Saturday Premier League Tipsheet: Blues to find their stride

Will Jose Mourinho's Chelsea finally hit top gear against Norwich on Saturday?
Will Jose Mourinho's Chelsea finally hit top gear against Norwich on Saturday?

The Premier League returns following an international break with six fixtures kicking off at the traditional time of 3pm, and our regular previewer Mike Norman believes Chelsea could be the best bet if bouncing back to form...

"Put it this way, on last season's form Chelsea would be trading at around 1.21/5 to beat a newly-promoted club, so if they can return to something like their best then odds of 1.4640/85 are huge."

Back Chelsea -1 to Win @ 2.285/4

Chelsea 1.4640/85 v Norwich 8.88/1; The Draw 5.04/1

The vibes coming out of Stamford Bridge have once again been very positive with a number of players stressing that they are desperate to change their fortunes around, and that just a bit of luck in their favour could be the key.

Certainly at Stoke before the international break the Blues performed very well and were extremely unfortunate to leave the Britannia Stadium with yet another defeat next to their name. But the feeling is, keep playing like that and Jose Mourinho's men will soon return to winning games regularly.

Put it this way, on last season's form Chelsea would be trading at around 1.21/5 to beat a newly-promoted club, so if they can return to something like their best then odds of 1.4640/85 are huge.

Norwich have won just once on the road in the league this season, that victory coming three months ago at hapless Sunderland. Since that day they've conceded three at Southampton, two at West Ham, and six at Newcastle. You sense that Alex Neil's men are very fragile on the road and they might just be the side that suffers a Chelsea backlash.

I appreciate it's difficult to have confidence in this Chelsea side right now but I get the feeling that matters are about to improve on the field for Mourinho's men, and I believe backing them giving the Canaries a one goal start is the way to play this fixture.

Recommended Bet
Back Chelsea -1 to Win @ 2.285/4
(best bet)

Everton 1.68/13 v Aston Villa 7.06/1; The Draw 4.3100/30

On the bare form, a 0-0 draw with league leaders Manchester City in Remi Garde's first game in charge of Aston Villa was a vast improvement on previous form - after all, it stopped a long losing streak - but if we're being brutally honest the Citizens could, and perhaps should, have won that game in a canter.

So while many people took positives from that Villa performance I honestly didn't see much difference from previous weeks other than that the Villa Park faithful were a lot more vocal, and that did translate to the players just a tiny bit.

Villa still looked incredibly short of any firepower, and they needed some great saves and some incredible misses from City to keep their clean sheet. Until their results change I'm happy to keep opposing them.

So you won't be surprised to learn that I fancy Everton to win this one, though I'm reluctant to make them a very confident selection at odds of just 1.68/13.

The Toffees themselves haven't been in the greatest form of late, winning just one of their last five league outings - albeit by scoring six against Sunderland - but they ought to have too much for Villa on what we've witnessed so far this term.

The problem I have is that Roberto Martinez's men haven't kept a clean sheet since drawing 0-0 with Swansea two months ago, a sequence that stretches to eight league and cup matches. Add in the fact that Everton v Villa at Goodison Park usually throws up goals (20 in the last five meetings) then I'm willing to take a chance on a home win with at least three goals being scored in the match.

Recommended Bet
Back Everton/Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.89/5

Newcastle 2.942/1 v Leicester 2.68/5; The Draw 3.65

This is arguably the toughest match of the weekend to call given that Newcastle have improved recently, while Leicester continue to surprise at the top end of the table.

The Magpies somehow failed to beat Stoke in their last match at St James' Park despite dominating the game, but then came away from Bournemouth with all three points after being dominated by the hosts themselves - two matches that sum up how difficult it is to predict an outcome in the Premier League currently.

Steve McClaren's men are now unbeaten in three games on home soil but whether they'll be looking forward to the visit of Leicester is another matter.

The Foxes have been magnificent all season, scoring goals regularly due to a seemingly gung-ho attitude of 'you score two, we'll score three'.

