Premier League Preview and Prediction: Southampton vs Chelsea

Competition: Major League Soccer – Southampton vs. Chelsea

Venue: St Mary’s Stadium – Sunday, October 30 – 16:00 GMT (12:00 ET) 

Match Odds: Southampton 19/10 – Draw 12/5 – Chelsea 7/5

Match Preview

Southampton welcome Chelsea to St Mary’s Stadium on Sunday afternoon in a tie that has the makings of a classic, with both sides looking for three more points as they continue strong starts to the season.

The Saints are in a great run of form, unbeaten in five and are working their way up the Premier League table. Southampton come into this one having progressed in the League Cup in midweek. They drew their last league outing 1-1 away against City in what was an impressive display.

Claude Puel will be pleased with how has side are developing in the early stages of this season and will know they can cause any opponent trouble at home.

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Chelsea were knocked out of the League Cup midweek and will be looking to bounce back here. They demolished United 4-0 last weekend in what was easily their best performance of the season so far.

Antonio Conte is generally pleased with how his side have been playing in the league of late. He switched to 3-4-3 and has seen Chelsea win three on the bounce in the league since doing so.

The Blues are up to 4th, just one point off the top and back in familiar territory in stark comparison to last season. Chelsea need to ensure they pick up maximum points from their next three games before they face some other title contenders in back-to-back fixtures next month.

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Team News

Southampton are expected to be without Matt Target, Jay Rodriguez, Shane Long and Jeremy Pied for the visit of Chelsea here. Sofiane Boufal may keep his place in the side after scoring a fine goal in the League Cup against Sunderland on Wednesday.

Chelsea don’t have a huge injury list but are still expected to be without Cesc Fabregas, while Kurt Zouma, Branislav Ivanovic and John Obi Mikel are still unlikely to be named in the squad despite progression in their fitness.

Key Points

Southampton’s last five: W/W/D/W/D

Chelsea’s last five: L/L/W/W/W

Key Stat: Southampton are unbeaten in their last nine home Premier League games.

Key Player: N’Golo Kante – The Chelsea midfielder completely dominated the middle of the park against United last Sunday and continually moved the ball to his attacking teammates. If he plays like that again this weekend, Chelsea have a great chance of winning what is a tricky away fixture.

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Score Prediction

Southampton 1-1 Chelsea – St Mary’s is never an easy place to visit and Southampton will be feeling confident of getting another positive home result against a strong side. Chelsea’s momentum was rocked slightly in midweek and they will be eager to avoid defeat here.


Premier League Preview and Prediction: Chelsea vs Leicester City

Competition: Premier League – Chelsea FC vs. Leicester City FC

Venue: Stamford Bridge – Saturday, October 15 – 12:30 BST (07:30 ET) 

Match Odds: Chelsea 4/7 – Draw 16/5 – Leicester 9/2

Match Preview

Chelsea welcome champions Leicester to Stamford Bridge on Saturday in the opening game of the Premier League fixtures this weekend.

The Blues are clearly still in a rebuilding phase after last season. They have looked inconsistent and vulnerable in a number of games already.

Antonio Conte’s side won 2-0 away at Hull in their last Premier League outing, three points they desperately needed, having lost their previous two games.

Chelsea are already a way off the pace in the title race. They’re sitting 7th, five points off the top and three outside of the top four.

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Leicester City are also in a run of unfavourable form. They have won just two of their seven games this season and are just four points above the relegation zone.

The Foxes have struggled against the so-called ‘big sides’ this season and have failed to pick up points in games they seemed to breeze through in their title-winning campaign.

Claudio Ranieri’s side come into this one having drawn 0-0 against Southampton. Although Leicester are performing well in the Champions League, they are struggling to relay that form domestically.

Leicester have to see this as a tie they can pick up a positive result in. Chelsea conceded twice in their last league game at Stamford Bridge and have looked shaky defensively.

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Team News

Chelsea are expected to be handed a defensive boost with the return of their captain John Terry. Kurt Zouma and John Obi Mikel are both expected to be out, while Victor Moses is a doubt. Willian is unavailable for selection due the passing of his mother this week.

Leicester City’s squad is in good shape for this tie. They are only expecting to be without Matthew James, so Claudio Ranieri has the luxury of a strong bench regardless of what starting XI he selects.

Key Points

Chelsea’s last five: W/D/L/L/W

Leicester’s last five: W/L/W/L/D

Key Stat: These two sides have been inconsistent in their last five games, picking up the same amount of points (7).

