THE race for Europe is suddenly very much on.
After Man City’s shock Champions League ban, suddenly fifth place gets a golden ticket to next year’s competition – and our betting tips for this week are from games related to this scrap.
This weekends Premier League schedule could prove crucial, with Man Utd and Arsenal both playing on Sunday.
But first, there’s a huge Saturday lunchtime clash between Chelsea and Spurs to get us started…
Chelsea vs Tottenham, Saturday 12.30pm
IT’S all going a bit pear-shaped for Big Frank.
After a positive start to his tenure, the Chelsea legend is undergoing his first real slump – and some fans with short memories are already calling for his head.
The Blues were definitely under-par in their 2-0 defeat to Man Utd on Monday night, their third of the season against the Red Devils.
But they have a striker crisis, with Son Heung-min – the two goal hero from that game in the Midlands – joining Harry Kane in the treatment room.
And as such we’re not convinced that Spurs can overturn what is a terrible record at this ground.
Before their 3-1 win here in April 2018, they hadn’t won a league encounter at Stamford Bridge since 1990.
To pile more statistical misery on, since the turn of the century Tottenham have won just one of 24 matches on this ground. Pretty dismal.
And we’re not backing them to do so in this one, despite the juicy 10/3 on offer.
Both of these sides are pushing for a Champions League spot but we’re not convinced by either of them.
Spurs could have been 3-0 down at Villa within 20 minutes last weekend, while Chelsea continue to flop infront of their increasingly frustrated home support.
Instead, play this one safe and rely on goals – or the lack of them – to get your through.
The Blues were at their swaggering best in the 2-0 win in North London earlier this season as Lampard got one over Mourinho, but we just don’t see two confident teams ready to participate in a goal-fest.
It’s a side with a patched up attack up visiting an under-pressure manager who will be desperate not to lose – and both played their strongest sides in midweek.
Just as we recommended against Man Utd on Monday, stick with the under 2.5 goals market.
Stamford Bridge has seen just five of 13 games feature three or more goals this season, which is the 16th lowest in the division. Evens for that? Overpriced.
While we’re a big fan of the ‘goal to be scored in both halves’ market – select NO for this game and take home a massive 11/10 if either half finishes 0-0.
With Son and Kane out, there’s a real conundrum up-top for Mourinho to solve.
Responsibility now falls on Dele Alli and Lucas Moura to find the goals – if you really want a goalscorer bet, it’s the latter we like the look of to bag anytime at 7/2.
SunSport’s best bets
Under 2.5 goals at the Bridge – Evens
Either half to feature no goals – 11/10
Man Utd vs Watford, Sunday 2pm
WHISPER it, but the tide could be turning at Old Trafford.
Pretty sure we’ve been here before, but is that the strange smell of optimism in the air?
The Hornets are without a win since spanking Bournemouth 3-0 back on January 12 but did scrap their way to a valuable point against Brighton last time out.
Their run-in is absolutely brutal though, with the Hornets still to face Utd, Liverpool, Leicester, Arsenal, Man City and Chelsea this term.
History isn’t on their side either. In any way.
Watford have lost every game here in the Premier League era, with the aggregate from seven meetings standing at 16-2.
They did manage to net in their last visit here – a 2-1 defeat last January – but even that goal was a last minute consolation from Abdoulaye Doucoure.
Watford are in a heap of problems this season but will scrap until the end, Pearson will make sure of that.
But the visitors have scored in each of their last four Premier League away games – back them to do it again, despite Utd’s excellent recent clean-sheet record.
We’re looking for value here and 4/5 really is a monster price for BTTS in this league. Get on.
Football often isn’t fair, but Odion Ighalo freely admits he’s living the dream.
On loan at United, wouldn’t it just be typical if he netted against the club where he made his name in England?
He was so close to a debut goal despite coming on in the 90th minute against Chelsea – and he’s expected to get more game time this weekend.
Back him to net anytime at a very generous 11/10.
SunSport’s best bets
Man Utd to beat Watford: 8/13
Both teams to score: 4/5
Arsenal vs Everton, Sunday 4.30pm
MIKEL’s men have finally given their fans some home comforts.
Although 4-0 flattered them in the end, the sense of relief around the Emirates was palpable as Arsenal dispatched Newcastle last weekend.
And that included a goal from Alexandre Lacazette, who ended a barren run which stretched all the way back to early December.
Everton are going under the radar somewhat and over the last 10 matches sit third in the form table, level with Man City.
They’ve lost just once in that time and are coming into this one off the back of two excellent wins over Crystal Palace and Watford.
Anyone who watched Arsenal on Sunday will know that Newcastle had their chances.
If any of the Toon could shoot straight, they’d have netted in a first half which saw them create three big chances.
And after the break they should have twice scored again, Saint-Maximin smashing against the post and Ciaran Clark shanking wide from three yards out.
Basically, we reckon that the Toffees score on Sunday – regardless of their absolutely terrible record in North London.
Everton haven’t beaten Arsenal away from home since 1996, when Graham Stuart and Andrei Kanchelskis scored in a 2-1 victory at Highbury.
Since then, it’s been one, long miserable streak and Arsenal have won the last six meetings on the trot.
On Sunday though, we’re backing the draw.
Arteta‘s side is a work in progress, while Everton are fast learning to win points ugly under Carlo Ancellotti.
No side has drawn as many games this season in the Premier League than Arsenal – half of their matches, 13/26, have ended in a stalemate.
13/5 is a brilliant price and we’re happy to back that all day long.
We also reckon Everton score, as they have done in nine of their last 10 games on the road.
The 4/7 on both teams to score is short, so we’re tempted to go for both to net in a fast-paced first half to boost the odds.
That’s a massive 3/1 and will be a great way to end the weekend.
SunSport’s best bets
Both teams to score: 4/7
*All odds from Ladbrokes and correct at time of publication