Weblog: The football punter

Chelsea v Arsenal preview

Sky Sports Premier League/Main Event, 1.30pm Sunday

Arsenal upset the odds to deny Chelsea a domestic double in last season's FA Cup final but as outsiders they have generally been an expensive side to follow and Arsene Wenger's side are likely to come up short in their latest battle against one of the Premier League's elite.

The Gunners were thumped 4-0 at Liverpool before the international break, which will have come as little surprise to those who have followed the trend of avoiding Arsenal at bigger prices.

That Anfield hammering was the 18th time since the start of the 2013-14 season that Arsenal were being offered at odds of 2-1 or greater and putting blind faith in Wenger's men to a £1 stake on those games would have resulted in a loss of £13.35.

Arsenal have failed to win on the last 11 occasions when they have been underdogs in the Premier League and, while it was a different story in last season's FA Cup, the Merseyside massacre is difficult to forget.

The north London outfit have lost on their last five league visits to Stamford Bridge and Chelsea should land the odds even if Arsenal get on the scoresheet, as they managed in the four meetings since Antonio Conte became Blues boss.

The last of those was the Community Shield, which Arsenal won on penalties, but Chelsea did not look ready for their title defence with injuries to key men and late transfer dealings.

That carried on into the season with a 3-2 home loss to Burnley, although the red cards to Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas definitely played a part in a result which was quickly forgotten as Chelsea grabbed a late victory over Tottenham next time out.

The Spurs result seemed to settle the champions, who deservedly beat Everton (2-0) and Leicester (2-1) before the 6-0 stroll over Qarabag in the Champions League.

Conte had the luxury of resting key men on Tuesday but he will have his strongest squad of the season available with Eden Hazard fit and skipper Cahill returning from a three-match domestic ban.

Hazard proved to the the difference in the Stamford Bridge league meeting in February, scoring a glorious individual goal, and Arsenal will have to defend well to stop him influencing the match.

Arsenal will also need to find a way of nullifying the threat of Alvaro Morata, who has scored three times in this season's Premier League, all of them headers.

Defending, however, is not Arsenal's forte but with Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and presumably Alexandre Lacazette, who was dropped at Anfield, in the forward line there is enough quality in the visiting ranks to make this derby well worth watching.

Chelsea to win 2-1 or 3-1


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Match in Focus


Alaves v Leganes

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Alaves have won their last five home fixtures
Expert verdict
Leganes put a lot of effort into a 1-0 loss at home to Real Madrid in a Copa del Rey quarter-final, first leg on Thursday and may not be fully recovered for their clash at Alaves just three days later. Alaves have won seven of their last ten matches and look a decent bet to land another three points.