Arsenal v Chelsea – The Emirates at 16:00 live on Sky Sports 1
The main event this afternoon is title deciding clash between the best two teams in the country, yes Chelsea have a ten point lead with just 18pts left to play for but if Arsenal can reduce the gap to seven points with 15pts left to play for, we might finally get a little excitement at the top of the table before the season ends.
Even the most blinkered of Blues fans would have to admit that Chelsea have had it all too easy this year, with no other club able to sustain a realistic challenge to their dominance.
Chelsea’s form of late has been typically Mourinho like, despite winning seven and drawing three of their last ten they have only scored 14 goals during that unbeaten period. Injuries have played a big part in restricting their firepower but with the talent in their squad, they could and should still be scoring more goals.
The cautious, defence first approach which serves Jose Mourinho and any team he manages very well does lead to criticism that they are not the most enjoyable teams to watch, even though they win most of the time.
But, it is great for Asian handicap betting professionals when a strong team like Chelsea rarely blow their opponents away and subsequently fail to cover their handicap. In fact the Blues have only won four of sixteen away league games by more than a single goal this season.
Arsenal on the other hand have been their usual enigmatic selves, making football look ridiculously easy at times and yet still failing to fully convince anyone that they can sustain their quality for the whole season, especially at the highest level in the Champions League.
Arsene Wenger again must be wondering what might have been if his side had got off to a better start than two wins from their opening eight games. Today’s match really could have been a title decider in more than just name.
However, the Gunners are finishing the season like a title winning team, since losing the North London Derby at Spurs back in early February they have won nine straight league matches. During this purple patch, French striker Olivier Giroud has been scoring for fun and despite not keeping many clean sheets they still managed to concede just seven goals over this period.
Arsenal’s home record is excellent but they failed to win when both Manchester clubs came visiting earlier in the season. Similarly, Chelsea’s away record against the top sides is not great, they won at Liverpool but could not beat either Manchester club or Southampton on the road and Tottenham demolished them, 5-3 at White Hart Lane.
Jose’s ability to field a side he believes can go out and win at the Emirates is seriously hampered by the fact Diego Costa, Didier Drogba and Loic Remy are all likely to miss this afternoon’s match through various injuries.
Per Mertesacker is the only doubt for Wenger to worry about, although he has ample cover and his defence might not have anyone to mark anyway. Furthermore, Jose is likely to send his team out to frustrate their more fluid opponents with the primary avenue of attack to hit them on the break when they lose possession.
It is a tactic which has worked for Mourinho in so many big games and with the advantage of a ten point lead over Arsenal, there is simply no need to go out and play open, attacking football today. A draw at Arsenal would be a decent result at any stage of the season and will certainly do for the Blues today.
The Asian handicap betting line for the big match is set at 0.25 and somewhat surprisingly there is a nice bit of value on the visiting, champions elect Chelsea. For some reason the bookmakers seem to have forgotten that Jose quite enjoys playing without any strikers and we certainly do not see it as such a big disadvantage in these circumstances.
With their respective form against other top sides and Chelsea’s likely tactical approach, combined with the market value on the Blues we simply have to back the West Londoners to deliver a result this afternoon and take another step towards an inevitable Premier League crown.
Asian Handicap Betting recommendation: Chelsea +0.25 at 1.89
Price correct at the time of writing.
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