Key Player: Diego Costa – The Premier League’s leading goal scorer this season has been in fine form. Costa has netted six times

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Score Prediction

Chelsea 1-1 Leicester – Chelsea to come unstuck at home once again. They are looking far better than last season but defensive problems are there for all to see. Leicester need to begin picking up points to avoid being drawn into a rut of form. This would be a good result for Ranieri’s side, who posses the ability to damage Chelsea on the counter attack.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Manchester City vs Chelsea

Competition: Premier League – Manchester City vs. Chelsea

Venue: Etihad Stadium – Sunday, August 16 – 16.00 BST (11.00 ET)

Match Odds: Manchester City 11/10 – Draw 12/5 – Chelsea 12/5

Match Preview

Manchester City vs Chelsea. It’s a crucial fixture as Sunday afternoon will see Manuel Pellegrini’s men host defending champions Chelsea in a match which pits two of the heavy favourites to win the Premier League against each other in the first major clash of the 2015-16 campaign.

The Manchester side come into this game off the back of a convincing and dominant display away at the Hawthorns against West Brom on Monday, winning 3-0. Not only was it just a convincing victory but Yaya Toure returned to form netting two goals and looking back to his best, with David Silva also instrumental.

Man City have scored eight goals in their last two home games in the Premier League, which shows how clinical they are in front of their home crowd and that will be a concern for Chelsea.

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City have also won their last seven Premier league games, with four of these victories coming at home.

Chelsea have only suffered one defeat in their last 19 Premier League games, which just shows you how resilient they are.

They have taken four points out of a possible 6 in their last two visits to the Etihad and will travel north looking to remain tight and avoid defeat.

Chelsea tend to adopt a different approach when it comes to the bigger games. Their negative approach tends to be scrutinised, however it has proved effective in recent years.

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A City win here would see them move five points clear of Chelsea at the top of the league after just two weeks, and that would be a huge advantage that Jose Mourinho will be desperate to avoid giving his title rivals.

Team News

Manchester City are without Fabian Delph and Fernando through injury. Yaya Toure is a minor doubt but is expected to start. Gael Clichy is also a doubt and Sergio Aguero has a lack of match fitness so will most likely will feature from the bench again.

Chelsea midfielder Oscar has a knock and is a doubt for Sunday’s trip. Thibaut Courtois is suspended after his red card against Swansea so Asmir Begovic will start in goal. Diego Costa will lead the attack with Willian and Eden Hazard set to continue out wide.

Key Points

Manchester City’s form: W

Chelsea’s form: D

Key Stat: Manchester City have failed to beat Chelsea in Premier League since February 2013.

Key Player: Eden Hazard – The current PFA Player of the Year is one of the best players in the world at the moment and if he can continue to produce the level of performances that he did last season it’s easy to see him causing Man City a massive problem come Sunday. His lightning quick pace and agility to match can hurt any side and don’t be surprised to see the young Belgian create several opportunities and perhaps even get on the scoresheet.

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Score Prediction

Manchester City 1-2 Chelsea – We can see this game being won in a very tight affair where Chelsea should show their defensive resilience and catch Man City on the counter, We can’t see either team keeping the other out and so both teams scoring is likely. Chelsea have the advantage of being champions and ill be favourites for a win.

Could Chelsea beat Liverpool to this £32.5m star to replace MLS bound Drogba?

Chelsea striker Didier Drogba is set to leave the club with MLS his most likely destination, leaving the Blues with only two recognised Premier League forwards on the books in the shape of Diego Costa and Loic Remy.

Jose Mourinho will expectedly be lining up a replacement for the Ivorian as both Costa and Remy are prone to injuries, so strength in depth could be the key to retaining the Premier League crown next season.

It has been revealed this week that Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke has a buyout clause of £32.5m and manager Tim Sherwood has admitted that should anyone meet the asking price, there is nothing Villa can do to stop him leaving.

“There’s a buyout clause in his contract so it will be impossible for us to stop him if he wants to go. Someone’s got to meet that buyout clause and if they don’t, it won’t be considered because we don’t want to lose him,” said Sherwood, as reported by The Guardian.

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Benteke enjoyed an impressive end to the season with Villa, netting 11 times in his final 11 league games, as well as helping them to the FA Cup final with a goal in the 2-1 semi-final win over Liverpool.

Sherwood knows that the cup final could be the Belgian striker’s last game for the club but has urged him to stay at Villa Park in order to hold out for a possible dream move next summer.

“We’re building up to a European Championship, which is a huge stage for Christian, and a tournament where you feel that Belgium will be one of the favourites to win it. By playing for Aston Villa it hasn’t hindered him being the first choice for Belgium up to now.

