Morata and Fabregas absent for Chelsea

Chelsea will be without both Alvaro Morata and Cesc Fabregas for Wednesday's League Cup semi-final second leg against Arsenal.

The pair meet at the Emirates after playing out a 0-0 draw in their original tie a fortnight ago and will go on to face either Bristol City or Manchester City at Wembley.

Morata missed Saturday's 4-0 win at Brighton through suspension and Antonio Conte has now revealed he will again be unavailable for Wednesday's game, while Fabregas will also be absent.

However, there is good news on Andreas Christensen, who has been cleared to play after picking up a head injury against the Seagulls.

Conte said: "Morata and Fabregas are out, they are not available for the Arsenal game. Morata has a problem in his back.

"Then, I have to check a couple of situations, before making the best decision [on selection]."

Despite the furore that has seemed to follow him around since arriving in England, Conte has established an exceptional record, winning the Premier League and Community Shield, as well as reaching the FA Cup final.

The League Cup provides another opportunity for silverware and the Italian admits the chance to further their trophy hopes gives him and his players extra motivation against one of their great rivals.

"For me and the players it is an important target," added Conte. "In my first season and a half I have the opportunity to win the league, to play the final of the FA Cup, and play the Community Shield.

"Now I have the opportunity to play another final in the Carabao Cup."

Chelsea are 31/20 to win on Wednesday, with the draw 5/2 and the Gunners 15/8.

The Blues are 10/3 for the tournament outright.

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Wenger coy on Aubameyang deal

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger insists he is not close to signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund or anyone else.

The Gunners have sold Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott already this month and were believed to be lining up a move for the Gabon international.

However, Wenger is unsure whether a deal for the highly-rated 28-year-old will be completed before the end of the month.

He said: "Confident or not confident? I don't know. We are not close to a deal with Aubameyang or anyone else.

"It's one possible movement but we have other things in mind as well. The final decision is not made."

Meanwhile, Wenger is adamant that he wants to keep Danny Welbeck, even though the England international has endured an injury-ravaged time with Arsenal following his transfer from Manchester United.

The Frenchman added: "I want Danny Welbeck to stay here."

Arsenal take on Chelsea in the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final on Wednesday, with Wenger saying of the match against Antonio Conte's side: "It's an important game.

"We want to go to the final. The two teams know each other very well. At some stage, the teams will have to open up so it should be much more spectacular than the first one.

"It has always been very tight and it's very unpredictable. Honestly, I don't see any favourite in the tie."

Arsenal are 6/5 to qualify for the final and 9/1 to beat Chelsea 1-0 in the second leg. Wenger's team are 4/1 to win the EFL Cup outright, while Chelsea can be backed at 10/3 to triumph.

Sanchez completes United swap move

Alexis Sanchez has completed his transfer to Manchester United with Henrikh Mkhitaryan moving in the opposite direction to Arsenal.

The 29-year-old Chile international forward, Sanchez, who almost joined Manchester City in the summer before the deal broke down late in the transfer window, has penned a four-and-a-half year deal at Old Trafford.

Sanchez, who scored 80 goals in 165 appearances during his time at the Emirates Stadium, will wear the famous number seven shirt at United.

On completion of the deal, the former Barcelona man told the United official website: "I am thrilled to be joining the biggest club in the world. I have spent three-and-a-half wonderful years at Arsenal and I bring with me very positive memories of that great club and its fans.

"The chance to play in this historic stadium and to work with Jose Mourinho was something I could not turn down.

"I am very proud to be the first Chilean player ever to play for United's first team and I hope I can show our fans all around the world why the club wanted to bring me here."

Meanwhile, 29-year-old Armenia international, Mkhitaryan, is delighted to join Arsenal on a three-and-a-half-year deal after scoring 13 goals in 63 appearances for United since joining from Borussia Dortmund for £26.3million in July 2016.

"I'm very happy that we could finish this deal and I'm very happy to be here," he said. "It's a dream come true because I've always dreamed of playing for Arsenal.

"Now that I'm here, I’ll do my best for this club to create history."

United are 6/4 to win the Premier League without Manchester City, while Arsenal are priced at 11/2 to secure a top-four finish.

Cup Football Betting is Absolutely Capital!

The Carabao Cup semi-finals will be settled this week and London is calling as two Premier League giants come head-to-head at the Emirates.

With the first-leg matches settling nothing, it’s all to play for when Arsenal host Chelsea but before that, Bristol City hope to upset the betting odds again when Manchester City visit Ashton Gate.

