Premier League round up, December 19th 2016

Chelsea march on, Arsenal falter as City come back

Costa again for the Blues, Arsenal blow an early lead

Choke, choke! That’s the sound coming out of the Emirates Stadium as Arsenal look to be bottling yet another Premier League title push after falling nine points behind current leaders Chelsea. Fans will be thinking it’s Groundhog Day in London this Christmas.

After losing 2-1 away to Everton in midweek, The Gunners went and lost by the same scoreline to Man City at the Etihad on Sunday afternoon. Despite going in front thanks to a Theo Walcott goal on five-minutes, they ended the day empty-handed, with Sane and Sterling rattling in to rescue the day in front of a 54,409 strong crowd.

Gunners fail to fire away from home

Long-suffering manager Arsene Wenger had the look of a man who had seen it all before when speaking to the press while his side stumbled back to their dressing room. He refused to blame his misfiring players however and instead turned the gun on officials, saying referees are protected like lions in a zoo. He believed bad decisions cost his employees once again. It’s all getting a bit droll from the Frenchman.

Bookmakers latest odds for the title suggest they won’t catch Chelsea

Bookmakers have lost faith in Arsenal going and winning the league and they’ve dropped back down to fourth in the betting. That’s a fall considering they were second this time last week. Punters who believe they can claw it back and pull off the great escape can have 12/1 at Skybet on a title win.

Chelsea power on at the top

Ain’t no stopping us now! Chelsea are seven points clear at the top of the league and looking every inch a title winning side. In fact, they have the swagger of a side who could walk a race that was sizing up as one of the tightest in living memory. A record of 14 wins, one draw and two defeats has done the damage so far. Chelsea beat Crystal Palace 1-0 on Saturday to make it 11 wins in-a-row, and that equalled a club record. It was a hard-fought result but, in the end, Diego Costa got what turned out to be the winner when scoring just before half-time. That was The Blues first shot on target at Selhurst Park that day, and despite forcing five more, the one was enough.

Boss Antonio Conte refused to take any of the credit after the match and says that, although it is a great run, the congratulations must go to his players and it’s nothing short of what they deserve, which I have to agree with. He also thinks there’s improvement to come and if that’s so, they’re nailed on for the trophy. Bookies have them as odds-on to go all the way, and there’s no better out there than Coral’s 8/11.

Hull facing relegation battle

At the other end of proceedings and it is looking increasingly bleak for Hull City who are bottom of the pile and are a Premier League club in name only. A 2-1 win over Southampton in early November was their last cause for celebration and they now show a record of three wins, three draws and 11 defeats.

A midweek loss to Tottenham in London was followed by another reverse in the big smoke when losing 1-0 to West Ham on Saturday. Mark Noble scored a penalty on 76-minutes to decide the points and, although it looked a harsh way to go down, it’s a step closer to relegation.

Punters looking to back Hull to be relegated will find them no better than bet365’s 1/5, with Sunderland next in the pecking order at 8/11 (Sportingbet). There’s a little respite in the betting to finish bottom, with The Tigers out there at 11/10 (bet365).