Something for the weekend
Matt Briggs picks out the value on this weekend's coupon with Chelsea fancied to overcome Manchester United.
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Chelsea v Manchester United
The bookies were running for cover over the weekend after six of the top seven in the Premier League all won - with Arsenal to come against Aston Villa on Monday night.
The accumulator army were in punting heaven with Chelsea, Man City, Man United, Everton, Tottenham and Liverpool all doing the business and it might well pay to get on your fancies early this week with the layers likely to shorten all the en vogue sides as the weekend closes in.
One of those en-vogue teams to back early are Chelsea, who are a shade odds-on to sink the faltering champions Manchester United at Stamford Bridge. Jose Mourinho's men are a best-priced 20/23 to chalk up another home win and that will not last until next Sunday afternoon. It's a price by my reckoning that should be closer to 8/13 and if the acca punters are out on force again next weekend with Liverpool, Man City and Arsenal looking home bankers, then by the time the Blues kick-off they could be dramatically shorter than the current 20/23.
Jose Mourinho's men are clicking into gear and only Man City are going better at the current time. The Blues have been formidable at home this term with nine wins and a draw from their 10 games and that statistic alone warrants more respect from the layers.
United have been considerably better away from home than at home this season with six wins from 10 games, but against the fancied teams they have been rolled over. A draw at Tottenham followed defeats at Man City and Liverpool and despite seeing off Swansea last time out they will not travel to the capital full of confidence. Wayne Rooney could return and he will be needed if United are to get anything from the Bridge. Adnan Januzaj is finding his feet, but in truth United's attacking players are struggling for form and Chelsea simply have more matchwinners in their side.
Fernando Torres is showing glimpses of his old self, Eden Hazard is in tremendous form and Willian and Oscar are both starting to show the destructive form they are capable of. Chelsea are also five games unbeaten against United and should have the psychological advantage.
Gillingham v Swindon
Swindon are a team to be feared on home soil in the third tier, but away from home they are vulnerable and the 2/1 about Gillingham looks too generous.
The Robins have lost seven of their 12 away games and face a trip to Stevenage in midweek before their visit to Kent. I'm not sure Swindon will be relishing a trip to Priestfield against a Gills side who are sure to impose themselves on their poor travelling opponents. The Gills sunk Wolves at home last time out and with a potent front two of Danny Kedwell and Cody McDonald in the ranks they are more than capable of adding a sixth home win of the season.
Crewe v Leyton Orient
Crewe host Leyton Orient in League One with the visitors odds-on for another away triumph, but the value seems to be with the Railwaymen.
Steve Davis' men are struggling at the foot of the table, but the 16/5 about them sinking second-placed Orient seems too good to turn down. Crewe have picked up of late with wins over Colchester and Carlisle, while Saturday's defeat at Rotherham could have been a different story had they not missed a penalty. Davis' men led twice and missed from the spot at 2-2 before going on to lose 4-2 at the New York Stadium. Davis thought his men were well worth at least a point and said only the Millers' finishing was the difference.
They will no doubt have to take their chances against the Os, who have won nine games away from Brisbane Road, but they could produce a shock and 16/5 seems too big.
- Selections given in order of preference.