A professional Chelsea showed how to take a lead and hold it in the early fixture, but while Stoke demonstrated the complete opposite in the 3pms. Joe Dyer reports on a dramatic opening to the Premier League weekend.
"The Potters still held the two goal lead in the 73rd minute - and were backed in to 1.011/100 for the win on the Betfair Exchange - but a nervous display saw Leonardo Ulloa pull one back and Daniel Amartey level it in the 88th minute. The 2-2 correct score was backed at a high of 65.064/1."
Blues make it 11 wins on the bounce
In-form Chelsea were offered an opportunity to put the heat on their title rivals when drawn to play the early fixture this weekend - and they made no mistake with a single goal defeat of Crystal Palace.
The Blues racked up an 11th consecutive Premier League win to go nine points clear of the chasing pack and are now in to 1.84/5 to win the title.
Chelsea's title rivals face some tough fixtures this weekend - 6.25/1 Manchester City host 9.28/1 Arsenal tomorrow, while Liverpool travel to Everton on Monday night.
Though Palace are in the middle of a tough season, they nevertheless represented tricky opposition. Alan Pardew's side are prolific scorers and can be competitive at home as witnessed by a close-fought 2-1 loss to Manchester United in midweek.
But a professional Chelsea performance saw Antonio Conte's side hold Palace at bay, going ahead on the cusp of halftime through 2.6613/8 Golden Boot favourite Diego Costa's 13th of the season, and manage their way through the second 45.
The only blemish on the result was bookings for Costa and N'Golo Kante that mean the pair are ruled out of the Boxing Day fixture against Bournemouth.
In-play pain for Stoke backers
Stoke suffered a shocker at home to Leicester - blowing a 2-0 lead against 10 man opposition.
The Foxes were down to 10 early on when Jamie Vardy was controversially sent off after 28 minutes.
And the home side were soon making that advantage count, Bojan scoring from the spot and Joe Allen doubling the afvantage shortly before the break.
The Potters still held the two goal lead in the 73rd minute - and were backed in to 1.011/100 for the win on the Betfair Exchange - but a nervous display saw Leonardo Ulloa pull one back and Daniel Amartey level it in the 88th minute. The 2-2 correct score was backed at a high of 65.064/1.
Big win for Black Cats in relegation dogfight
Sunderland landed a big blow in their fight to beat the drop, winning 1-0 against Watford while fellow relegation rivals Hull were losing by the same scoreline at West Ham. And with Middlesbrough dismissing Swansea 3-0 at the Riverside the end result was Mike Phelan's men propping up the table with Swansea ahead only on goal difference.
Hull are 1.21/5 to go down with Bob Bradley's side 1.75/7. Burnley and Sunderland both trade at odds-on.