The business end of the season is upon us. Where early pace setters start winning league trophies, where knockout rounds narrow us closer to the final two, and where relegation battles intensify beyond measure. We examines all this and the related betting themes of interest, for April 2018.

English Premier League Betting Preview and Predictions

The Title Race and Top 4

We start at the top to do our routine check on Manchester City and their record-breaking season. Apart from their goals scored rate, none of the metrics have tailed off too much for the Citizens:

Current record Man City current projection
Points 95, Chelsea, 2004/05 102 (current rate of 2,70 points per game)
Title Winning Margin 18 points, Man United, 1999/00 20 (current +0,53 points difference gain per game)
Wins 30, Chelsea, 2016/17 33 (current win rate of 86,7%)
Goals Scored 103, Chelsea, 2009/10 107 (current rate of 2,83 goals scored per game)
Goal Difference 71, Chelsea, 2009/10 82 (current average goal difference of 2,17 per game)

 

March provided a couple of pivotal fixtures within the top 6.  The huge clash between Man United and Liverpool dealt a serious dent to Liverpool’s prospects of finishing in 2nd. Despite that, Liverpool, Spurs and Man United all achieved fair points returns (6) for the month, relative to Chelsea and Arsenal (3).

Very few 6 pointers remain, and that particular table offers an especially interesting view of the likely importance of the clash between Chelsea and Liverpool in May:

Figure 1: Source: transfermarkt.co.uk

With only the FA Cup and a higher league placing to play for, Chelsea’s remaining matches against Spurs and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge represent huge opportunities for the Blues to make up the gap between themselves and the top 4.

Key Fixtures in April: 

Chelsea vs Spurs

Tottenham’s record away to Chelsea makes for dismal reading; Spurs last won at Stamford Bridge in 1990! Add the fact that top scorer Harry Kane is injured, and there’s a very distinct set of reasons why Chelsea should be heavily fancied to win this match. But this would be disingenuous to Spurs, who’s Son Heung-Min has scored 7 in his last 5 matches in all competitions, winning 4 and losing 1.

Spurs are a very different prospect from the 1st time these sides faced each other back in August where Chelsea snatched the points late in the match. Chelsea themselves remain in poor form, having last won back to back matches (WBA, Hull) in mid-February, and having last won back to back league matches in December (Brighton, Stoke).

Prediction: Could this finally be the occasion for Spurs to break the run? Chelsea has a solid record against their top 6 peers, and a good performance here would go some way to assisting the Blues with a solid push for the final Champions League slot. The history suggests Chelsea, but if Spurs were ever going to win against the odds, this is surely the time for that day to arrive.

Everton vs Liverpool

The Merseyside derby’s reputation is notorious across the footballing world. Apart from the usual hard tackles and gamesmanship, it’s fair to say the red half of Liverpool has enjoyed a dominant run having won 4 of the last 6 derbies. Everton haven’t won a derby since 2010/11, which, crucially, took place at Goodison Park. The Toffees are also unbeaten in 4 home games, having won 3 in a row. New signing Cenk Tosun has hit form quickly after finally making a run in the team, having wasted little time in getting to his 4 goals.

Prediction: The form notwithstanding, it is difficult to see Liverpool failing to avoid defeat, at the least, in the derby. Klopp will likely be aware of the importance to take advantage of the result in Manchester, given that it could reflect in Liverpool’s favour. As long as the Reds aren’t too badly affected by their efforts in Champions League football a few days earlier, this should be at the least a score draw, if not a Liverpool win.

Man City vs Man United

Man City need 6-7 points to win the league, provided they beat their local rivals in this particular fixture. Whatever the result, the Citizens will have the chance during April to confirm their league championship, and under fire boss Jose Mourinho will be hard pressed not to illustrate some improvement of some kind against the blue half of Manchester. The Red Devils are slightly improved of late, but the only true factor that could make things difficult for the Citizens is the scheduling where they face Liverpool, Man United, Liverpool and Spurs in succession.

Prediction: Man City’s last dropped points at home in the first home game of the season against Everton, since then they’ve won 14 in a row at the Etihad. Even with their fatigue from European exertions, it’s very hard to see past another win for the Citizens.

