Something for the weekend
Matt Briggs picks out the value on this weekend's coupon with Manchester City fancied to win their big showdown with Chelsea.
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Manchester City v Chelsea
Manchester City have not just been winning at home they have been dismantling teams with four, four, five and six the number of goals they have fired in their last four home games.
Three of those victories were cup games against West Ham, Blackburn and Watford but the hosts have been equally as impressive in the Premier League with a perfect home record - hitting six in wins against Tottenham and Arsenal. Eleven wins from 11 warrants the utmost respect and the 10/11 about number 12 against Chelsea certainly doesn't look like a respectful price for the hosts and it's worth taking quickly before it gets hoovered up.
Manchester United, Liverpool, Everton and the two North London clubs have all been beaten at the Etihad and the near even-money shot about a win over Chelsea to complete a top-six clean sweep looks a must. City have got match-winners all over the field with Yaya Toure, Sergio Aguero, Jesus Navas and Fernandinho all on top of their games and they will have too much firepower for Chelsea, despite their good recent form.
Jose Mourinho's men are clicking into top gear, but away from home they still look vulnerable. Mourinho's men have lost three times away from the Bridge and it is unlikely they will be able to stop City from scoring - like they did at Arsenal - with City's array of firepower.
Crewe v Sheffield United
Sheffield United's away record in League One is awful, with just one win and nine defeats from 13 games and on that basis it makes sense to take them on at Crewe.
Ahead of the midweek action the two sides were separated by just a point and you would expect the bookies to price the game up in favour of the struggling hosts, but that's not the case with Crewe a tempting 21/10 shot and the Blades a skinny 6/4. Despite United's recent influx of new signings they are still struggling to pick up points on the road and the three recent defeats at Notts County, Walsall and Tranmere illustrate their fragility. Key central defender Harry Maguire limped off against Fulham and he will be doubtful for the weekend, while captain and central midfielder Michael Doyle was sent off so he will be banned for the trip.
Crewe have been a pick in this column before and disappointed, but their recent 2-0 home win over MK Dons shows they can get the job done at Gresty Road and they look too big to capitalise on the Blades' FA Cup exertions.
Watford v Brighton
Watford looked like producing the shock of the season last weekend when they were 2-0 up at Man City, but Sergio Aguero ruined that dream and the Hornets return to the Championship in a real slump.
Just one league win in 14 has seen them drop into the lower half of the table and there's no reason why they should be so fancied by the bookies at home to Brighton. The hosts are 6/4 shots, but with six home defeats from their last eight games they look woefully short and Brighton (11/5) are more than capable of cashing in.
Ahead of the midweek programme the Seagulls had collected five away wins from 13 and managed a 3-1 away success at Port Vale in the FA Cup. They find themselves on the cusp of the play-offs and look a decent bet to take advantage of the home side's nervousness by nicking the points, but only one layer is offering the 11/5 so you will need to be quick.
Chesterfield v Bristol Rovers
It's fair to Bristol Rovers will not be jumping off the page at prospective punters next weekend, but The Gas are well worth a punt at Chesterfield.
The visitors are a tasty-looking 19/4 to grab what would be only their second away win in League Two all season. Rovers have though won away at Crawley and York in the FA Cup and before the midweek action their recent form - four wins from their last eight games - has them much higher in the form table than in the real standings which pits them in 18th spot. Having watched them a couple of times last season I had them down as lively promotion outsiders and although they have disappointed so far this term, John Ward is now starting to find some consistency.
Chesterfield meanwhile are chasing promotion and sit in sixth place at the time of writing, but they have not swept away all before them at home. The Spireites will be desperate to improve their home points tally with six draws and two defeats from their 15 games. Recent home draws with struggling Hartlepool and Dagenham certainly give Rovers hope and they are well worth taking a chance on at nearly 5/1.