Victory over the Gunners would all-but wrap it up for Chelsea

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho

Ten points clear at the Barclays Premier League summit with six matches remaining, Chelsea have as good as wrapped up the title.

And if they manage to avoid defeat this weekend at Arsenal, the only team that could feasibly (though not necessarily realistically) catch them, it will effectively rubber stamp the Blues’ status as champions.

Mathematically of course, Jose Mourinho’s men will still have work to do regardless of Sunday’s result but if the Gunners are to keep their slender hopes alive, a victory at the Emirates Stadium is a must and they’re 6/4 with Stan James to pick up the three points they crave.

Chelsea make the short trip to north London as BetVictor’s 11/5 outsiders and it’s 12/5 via bet365 to finish all-square, just as did in last season’s corresponding fixture.

That one was goalless, a result Skybet chalk up at 9/1 on this occasion and such stalemate-related outcomes are set to be popular given that the pair are both in exceptional form.

Indeed, the Blues haven’t lost since New Year’s Day, a statistic that strengthens the case for the visitors but in that period, Arsene Wenger’s troops have actually collected more points and as they come into the clash seeking a ninth straight league win, they could nick it, especially as the visitors face a potential striker shortage.

Stan James’ 3/1 about a Gunners triumph by one catches the eye then and in a showdown that’s 17/20 (betway) to see both teams find the net, bet365 price the hosts at 9/1 to finish on the right side of a 2-1 scoreline.

Third-placed Manchester United have lost on their last two visits to Goodison Park but they’re just 6/5 with William Hill to avoid a third loss by overcoming Everton, Stan James’s 5/2 chances.

The rejuvenated Toffees, however, have picked up four wins and a draw in their last five games and subsequently bet365’s 8/11 about them avoiding defeat isn’t without appeal.

More precisely, it’s 5/2 (Ladbrokes) for the points to be divided, BetVictor mark 15/4 against a score draw and it’s 6/1 at bet365 to be one-apiece.

Aston Villa are on a high after reaching the FA Cup final last weekend but it could be a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s Show’ for Tim Sherwood’s troops at Manchester City.

The champions still have work to do to ensure they finish in the top four and Paddy Power make them just 1/4 to improve their chances by overhauling the Villans (12/1, BetVictor).

They should justify those odds too, although they won’t have it all their own way and’s 33/20 for both teams to find the bet in a City success represents decent value.

At the Hawthorns, Liverpool are 19/20 (Skybet) to bounce back from their Wembley disappointment by inflicting a third consecutive home reverse on West Brom, Stoke are also 19/20, this time at William Hill, as they host Sunderland and Crystal Palace are only marginally bigger at 21/20 with Stan James to beat struggling Hull. The trio team up at 13/2 via bet365 in a tempting treble.

Elsewhere, Paddy Power report money at 7/5 for QPR to edge out West Ham, BetVictor’s 9/4 about a Swansea triumph at beleaguered Newcastle looks a touch high and Stan James go 5/2 about the draw as Southampton host Spurs.

An inconclusive affair, at 23/10 (Ladbrokes), also looks on the cards in the relegation six-pointer between Burnley and Leicester.

Runaway Super League leaders Leeds are just 4/9 at William Hill to get the better of Warrington in tomorrow (Friday) evening’s showdown at Headingley.

The Wolves, bet365’s 2/1 underdogs have endured an inconsistent start to the season and will have to raise their game considerably to halt the momentum of a rampant Rhinos side that has racked up 10 wins in 11 matches to open up a substantial advantage at the table’s summit.

It’s hard to oppose the hosts then and they look worth an interest in BetVictor’s handicaps, where they give away a six-point start at 10/11.

Finally, in the London Marathon, Wilson Kipsang is a 9/4 favourite at Ladbrokes to retain his title while fellow Kenyan Dennis Kimetto is expected to be Kipsang’s nearest challenger, Skybet rating his chances at 11/4.

In the women’s event Mary Keitany is an 11/4 shot at Paddy Power to add to her successes in 2011 and 2012.

Bet of the week: Arsenal to beat Chelsea by one – 3/1 (Stan James).

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