Arsenal vs Chelsea (0-0 1st leg)

City are the hot favorites, with mobile betting fans, to lift the trophy as the two biggest threats are about to slug it out after a goalless first leg. Both Arsene Wenger and Antonio Conte are on the hunt for a striker Arsene because Alexis Sanchez leaving only needs a formality and Antonio because his team have recently completed a three-match sequence of 0-0 draws.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Borussia’s Pierre Emerick Aubamayang could be the men to bolster Arsenal’s attack, while Chelsea are chasing Roma’s Edin Dzeko. Whoever comes in will have plenty of supply from the world class creative players at each club. Mesut Ozil was in outstanding form as Arsenal swept aside Crystal Palace at the weekend while Chelsea’s midfield maestro, Eden Hazard, helped himself to two as the Blues hit Brighton for four.

It’s going to be a cracker. The Gunners are at 2.33 to advance with Chelsea at 1.66, but I’m not so sure about that…

Bristol City vs Manchester City (1-2 1st leg)

It took a 92nd-minute winner courtesy of Sergio Aguero to give the Sky Blues a narrow first leg lead at the Etihad and Bobby Reid, scorer of Bristol’s penalty in that game, believes his side is still in the tie. And why not? In the previous round, Korey Smith’s dramatic winner saw off Manchester United.

Bristol City is at 1.80 to win with a +2.00 goals handicap, which could be on, but I’m afraid that won’t be good enough to see them through.

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Hazard plays down striker talk

Chelsea forward Eden Hazard believes his side can do well in the closing months of the season, even if they do not sign a new striker in the January transfer window.

Hazard was speaking after scoring twice in a comprehensive 4-0 Premier League victory at Brighton on Saturday, in which he took on a more advanced role in support of Michy Batshuayi, with Alvaro Morata missing the game due to suspension.

And the Belgium international playmaker is not too concerned at a possible lack of options up front, with the Blues being strongly linked with a move for former Manchester City frontman Edin Dzeko – currently with AS Roma.

He told the Evening Standard: "I think we have two very good strikers in Alvaro and Michy. If they are not ready to play I can play striker, so I don't think we need (another).

"Because we are missing chances, people are saying we need another striker, but if we are scoring goals, we are the best attack in the league and no-one can say we need a striker.

"It depends on the form of the team and I think we're happy with the team we have."

The reigning Premier League champions are back in action on Wednesday evening when they make the short trip to the Emirates Stadium to take on Arsenal in the second leg of their League Cup semi-final.

The first leg ended in a tame goalless draw, with the two sides having drawn all four of their meetings so far this season, including in the Community Shield, where the Gunners eventually prevailed in a penalty shootout.

Chelsea are available at 4/6 to reach the League Cup final and are 29/20 to win in 90 minutes on Wednesday evening, with the Blues 11/2 to triumph after extra-time.

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Hodgson wants four signings

Roy Hodgson has said that he wants four new signings to bolster his Crystal Palace squad before the transfer window shuts.

With about two weeks of the January transfer window remaining, Hodgson prepares for the task of securing new signings from a position of strength.

Having arrived at Selhurst Park with the team bottom of the Premier League without a point or even a goal after their first seven games, the former England boss has seen the team revive their fortunes in style.

The Eagles are now 12th in the Premier League table, five points clear of the bottom three and within sight of the top half.

Having won successive league games, against Southampton and Burnley, Palace face Arsenal away on Saturday and Hodgson says that his plans for activity this month were discussed as soon as he arrived at club.

At a press conference ahead of the match against the Gunners, he said: "Our realistic thoughts after I'd been in the club two or three weeks was four, to make the squad as balanced and well-covered as it could be.

"I don't think it's unrealistic to think if we could get more than four players, it would be good for us, if we don't get the four players then our squad is going to be short of numbers apart from anything else."

Hodgson said that injuries to the likes of Jeffrey Schlupp and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have increased the need to bring new players in during this window.

Palace are 19/4 to win at the Emirates on Saturday and increase the pressure on Arsene Wenger whose side are 1/2 with the draw 7/2. 

Palace are 2/1 to end the season in the top half of the table.

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Wenger open to starting Sanchez

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has revealed he would have no issue starting Alexis Sanchez against Crystal Palace on Saturday despite the player edging towards a January exit.

Having seen Manchester City pull out of the race to sign the 29-year-old, Manchester United are in pole position to land the Chilean international.

