Chelsea should have little trouble defeating their west London rivals, but the other Premier League games on Wednesday should be closer
|By PAUL GOUGH
In-form Chelsea are the short-priced favourites to send Harry Redknapp's battling Queens Park Rangers team closer to relegation when the west London rivals meet on Wednesday.
Recent clashes between the two teams have been shrouded in controversy and bitterness following the John Terry-Anton Ferdinand racism row in the October 2011 meeting between the teams.
However, with Terry still sidelined through injury, Wednesday's clash should hopefully be played in a better atmosphere than recent meetings between the teams.
Chelsea enter the match in third spot and on the back of a revitalised period of form since returning from the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan, where they lost the final to Brazilian club Corinthians.
QPR have won just once all season and their latest defeat - a 3-0 home loss against Liverpool - has left Redknapp's team eight points from escaping the relegation zone.
Redknapp has long had the reputation as a miracle worker in England for his ability time and time again to save struggling clubs from relegation, but the punters do not believe the man that was surprisingly dumped by high-flying Spurs at the end of last season can rescue QPR.
In fact, Rangers are now virtually equal favourites with second-last placed Reading to be the two teams most likely to be relegated this season, with the Royals paying $1.28 to be relegated at Betfair and QPR at $1.29.
Chelsea, in contrast, are the $8.40 third favourites at Betfair to win the title behind leaders Manchester United and defending champions in second-placed Manchester City.
However, while Chelsea should comfortably defeat QPR - with the Blues' favourites to win 2-0 at $8 in Betfair's correct score market - the other two matches on Wednesday should be much closer affairs.
|Back Chelsea and Everton to win their matches at Betfair
||Liverpool and Sunderland to draw at $5 at Betfair|
Liverpool might be short at $1.42 at Betfair to win at home against Sunderland at $10 but this game will be much closer than those odds suggest.
The Reds have been frustratingly inconsistent all season and have gone win-loss-win-loss-win in their past five matches, while Sunderland were unlucky 2-1 losers at home to fourth-placed Spurs in their most recent outing after the Black Cats had won three of their past four matches before that.
That good run of form has lifted Sunderland up to 13th on the table, just four places and six points below Liverpool, and they are more than capable of getting a draw in this game, which looks attractively priced at $5 at Betfair compared to $4.33 at sportsbet.com.au and $4.80 at Eskander's Betstar.
Meanwhile, Everton are good value at better-than even money odds to bounce back away to struggling Newcastle, after Chelsea handed the Toffees only their second defeat in their past 15 matches.
However, Newcastle are a shadow of the team that finished fifth last season and have lost eight of their past nine Premier League fixtures while conceding a total of 11 goals in their past two matches against Manchester United and Arsenal.
* Note prices subject to change