Relegation Six Pointer: West Ham vs Stoke

As the season gets closer to its conclusion, the battle at the bottom often takes a more significant shape than that at the top. Usually a 40 point haul is enough to ensure the lucrative environment of the Premier League remains a home for any of the teams fighting against relegation. Given the current run rate of points, and a target of 40 points, six sides are in danger of facing the drop:

  Current Points per Game Projected Points at Season End
Swansea, Crystal Palace 1.03 39
Huddersfield, West Ham 1.00 38
Southampton 0.93 35
Stoke 0.87 33

 

A key fixture of interest in April for this particular race is that of West Ham vs Stoke, where the former have a huge opportunity to drive closer to safety, while defeat for Stoke could be especially condemning. The Hammers have shared the points in this fixture with Stoke in its last 3 iterations at West Ham’s home ground, and the earlier meeting between these sides produced a solid away win for the Hammers, inspired by Austrian forward Marko Arnautovic, whose form has been good since the turn of the new calendar year. Stoke also have terrible away form coming into this fixture, having gone winless on their travels for 10 league matches going into April.

Prediction: Across the board, both these sides have issues of form at present. West Ham still have to consider their schedule places them away to Chelsea, Arsenal and Leicester and at home to both Manchester clubs, leaving the match against Stoke and the final match at home to Everton as the most likely chances for any points to be earned for survival. Stoke have a more favourable schedule, but more points to make up as well. As much as both sides will want the result, it’s more likely to become a tense stalemate, making it an uncomfortable final month for both these sides.

 

 

March Soccer Preview

The Title Race and Top 4

As always, we start at the top, with a quick view where Manchester City are tracking in terms of their record-breaking season. It was a February of mixed feelings for the Citizens; dropped league points against Burnley and a bizarre defeat to Wigan in the FA Cup counter balanced by great wins over Leicester and Basel, and the first piece of silverware in the victory over Arsenal for the Carabao Cup. Here’s how Guardiola’s side are tracking on the league records, which could make for some interesting bets:

Current record Man City current projection
Points 95, Chelsea, 2004/05 101 (current rate of 2,67 points per game)
Title Winning Margin 18 points, Man United, 1999/00 21 (current +0,57 points difference gain per game)
Wins 30, Chelsea, 2016/17 32 (current win rate of 85,1%)
Goals Scored 103, Chelsea, 2009/10 111 (current rate of 2,92 goals scored per game)
Goal Difference 71, Chelsea, 2009/10 83 (current average goal difference of 2,18 per game)

 

The month of February proved massively important in some important shuffles in the race for 2nd, 3rd and 4th.  Liverpool (7 points), Spurs (7) and Man United (6) all made gains on Arsenal (3) and Chelsea (3), resulting in a massive positional swing where the Gunners now face an uphill task to finish even in the automatic Europa League spot (5th). Chelsea will require some better fortunes to make up the 6 point gap now existing between themselves and Man United in 2nd.

A key factor to consider when attempting to judge the rest of this race is the record these sides have amongst themselves (so matches where Man United, Liverpool, Spurs, Chelsea and Arsenal face each other) vs the rest of the league. The below table gives a view of what the current season track record looks like (note that matches against Man City are excluded):

Points per game vs other top 6 contenders Points per game vs rest of the league Remaining games vs top 6 contenders Remaining games vs rest of the league
Man United 1.67 2.33 2 7
Liverpool 1.17 2.35 2 8
Spurs 1.43 2.25 1 8
Chelsea 1.50 2.10 2 7
Arsenal 0.86 2.05 1 9

 

While it may not just be the entertaining football on display, Klopp’s Liverpool look well primed to end the season well, as long as they can find a better way to handle the Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge trips. In contrast to last season where the Reds bullied the top 6 directly, this season Liverpool has the best record against the smaller sides, making their 8 remaining encounters massively advantageous. Chelsea may be adrift in 5th, but their remaining matches against top 6 rivals are both at home, and that could be a crucial different maker.

Preview of Key EPL Fixtures in March:

Manchester United vs Liverpool

It’s very difficult to argue a more compelling rivalry in England than that of the two most celebrated, most supported and most successful (in trophy respects) clubs in England. Man United manager Jose Mourinho himself recently admitted ahead of the recent Chelsea clash (perhaps as a mind game of its own) that the Liverpool game was a more important one to him than the visit of the Blues. The upcoming clash looms large for many reasons; an opportunity for both sides to take a large step in reinforcing 2nd place, an opportunity for big match players to shine in glory or succumb to the weight of the occasion.

