Premier League preview: Chelsea’s UCL charge and Saints’ derby
Relegation battle set to intensify
There’s sure to be drama in the Premier League this weekend, with crucial games for each of the sides looking to fend off relegation. That includes a huge South Coast derby for 18th-placed Southampton.
Elsewhere, Chelsea are making a late bid for a top-four spot following a recent wobble from one side above them. And whilst Liverpool soar, the boss on the blue half of Merseyside finds himself under fire.
The Coral News Team are covering all that and more ahead of this week’s action.
Blues can close the gap on out-of-form Spurs
Whilst Chelsea have been a shadow of last season’s title-winning side, a top-four berth now looks a possibility for Antonio Conte’s men. Following Tottenham’s mini-blip, the Blues can close the gap on their London rivals to two points on Saturday.
Conte’s men have been decent if unspectacular in recent weeks, with victory at Burnley sandwiched in between league and FA Cup wins over Southampton.
And they should be good enough to pick up another three points at Swansea City on Saturday – especially with Olivier Giroud enjoying a purple patch. The Swans are winless in five, and a Chelsea win is 1/2. Meanwhile, it’s 7/5 for Giroud to Score Anytime.
Saints must continue Derby dominance to survive
There’s much more than local bragging rights at stake as Southampton host South Coast rivals AFC Bournemouth on Saturday. Victory for Saints could leave them within a point of safety. Defeat would leave them on the cusp of relegation.
Mauricio Pellegrino’s men have been in pretty dreadful form of late. But they can take confidence from their head-to-head record against the Cherries. Saints have won five and drawn two of the pair’s eight meetings since the start of 2010.
While Bournemouth do sit seven places above the Hampshire club, they’re not in great form either. In fact, they’ve won just one of their last 13 away games in all competitions. The odds make it 7/10 for Southampton to enjoy victory.
Can under-pressure Allardyce bring excitement to Goodison?
Despite a promising start to his Everton tenure, the magic has worn off for Sam Allardyce. The Toffees have managed a modest five wins from 15 games since 2018 began, but the style of football has been the main target of criticism.
Under Allardyce, they’ve scored more than two goals in just a single game since mid-December. In the process, they’ve endured dull-as-ditchwater draws with West Bromwich Albion and Liverpool, and fallen to listless defeats against the likes of Manchester United and Watford.
Saturday’s trip to Huddersfield Town could be an interesting test of whether Big Sam will switch up his usually conservative style to placate the Everton faithful, or stick with the same. Either way, it’s 2/1 for the Toffees to taste victory in Yorkshire.
Anfield could be end of the road for Stoke
After 10 seasons in the Premier League, Stoke City are now staring down the barrel of relegation. They’ll need a minimum of four points from their final three games to survive. But they could hardly have a tougher fixture this Saturday.
Their hosts Liverpool are arguably the form team in Europe at present, and have won their last four home games – scoring 16 goals and conceding just two in the process.
Add in the fact that the Reds have won each of the last four head-to-heads, and this trip to Merseyside is likely to be the death knell for Stoke’s hopes. The Liverpool -1 handicap is a 17/20 shot.
Can Rafa’s men maintain form at Fortress SJP?
While all three of last season’s promoted sides are on course for survival, it’s Newcastle United who have had the best campaign. Rafa Benitez’s side are currently on course for a top-half finish, thanks largely to their fine home form.
The likes of Kenedy and Matt Ritchie have been terrific on the flanks of late, with the pair bagging three goals between them in the recent 3-0 victory over Southampton at St. James’ Park. This weekend sees the visit of bottom club West Bromwich Albion, and it’s 4/5 for another Magpies home win.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing