Chelsea can close on CL last 16 with win away at Maribor
Jose Mourinho can steer Chelsea onto 10 Champions League points with victory in Slovenia at Maribor, and his side hit them for six in their previous outing in Europe’s elite club competition.
Minnows Maribor are swimming with Blue sharks once more and, although they have home advantage, Coral’s attractive match special on Chelsea winning by three or more goals at odds of 5/2 (max stake £20) looks a very tempting prospect indeed.
A clinical display, where Mourinho’s men scored with six of their 10 shots on target, thoroughly justifies their status as odds-on 2/7 favourites. Maribor are 10/1 outsiders to cause a monumental upset, with even a draw looking a remote possibility at 4/1.
Worryingly for the hosts, the Blues have top scorer Diego Costa back from injury. The Brazilian-born Spain striker is odds-on at 8/13 to net anytime, and a better 11/4 to grab the opener.
Eden Hazard was on target from the spot last time out as Chelsea edged QPR in a west London derby, and the Belgium star also bagged a brace on Maribor’s visit to Stamford Bridge. Odds of 5/1 say he will score two or more again here.
Loic Remy will miss this match with the groin injury he sustained against this opposition before, so Didier Drogba (a 7/2 shot to net last here) will be held in reserve. Brazil midfielder Ramires, meanwhile, joined Costa in returning in the QPR game after coming off the bench.
Maribor have very little to worry the Blues in their ranks, so backing the visitors to beat them to nil at 11/10 is a lot more attractive than the 2/7 on offer in the outright match betting. Chelsea are also a tempting 2/1 to win both halves of this encounter.
Having scored so rampantly at the Bridge against this opposition, the handicap market must also be considered. Give Mourinho’s Blues a three-goal deficit to overturn here, and punters’ reward will be awesome odds of 11/2. It really just is a question of how many Chelsea will score here, so back them to fill their boots.