Burnley’s 1-0 win over Watford on Saturday was significant because the Hornets were one place behind the Clarets in the top half of the Premier League. Burnley’s win has seen them open up a five-point gap between 7th and 8th place, and they are currently on the same points total as Tottenham in 6th.
Sean Dyche’s side were our early season long shot to finish highest in the Premier League (without the top six), and while we’re not getting too smug just yet, at least the Clarets are giving us a real run for our money. On Tuesday night they entertain a Stoke side which was thrashed 5-1 at Spurs over the weekend, and yet again the bookies are offering generous odds about a Burnley home win.
Crystal Palace can’t buy a win at the moment and they threw away a winning position on Saturday to draw 2-2 with Bournemouth. That’s five stalemates in seven games for the Eagles. Roy Hodgson will be pleased that his team isn’t losing games but they remain rooted to the bottom of the table and are in desperate need of points. Watford are the visitors on Tuesday evening but the Hornets will be no pushovers as they search for more points to maintain their top-half status.
The night’s other game features Huddersfield at home to Chelsea. The Terriers stopped the rot of a four-game losing run over the weekend with a 2-0 win over Brighton. They will be fired up for a game against the Champions, but Chelsea arrive off the back of a disappointing loss at West Ham and will be expected to bounce back.
Burnley v Stoke
Manager Mark Hughes was confronted by angry fans after the humiliation at Spurs and his side holds the dubious honour of having the worst defence in the division this season. They hold 15th place in the league table but are only three points above the drop zone and could easily get dragged into trouble. The Potters have only won once in the last six games – a 2-1 home victory over Swansea – and they’ve lost five of eight matches on the road.
Burnley are this seasons’ high-flyers and have won five of their last seven games. They’ve also won three of the last four at home, with only the late defeat against Arsenal blotting the copybook. The Clarets have despatched Watford, Swansea and Newcastle in recent home games without conceding a goal. Tuesday’s game offers them a chance to gather another three points in front of their own fans and continue to press their credentials for European football.
Crystal Palace v Watford
Crystal Palace and Watford take part in a London derby at Selhurst Park and the draw is the call at odds of +250 with BetVictor.
Christian Benteke’s crazy decision to put himself forward to take a late penalty at Bournemouth came back to haunt the Belgium striker as his weak effort was saved by Bournemouth’s Begovic. His teammates were not impressed and it may prove to be a vital two points dropped. The result consigned Palace to their 5th draw in seven games and they are finding it tough to get their noses in front. At home it’s six games unbeaten, but three of those have been 2-2 draws against West Ham, Everton and Bournemouth.
Watford were always up against it at Burnley after Zeegelaar was given a first-half red card, and they went on to go down by a single goal. Previously they had played well in a 2-4 home defeat to Manchester United and a 1-1 draw with Spurs, and this is a good opportunity to get a result in relatively calmer waters. The Hornets’ other defeats on the road have come at Everton and Chelsea, but they’ve gained away wins at Newcastle, Swansea, Southampton and Bournemouth and will fancy their chances on Tuesday night.
Huddersfield v Chelsea
Chelsea are short odds away at Huddersfield but they should do the business at -222 with BetVictor.
The Blues couldn’t find a way past a dogged West Ham defence on Saturday as they went down to a shock 1-0 defeat at the Hammers, and Antonio Conte will be demanding a response from his players. The Blues are a whopping 14 points behind Manchester City and while the title race may be off, a top-four position is still an important target. Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs are all within four points of the Blues, so they can ill afford to drop points at bottom-half clubs.
Huddersfield’s best result this term was the 2-1 home win over Manchester United, but they have been beaten on their own ground by both Man City and Spurs. The Terriers were most people’s favourites for a swift return to the Championship this season but they have acquitted themselves well in the top-flight, and currently occupy 12th place with 18 points. Home games against the top sides are the matches fans look forward to after promotion and this will be a big night for Huddersfield, but Chelsea class should tell in the end – particularly if they have been read the riot act by an unhappy manager after the performance at West Ham.
Burnley to beat Stoke
Tuesday 12th December, 19:45 GMT
Crystal Palace and Watford to Draw
Tuesday 12th December, 20:00 GMT
Chelsea to beat Huddersfield
Tuesday 12th December, 20:00 GMT