Talks are thought to be ongoing with Sanchez and United but for the moment the player is still on the books at Arsenal and manager Wenger is adamant he would be happy to start the South American against Palace this weekend.

He told reporters: "As long as it's not over the line you have to accept it may not happen. These kind of things are not guaranteed.

"I have no problem with Sanchez's attitude. He was in training yesterday fully committed. He is 29 years old and the next contract will of course be very important to him."

Speaking about the possibility of United midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan heading in the opposite direction as part of the deal, Wenger added: "I like the player. We played many times against him when he was at Dortmund. He appreciated the quality of our games. The wages would not be a problem."

The Gunners are 1/2 to win, 7/2 to draw and 19/4 to lose to the Eagles at the Emirates Stadium.

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Getting Back in the Win Column is What Matters Now!

This week’s Premier League will be Manchester City’s first try to bounce back from a defeat, so they will be the focus of my Week 24 betting tips along with other online gambling favourites who all failed to get the win the last time out.

Arsenal and Everton both fell to strong teams last week, so expect them to put up a performance that football betting fans will remember.

Arsenal vs Crystal Palace (January 20, 23:00 GMT+8)
With Alexis Sanchez likely gone at the Emirates, it’s time for Arsenal to make a statement of their own and show that they don’t need the Chilean forward to win—a la Liverpool against City.
Sanchez scored a brace for the Gunners when they fought Crystal Palace three weeks ago, so this game is undoubtedly the perfect opportunity for them to bounce back. However, make no mistake: Palace are unbeaten in three and are coming off back-to-back wins against Southampton and Burnley.

I think Arsenal have enough attacking quality to pull out a win, though I predict it will be a low-scoring affair given Palace’s renewed focus on defence in their recent games. Considering all these, I suggest a 🌟🌟 bet on Goals Under 3.00 @ 1.91.

Everton vs West Bromwich Albion (January 20, 23:00 GMT+8)
Sure enough, nothing is going right for Everton. They lost three straight already and scored only once during that stretch, all while conceding eight. Fortunately for the Merseysiders, they have a legitimate chance of ending their slump against a West Brom side deep in relegation battle.

Alan Pardew’s side got all three points last weekend, so they’ll head to Goodison Park in high spirits. Nonetheless, it shouldn’t help that they haven’t won on the road since their second league game…and that’s five months ago!

There’s the possibility that this one will end up in a draw, but I like Everton’s solid form at home. With that said, another 🌟🌟 bet on the Toffees Asian Handicap -0.50 @ 2.28 is the way to go for me.

Manchester City vs Newcastle United (January 21, 01:30 GMT+8)
Manchester City are the best in the Premier League, but as what we have learned in their loss to Liverpool, they are not “invincible” and their backline can be ruthlessly exploited.

Whether Newcastle will also isolate Sergio Aguero and press the Sky Blues high up the pitch remain to be seen; however, City will still surely have a hard time against a team they beat with just one goal last month.

If there’s any silver lining for Pep Guardiola’s side, it’s the fact that the Magpies don’t have an attacking threat comparable to the Reds.

A City win is likely on the books, though I doubt there will be a huge gap as what the odds suggest. If you’re punting, go for Goals Under 3.50 @ 2.11 for a 🌟🌟🌟 bet.

A short explanation on how our (🌟) bets are worth :

🌟🌟🌟 = £20
🌟🌟 = £10
🌟 = £5

Head over to the betting tips section and see how our writers perform in their predicted bets.

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After these Football Games, Where Do You Start?

No wonder football games in the English top flight are more compelling than any other league in the world.

This was a weekend of record-breaking, record-ending, high controversy and managerial renaissance.

After so much to keep sports betting fans entertained, which talking point do we start with?

Chelsea 0-0 Leicester City

On their day, Leicester really can be a match for any Premier League opponent. Indeed, if Claude Puel’s men are on form, the 2016 champions could even make a late push for a return to Europe.

The Foxes thoroughly deserved their point (and it could have been more) at Stamford Bridge as they frustrated the reigning champions, who missed the chance to climb back into the second spot, despite playing the last 25 minutes against 10 men.

Crystal Palace 1-0 Burnley

For those who criticised the return to football of 70-year-old Roy Hodgson, there is egg on your face! For here is a man who has made the Eagles believes again.

Bakary Sako’s first-half goal was enough to see off seventh-placed Burnley and move Palace five points clear of the drop zone.

Huddersfield Town 1-4 West Ham United

For Hodgson, also read David Moyes who is proving he is far from a spent force after difficult times at Manchester United, Real Sociedad, and Sunderland.