Liverpool have fortune on their side, given their 2nd leg against Porto features a healthy, 5-away-goal lead. The tie shouldn’t interfere much with the subsequent trip to Old Trafford. Man United play their 2nd leg against Sevilla 3 days after the clash with Liverpool, which may complicate Mourinho’s approach in both fixtures. That said, it’s unlikely that he’ll field anything but a full strength XI against the old rivals.

Prediction: The clash couldn’t more intriguing by the numbers; Man United have the best home defence (just 6 goals conceded at home, the best in the league) and host the best away attack (Liverpool have scored 34 away goals, also the best in the league). The last 3 league matches between these sides have resulted in draws, which given the form and prowess of both sides, suggests a draw is likely on the cards again. That said – Liverpool haven’t won at Old Trafford since a Luis Suarez inspired victory in 2014, against a far less proficient Red Devils squad. If there’s a winner here, it’s more likely to be a dull, low-scoring, defensively inspired one for the home side.

Chelsea vs Tottenham

The Blues have a month to assess if they’ve improved enough to keep pace or even pass Spurs ahead of their home clash against their London rivals. By that point, Chelsea may have conquered Messi’s Barcelona and Spurs may have completed a superb victory over Juventus in the Champions League. In that case, they’ll both be concerned of how the European fixtures in the first week of April affect the rotation for the clash at Stamford Bridge. Spurs will be hopeful their excellent run of form (unbeaten in the last 10 league games, unbeaten in the last 5 away league games) continues into March and holds till month end by the time they face Conte’s side. Spurs will also be counting on keep the form they have against top 6 sides, especially after a great run in back to back matches against Man United, Liverpool and Arsenal.

Prediction: The form and optimism around Spurs’ improvement will be a crucial factor in deciding the fate of this result. The track record heavily favours the home side, given that Spurs haven’t won away to Chelsea in league competition since a Gary Lineker inspired Spurs record a 2-1 victory in the old Division One of February 1990. Chelsea’s home record is largely solid and while there are still latent concerns about the suspected malaise that has entered the Stamford Bridge locker room of late, the Blues still have a formidable squad that should recover enough of their confidence by the time Spurs make the trip.

Southampton: Relegation Round Robin – Stoke, Newcastle, Swansea, West Ham

As the season gets closer to its conclusion, the battle at the bottom often takes a more significant shape than that at the top. Usually a 40 point haul is enough to ensure the lucrative environment of the Premier League remains a home for any of the teams fighting against relegation. Given the current run rate of points, and a target of 40 points, six sides are in danger of facing the drop:

  Current Points per Game Projected Points at Season End
West Ham, Huddersfield 1.07 41
Newcastle 1.03 39
Southampton, Crystal Palace, Swansea 0.96 36
Stoke 0.92 35
WBA 0.71 27

 

The current run rate favours West Ham, Huddersfield and others above them, though this is obviously highly subject to their respective schedules. For now though, our focus turns to Southampton, who, more than any other side near the bottom, have the potential to influence matters massively in March. The Saints face Stoke, Newcastle, Swansea and West Ham in the month, making it a period of consecutive 6 pointers where they could either gain massive advantage in the table towards their survival, or find themselves in even larger trouble at the very expense of those teams they’re trying to beat in the relegation race.

Southampton have a number of reasons for optimism in this run of fixtures. They’ve lost only one of their last 9 in all competitions, their best run of its kind this season. Even though their home record is almost the worst in the league, they’ll host the worst travellers in the league in Stoke. The Saints also travel far better than most of their peers, with only Newcastle having a better away ranking at present.

  Overall League rank at home Overall League rank away Last 6 League matches form
Southampton 19th 12th 7 points
Stoke 14th 20th 6 points
Newcastle 18th 10th 7 points
Swansea 17th 16th 11 points
West Ham 11th 13th 8 points

 

Prediction: Notwithstanding the relative improvement they’ve enjoyed, the reality of Southampton’s challenges becomes pretty dire when one considers that in their recent form, 3 of their victories came in the FA Cup, and their sole league victory came away to bottom side WBA in a laboured 3-2 win. History doesn’t favour their chances against Stoke (the visitors have won the last two encounters at St. Mary’s). Swansea’s form is massively favourable, and the Saints’ only respite may come from the pending reschedule date of this fixture due to FA Cup progression. By the time Southampton visit the Hammers, the home side may be on the cusp of securing survival, closer to the psychological safety of the 40 point mark, and thus may make their superior league placement show. Southampton also cannot afford not to win these games; their league record shows 1 league win in 15, and draws against their direct rivals for survival will not help their cause. If they are to survive, this month could be the catalyst for the commencement of a run. However, given their struggles to convert draws in wins, it’s far more likely that they’ll find themselves sharing points with fellow strugglers Stoke, Newcastle and Swansea, and possibly on the losing end to West Ham.

