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Burnley v Chelsea: In-form Clarets can maintain momentum against Blues

Burnley v Chelsea
Thursday, 19:45
Live on Sky Sports Premier League

Burnley on a high

A Manager of the Month award for Sean Dyche, five wins on the spin and the sweet smell of European football in the air: it's fair to say these are good times for Burnley. The Clarets are just a couple of points behind Arsenal, meaning a victory against Chelsea here would take them into sixth (if only temporarily) - a huge achievement for a club of their size.
They might not be the clean-sheet machine of the first half of the season - they've managed just one shut-out in 13 - but the attack has clicked into gear to make up for it, with Ashley Barnes dominant and Chris Wood in deadly form since returning from injury. If they maintain their momentum over the final five games, there's every chance they'll be heading into the Europa League next term.

Chelsea continue to toil

The mood is less positive at Chelsea, with the top four disappearing over the horizon and a summer of turmoil likely. They dug themselves out of a hole against Southampton at the weekend, but it is telling that their only league victories since the start of December have come against clubs battling against relegation: Huddersfield, Saints (twice), Brighton (twice), Stoke, West Brom and Crystal Palace.
They have struggled in games against sides with a bit more about them, and won't have fond memories of playing Burnley: their opening-day defeat to the Clarets set the tone for much of what has followed this season. They were also held at Turf Moor last term, Robbie Brady cancelling out Pedro's early opener.

Clarets can avoid defeat

Antonio Conte's side have won just three of their last 10 away Premier League games and look far too short at 1.96 here. Burnley have their tails up, and while 4.50 on the home win would be a risk, there's value to be had on the Asian handicap, with the Clarets 2.02 to avoid defeat against Chelsea for the third game on the spin.

Goals on the cards

10 of Chelsea's last 13 Premier League games have gone over the 2.5-goal mark. Given that each of Burnley's last five have too, and neither of these sides is keeping clean sheets as they once did, the overs looks a solid pick at 2.16.

Wood the man for Burnley

Chris Wood has hit the ground running since returning to the Burnley side, scoring five goals in his last 317 minutes on the pitch. He could have some joy against a Chelsea defence that hasn't kept a clean sheet since February, and should be available at around 3.00 to score anytime.
RECOMMENDED BETS
Back Burnley +0.5 at 2.02
Back Chris Wood to score at 3.00

Serie A Betting: Midweek madness brings overs and upsets

Benevento going down fighting

Benevento v Atalanta
Wednesday, 17:00
Live on BT Sport 1 and Betfair Live Video
Even casual viewers of Serie A recently must have noticed a trend in Benevento games. Their last four matches have produced 21 goals as they accept the fact that relegation is assured and start to enjoy themselves.
The bottom of the table team battled hard to a draw against Sassuolo last time, and while they'll probably find Atalanta too good for them, I think that it will be fun to watch.
Benevento aren't a bad side, but it's a lack of concentration that has killed them this season, and they've thrown away plenty of games that they ought to have won. If you're good enough to worry Juventus as much as Roberto De Zerbi's team did, then you shouldn't be cut adrift at the foot of Serie A.
Cheick Diabate is on an incredible run of form, having scored twice in each of his last three Serie A games, and expect him to be the main threat here. Over 3.5 goals look big at around the 2.90 mark, and I expect an Atalanta win at around [1.7], but not before life has been made difficult for them.
Andrea Petagna returns from suspension for the visitors, but Leonardo Spinazzola and Josip Ilicic are still nursing injuries with Rafael Toloi banned in defence.

Chievo to fall in Ferrara

SPAL v Chievo
Wednesday, 19:45
Live on Betfair Live Video
It looks like it's going to be a thrilling finish at the bottom of the Serie A table, and two teams that are right in the relegation mix face each other in Ferrara on Wednesday night.
SPAL have now put together a run of seven games without defeat, but Leonardo Semplici's team have drawn their last five, and they need to grab a win from somewhere to move them further clear of the bottom three.
SPAL's sprit has been unquestionable, and they showed enough in their fighting 0-0 draw at Fiorentina at the weekend to suggest that they should be odds on to beat a poor Chievo side. The Flying Donkeys have won only twice since November, and are currently hurtling towards Serie B, with something different needed to halt their slide.
Chievo did relatively well to get a draw against Torino at the weekend, but they didn't threaten, and Rolando Maran is hanging on to his job by a thread. SPAL will be well supported for this, they do have an attacking threat in the shape of Mirco Antenucci and Alberto Paloschi, and I think that they'll build on that result in Florence.
The injury crisis didn't seem to do them too much harm last week, with Jasmin Kurtic, Alberto Grassi and Pasquale Schiattarella still probably out of action. Emanuele Giaccherini returns from his ban to bolster Chievo's attacking options.
Semplici is a good guy who is constantly innovating, and the freshness that he manages to keep amongst this motivated set of players might just be enough to save them. They're2.26 to get the win against their fellow strugglers and that looks like a price worth taking.

