Tony Pulis sat high in Chelsea’s West Stand on Monday night, as the champions-in-waiting dismantled a Middlesbrough side that were never allowed to contemplate extending their hopes of remaining in the top flight. Antonio Conte’s team’s 3-0 win over the Teessiders propelled the Blues to within one win of the title and simultaneously sealed the fate of Boro to life in the Championship next season.
That victory could come at the Hawthorns on Friday night, as a trip to the Black Country is Chelsea’s next assignment. In truth, it is a case of when, not if, the London side get over the line to secure a sixth English top flight crown. Grosvenor Sports have put up the ‘no offers’ sign next to Chelsea’s name, meaning they think the Londoners are certainties to win the Premier League.
Can West Bromwich Albion put the party on hold for another week? Well, their manager will demand much more from his players than most coaches would do in this situation. Unlike any Baggies player who might dare to think about an early exit to the beach under the watchful eye of the Welshman, I don’t think punters need to tread too carefully when it comes to backing the Blues.
No Silva Lining For Marco’s Hull
At this stage of the season, punters can get suckered into believing that teams with nothing to play for won’t be trying as hard as a side that needs the points to avoid relegation. Tell that to backers (myself included!!) of Hull City last weekend, who surely thought the Tigers would prevail at home to already Championship-bound Sunderland. Instead, the Wearsiders snapped Marco Silva’s undefeated league record that stretched back 41 matches, winning 2-0 at the KCOM Stadium.
With Hull’s loss and Swansea City’s success at home to Everton, the momentum swung in favour of the Welsh club. Paul Clement’s team are now 4/1 to be relegated (from 11/20) with the Humberside club 11/50 (from 19/10).
A two-horse race I said last week, but Crystal Palace’s complacency has suddenly meant the South Londoners aren’t quite clear of the trap door just yet. Sam Allardyce’s side are 14/1 to go down. It all makes this prediction business that little bit harder.
Chelsea To Wrap Up Title
West Brom v Chelsea | May 12 | 20:00
When the pressure has been applied to Chelsea over the last few months, Antonio Conte’s side have responded emphatically. They haven’t lost back-to-back games this season and will undoubtedly attract plenty of money, even at cramped odds of 7/20, when they travel to the Hawthorns. West Bromwich Albion are 17/2, with the draw 4/1, and while the Baggies have won three of their last five home league games against Chelsea, a positive result here might just be beyond them. Since the start of April, West Brom have amassed the fewest points in the top flight: just two draws gained. Six of their last eight home games have featured under 2.5 goals, which looks a fair bet here at 21/20, with 1-0 (53/10) and 2-0 (11/2) in Chelsea’s favour the best correct score options.
Black Cats Set To Send Swans In A Flap
Sunderland v Swansea | May 13 | 15:00
Swansea look far too short at 8/9 to claim all three points away at Sunderland. I can’t possibly recommend backing any relegation-threatened side at odds-on away from home. Sure, Paul Clement’s team might win, but as we saw last weekend, Sunderland are capable and, at 3/1 to defeat a team that hasn’t won on their travels since January, must be punted. Jermain Defoe has scored five goals in four previous league appearances against Swansea for Sunderland and the former Spurs striker is priced to net the opener at 22/5.
Stoke v Arsenal | May 13 | 17:30
Stoke are looking to halt Arsenal’s late charge to snatch a Champions League spot at the Britannia Stadium (the Gunners are 12/5 to finish in the top four after their 2-0 win at Southampton, from 7/1 just a week ago). But while Arsene Wenger has overseen only one league win in the Potteries, it’s worth pointing out that Mark Hughes’ men haven’t beaten a team at home this season that currently reside in the top half of the table. Seven of Stoke’s ten home games in 2017 have produced under 2.5 goals, which looks worth backing here. An away clean sheet, at 37/20, is also tempting given Arsenal’s new found solidity in defence since switching to a 3-4-3 formation (three shut-outs last four games).
Eagles To Maintain Lofty Status
Crystal Palace v Hull City | May 14 | 12:00
At a shade odds against (51/50), Crystal Palace look a brilliant bet to kick-off Sunday’s investments in their almost do-or-die clash against Hull City. The Tigers have the worst away record in the top division this term, and, at 14/5, are worth avoiding. Hull’s solitary away win this campaign in the league came back in August, and with Sam Allardyce set to restore some sort of order to his defence – after a bizarre experiment using Jeffrey Schlupp as a centre-half last weekend in the 5-0 loss at Manchester City – I expect the Eagles to win comfortably. Five of Palace’s last seven wins have come ‘to nil’, which looks a fair price at 5/2. No side has conceded more headed goals than Hull this term, which suggests Christian Benteke (six of his 14 league goals this season have been headers), is a decent call to net at any time at 11/9.
West Ham v Liverpool | May 14 | 14:15
Liverpool haven’t remained undefeated in London in a league season since the 1988/89 campaign, but can do if they avoid defeat against West Ham. The Merseysiders are 17/25 to win at the London Stadium, but with Slaven Bilic’s side currently enjoying their longest unbeaten run of the term (five matches), this isn’t going to be straightforward for Jurgen Klopp’s team. Liverpool are 33/100 to finish in the top four this year, but any slip up could see Arsenal deny them Champions League qualification. A share of the spoils, at 3/1, looks the best bet here. The Reds are winless in five against the Hammers and the absence of Sadio Mane in the visitors’ ranks is a massive blow – Liverpool’s win percentage drops from 68% to 35% when the Senegalese doesn’t play. West Ham are looking for a fourth home clean sheet on the spin, and are priced at 21/5 for the win.
For more Premier League odds, take a look at Grosvenor Sport’s football betting.
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