February 2018 Preview

The close of the mid-season transfer window always brings with it some highly intriguing prospects as teams in the English Premier League jostle for advantages ahead of the business end of the season. Fixture congestion starts taking shape as a genuine challenge for the more committed sides, especially those progressing in European and domestic cup competitions. We examines these aspects, as well as key betting themes of interest, for Febuary 2018.

English Premier League Preview

Spurs vs Arsenal

Spurs fans could be forgiven for cursing the schedule computer for lining up a series of high profile encounters back to back, but Pochettino’s side is hardly incapable of navigating the task. Arsenal haven’t beaten their local rivals away from the Emirates in league competition since veteran Tomas Rosicky scored an early opener in 2014, but Spurs will be encouraged by the Gunners’ mixed away form. Spurs will be keen to reverse the result of the first meeting between these sides from November, with Harry Kane a key player in focus – the English striker has managed 3 goals in his last 4 North London derbies. Arsenal will be nonetheless optimistic – especially given that new signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan may have well started settling in by that point.

Prediction: Spurs may just shade this one, given their home advantage, but Arsenal are expected to improve, and there’ll be little struggle for Wenger to motivate his troops accordingly. But if Spurs have managed to return key centre back Alderweireld to the lineup, it may be just enough to keep the Gunners from taking the points.

View the latest EPL Betting Odds

The Title Race and Top 4 

Manchester City may have finally succumbed to defeat at the hands of Klopp’s Liverpool, but the loss will likely play a very small blemish on what remains to be a record setting season. The Citizens remain on course to break several records, all of which could represent some intriguing bets to make:

Current record Man City current projection
Points 95, Chelsea, 2004/05 102 (current rate of 2,71 points per game)
Title Winning Margin 18 points, Man United, 1999/00 19 (current +0,5 goal difference gain per game)
Wins 30, Chelsea, 2016/17 33 (current win rate of 87,5%)
Goals Scored 103, Chelsea, 2009/10 110 (current rate of 2,91 goals scored per game)
Goal Difference 71, Chelsea, 2009/10 82 (current average goal difference of 2,16 per game)

 

The remaining spots in the top 4 continue to present the most interesting ensemble of likely shifts by season end, especially with some dramatic results in January having created some considerable movement amongst the 5 contenders. Some key fixtures will be examined in detail shortly, but in the meantime, it may be pertinent to consider some interesting trends in the Premier League’s history since 2002, when the top 4 placements yielded Champions League qualification:

 16 Seasons since 2001/02 Top 4 at season end Success rate
2nd after 19 games 16 100%
3rd after 19 games 14 87,5%
4th after 19 games 6 37,5%
5th after 19 games 9 56,2%

 

2nd place, like 1st, is thus far a guaranteed indicator of top 4 placement come season end (Manchester United fans should feel reasonably confident anyway given their side’s great defence and recent acquisition of star forward Alexis Sanchez). 3rd place has an equally strong success rate, but the fascinating comparison is where 5th place at the halfway has a better placement rate into the final top 4 than 4th place. Liverpool may have pulled off a remarkable win over Guardiola’s superstar league leading side, but Klopp may have far more work to do than he realizes to ensure Liverpool’s primary objective of Champions League qualification is met for another season.

Key Fixtures in February: 

 

 

Chelsea v Manchester United - Premier League

Man United vs Chelsea

There hasn’t been a draw between these two sides in any competition since 2016, which is an unusual statistic, from the context that 4 of the last 6 encounters at Old Trafford have ended with a share of the spoils. Jose Mourinho has become notorious for approaching matches against rivals with a cautious and restrictive mindset, and despite Chelsea’s mixed form, it would be difficult to expect anything different from the clash on the 25th February.

Much of the game may well be influenced by each team’s European priorities; Man United travel to Sevilla in the Champions League 4 days prior to the clash with the Blues, while Chelsea have the benefit of less travel since they host the current La Liga leaders Barcelona a day before.