Lazio to end Viola run

Fiorentina v Lazio
Wednesday, 19:45
Live on BT Sport Extra 4 and Betfair Live Video
After being pegged back by SPAL, Fiorentina now face the infinitely tougher task of a visit from Lazio, and after La Viola's run of six consecutive wins was brought to an end at the weekend, they may just be facing worse on Wednesday.
Fiorentina's defence has been the bedrock of their recent run, and they've only conceded one goal in their last seven games, but they face a serious threat from a Lazio team that performed well in the derby against Roma, and who rarely draw a blank for two consecutive matches.
I was surprised at how comfortably SPAL kept Stefano Pioli's team out at the weekend: Giovanni Simeone missed two excellent chances, but apart from that, they didn't offer much, and looked vulnerable defensively against a team with only a tiny proportion of Lazio's quality.
Fiorentina's key man is Federico Chiesa, and if Simone Inzaghi can make sure that he is kept quiet then I can see his team winning this comfortably. It was important that Lazio got over that horror night against Salzburg as quickly as possible and the performance against Roma did that for them. Now their push for third place continues.
Stefan Radu is suspended and Patric injured, so Bastos is likely to step in to defence.
RECOMMENDED BETS
Back Over 3.5 goals in Benevento v Atalanta @ 2.90 
Back SPAL to beat Chievo @ 2.26 
Back Lazio to beat Fiorentina @ 2.70

Bournemouth v Manchester United: Goals at both ends yet again

Bournemouth v Manchester United
Wednesday April 18, 19:45
Live on BT Sport 1

Improved performance much needed

Bournemouth just weren't at the races on Saturday evening at Anfield. It was almost like it was a damage limitation exercise from the word go, where Eddie Howe decided that saving face and energy levels for upcoming matches was the strategy for the day because they were never going to get anything out of the game.
The proof will be in the pudding. If they put in a much-improved performance here and get a result, the approach will be justified.
Midfielder Junior Stanislas continues to miss out through injury and he's a big loss. So is defender Adam Smith. Both have knee injuries.

Plenty for Mourinho to ponder

What a difference a week makes. From their heroics at the Etihad to win from 2-0 down and deny City the chance to lift the title on home soil to...a 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford to the side who are bottom of the league.
The worrying thing for Jose Mourinho is that it wasn't even a 'smash and grab' job. Yes, United dominated possession (67%) as you'd expect but West Brom gave as good as they got in terms of shots and corners.
No player represented the drastic change in fortunes from one week to the next better than Paul Pogba. Two-goals here a week ago, on Sunday his shooting was off target, he rarely saw the ball and made a number of clumsy challenges that saw him get booked and then subbed before he inflicted further damage on himself. But he'll almost certainly start here.
Jesse Lingard will probably get a game here with Juan Mata the most likely to give way. But after what happened on Sunday, that might not be the only change.

Take on United at odds-on

United are 1.76 and you could say that's understandable given that they are after all second in the league table and have playing resources that are a world apart from what Bournemouth have.
But I'm not so sure. As mentioned already, Howe seemed to be targeting this match as a chance to pick up at least a point and the Cherries boast a decent record against United since achieving top-flight status. Since achieving promotion in 2015/16 they've beaten them once and drawn another from five games and were only narrowly beaten 1-0 earlier this campaign.
They've also been extremely hard to beat over the past few months, losing just two matches out of their last 15 in the league.
Laying the visitors is certainly the value play here.