On the weekend he marked his 20th anniversary in management, he has the Hammers believing again and this was as emphatic a performance as the team has produced all season.

Step forward Manuel Lanzini in the week he was touted for a move to a bigger club, finally showing the form he is capable of with a second half double in the space of five minutes to sink the Terriers.

Newcastle United 1-1 Swansea City

Another decent point for the Swans under new boss Carlos Carvalhal.

It could have been more as Joselu made a virtually instant impact as he climbed off the bench. Just eight minutes after Jordan Ayew’s opener, he equalised to ensure a share of the spoils for Toon.

Watford 2-2 Southampton

It was in January 2005 when Spurs were denied a clear goal against Manchester United that then manager Sir Alex Ferguson reinforced his belief that video evidence was needed as a matter of urgency for key decisions.

Here we are 13 years on and it still hasn’t been introduced.

Whether or not Watford deserved a point after this stirring fight back from two James Ward-Prowse goals misses the point.

Abdoulaye Doucoure’s 90th-minute equaliser should never have been allowed to stand as he bundled the ball home with his hand.

In this day and age, there is no excuse for such decisions which can cost teams Premier League survival and managers their jobs.

We haven’t heard the last of this one suspects!

West Bromwich Albion 2-0 Brighton & Hove Albion

The worst run in the club’s league history is finally over.

Jonny Evans calmed the nerves inside four minutes before Craig Dawson ensured the run of 20 matches without a victory was over.

The Baggies still have much work to do to pull clear from the drop zone but this was a start for Alan Pardew’s charges.

Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 Everton

It speaks volumes for Harry Kane (98 Premier League goals) that he has become Spurs’ all-time top Premier League scorer in just 135 games – 102 fewer than the man he has overtaken in Teddy Sheringham (albeit Sheringham wasn’t an out-and-out striker like Kane).

Tottenham certainly seem to have finally adapted to Wembley and are enjoying their best form of the season with the best frontman in Europe.

Despite a fourth straight defeat, Everton will improve further under Sam Allardyce and he is starting to strengthen his squad.

They will also bounce back after he branded this display as ‘unprofessional’.

Bournemouth 2-1 Arsenal

The fact this result wasn’t even a surprise perhaps explains the malaise at Arsenal which will not change unless there is a change at the top.

This was a first ever Premier League win for Bournemouth against the Gunners and more tellingly, a first win against a top six side this season.

Could it be the result that turns around their campaign?

Liverpool 4-3 Manchester City

There was a feeling before kick-off that this could be the day Man City slip up and lose their unbeaten record.

This was Liverpool at their attacking best and two quickfire goals around the hour mark stunned City.

Pep Guardiola’s side will go onto to win the Premier League, of course, but here was evidence they are far from infallible.

An attacking thriller with far from convincing defence – perhaps you can’t have one without the other – and a great spectacle for the Premier League.

The match of the season so far!

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Wenger admits Sanchez leaving

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has accepted that Alexis Sanchez will be leaving the club this month with both Manchester clubs still interested.

The Chilean almost joined Manchester City in the summer with a deal falling through on deadline day.

However, with United now having joined the chase he looks to have played his last game for Arsenal, having been left out of the Gunners side who lost at Bournemouth.

Before that game Wenger addressed the fact that Sanchez was missing from the team. When asked if a move was imminent he replied: "Yes. Don't read too much in it because even I don't know which way it will go.

"He's being vague at the moment. The situation is not completely decided one way or the other, so I left him at home."

To make matters worse for Wenger, his side lost 2-1 at Bournemouth; the Cherries first ever win over Arsenal.

Hector Bellerin gave Arsenal the lead early in the second half but two goals in four minutes, from Callum Wilson and Jordan Ibe turned the game around and, though the visitors poured forward in search of an equaliser, they were lacking the invention often provided by Sanchez.

The result means that Arsenal are sixth in the Premier League table, five points off a top four place. It was also their second defeat in the space of a week after they were knocked out of the FA Cup by Nottingham Forest last weekend.

They are still in the EFL Cup having drawn with Chelsea in the semi-finals first leg and they are 4/1 to win the trophy at Wembley next month.

Arsenal are back in Premier League action next weekend, at home to Crystal Palace and, without a win in five matches, they are 4/9 to put that right against Roy Hodgson's improving side. The Eagles are 5/1 with the draw priced at 15/4.

Eddie Howe's side now have a four-point gap on the bottom three following this vital win and they are up to 13th in the table.

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