Situation to conspire against Blues at Anfield
Chelsea cannot park the bus at Anfield because of the state of the English Premier League ladder so back Liverpool to beat the Blues and move within touching distance of its first English title since the competition was rebadged.
Five points behind Liverpool with only three English Premier League games up its sleeve – not to forget an inferior goal difference – Chelsea has not choice other than to go for it at Anfield. Unless, that is, Blues boss Jose Mourinho is more concerned about finishing in the top three than he is about having a crack at winning the championship. Surely, though, even the Special One will set up his side to be somewhat more adventurous than it has been in its other matches away to the heavyweights of European football.
The English Premier League game of the round sets up really well for Liverpool. It is not essential that Liverpool beat Chelsea because it requires seven points from its last three English Premier League matches to take out the championship, irrespective of what Chelsea and Manchester City do in their games. Liverpool can afford to draw at home to Chelsea and still be in charge of its own destiny, with games against mid-table Crystal Palace and Newcastle around the corner.
Liverpool can afford to play the waiting game versus Chelsea at Anfield because, sooner or later, the Blues will have to commit players forward and leave themselves exposed to the English Premier League’s best counter-attacking team. The only thing that could throw a spanner into the works is if Chelsea somehow grabs an early goal. If Liverpool can stop Chelsea from getting an early lead then the dynamics of the match should work in favour of Brendan Rodgers and his side.
Eleven English Premier League wins in a row have catapulted Liverpool from fourth to first on the ladder and, if there is such a thing as momentum in sport, the Reds have it so back them at odds of 1.80 with Totesport for three points.
Arsenal is an English Premier League team for multiple bets at odds of 1.33 with Ladbrokes and Totesport to account for out-of-form Newcastle at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal’s run home means that it should fend off Everton in the race for a UEFA Champions League berth. Arsenal may not be playing its best football but it ought not need to be at its best to get the better of a Newcastle side that is finishing its campaign in relegation-style form.
Newcastle has lost five English Premier League games on the bounce, dropped six of its last seven and copped a fair few hidings, including 0-4 defeats versus Manchester United and Southampton. Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is under all sorts of pressure and his days appear numbered.
Arsenal won the reverse English Premier League fixture 1-0 in December, Gunners striker Oliver Giroud scoring the only goal of the match at Newcastle’s St James’s Park.
Finally, Sunderland appeals at odds of 2.00 with Ladbrokes to beat Cardiff in the English Premier League relegation battle between two of the bottom three teams on Wearside.
It is conceivable that Sunderland, which looked dead and buried two weeks ago, could end the weekend outside the English Premier League drop zone and still have a game in hand on most of its relegation rivals. Both Sunderland and Cardiff has picked up four points from its last two English Premier League matches but Sunderland’s exploits have been outstanding and home advantage is huge for such a clash.