All stats suggest goals at both ends

An alternative to laying Manchester United is to go with both teams scoring. It's a bet that would have paid out in 50% of United's away games this season but that figure shoots all the way up to 70% when looking at Bournemouth's home games in 201718. Hardly surprising when we consider the Opta stat that they've conceded in all of their last 11 at home, a record for the Premier League.
That 3-0 loss at Anfield to Liverpool was also the first time in nine Cherries games where both teams didn't score so the recent trend is certainly for that outcome.
There's further ammunition for that bet when looking at the head-to-head between these two. Both teams have registered on the scoresheet in four of the five games since Bournemouth were promoted to the Premier league with that 1-0 United win the odd one out.
A quote of 1.80 is a very fair one, all things considered.

King might be worth a look

There are some slightly short prices about the usual suspects amongst Man Utd players. Romelu Lukaku is 6/5, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford are 7/4 and Jesse Lingard can be backed at 9/5. Given none of those last three is a certain starter, those are all prices to avoid.
If you're desperate to back one of Mourinho's men you could say it's a bit of an insult to a player of Alexis Sanchez's ability to be a bigger price at 15/8 than any of the three just mentioned. His struggles since arriving at Old Trafford have been well-documented but he's too good a player to be kept quiet for long.
As for Bournemouth, they're one of those sides who really share their goals around so it's a little hard to make a confident call. But Joshua King has been in good form of late and Bournemouth seem to win quite a few penalties so you've always got that going for you if you take the 3/1 about him.

Ref Watch

Graham Scott does most of his work outside the Premier League so it's not so easy to assess how strict he is when refereeing games in this division. But he was in charge of Bournemouth's win over West Brom just over a month ago and showed three yellows in that one. He was busier when in charge of Tottenham's 2-1 win over Stoke a couple of weeks ago, showing seven yellows. Laying 25 pts and under in the bookings odds market should be a pretty safe bet.
RECOMMENDED BETS
1pt Lay Manchester United @ 1.76 
2pts Back both teams to score @ 1.80

La Liga Betting: Returning Real Madrid stars can down Athletic Club

Aspas can get at Barça defence

Celta Vigo v Barcelona
Tuesday, 20:00
Live on Sky Sports Football and Betfair Live Video
Barcelona made history at the weekend, their victory over Valencia bringing up 39 games unbeaten in La Liga. It was not a vintage performance, but the Blaugrana are now within touching distance of the title, and will no doubt be keen to make it through to the end of the season without tasting defeat.
This trip to Celta Vigo will be a test: the Galicians have not been in the best form, but thrashed Sevilla 4-0 in their last outing at Balaídos and have already picked up two draws against Barça this term, one in the league and one in the cup. If they play to their potential, their attackers will trouble a defence that has now managed just one clean sheet in five matches.
Key to their hopes, as ever, will be Iago Aspas, who netted a hat-trick in that Sevilla game. He has already scored four times against Barça in this spell at Celta, and with pressure on Ernesto Valverde to rotate his tired side ahead of the Copa del Rey final, Aspas could find himself up against a weakened backline.
Celta have key absences - captain Hugo Mallo is suspended, as is Pablo Hernández - which could complicate things as far as the final result goes, but Aspas looks a good bet to grab his 20th Liga goal of the season.

Athletic won't trouble Madrid

Real Madrid v Athletic Club
Wednesday, 20:30
Live on Sky Sports Football and Betfair Live Video
With seven days between this game and the first leg of their Champions League showdown with Bayern Munich, there's unlikely to be much charity visible in Real Madrid's line up in this midweek round: Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcelo, Luka Modrić and Toni Kroos should all take part in the dress rehearsal after missing the Málaga game. And that is bad news for Athletic Club, whose listless run of form looks likely to continue.
The Basques have won just four of their last 19 games in all competitions, slipping to 14th in La Liga at the start of jornada 33. Little wonder, then, that there is speculation about who will be managing them next term: Cuco Ziganda is a dead man walking, with former Celta boss Eduardo Berizzo among the candidates to take over in the summer.
Athletic hate going to the capital - they have lost on their last 13 visits to the Bernabéu(all competitions), by a combined score of 48-12 - and have taken no points from trips to Barcelona, Valencia, Atlético Madrid and Sevilla. Madrid may not have things all their own way, but should have more than enough to get the job done in a game featuring 3 or 4 goals.

