AT this rate, Chelsea might not have to win another game to seal the 2016-17 English Premier League title.
It feels as though every time their nearest rivals have had a chance to close the gap, it has gone begging.
That was the case again on Wednesday evening, when a goalless home draw to Stoke saw Manchester City squander an opportunity to climb into second place.
It means the Blues remain 10 points clear of the Citizens and Tottenham Hotspur, both of whom have a four-point buffer on Liverpool.
Arsenal are two points further back and one ahead of Manchester United, although they each have a game in hand on the top four.
Down the ladder, what has been a decidedly open-ended relegation equation is now beginning to follow a much more defined set of parameters.
A surprise win for Crystal Palace at West Brom means the Eagles now have a three-point gap on Middlesbrough, who slid into 18th place with their defeat to Stoke.
Below them are Hull City and Sunderland, who are leaving their customary late charge to safety very late indeed.
The FA Cup sixth round has eaten to this weekend’s fixture list, with only four matches on the card.
That won’t stop us bringing you the best Premier League odds from our most trusted online bookmakers, as well as our hot tips for first goalscorer and more.
AFC Bournemouth vs. West Ham United
3pm local time – Saturday, March 11, 2017 – Vitality Stadium
Bournemouth claimed a badly needed point last weekend with their 1-1 draw away to Manchester United, but it came at a cost.
A reckless stamp on Zlatan Ibrahimovic has earned Tyrone Mings – only recently back from a lengthy injury absence – a five-match suspension for violent conduct.
Also unavailable is deputy captain Andrew Surman, who was sent off at Old Trafford after picking up two bookings in the space of 12 minutes.
However, regular skipper Simon Francis could make his return from a hamstring strain, while Junior Stanislas is also a chance after missing the United fixture with groin trouble.
West Ham should also have some key men back in action.
Winston Reid was forced off the field against Chelsea with severe muscle cramps, but the New Zealand international is said to be fighting fit for the trip to Dorset.
Fix-it man Michail Antonio will also return after serving a one-match ban.
The Irons lost that clash with the league leaders, which extended their winless run to three games and saw them slide out of the top 10.
Defence has been a huge issue for both of these teams, so picking a winner is no easy task.
The Cherries have never beaten West Ham at Dean Court, while the Hammers are just as mediocre on the road as they are at London Stadium.
Goals are likely, with the visitors to edge it.
First goalscorer tip: Robert Snodgrass (+900 at Bet365.com.au)
Everton vs. West Bromwich Albion
3pm local time – Saturday, March 11, 2017 – Goodison Park
Everton – -161.29 at CrownBet
Draw – +280 at CrownBet
West Brom – +500 at William Hill
Everton were undefeated in nine games when they fronted up to Tottenham Hotspur last weekend.
They could not quite take that run into double figures, however, going down 3-2 at White Hart Lane.
Romelu Lukaku was on the score sheet again, taking his tally to 18 goals in Premier League 2016-17.
Besides long-term injuries to Muhamed Besic and Yannick Bolasie, the Toffees have a full and fit squad available for West Brom’s visit.
The Baggies had lost only once since the turn of the year until last week, when battling Crystal Palace breached their normally sound defence on two unanswered occasions.
Matt Phillips missed that match with a thigh problem, but the Black Country club’s chief provider is expected back in the starting XI for the trip to Merseyside.
West Brom are aiming at four consecutive clean sheets at Goodison Park, where they triumphed 1-0 on their last visit.
It may require an absolute blinder from Ben Foster between the sticks, but Tony Pulis’ men are well worth a punt at the odds offered.
Look out for Gareth McAuley at set pieces, as the big defender is Albion’s second-top scorer this season with six goals.
First goalscorer tip: Gareth McAuley (+3500 at Sportsbet.com.au)
Hull City vs. Swansea City
3pm local time – Saturday, March 11, 2017 – KCOM Stadium
Hull – +142 at CrownBet
Draw – +225 at Sportsbet
Swansea – +210 at William Hill
This is a fascinating match-up between two teams that have improved out of sight under new management.
Hull are second from bottom and have taken only one point from their last three games, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.
Having just come off an excessively difficult run of fixtures, the Tigers found themselves on the wrong end of a rejuvenated Leicester City last week.
They started well, going ahead on 14 minutes through Sam Clucas, but the Foxes rallied to claim their second straight win since sacking Claudio Ranieri.
Injuries have plagued the Humberside club all season long, with no fewer than 10 members of the first-team squad currently out of action.
They also lost key men Jake Livermore and Robert Snodgrass to winter transfers, which makes Marco Silva’s efforts at the helm all the more impressive.
Swansea’s turnaround is even more remarkable.
The Swans were dead last when Paul Clement took charge on January 3, but a quintet of wins in the space of eight rounds has put them five points clear of danger.
No player typifies that revival more than Fernando Llorente, who now has 11 goals for the season after netting five times in his last six games.
Also in great touch is Gylfi Sigurdsson, who leads the 2016-17 Premier League charts with 10 assists.
Swansea have already lost to Hull twice this season – once in the league and once in the FA Cup, both by 2-0 score lines.
But the way they are going, and with Jefferson Montero and Ki Sung-yeung expected back this week, they should fancy their chances at the KCOM.
First goalscorer tip: Gylfi Sigurdsson (+800 at Sportsbet.com.au)
Liverpool vs. Burnley
4pm local time – Sunday, March 12, 2017 – Anfield
Liverpool – -454.55 at Sportsbet
Draw – +550 at Bet365
Burnley – +1200 at CrownBet
On recent form, backing Liverpool is a mug’s game.
The Reds are fine when facing their rivals at the top end of the table, but in 2017 they have failed to beat Sunderland (2-2), Swansea (2-3), Hull (0-2) and Leicester (3-1).
The common theme there is the number of goals conceded – too many for a team with any designs on the title.
Yet they were very good against Arsenal last weekend, as they were against Spurs three weeks prior.
January absentees and cup breaks have messed with their flow, so Jurgen Klopp and company will be eager to put two results together and get some form going.
They may have to tackle Burnley without Jordan Henderson, whose chronic heel problem has been causing him grief, while Daniel Sturridge is ruled out with a hip injury.
It was the Clarets who prevailed when these two met at Turf Moor early in the campaign, with Andre Gray’s raw pace and direct running proving too hot for the Liverpool defence to handle.
But racking up results on their own patch is not the issue for Sean Dyche’s men.
For all their exploits in Lancashire, they have yet to win a single game away from home this season.
Indeed, the draw at Hull last week took Burnley’s travel tally to a grand total of two points from 13 road trips.
They were without the unwell Tom Heaton for that one, but the emerging contender for the England number one jersey will retake his place in goal at Anfield.
Also back in the mix is Steven Defour, who has not featured since January, while Joey Barton is also a chance after the FA delayed his hearing over betting charges.
But at home, fresh off a big win, Liverpool have to get the job done.
First goalscorer tip: Philippe Coutinho (+480 at CrownBet.com.au)
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