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Chelsea v Manchester City best bets plus rest of the Premier League picks

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Chelsea v Manchester City best bets plus rest of the Premier League picks, including a 14/1 bet builder featuring Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy goalsPep Guardiola's champions head to Chelsea in the game of the weekendElsewhere under-fire Manchester United host basement boys FulhamArsenal will look to go 21 games unbeaten when they face HuddersfieldHere is Sportsmail's analysis of the betting markets for this week's fixtures 

The armchair fan is in for a treat on Saturday with three live games featuring the top four teams in the Premier League.

Chelsea v Manchester City is the pick of the bunch and the timing couldn't be much worse for Blues boss Maurizio Sarri. More on that down the page plus our game-by-game guide to the rest of the English top flight and the best bets across the fixture programme in England and Scotland as we get stuck into the busiest month of the season.

All kick-offs 3pm on Saturday unless stated.

Harry Kane is one of our goalscorer picks this week as the Premier League returns to action

We're heading into a time for giving and sharing and all that but, for a team hoping to mount a serious title challenge after Christmas, December is a time for knuckling down and digging in. Liverpool dug very deep against Everton before Burnley gave them a battle, one they won to sit on their highest points total after 15 games of a top-flight season. Bournemouth away should provide another stiff test but one they should pass, especially with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino back in the XI after starting on the bench at Turf Moor. The Cherries' recent results haven't been great - a narrow win over Huddersfield halted a run of four straight losses but the most recent was against Manchester City where they gave the league leaders plenty to think about. Eddie Howe's side rarely get hammered - 4-0 against Burnley remains an oddity - so Liverpool to edge it is the shout. The visitors are 8/13 with several bookies and 11/4 with a few to win by a one-goal margin.

This one won't be close. Huddersfield have lost two in a row by the odd goal but a hiding could be on the cards at the Emirates Stadium, where they lost 5-0 last season when Arsenal weren't even that good. Now, the Gunners are on a 20-match unbeaten run, their longest since going 28 games in 2007. That hammering last term was one of seven away games Huddersfield have played against the big six and their return stands at two draws and five defeats, with just two goals scored. Arsenal are no better than 2/7 but you can get 15/8 for Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, whose partnership has ballooned into one of the most fearsome in the league, to both score. Arsenal still haven't been leading a match at half-time and it's 7/2 they win this after being all square at the break. Betfair's 5/6 they're winning after 45 minutes and 90 holds more appeal. 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looks well set to continue his fine goalscoring form for Arsenal

It's almost tempting to back Brighton to win away. Almost. They've got a striker in form in Glenn Murray, two of their subs scored in the midweek win over Crystal Palace - handy if Murray doesn't recover from his shoulder injury - and they're facing a Burnley team who let the Eagles have 29 shots last weekend and allowed Liverpool 18 attempts on Wednesday night. But, for large spells the Clarets did impress, for the first time in a while, against Liverpool and can avoid a fourth straight loss and seventh in eight games. Last season these two dished up a pair of goalless draws and that means their last five league meetings have ended all square. That looks the best bet again and is 11/5 with bet365 while HT-FT draw-draw is 7/2 with the same firm and 1-1 is 11/2 with several bookies. Another thing to take away from Burnley v Liverpool was Jurgen Klopp getting annoyed at the rather tasty tackling from the hosts. Add to that the fact there's been a red card in Brighton's last four games and a sending off in this one, at 9/2 with bet365, is worth a look.

New Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl takes charge of his first game after watching his troops in action at Wembley against Tottenham in midweek. He can't have liked what he saw as they were sloppy in front of goal and even worse at the back. He has a big job on his hands. If Hasenhuttl is hoping for a new-boss bounce he's come to the wrong club - the last seven permanent managers at St Mary's failed to get off to a winning start. Paul Sturrock way back in 2004 was the last to manage it, beating Liverpool. A Neil Warnock welcome awaits the Austrian and Cardiff's veteran boss, who turned 70 last week, has won his last two home games and three of his last four. The 19/10 for a home win is the pick here while a 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1 to the hosts can be backed at 5/2 with Sky Bet. 