Alavés home form key

Alavés v Girona
Thursday, 18:30
Live on Sky Sports Red Button and Betfair Live Video
Finally, we head to Mendizorrotza for a fairly low-wattage game on Thursday night. Hosts Alavés do not have a great deal to play for - they have a healthy cushion above the drop zone now - but look a good bet to see off a Girona side that has run out of gas in the last few weeks.
The Catalans have done brilliantly in their first season in Primera, to the extent that they still have half a chance of sneaking into Europe should results go their way. But they have claimed just one point from the last 12 available and have shipped 11 goals in their last two away games - evidence, perhaps, that Pablo Machín's resources have been stretched to their limits.
Girona will also have half an eye on Sunday's local derby with Espanyol, which will play into the hands of Alavés here. The hosts went off the boil in March but have bounced back with two wins on the spin, and have a superb home record: they've won eight of their last 11 on their own patch2.48 is a fine price for them to add another victory to their tally.
RECOMMENDED BETS
Back Iago Aspas to score for Celta v Barcelona at 3.00
Back Real Madrid to beat Athletic Club in a match of 3 or 4 goals at 8/5 (Sportsbook)
2 pts Alavés to beat Girona at 2.48

Brighton v Tottenham: Spurs to bounce back against Seagulls

Brighton v Tottenham
Tuesday 17th April, 19:45
Live on Sky Sports Main Event

Brighton's set-piece troubles

Brighton were left cursing a slow start as they fell to a 3-2 defeat to bitter rivals Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. The Seagulls conceded two set-piece goals inside the opening 14 minutes and although Glenn Murray and Jose Izquierdo managed to twice halve their two-goal deficit, Albion never really recovered.
Chris Hughton's men have shipped more set-piece goals than anyone in the Premier League this season and poor defending again cost the Seasiders on Saturday. However, Brighton almost took advantage of a tiring Palace outfit but Murray missed a straight-forward chance in second half stoppage-time.
The Seagulls were flying high in 10th place when they beat Arsenal on 4 March but have since collected one point from four games. With a difficult run-in to come, Hughton's charges aren't yet completely clear of relegation trouble. Meanwhile, Davvy Propper serves the second of a two-match ban.

Tottenham out-classed by the champions

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino admitted his team hadn't been at the races after seeing his side's six-game winning streak ended by champions Manchester City at Wembley. A sluggish first half display allowed City to dominate proceedings in a 3-1 success at Wembley on Saturday night.
Trailing by two goals, Christian Eriksen's strike against the run of play gave Spurs hope before the interval. And in fairness, Tottenham looked a different team after the break, hustling and pressing City, pinning the visitors, preventing them from playing out from the back.
But in truth, the capital club never looked like gaining parity, particularly after shipping a third goal 20 minutes from time. Pochettino conceded his side weren't good enough with Davinson Sanchez struggling at the heart of the defence and Harry Kane putting in a subdued performance up top.

Spurs too hot to handle

Brighton 7.60 have collected a solitary point from a possible 12 of late despite all four fixtures being labelled as winnable. And the Seagulls' record when taking on the Premier League's elite (W0-D0-L6) suggests the hosts may struggle to avoid another poor result from this encounter on Tuesday night.
Tottenham's 1.51 reverse on Saturday night was their first league loss since mid-December, ending a 14-game unbeaten run (W11-D3-L0). Spurs have W15-D5-L0 against sides in ninth and below this season, including W8-D2-L0 on their travels - five of those victories arriving alongside a clean sheet.
Even so, arguably even more eye-catching is the visitors' record against promoted clubs under Mauricio Pochettino's tutelage. Tottenham boast a phenomenal W21-D1-L0 in 22 Premier League meetings with promoted sides since the Argentine arrived at the club.
This term, Spurs have beaten all four new arrivals 'to nil' - three of which concluded 2-0 - and so with Brighton scoring just once in nine hours against the Big Six, backing the visitors to win by 1-0 8.20 and 2-0 8.40 correct scores appeals.

Go low on goals

Saturday's gut-wrenching defeat at rivals Crystal Palace was only the second occasion this season that Brighton had conceded more than two goals in their 32 outings. Chris Hughton's men tend to be tight operators and that's reflected in their 22/32 (67%) return of successful Under 2.5 Goals winner.
Considering Tottenham tend to offer a much more conservative approach on their travels, producing Under 2.5 Goals profit in five of their past seven when visiting bottom-half dwellers, opposing goals appeals at 2.20 on Tuesday night.

RECOMMENDED BETS

Back Tottenham to win 1-0 @ 8.20 in Brighton v Tottenham
Back Tottenham to win 2-0 @ 8.40 in Brighton v Tottenham