The Saturday afternoon live TV fixture brings together one of the richest teams in the Premier League and one of the poorest. Bournemouth from the south coast visit Chelsea in West London and the vagaries of sport could see an away win and more pressure for Jose Mourinho. It’s a case of the haves versus the have nots but every dog has his day and this could be Bournemouth’s.
By the time this fixture begins Manchester City can have consolidated their position at the top of the table by winning on the road at Stoke. Despite some injury issues the former are still the best team in the league and with no strong alternatives look a good bet to be champions for the third time in five years. However, pending on results City could be down to fourth at the end of the weekend.
The televised fixture between Newcastle and Liverpool is the tale of two managers one of whom could be out of work by Monday morning and the other given the freedom of the city of Liverpool. Newcastle are a disparate bunch of mercenaries and Steve McLaren is unable to organise or motivate them. Meanwhile Jurgen Klopp is the new messiah and can take Liverpool into the Champions League.
A journey from London to Liverpool and back on a Monday night in December is not appealing. However, Crystal Palace will not go unsupported when they visit Everton for the final TV match of this weekend’s schedule. This could be a Europa League decider as both sides are in the second tier of clubs for whom the Champions League is beyond them but the second ranking European tournament is feasible.
Bournemouth have never played Chelsea in a league fixture since the 1988-89 season when both clubs were in the old Second Division which is now called the Championship. They met in a League Cup tie in1994 so all past head-to-head form is irrelevant but Bournemouth have won just one of the five previous meetings. Even on current form Chelsea are worthy match favourites but another home defeat would be the nadir for Mourinho and could see him losing his job.
Bournemouth are the 47th newest members of the Premier League and one of the smallest clubs to play at this level. Despite several key injuries they have not been disgraced but an immediate return to the Championship looks sadly inevitable. Despite investment from a Russian millionaire the cub don’t have the resources to survive but a day out in London and unlikely win would be a highlight of the season.
Before a ball was kicked Chelsea were seen as the biggest threat to another Manchester City title winning season. That projection has not materialised and though Arsenal and Manchester United are in the mix Leicester City and Tottenham are now still in contention. However, City have a decent run of fixtures and could decide matters before the end of the year and beating Stoke will be the start of that process.
Stoke are becalmed in mid-table safety which is a good achievement for a club with their financial clout and stadium They are owned and backed by the Coates family who founded bet365, one of the massive success stories of the dot.com era. Bookmakers sometimes get a bad Press but the people of Stoke will hear nothing said against a company that has created over 2,000 local jobs. However, bet365 cannot prevent one of the bankers on the coupon which is an away win.
Every Saturday night on Match of the Day Alan Shearer squirms as he analyses another shambles for his beloved Newcastle. He is still the record scorer in the Premier League and spent the best years of his career playing for his hometown club when he could have joined any team in Europe. Liverpool head to the north east on the back of beating Southampton 6-1 in the Capital One Cup so the form guidelines point to another win for the travelling team.
The four team accumulator on away wins in the televised matches pays about 100/1. Obviously, Bournemouth could throw a spanner in the works by not beating Chelsea but Palace not winning at Everton could also be a multiple breaker. The home side have lost two of seven fixtures on their own patch this season but Palace will struggle to make it three. The Londoners are now genuine top half operators but Everton are playing exceptionally well. They can win at Goodison Park to scupper the four timer.