Chelsea need third Xmas winning run to stay in title race

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Chelsea may be 12 points off the pace in the Premier League standings, but another Xmas winning streak would likely help bridge the gap on Manchester United.

Historically, the Blues love the busy Xmas schedule more than any other Premier League club and it is 11/2 they win all of their next four games.

They are the only team in the last 15 years to win all four of their Xmas fixtures and this is a feat that they have achieved twice, in successive seasons between 2004 and 2006.

Granted, the squad now lacks the same depth with Roman Abramovich culling his spending slightly and Jose Mourinho no longer at the helm, while John Terry’s continued absence is a big negative.

The fixture list has also conspired against Chelsea if they are to win their next four Premier League games, as their next three fixtures are against some of the more in-form teams.

They host Aston Villa first, with Paul Lambert’s team on a five-game unbeaten run and high on confidence after a win at Anfield.

Meanwhile, Villa are unbeaten on their last two trips to Chelsea, scoring three goals on each occasion and the hosts will be without a recognised holding midfielder with John Obi Mikel banned and Oriol Romeu injured.

Then they travel to Norwich, who are unbeaten in ten in the top flight and have won all of their last five at Carrow Road.

Everton have only lost twice all season and so will be tough to beat in Chelsea’s last game of 2012, while Goodison Park has not been a happy hunting ground for the Blues as they have suffered three straight league defeats at the ground.

Their fourth game of the Xmas period is at home to QPR, which Chelsea should win even if Harry Redknapp is having a positive influence at Loftus Road.

If Chelsea do win all four games, they will almost certainly be shorter than 16/1 to win the Premier League this season.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.