Weblog: The football punter

Stoke no joke to keep Reds seeking a solution

COME on then, hands up who thought Chelsea and Sunderland would meet on November 29 with only three defeats between them in 24 Premier League games?


But that's the situation as unbeaten Chelsea head to the Stadium of Light, with the Black Cats having been run over only three times in their 12 games. To put that into perspective, that's half as many times as Liverpool, who have lost half of their first dozen matches.

The Reds are odds-on to beat Stoke on Saturday. The Potters have lost one fewer game than them, but obviously don't have the eye-catching form of a 2-2 draw at Ludogorets to their name which has clearly impressed the bookmakers.

Stoke look big to me at 4-1 and better against a success-starved home side, especially as it's unlikely they spent this week travelling to Bulgaria (yes, I had to look it up) and back.

Sunderland's problem, given that they have suffered the same number of defeats as fourth-placed Man United and fifth-placed Newcastle, is that they have the same number of wins as the bottom four sides - just two.

They were the team who ended Chelsea's 77-match unbeaten home record last season and are also taking on the Blues after a Champions League trip to Germany (I didn't have to look that one up).

But I can't pull the trigger on Jose Mourinho's men coming a cropper on Wearside and for a second bet at a fair price I'll take Villa to win at Burnley. The Clarets have won two in a row after failing in their first ten league outings. That won't last forever.


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Match in Focus


Freiburg v Stuttgart

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Stuttgart have won six of their last eight matches against Freiburg
Expert verdict
Armin Veh’s disastrous reign as Stuttgart boss came to an end earlier this week and it will be interesting to see whether Huub Stevens’ return to the club can lift the side currently bottom of the Bundesliga. It may work initially and Stuttgart can grab a point at Freiburg, who have drawn six of their 12 Bundesliga matches.