Title challengers Chelsea and Man City duel with basement battlers
Chelsea and Manchester City (4/1 with Coral to retain the Premier League) continue their scramble for the title, as Jose Mourinho’s men travel to take on Aston Villa and the Sky Blues try to make up lost ground against Hull City.
Meanwhile, Ronald Koeman has the chance to compound rudderless QPR’s woes as he takes his Southampton side to Loftus Road.
Aston Villa v Chelsea
Paul Lambert may have joined the 100 club, having steered the Villans for a century of games, but his lacklustre side, 8/1 to beat the Blues, are mired in another poor patch of form.
Villa have not won any of their past eight Premier League games, failing to score in six of those, and could soon find themselves dragged into a relegation battle, which should make the Midlands club perfect prey for Chelsea.
In good news for Lambert, his men have already proven they can trouble the league leaders, having tripped them up at Villa Park last term, but celebrating his century by repeating that feat seems unlikely.
Jose Mourinho’s men have netted eight goals in their last two away games, making them odds-on at 4/11 to triumph and 11/2 to score four or more against a team who leaked five last time out.
New signing Juan Cuadrado, fresh from providing wing wizardry for Fiorentina, is 12/5 to mark his debut with a goal anytime, but the Blues could still be without sidelined Cesc Fabregas.
Loic Remy should retain his spot up top in Diego Costa’s absence, and is 4/1 to strike first, whilst Oscar is also available at 9/2 to net last.
Manchester City v Hull City
City, heavy odds-on favourites for victory at 1/5, must take all three points from Steve Bruce’s side if they are to keep pace with Chelsea.
The Sky Blues have beaten their visitors in all of their last three duels, and smashed four past them earlier this season.
At the Etihad, City will be expecting to dominate against the Tigers, who are 12/1 outsiders to win and have triumphed in just two of their last 17 outings across all competitions.
Edin Dzeko, who bagged a brace last time he faced Hull, is 3/1 to score two or more again, while leading marksman Sergio Aguero is 9/4 to draw first blood.
Bruce’s winter window buy Dame N’Doye is 5/1 to make an impact by striking anytime, if the Senegal striker is cleared to play.
QPR V Southampton
Southampton, odds-on favourites to win at 17/20, are great value to pounce on QPR and pile on the misery at Loftus Road.
Following Harry Redknapp’s resignation as Hoops coach, Ronald Koeman will be aiming to capitalise on the London club’s instability.
After stuttering against Swansea City, the Saints should be boosted by the expected return of midfield anchormen Morgan Schneiderlin and Victor Wanyama.
Graziano Pelle is back amongst the goals, making the Italy international a nifty 9/1 to open the scoring, while exciting Eljero Elia is 8/1 to bag his second brace of the season.
The best QPR may be able to aim for is a draw, which is a 5/2 chance, but the Hoops hierarchy will be hoping the squad respond to Redknapp’s departure with a win, which is available at 10/3.
Sharpshooter Charlie Austin (15/8 in the anytime market) has grabbed 13 league goals so far and will be his side’s best chance of denting Southampton’s robust rearguard.