Improving Chelsea can stake a claim for fourth

CHELSEA vs TOTTENHAM

Tomorrow – 12.45pm Sky Sports 2

ANDRE Villas-Boas must be wondering what his former Chelsea players have been eating for breakfast since he was sacked earlier this month. The Blues have looked a completely different side since Roberto di Matteo took over, winning four of five across all competitions, and almost becoming the first team this season to leave the Etihad Stadium with some points on Wednesday night.

The Blues would have been lucky to have taken all three against Manchester City, but they are definitely playing with more confidence at the moment. They have a good chance of progressing to the semi-finals of the Champions League and they are second favourites for the FA Cup. So, a season that was slipping away from them just a few weeks ago is suddenly coming good.

Tottenham looked absolute certainties to finish third in early March, but the way things are going they could quite easily miss out on the Champions League. Yes, they have had a tough run of fixtures, but they have taken just a point from their last four league games and only managed that thanks to an injury time Rafael van der Vaart equaliser against Stoke in midweek.

Harry Redknapp needs a change of luck, but he couldn’t wish for a much more difficult fixture than a trip to Stamford Bridge. Spurs have a reasonable record against the Blues at home, but they haven’t won in this part of West London for 22 years and have lost five of the last six.

As I’ve mentioned before in the past few weeks, Spurs haven’t been playing badly – they just seem to have lost their cutting edge. Redknapp will know that a positive result against Chelsea will act as a catalyst for the remainder of the season, but I think it’s going to be a real struggle for his side.

Chelsea need to bounce back from the defeat at Man City, but back on home turf they should be very difficult to beat. The home win is a best price 10/11 with Coral and I’ll be taking that.

There has been fewer than two goals in only one of the last 10 meetings between these sides and I can see them both getting on the scoresheet. Neither team are particularly solid at the back and the 2-1 home win is decent value at 15/2 with Coral. Sporting Index have pitched goals at 2.8-3 and that looks about right.

Coral are also refunding losing bets on first/last goalscorer, correct score and scorecasts if three or more goals are scored in the first hour, which wouldn’t be the biggest shock.

POINTERS...

Chelsea at EVS with Coral
Chelsea to win 2-1 at 8/1 on Betfair

STOKE vs MANCHESTER CITY

Tomorrow – 5.30pm ESPN

THERE are always some huge moments in Premier League title races – Ryan Giggs’s late winner at Norwich last month was one, but perhaps even more important was Samir Nasri’s winning goal against Chelsea on Wednesday.

In recent weeks Manchester City haven’t looked as deadly as they did in the early stages of the season, but a moment of magic from Nasri and Carlos Tevez gave City the win they desperately needed. A draw would have been disappointing, but a defeat, which was looking likely before Sergio Aguero’s penalty, would have been a complete disaster and would have effectively ended their title aspirations.

Things are looking rosier now for Roberto Mancini, although he will make sure his players don’t get complacent with another huge game at Stoke tomorrow evening. City are yet to win at the Britannia Stadium in three league games since the Potters were promoted in 2008/09 and now would be a very good time for them to pick up their first win in Staffordshire.

There aren’t many tougher places to visit than the Britannia and Tony Pulis always has his team very well-organised. They seem to raise their game against the better opponents and it will be a very tough 90 minutes for City’s ‘galacticos’.

Stoke were unlucky not to take all three points at White Hart Lane on Wednesday night, but they will be relishing another match in front of their passionate fans. That said, this is a must win game for City and I just fancy them to shade it with the quality in their squad.

City can be backed at 4/6 on Betfair which isn’t a bad price, although my main bet will be the 1-0 correct scoreline at around 6/1. There have been just five goals in the three league games between these two at the Britannia, so it’s also worth selling total goals at 2.5 with Sporting Index.

POINTERS...

Manchester City at 4/6 on Betfair
Manchester City to win 1-0 at 6/1 general
Sell total goals at 2.5 with Sporting Index

SWANSEA vs EVERTON

Tomorrow – 3.00pm

NOT many sides have impressed me more than Swansea this season and manager Brendan Rodgers should be congratulated for sticking with his philosophy of playing decent, free-flowing football. The Swans have been a breath of fresh air and their home record is outstanding, losing just twice at the Liberty Stadium and beating both Arsenal and Manchester City.

Their away form hasn’t been too shabby in recent weeks, either, when they have won three of their last four on the road. This is going to be a real test for Everton who have stuttered in the past couple of weeks.

David Moyes’s side beat Spurs a few weeks ago, but since then they have lost against Liverpool and Arsenal in the Premier League and drawn against Sunderland in the quarter-final of the FA Cup. The replay takes place on Tuesday night and I just think Moyes will be focusing more on that than tomorrow’s game.

The Toffees would love to win a trophy this season and a mid-table position is the best they can really hope for in the league. Swansea, on the other hand, want to end the season as high as possible and they look a good bet at 5/4 with Paddy Power.

There have only been 29 goals in the Swans’ 14 home matches this season and I can see another low scoring contest tomorrow. Back the 1-0 home win at 7/1 on Betfair and sell total goals at 2.3 with Sporting Index.

POINTERS...

Swansea at 5/4 with Paddy Power
Swansea to win 1-0 at 7/1 on Betfair
Sell total goals at 2.3 with Sporting Index