Week in Sport Betting Preview : Bad weeks ahead for Leicester and Chelsea
- 16-22 December
- Live on BT Sport, BBC and Sky Sports
Many sports have wrapped up for Christmas but there is still plenty to enjoy before 25 December, most of all a whole lot of football still going on. There is also a cracking night of UFC from South Korea on Saturday night.
Aston Villa vs Liverpool – EFL Cup – Tuesday 17 December
Strange circumstances surround the EFL Cup quarter-final between Aston Villa and Liverpool on Tuesday night as the Reds are taking their first team off to the Club World Cup in Qatar, leaving their youth players to deal with the last eight of the League Cup.
It really is not even a split down the middle, as all the big names go to Qatar, even substitute goalkeeper Adrian is going along to the Club World Cup. There will be no Salah, Mane, Firmino, Van Dijk, Alisson, Henderson, Robertson, Alexander-Arnold, Wijnaldum on show at Villa Park, nor will there by Jurgen Klopp, who is also going to Qatar.
Villa have not been in great form, sitting 17th in the Premier League after three straight defeats, but this is still a top flight team, taking this game seriously, against an under-23 side. It would be a huge upset if Villa didn’t win this one comfortably.
Everton vs Leicester – EFL Cup quarter-final – Wednesday 18 December
There will be much more competitive action in the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup on Wednesday night when Everton host Leicester and it could well be a cracker of a contest.
The Toffees look to be vastly improved since the departure of Marco Silva with Duncan Ferguson leading them to victory over Chelsea and a draw at Manchester United in the Premier League. Leicester are having a much better season, currently second in the league table, but perhaps just showing slight signs of slowing down in recent matches.
They have not been quite as convincing in some recent games, especially at the weekend when they could only manage a draw against lowly Norwich. With the Premier League campaign going so well for the Foxes, Brendan Rodgers is likely to rest some players and give youth a chance in this one, while Ferguson will look to continue the wave of momentum he has brought with him.
Everton, in front of their own fans, are a great price to win this one and make the semis.
Monterrey vs Liverpool – Club World Cup semi-final – Wednesday 18 December
As mentioned, Liverpool are not messing about at the Club World Cup and are taking their full strength squad to Qatar to test their mettle against the best of the rest of the world. In the semi-finals they take on Mexico’s Monterrey after they won the CONCACAF Champions League this year, a tournament in which their main competition is other Mexican sides and American teams.
Monterrey are currently eighth in Liga MX and they scraped past Qatar’s Al-Sadd in the quarter-finals to set up this tie with Liverpool. They are actually on a very good run of form, unbeaten in 13 in all competitions, but they are not really anywhere near the league of the European champions.
Liverpool have been rampant this season, unbeaten in 19 in all competitions, and have won their last five with an aggregate score of 14-3. If Jurgen Klopp unleashes his first choice starting XI then they will have far, far too much for the Mexicans, and even if he gives the likes of Divock Origi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain rare starts, it could still be a thrashing.
UFC Busan: Frankie Edgar vs Chan Sung Jung – Saturday 21 December
A late change to the UFC Busan main event has seen Frankie Edgar step in to fight the Korean Zombie and the replacement looks to be a great price to score the victory.
Edgar was training to fight Corey Sandhagen at bantamweight early in 2020 but has stepped in to replace Brian Ortega due to injury. The Answer is in shape and will be raring to go at featherweight rather than bracing for the horrible cut down to 135lbs that he was about to face.
Although coming in as a late replacement is never ideal preparation, neither is it for the Zombie, who was preparing to face a tall, rangy jiu-jitsu master, and now faces the short stocky wrestler in Edgar.
The former lightweight champion has seen and done it all in the UFC and will not be bothered by the trip into Chan’s home country. He is by far the better wrestler and he will be looking to grind out a victory on the floor, staying away from the dangerous hands of the Zombie.
The South Korean is dangerous with submissions, but Edgar is always worth backing against anyone outside the very elite of the UFC. The Korean Zombie is a fantastic fighter, but not quite at the top of the game, where Edgar has always resided.
Tottenham vs Chelsea – Premier League – Sunday 22 December
Chelsea are in the midst of their first serious sticky patch under Frank Lampard’s leadership and they face a very tough test on Sunday when they travel to take on Tottenham in the Premier League. Of course, a man the Blues know very well is in charge of Spurs now and Jose Mourinho would love to get one over on his former club.
It has not been perfect for the Special One since taking over at Spurs, but it has been largely positive, winning five of his seven games in charge and already getting his side within touching distance of a Champions League place. Beat Chelsea on Sunday and Spurs will be back in the top four, which is a remarkable turnaround.
After a cracking run of form, Chelsea have really hit the skids, losing four of their last five including to West Ham, Everton and Bournemouth, which does not bode well for them at all. They have stopped scoring goals in the rampant fashion they were earlier in the season, with just four in those last five games. They will need to find some attacking verve this weekend because their creaky defence is not going to keep out an impressive Spurs forward line.
Form-wise there is only one winner here, and Tottenham look great value as a result.
- Not a single senior player will turn out for Liverpool against Aston Villa
- Recognisable names likely to play are Rhian Brewster, Harvey Elliott and Sepp van den Berg
- Liverpool have not lost a competitive fixture in England since January
- Monterrey are four-time Mexican champions
- Villa have already beaten two Premier League sides to reach the League Cup quarter-finals – Brighton and Wolves
- Chelsea have only won one of their last seven away fixtures against Tottenham
- Everton are undefeated under the interim management of Duncan Ferguson
- Leicester’s draw against Norwich was their first failure to win in 10 games
- Frankie Edgar has won UFC Fight of the Night seven times
- Korean Zombie has won a performance bonus in six of his last seven fights