“If he were to stay here and score at the ratio that he has since I took over, and ends up with 20 or 30 goals next season and then has a good Euros, he is probably playing for Real Madrid [by 2016]. Christian could go to the best club in the world if he scores 30 goals next season. He could be that good.”

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Liverpool have already been strongly linked with the 24-year-old but a move to a side playing Champions League football could be more appealing.

Because of Benteke’s stature and strength, he is a player in a similar mould to Drogba and would suit Chelsea’s style of play under Mourinho, who likes physically imposing forwards to lead the line, therefore making the Belgian an ideal replacement.

Could Christian Benteke move to Chelsea this summer?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Chelsea vs Liverpool

Competition: Premier League – Chelsea vs. Liverpool

Venue: Stamford Bridge – Sunday, May 10th – 16:00 BST (11:00 ET)

Match Odds: Chelsea 21/20 – Draw 5/2 – Liverpool 11/4

Match Preview

Premier League champions Chelsea welcome Liverpool to Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon with the visitors set to give the Blues a guard of honour after they secured the title last weekend.

Jose Mourinho‘s side clinched the Premier League crown when they beat Crystal Palace 1-0 last Sunday thanks to another goal from the PFA Players’ Player of the Year, Eden Hazard.

Chelsea have been subjected to criticism from some who have labelled them “boring” but the Blues will care little now that the title is on the sideboard alongside the League Cup in what has been a fantastic season.

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Mourinho could be tempted to field an experimental side with nothing on the line, although it’s unlikely he will make too many changes as they look to finish the season as strongly as possible. The fans creating a party atmosphere inside Stamford Bridge will still be expecting a good performance.

Liverpool arrive in London knowing they absolutely have to take all three points if they are to prolong any very faint hopes of finishing in the top four as they sit seven points behind Manchester United with only two games remaining after this one.

Brendan Rodgers will know that defeat for his team means they cannot finish in the Champions League places, while a draw will make it almost mathematically impossible given United’s superior goal difference, so they can throw caution to the wind and try to get at Chelsea.

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The Reds won their last game 2-1 at home to QPR but have recorded just two victories in their last six games (D1, L3) and have lost on all of their visits to the other three sides in the top four, so they need to break that trend here.

These two sides last met in the Capital One Cup semi-final which saw Chelsea prevail with a 2-1 aggregate win over the two legs. The reverse fixture in the Premier League at Anfield back in November 2014 ended with a 2-1 win for Chelsea.

Team News

Chelsea will be without the injured Oscar, while Diego Costa could return to action. Ramires is expected to miss out through illness.

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Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge will be out until September following a hip operation. Jon Flanagan and Mamadou Sakho are both out nursing injuries, while Mario Balotelli and Lucas Leiva could return to the side.

Key Points

Chelsea’s last five: W/W/D/W/W

Liverpool’s last five: L/W/D/L/W

Key Stat: Chelsea are unbeaten against Liverpool in their last five Premier League meetings (W3, D2).

Key Player: John Terry – Should the Chelsea skipper start the game, he will once again be vital at the heart of the defence, just as he has been all season. His performances have been one of the main reasons for their success.

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Score Prediction

Chelsea 1-0 Liverpool – Despite the pressure being off now that the Premier League title is already won, Mourinho won’t allow his side to let up and another efficient performance should see Chelsea just edge it.

Chelsea star praises character of the team

Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas scored a last-gasp winner for the Blues at Loftus Road to secure a 1-0 victory over QPR on Sunday afternoon, and the Spaniard has praised the character of the team.

“The win was vital. We are playing for the most important trophy of the season and we are up there since the first day so we have to continue that,” Fabregas told Chelsea’s official club website.

“We know that some teams are putting pressure on from behind and we want to be solid, win out the games and this shows the character of this team.”

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The win restored a seven-point lead over Arsenal at the top of the Premier League for Jose Mourinho‘s side, although Fabregas admitted that it wasn’t an easy game and QPR’s performance, as well as the conditions, were tough on Chelsea, but feels they dealt with it well.

“It was very difficult to play this game with wind, the pitch was very dry, and it was not the circumstances we want to play football. That obviously is a positive advantage for QPR but we still showed great mentality and we never gave up.

“Even in the difficult moments we coped very well with the game and Didier Drogba played a big part because he held onto the ball very well up front and that gave us life through the game.”