Prediction: Both these sides have felt the brunt of rotational requirements of late given various injuries and the general demand of balancing fixture congestion. Man United’s football is much maligned, and Chelsea’s form seemingly erratic, but both teams feature arguably the most effective defences in the league at keeping the ball out of the net. A home win for Man United appears a logical conclusion given the reinforcements to their squad, but the draw is the most likely result.

English Premiere League Betting Odds

League Cup Final: Man City vs Arsenal

Intriguingly, despite the considerable negativity surrounding Arsenal throughout the season thus far, their progress into the League Cup final represents a chance to secure a 4th domestic cup in 5 seasons. While Alexis Sanchez’s brilliance can’t be understated, there’s an equally compelling argument that the Gunners got a fairly strong end of the deal as well in securing the forgotten talents of Henrikh Mkhitaryan alongside a cash injection in the sale of the Chilean forward.

Man City, meanwhile, may have had the “Invincibles” repeat denied to them, but the Citizens still remain well on course to blow all and sundry away in a season where the unprecented quadruple of league, both domestic cups and Champions League is plausible.

Man City’s record in the League Cup is a healthy one, having won both of their last 2 finals appearances and 4 of 5 overall. Arsenal have had the most runners-up appearances in the League Cup final (5), with their last appearance an infamous defeat to Birmingham City in 2011 and their last win a Steve Morrow inspired win over Sheffield Wednesday in 1993 (where the goalscorer ended up breaking his arm during the goal celebration).

Prediction: It seems disengenious to suggest of a final, but goals are to be expected. At least 3 goals have been scored in every encounter between these sides since January 2015. Their last meeting at Wembley was in April 2017’s FA Cup semifinal, where Alexis Sanchez scored an extra time winner over a star studded Man City. Arsenal’s attacking minded flair against Man City’s commanding possession based approach should make for a great spectacle, but even if the Gunners make a game of it, it’s hard to see the Citizens slowing down unless fixture congestion and injures begin to force some wheels off their bus.

Bet on the English Premier League 

English Premier League Betting Preview January

Following the bumper December period flush with football, January has been a critical book end for some English Premier League teams in the past, with notable starts of much improved second half form, while other teams often hit a mid-season lull at the start of a new calendar year. BetXChange examines these aspects, as well as key betting themes of interest, for January 2018.

The Title Race and Top 4 

It’s fair to say at this point that Manchester City may as well be given the Premier League trophy. While the purists will suggest otherwise, no team has ever surrended such a lead as Guardiola’s side have accumulated. Pep’s team had 55 points at halfway, 7 points ahead of Manchester United in 2nd place. The previous “bests” were Chelsea (2005/06 – 52 points and 11 point lead), Man United (1997/98 – 49 points and 7 point lead), and Chelsea (49 points and 6 point lead), and on all those occasions, this lead was held. Man City are still on course to be the best Premier League team in history in a single campaign in respect of points (on course to be the first team to break 100 points), wins (on course to beat the current record of 30 wins) and goals (on course to beat the current record of 103 goals). They’ll first want to keep unbeaten, of course – more on this later.

The interesting battle now becomes the race for the remaining spots in the top 4. The gap between 2nd and 7th is now 11 points (let’s not discount Burnley too much) and past seasons have given a healthy indication of how fluid the top 4 can be. As a recent sample:

 

After 19 games At Season End
2016/17 Liverpool, Arsenal, Spurs Spurs, Man City, Liverpool
2015/16 Leicester City, Man City, Spurs Arsenal, Spurs, Man City
2014/15 Man City, Man United, Southampton Man City, Arsenal, Man United
2013/14 Man City, Chelsea, Everton Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal

 

January holds some interesting matches that may yet affect this picture. Some key fixtures of interest include:

Liverpool vs Man City

Mohamed Salah’s injury couldn’t have come at a more opportune time for the Citizens. Not that they’ll fear Liverpool, but the Reds recent goalscoring form has been little to sneeze at, with 14 goals in their last 4 games to close December. Klopp’s team has held most of its form fairly well, especially in the goals column where they were the only side to score more goals in December (20) than Man City (17). The last meeting didn’t go to plan for the Reds with Mane’s red card proving decisive in the defeat, and top scorer Salah faces a race to fitness to make it in time for the encounter on the 14th. That said, history is very much on Anfield’s side (literally) as the last 4 home matches for Liverpool vs Man City all produced victories for the Reds. Not to mention it’ll likely be a 3rd appearance for new defender Virgil Van Dijk to show off if he can help Liverpool’s frail defence.

