five yellow cards which cannot be overlooked. His passing has been questioned a couple of times, however, in the majority, he has provided some splendid crosses and passes.

Overall, Xhaka has been a more well-rounded box to box midfielder. Also, Rob Holding has improved well from last season. Although unfortunately, Rob suffered a very bad injury (ACL) against Manchester United and will probably won’t feature again for the Gunners this season.

Emery and his tactics have not only worked in Xhaka’s favour but also with other players like Holding, Iwobi. Arsenal fans need to give him more time and after a few more transfer windows, we can think of lifting some serious silverware.

Arsenal now face Qarabag in their final group stage fixture of the Europa League on Thursday.

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Premier League fear Sterling and Aubameyang racism storms are damaging their brand

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Premier League fear racism storms involving Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Raheem Sterling are damaging their global brand

  • A banana was recently thrown towards Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
  • Raheem Sterling was allegedly racially abused by a Chelsea fan last weekend
  • The Premier League swiftly condemned the Sterling incident at Stamford Bridge 
  • But it’s understood there are concerns the incidents are having an impact on the way the Premier League is perceived 

Sami Mokbel for the Daily Mail

The Premier League fear the two high-profile racism storms that have rocked English football are damaging their global brand.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Raheem Sterling have been at the centre of two racism controversies in as many weeks, triggering questions about how tolerant English football is.

The Premier League swiftly released a statement condemning the incident at Stamford Bridge concerning Sterling, who was allegedly racially abused by a Chelsea fan.  

A Tottenham fan threw a banana skin at Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang this month

A Tottenham fan threw a banana skin at Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang this month

Raheem Sterling was the victim of alleged racist abuse during Premier League loss at Chelsea 

Raheem Sterling was the victim of alleged racist abuse during Premier League loss at Chelsea 

Raheem Sterling was the victim of alleged racist abuse during Premier League loss at Chelsea 

But while the flashpoint has dominated the news agenda in recent days, the incident has hardly been visible on the Premier League’s official website.

Sportsmail also understands the body’s own in-house programming have kept reporting of the flashpoint involving Sterling to a minimum, in what appears to be an effort to curtail the impact of the incident.

Their in-house coverage of the north London derby on December 2, which saw a Tottenham fan hurl a banana skin at Arsenal striker Aubameyang, did include a discussion on the incident.

They have also reported on the Sterling incident, but without the level of exposure it has been given by independent broadcasters.

The Premier League fear the two high-profile racism storms are damaging their global brand

The Premier League fear the two high-profile racism storms are damaging their global brand

The Premier League fear the two high-profile racism storms are damaging their global brand

Sterling has been praised for the manner in which he appeared to laugh off the vile abuse

Sterling has been praised for the manner in which he appeared to laugh off the vile abuse

Sterling has been praised for the manner in which he appeared to laugh off the vile abuse

Indeed, it is understood there are concerns the incidents involving Aubameyang and Sterling are having an impact on the way the Premier League is perceived across the world.  

Top-flight chiefs have successfully shaped the Premier League into one of the most lucrative and multi-cultural divisions in world football.

But there is a realisation the two incidents, that happened in the space of six days, could seriously damage the gleaming image they have worked so hard to nurture.

Despite the two episodes occurring in such close proximity, league bosses are hopeful the incidents are not part of a growing and wider problem of racism in England’s top division.

The Sterling incident has hardly been visible on the Premier League’s website in recent days

The Sterling incident has hardly been visible on the Premier League’s website in recent days

The Sterling incident has hardly been visible on the Premier League’s website in recent days

The Premier League have undertaken some excellent work in trying to eradicate racism from English football.

They have supported and worked closely with anti-racism body Kick it Out to ensure grounds have become more tolerant.

Equally, through various grassroots programmes, the Premier League have sought to educate youngsters about prejudice.

Yet there is an acknowledgement behind the scenes that much more has to be done to ensure the problem does not escalate. 



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