Jose Mourinho has had a go at pretty much everyone who's come within a mile of Manchester but it turns out he was nice to Claudio Ranieri as the Fulham boss revealed this week that his opposite number at United was the first to welcome him back to the Premier League. Ranieri should be looking forward to taking on Mourinho's Manchester United - they've managed just two clean sheets in the league and Fulham do have some stardust in their forward options. But they seem to sprinkle it more at home as they haven't managed a goal in their last three away games or in four of their last five. Apart from Liverpool at Anfield next Sunday, the festive fixtures have been kind(ish) to Mourinho with the Cottagers, Huddersfield, Cardiff, Bournemouth and Newcastle all to come, so if he wants to get back within touching distance of the top four, now is the time to start. The hosts are no better than 4/11 or 7/5 (BetVictor) to win while shutting Fulham out. 

Paul Pogba has a good chance to get back into Jose Mourinho's good books against Fulham

West Ham are full of surprises. We certainly didn't expect them to be one of only two teams outside the top two to kick off this busy month with two straight victories - Brighton also managed it. After beating Newcastle and Cardiff the Hammers are very backable to make it three in a row - something they haven't done since 2016 - even without the injured Marko Arnautovic. They're 13/10 to see off a Palace side who had the stuffing knocked out of them by their rivals Brighton on Tuesday as they fell to a fifth defeat in six away games in all competitions. Palace flyer Wilfried Zaha's run of games without a goal will hit double figures if he draws a blank in this one but West Ham's Lucas Perez has no such problems. He has four goals in his last five outings and is 21/10 with Paddy Power to score at any time. If he's on the bench again, take a look at the 13/2 (Paddy Power) for him to score the last goal.

The timing couldn't be better for Manchester City to head to Stamford Bridge with Chelsea enduring their toughest spell of the season in the league with their only win in their last four coming against struggling Fulham. The Blues don't look like the team they were a few weeks ago and the 3/1 available for them to win at home says much about how they've started to go in a different direction after just about keeping up with City for much of the season. City boss Pep Guardiola failed to win any of his first seven matches against Chelsea (all competitions) but worked them out last season, beating them twice, before his side outclassed them in the Community Shield back in August. Both victories last term were 1-0 with Chelsea restricted to just seven shots over two games. Bournemouth and Watford made City's last two games interesting and this will almost certainly be harder but they should take the points. They're 19/20 for the victory or 61/20 (Marathon) to win by a one-goal margin.

It's bet builder time. Jamie Vardy has remembered how to score at home with one against Watford last weekend and Harry Kane finds the net wherever he is so get on both of them to be on the scoresheet. More than three total goals in the game (in the past four seasons we've had a 6-1, 5-4, 2-2 and a 4-3) is the pick for this primetime Saturday slot plus more than three corners for Leicester and more than four for Spurs. That little lot returns 14/1 with bet365. 

Jamie Vardy is back among the goals for Leicester and he faces Tottenham on Saturday night

Newcastle don't make it easy for punters. You couldn't track them with a radar when they post three straight wins, then lose 3-0 at home to West Ham - and it could've been more - before holding an Everton side who took Liverpool all the way to the death. It's hard to back against Wolves after their midweek win over Chelsea but they don't score many away from home - five goals in seven games and never more than one in a match. They've lost three, drawn two and won two on the road and another draw looks the best bet here. A share of the points is 11/5. 

Bank your weekend winnings but maybe keep a bit aside to pile on Everton. They look like a home banker against Watford but you'll have to wait until Monday night. 

BEST BETS FOR THE WEEKEND 

HOMES: West Ham, Everton, Birmingham, Leeds, Portsmouth 24/1 several firms 

AWAYS: Liverpool, Sunderland, Doncaster, Arbroath 14/1 Marathon/BetVictor

DRAWS:  Blackpool v Charlton, Burton v Shrewsbury, Scunthorpe v Gillingham 36/1 bet365

ANYTIME SCORERS: Lucas Perez, Jamie Vardy, Harry Kane, Leroy Sane 50/1 several firms 

Both teams to score in 1st half: Leicester v Tottenham, Wigan v Derby 18/1 Coral/Ladbrokes/Sky Bet 

From oddschecker.com - correct at time of publication - subject to change 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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