Prediction: If Man City are going to lose a game finally – this may be it (putting a blemish on Pep’s side repeating Arsenal’s unbeaten “Invincibles” record). That said, much will rely on Salah’s fitness. Either way, expect goals for both sides, with a Man City win the most likely result.

Burnley vs Liverpool/Man United

Few could have predicted Burnley as the team to rise above their weight this season, but as it stands, they ended December on 34 points, within 7 points of top 4. It likely will be a bridge too far for Burnley, but much will depend on two January home games against top 4 rivals. The first takes place against Liverpool on New Year’s day, and the second of particular interest is their hosting of Man United on the 20th. Burnley are within touching distance of the top 4 due to their away form, so their matches at Turf Moor will need to prove if they can last the pace. Already, home matches against Arsenal and Spurs produced defeat; losses against both Liverpool and Man United would almost certainly rule them out of the top 4 race. Liverpool and Man United will not lack for incentive either, since both of those sides seem to be generally better at getting points against sides outside the top 4 rivals, too.

Prediction: Burnley won’t make it easy for either side. But it’s hard to see past both sets of high profile visitors taking 3 points.

Spurs vs Man United

By contrast to the optimism in other camps, it seems that sentiment is fairly mixed in the camps of Tottenham and Man United. Spurs had a decent December with 4 wins, and 13 points only bettered by Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool, but inherently, the poor month of November did well to stifle any hopes of catching the pack above to repeat Champions League qualification. On the other side, the Red Devils ended December poorly, with 3 lacklustre draws against Leicester, Burnley and Southampton to allow the pessimism to take full root (and Chelsea to pass them into 2nd place). Mourinho’s side have a lean record away to Spurs in recent years, losing the last 2 and drawing the previous 5, but perhaps Spurs lack of familiarity with playing home games at Wembley could factor in this. Spurs had the best home record last season with 2.78 points per game, but 2017/18 has seen this value drop to 2.1 in their new surroundings.

Prediction: Beyond a home win, a cheeky punt at a goalless draw seems plausible. Neither side will want to lose ground to each other or to rivals, especially with potential improvements in both Chelsea and Liverpool to worry both sides in the top 4 race. The last draw between the sides was in December 2014; it may well be another match where Mourinho believes it’s more critical to avoid defeat than to take too many risks.

The FA Cup and League Cup

January sees the FA Cup enter its lucrative 3rd round, where the Premier League sides join the draw against the progressed teams from lower leagues. Most of the ties seem relatively straight forward to predict, but the FA Cup is full of historical giant killings to offer some drama to the competition. The Merseyside derby on the 5th January offers an obvious attraction, but even despite the recent dull stalemate at Anfield, Liverpool are not expected to fail to beat their local rivals in a second bite of the cherry. That said, Everton may fancy nothing less than to take advantage of the situation in a rare moment to knock out the team they dislike the most from the Cup.

The most difficult Premier League related FA Cup tie to call may well be the match between Brighton and Crystal Palace, where the home side are the marginal favourites. Hodgson’s improvements have been very impressive, with the Eagles losing just once in the last 10 league matches, inclusive of a 0-0 draw away to Brighton. The repeat of the fixture may well favour the former England manager, especially when contrasted against Brighton’s form, where 5 of their last 10 league matches have resulted in defeat.

As for the EFL (League) Cup semifinals, it’s very hard to see past a meeting of 1st and 2nd place in the Premier League facing each other in the final. Man City can afford to rest first choice players against Bristol City without compromising their league and FA Cup prospects and still field a side capable of winning the game with reasonable comfort. Chelsea’s improvement in form has come in good time for the semifinal, and Arsenal are somewhat notorious for not taking the League Cup too seriously. Across the last 5 matches in all competitions, the split is an even 2 wins to each Chelsea and Arsenal, but it’s difficult to see a repeat of May’s FA Cup result over 2 legs. The only issue may be how the two sides rotate their lineups alongside the fixtures in the league and FA Cup, but this may yet still favour Chelsea, purely given the historical (lack of) priority Wenger has often given the League Cup.

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