Chelsea welcome third-placed Manchester United to Stamford Bridge next weekend before a visit to the Emirates Stadium to take on second-placed Arsenal the week after in two games that will surely play a huge part in determining the final outcome of this Premier League season.

How good is the character of this Chelsea team?

Chelsea star running out of time to break Arsenal legend’s record

Cesc Fabregas couldn’t have dreamed of a better start to life with Chelsea as his first ten Premier League games with the club saw him rack up an impressive nine assists.

Despite being quick out of the blocks this season, Fabregas has tailed off slightly and the assists have dried up with just two in his last seven league appearances.

The Spanish playmaker is now currently on 16 assists for the whole season and after his blistering start, Fabregas was tipped to break the all-time Premier League record for most assists in a campaign – a record currently held by Arsenal legend Thierry Henry.

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Henry laid on a monumental 20 goals for his teammates in the 2002/03 campaign and the closest anyone has come since was when Frank Lampard set-up 18 in the 2004/05 season while playing for Chelsea – Fabregas himself also recorded 17 assists in the 2007/08 season for Arsenal.

Most assists in a Premier League season:

  • 2002/03: Thierry Henry (Arsenal) – 20
  • 2004/05: Frank Lampard (Chelsea) – 18
  • 2007/08: Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal) – 17
  • 1992/93: Eric Cantona (Manchester United) – 16
  • 2014/15: Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea) – 16*

With nine games remaining, Fabregas has got a little bit more work to do if he is to break the record and he’ll certainly need to pick up the pace once again.

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The 27 year old had already set-up six goals in his first four Premier League games, so if he can replicate that kind of form, then he certainly stands a great chance of becoming the record holder.

Chelsea’s remaining fixtures:

  • 04 April – Stoke City (home)
  • 12 April – QPR (away)
  • 18 April – Manchester United (home)
  • 26 April – Arsenal (away)
  • 29 April – Leicester City (away)
  • 02 May – Crystal Palace (home)
  • 09 May – Liverpool (home)
  • 16 May – West Brom (away)
  • 24 May – Sunderland (home)

Stats: Chelsea & Manchester United most clinical Premier League teams

Chelsea are closing in on their fourth Premier League title as they lead second-placed Manchester City by six points and also have a game-in-hand on the reigning champions, with nine left to play.

It will come as no surprise that Jose Mourinho‘s side have been the most clinical when it comes to taking chances this season.

Manchester City have scored the most goals with 62 and Chelsea are just one behind on 61, but City have taken 84 more shots than the Blues.

Manuel Pellegrini‘s men have in fact taken the most shots in the league, as shown below in this stats table:

Most clinical Premier League teams in 2014/15

Most clinical Premier League teams in 2014/15 (stats via Squawka)

The numbers show that Chelsea need the least shots out of anyone to score a goal and it takes them an average of 7.38 shots to find the net, while Manchester United are the next most clinical, requiring 7.52 shots-per-goal.

Despite being the highest goalscoring team in the league, Manchester City are only the fifth most clinical as both Arsenal and Tottenham have a better shots-per-goal ratio.

Arsenal have often been criticised for not shooting enough but only Man City have had more efforts than the Gunners.

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Aston Villa are by far the most wasteful team in the Premier League as it takes them almost 17 shots to score a goal – a staggering statistic.

Again, it’s not a huge shock to see that the five least clinical teams in the division are the same five teams that find themselves at the bottom of the table.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Hull City vs Chelsea

Competition: Premier League – Hull City vs. Chelsea

Venue: KC Stadium – Sunday, March 22 – 16:00 GMT (12:00 ET)

Match Odds: Hull City 13/2 – Draw 100/30 – Chelsea 4/9

Match Preview

Hull City battle Chelsea at the KC Stadium on Sunday afternoon as the Blues look to strengthen their case to be Premier League champions, while a win for the Tigers would further cement their place in the division for the 2015/2016 season.

Hull are looking to score their first goal against the league leaders since their promotion back to the Premier League.

Chelsea will be hoping to bounce back following their 1-1 draw at home to Southampton last weekend, whereas Hull are heading back to the KC after a 0-0 draw away at Leicester City.

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Six is the magic number in this fixture

Hull are on 28 points, only six points clear of the relegation places, compared to Chelsea who are six points clear of second placed Manchester City.

Six is also the number of games Hull have won all season, with four of those coming at the KC Stadium.

Chelsea have lost twice and drawn four on their travels this season, totalling six games in which they’ve failed to take all three points when playing away.

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Finally, since Hull’s promotion, the three fixtures between these two sides have ended in a 2-0 win for Chelsea, meaning Chelsea have scored six goals against their opposition since the beginning of the 2013/2014 season.

