Injuries could prove Costa-ly for Chelsea’s Diego

Chelsea's Diego Costa celebrates scoring the opening goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match at Stamford Bridge, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday August 23, 2014. See PA story SOCCER Chelsea. Photo credit should read: Adam Davy/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Maximum 45 images during a match. No video emulation or promotion as 'live'. No use in games, competitions, merchandise, betting or single club/player services. No use with unofficial audio, video, data, fixtures or club/league logos.
Chelsea's Diego Costa celebrates scoring the opening goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match at Stamford Bridge, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday August 23, 2014. See PA story SOCCER Chelsea. Photo credit should read: Adam Davy/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Maximum 45 images during a match. No video emulation or promotion as 'live'. No use in games, competitions, merchandise, betting or single club/player services. No use with unofficial audio, video, data, fixtures or club/league logos.
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The Premier League returns and you have to go back to March 1982 for the last time Crystal Palace beat Chelsea in successive League games.

But the Eagles have the opportunity to do just that when the Premier League leaders and title favourites visit Selhurst Park on Saturday (Oct 18).

Palace are 9/1 at BetVictor to cause what would have to be considered a shock given how well the Blues have played this season. Chelsea are 4/11 to take all three points with the draw at 19/5 and their only defeat in their last 15 London derbies was the 1-0 reverse to Palace last season when John Terry’s own goal divided the sides.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho suggested the Eagles played with more spirit and determination than his own side back in March and Neil Warnock will insist his side play with the same intensity at the weekend.

The statisticians at Opta tell us that Diego Costa has scored more goals this season (9) than any player has for Palace since they returned to the PL at the start of last season. Costa broke his scoring duck for Spain against Luxembourg at the weekend, but also picked up his now almost obligatory yellow card, and the striker is 31/10 to score the opening goal and 4/5 to find the back of the net at any time during the 90 minutes.

The striker is 4/6 to end the season as the top PL goalscorer but with almost weekly concerns about his hamstring(s) and near-certain disciplinary issues to come I wonder if the value lies elsewhere?

Edin Dzeko has made a slow start to the season but he found the back of the net for Bosnia against Belgium midweek and scored twice in City’s win at the KC Stadium last month. At 40/1 and each way ¼ odds first four he might be the value although Sunday is likely to see the return of Daniel Sturridge from injury in Liverpool’s side at QPR and he is also worth an interest.

Media attention at Loftus Road is likely to focus on Rip van Sterling but Sturridge is 4/1 to score the opener against Rangers and Even money to find the back of the net at anytime. If he can be kept fit the 20/1 for Sturridge to be top PL goalscorer makes plenty of appeal each way and he is 4/1with BetVictor to be top England goalscorer behind Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck.

A sensational week for the Home Nations and we bet 50/1 at BetVictor that England, Scotland, Wales and both Northern and the Republic of Ireland make it through to France 2016. Remember all the runners up from the groups will automatically qualify and five of the third placed sides will make it through either automatically or via the play-offs.

Champions Day at Ascot has been decimated by a number of high-profile withdrawals and you wonder whether the BHA will have to rethink their strategy and timing of an event which looks inferior to Champions weekend in Ireland, Arc Day in France and the Breeders’ Cup in America.

That said, there is some fabulous racing to look forward to and the exciting Forgotten Rules (4/1 at BetVictor) can upset previous Gold Cup winners Leading Light and Estimate in the opening Long Distance Cup.

In the QEII I give the nod to French raider Charm Spirit who can reverse earlier Guineas’ form with Night Of Thunder on the softer ground; Freddy Head’s colt is unbeaten in three subsequent starts two in Group One company and in the Champions’ Stakes I expect Dermot Weld’s Free Eagle to cope with underfoot conditions well enough to see off the challenge of another Gallic raider the evergreen Cirrus Des Aigles who has run in the corresponding race three times previously finishing 1st, 2nd and 2nd!

For all your sporting odds this weekend check out BetVictor.com