PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 December, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 December, 2006, 12:00am

Chelsea may well be feeling the heat by the time they host Arsenal in tomorrow's big London derby, but that should not prevent the Premiership champions taking three precious points.

Manchester United kick off the weekend action in tonight's derby against neighbours City, knowing that victory would put them nine points clear of Chelsea.

United rate highly for a home win over City, who have lost 14 Premiership away games out of 16 during 2006 (the exceptions being two wins over Aston Villa). The biggest plus point for City is their recent derby record (four draws and only one defeat on their last five league visits to Old Trafford, plus three wins and one defeat from their last four at home). Unless the pressure gets to them, Chelsea are a good bet against Arsenal.

Jose Mourinho has never lost to Arsene Wenger and the Blues' home record under Mourinho remains phenomenal (38 wins from 45 Premiership games, with no defeats) while Arsenal's away record is shaky (13 defeats out of 26 in the Premiership since their last visit to Stamford Bridge).

The other strong home chance in the Premiership is Bolton, who host West Ham. Bolton have faltered in recent weeks, but mostly against top-half teams, and they should relish this chance against a struggling side. West Ham are weakened by the absence of key defender Danny Gabbidon (eight defeats out of 10 without him).

The best away option is Villa on the handicap at Sheffield United in the Monday night game. Villa's win rate is not great under Martin O'Neill, but they are capable of outgunning Sheffield United (the third-lowest scorers in the division).

Away teams are favoured in several games in Spain, with Recreativo, Zaragoza, Villarreal and Mallorca all holding good chances. The best bet, though, could lie in the basement clash between Gimnastic and Levante.

Gimnastic look certainties for relegation, whereas Levante have shown plenty of spirit in consecutive draws against Barcelona and Getafe. Levante rate a good handicap bet.

Sevilla also have a good chance of beating Real Madrid in the big Spanish game of the weekend.

In Serie A, Roma rate the most likely winners of their derby against Lazio. Roma have lost only one of the last 12 league derbies and they outstrip Lazio on form this season.

The best bet in Serie A is Palermo at home to Livorno. Palermo are in a mini-slump (one draw and four defeats in their last five in all competitions) but still rate highly on overall form (five wins out of seven at home, with one of their two defeats coming against leaders Inter).

Livorno have something to prove on the road (all of their points this season have come against teams in the bottom eight).

Homes: Bolton, Chelsea, Palermo.

Handicap: Aston Villa, Levante.