Team News

Hull City have recently been rocked by the news that striker Nikica Jelavic has been ruled out for six weeks after surgery on his knee. Robbie Brady and James Chester are out but expected to return after the international break. Tom Huddlestone will be suspended after his red card against Leicester. The good news for the Tigers is that Mo Diame and Liam Rosenior should return to the squad this weekend after long term injuries.

Chelsea on the other hand, have no fresh injury concerns with John Obi Mikel the only absentee going into this game. The Blues are likely to field the same lineup as the one that drew with Southampton last weekend.

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Key Points

Hull City’s last five in the Premier League: W/W/L/D/D

Chelsea’s last five in the Premier League: W/W/D/W/D

Key Stat: Hull City haven’t beaten any team in the top of half the table this season as it currently stands.

Key Player: Eden Hazard – The talented winger is vital to Chelsea and always makes them tick. He will be hungry to carry on his goalscoring form against Hull having bagged two goals in his last two games against the Tigers.

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Score Prediction

Hull City 0-2 Chelsea – Chelsea to cruise to a comfortable and routine win against Hull with the same scoreline they’ve beaten the Tigers by in their last three meetings.

MLSGB Premier League Predictions – Gameweek 22

As the transfer window has started to spark up for a few sides, we take a look at this weekends round of fixtures and how each team will fair.

Lewis Addley called four correct results with one correct score in the last edition and this week Jamie Ives will put his brain to the test in trying to predict the results in a crucial weekend of football.

Here’s this week’s Premier League predictions:

Saturday 17th January 2015 (All kick-offs are 15:00 unless otherwise stated)

Aston Villa vs Liverpool

Liverpool have finally gained some momentum in their season with an unbeaten run of five. Aston Villa have a run of their own however, as Paul Lambert’s men are without a win in six. We expect an away win here.

Prediction: 0-2

Burnley vs Crystal Palace

Alan Pardew has kicked off his tenure at Selhurst Park with two wins in two after victories against Dover and Tottenham. He will be wanting to continue this when Palace travel to Turf Moor this weekend. Burnley will not make it easy however, as they haven’t lost in their last three.

Prediction: 1-1

Leicester City vs Stoke City

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Stoke have been the example of inconsistency this season and will be hoping to bounce back from the defeat at the Emirates last weekend, and also to avenge the 1-0 loss they suffered at the hands of their opponents in the reverse fixture. Leicester haven’t lost since Boxing Day.

Prediction: 1-0

Queens Park Rangers vs Manchester United

Without a win in four, QPR will need a solid performance to even earn a point against a United side that will still be licking their wounds from the Southampton game. Can’t see anything but an away win.

Prediction: 1-3

Swansea City vs Chelsea

Without Wilfried Bony, Swansea lack an end product and a presence up front. Chelsea, on the other hand, look primed and ready for a title race. Swansea will be as hard to beat as usual, but I think a draw is the best they can hope for.

Prediction: 1-2

Tottenham Hotspur vs Sunderland

Spurs come off the back of an embarrassing defeat to Crystal Palace last time out and Sunderland have lost three of their last four in the league. Both teams will be hoping to pick up the points here but I think Spurs will be too strong.

Prediction 2-1

Newcastle United vs Southampton (17:30)

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The Saturday evening game sees the seasons surprise package Southampton travel to St. James’ Park. Southampton come off the back of beating United at Old Trafford and so will be full of confidence. Newcastle have recently lost their manager. Hard to see anything but an away win.

Prediction: 0-1

Sunday 18 January 2015

West Ham United vs Hull City (13:30)

West Ham have been brilliant this season and Andy Carroll has given them a huge boost mid-season. Hull have struggled to produce the performances that saw them reach an FA Cup final last season. West Ham look too good to beat at the moment. Home win.

Prediction: 2-0

Manchester City vs Arsenal (16:00)

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The stand out fixture of the weekend sees the champions against Arsenal. The Etihad will play host to the Gunners and with Alexis Sanchez in full flow this game should be entertaining. A repeat of the reverse fixture would be perfect. Score draw for us.

Prediction: 2-2

Monday 19 January 2015 (20:00)

Everton vs West Brom

Both teams with struggles, and Everton look like an entirely different side from the side that finished fifth last season. Tony Pulis will have his West Brom side set up strong and they will be hard to beat. A draw wouldn’t be a bad result for either. But I think Everton will turn things around.

Prediction: 2-1

How do you think gameweek 22 will shape up in the Premier League?