Jamie Vardy - scorer of at least one league goal in his last nine consecutive outings - is 50/50 for this match but whoever lines up for Claudio Ranieri will know their job and be full of confidence. And as Andrew Atherley says in his stats preview, Leicester have won 10 and lost none of their last 13 league matches against bottom half opposition.

If this becomes an open affair - which it usually tends to be at St James' Park - then my gut feeling is that the away side might just find the back of the net more times than the home side.

Recommended Bet
Back Leicester to Win @ 2.68/5

Southampton 1.68/13 v Stoke 7.26/1; The Draw 4.216/5

Another match where it's really difficult to see the 1.68/13 shots not winning but at the same time appearing slightly too short to recommend them as a confident selection.

The Saints are in great form, winning six of their last eight league and cup outings while drawing the other two. But their last two league wins were narrow victories over struggling Sunderland and Bournemouth while they also won by just a single goal margin in the cup against bottom of the table Villa.

Perhaps I'm being slightly harsh on Ronald Koeman's men but the point I'm trying to make is that Stoke will present a much tougher test than what Southampton have faced in recent weeks.

The Potters themselves are in decent form. Mark Hughes' men have lost just one of their last nine league and cup outings yet the general consensus is that they're yet to hit top form. That may be the case but Stoke are definitely a side that deserve respect on their travels having not conceded a single goal away from home since September 12.

As the odds suggest, the home side are by far the most likely winners but I really don't wont to take a chance in the Match Odds market. The Potters could be a hard nut to crack and I suspect a low scoring affair is on the cards.

Recommended Bet
Back Under 2.5 Goals @ 1.910/11

Swansea 1.9210/11 v Bournemouth 4.84/1; The Draw 3.65

Two out of form sides meet at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday afternoon but without any doubt in my eyes Swansea are the better side and, if in even slightly better form than they are at present, they'd be trading a lot shorter to beat struggling Bournemouth.

The Cherries have lost four league games on the spin now, conceding 13 goals in the process, a run that has seen them drop into the relegation zone. I have my doubts, given their injury woes and admission that they won't be spending much in January, that they'll be able to climb away from it.

Swansea have also been in poor form, winning just one of their last eight league matches. Garry Monk's men enjoyed 67% possession at Norwich before the international break however, and surely it's only a matter of time before they start turning that dominance into goals again, especially against these lesser sides.

Admittedly there isn't a strong case to support a home wager here on current form, but like most of the recommended bets this week, which I have to admit is a very tough betting week in the Premier League, it's based on a hunch. Sometimes it's like that, and my hunch here is that the Swans are a better side and will get back to winning ways against Eddie Howe's strugglers.

Recommended Bet
Back Swansea to Win @ 2.8815/8

West Brom 7.413/2 v Arsenal 1.548/15; The Draw 4.67/2

It's hard to muster much enthusiasm for this match given what's gone in France in the last week and that Arsenal have a large number of personnel from that country in their ranks.

Certainly in midweek against England the French national side - including Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny and Olivier Giroud - looked disinterested and you have to wonder whether Arsene Wenger, a Frenchman himself of course, is in two minds whether to field a side containing the likes of Koscielny, Giroud, Mathieu Debuchy, and Mathieu Flamini.

And when you consider the Gunners' other injury problems then I think we're playing a total guessing game as to the quality of side Arsenal will field at the Hawthorns.

For what it's worth I think Arsenal are too short at 1.548/15 but I certainly don't want to lay them given my reasons for thinking why they could be slightly vulnerable this weekend.

The bet therefore could be Under 2.5 Goals, and that's purely based on the fact that Arsenal most certainly won't be at their strongest while West Brom are a very well organised side under Tony Pulis and have already kept seven clean sheets this term.

Recommended Bet
Back Under 2.5 Goals @ 2.166/5


*You can follow me on Twitter - @MikkyMo73

**For individual match previews of every single Premier League game visit our dedicated Premier League section here on Betting.Betfair.

Premier League 2015/16 Season P/L

Staked: 72 pts
Returned: 67.86 pts
P/L: -4.14 pts

*based on 1pt each bet, 2pts best bet

**2014/15 P/L = +35.3 pts from 215 staked (ROI = 16.42%)

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