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Premier League's best weekend bets

Are Manchester City a good bet to close the gap on Chelsea on Saturday?
Are Manchester City a good bet to close the gap on Chelsea on Saturday?

One game dominates the Premier League schedule this weekend: The clash between title contenders Chelsea and Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Jose Mourinho's Chelsea are in the driving seat in the title race but this game represents a fantastic opportunity for Manuel Pellegrini's defending champions to close the gap.

Here's a look at the best value bet in that match along with three others taking place this weekend, including Liverpool-West Ham, West Bromwich-Tottenham and Arsenal-Aston Villa.

Chelsea (home) vs. Manchester City

Asian handicap: Chelsea -0.5 (+108) vs. Man City +0.5 (-116)
3-way line: Chelsea +108 / Man City +289 / Draw +253
PickCenter public consensus money line pick: 64 percent Chelsea
Total: 2.5 (Over -104, Under -104)

It may be overstating things to say this game will decide where the Prem title ends up this season, but if Chelsea win they'll take some stopping. A victory for Jose Mourinho's side over their nearest challengers would put Chelsea eight points clear at the top with only 13 games to play. And given how Chelsea have performed this season, it's hard to see them throwing away that sort of lead.

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By ESPN Staff
4 hours ago

Allardyce hopeful over Fletcher transfer

West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce spoke to the media on Thursday ahead of his side's Premier League trip to Liverpool on Saturday.

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Darren Fletcher could still leave Man United for West Ham - Allardyce

Manchester United striker Robin van Persie says it is vital for the club to win the FA Cup, which represents their best chance of silverware this season.
Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal expected a difficult FA Cup tie, and got one against Cambridge United.

Sam Allardyce still hopes to sign Darren Fletcher, but is not sure whether the Manchester United midfielder will decide to join West Ham.

The Hammers are among several clubs interested in the Scotland captain, who is also a target for West Bromwich Albion.

Fletcher, who will turn 31 on Sunday, is out of contract at Old Trafford in the summer and United are prepared to let him leave without a fee in the January window in recognition of his service to the club.

But there has been a hold-up amid reports...

Prem Forecaster: United won't finish top four, City faces must-win vs. CFC

Manchester United faces an uphill climb to finish in the top four and secure a Champions League spot.
Manchester United faces an uphill climb to finish in the top four and secure a Champions League spot.

Welcome to the second edition of Insider's Premier League Forecaster, an end-of-season table projection fueled by ESPN's Soccer Power Index (SPI), a regression-based algorithm designed to predict soccer matches. SPI simulates the remainder of the season 10,000 times, using the odds of each projected match, with the end result presented in the table below.

If you missed the inaugural version two weeks ago, click here for a primer and the previous table. (Note: The previous table forecast was incorrect due to a projection error. Chelsea, not Manchester City, should have been the projected favorite to win the league leading up to matches Jan. 10.)

With a lull in Premier League action last week due to FA Cup and Capital One Cup matches, in this edition we break down table risers and fallers over the past few weeks and preview what promises to be one of the most important matches of the season: Chelsea versus Manchester City on Saturday.

Here's a look at the latest forecast for all 20 Prem teams, along with breakdowns of the title, Champions League and relegation battles.  

Latest table projection

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By ESPN Staff
2 days ago

Senegal 'surprised' Sakho is playing

Senegal head coach Alain Giresse says he is surprised Diafra Sakho is playing for West Ham despite being unable to join the national team at the Africa Cup of Nations.

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Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.