Expect extreme backlash when Chelsea resume European duties
After Newcastle served up the Premier League’s surprise result of the weekend by beating Chelsea 2-0 at St James’ Park, Blues boss Jose Mourinho insisted he had made ’11 mistakes’ with his starting lineup.
Although the Portuguese backtracked somewhat later on in his post-match interview, his record of rotating in cup competitions so far this season suggests changes will be made for their Champions League clash with Schalke at Stamford Bridge.
With the likes of Andre Schurrle, Willian and Samuel Eto’o set to come in and stake their claims for regular first-team action the 27/10 odds about Chelsea overcoming a two-goal handicap could be the way to play in this Group E clash.
The west Londoners took Jens Keller’s men apart in Gelsenkirchen, with Fernando Torres bagging goals in both halves and Eden Hazard rounding off a 3-0 win.
Torres could be one of the fall guys after being hauled off after little over an hour alongside fellow Spaniard Juan Mata on Tyneside, with former Anzhi Makhachkala pair Willian and Eto’o given 30 minutes each to impress.
The Cameroon international has only managed to get on the scoresheet once since moving to England, in his side’s 4-1 win over Cardiff in the Premier League.
However, a striker who has scored 220 goals in 404 club appearances during his career is unlikely to be kept quiet for much longer in a Chelsea shirt.
A team that has conceded only one goal fewer than Bundesliga basement-dwellers Eintracht Braunschweig this season ought to be easy pickings for the 32-year-old and at 4/1 Eto’o is good value to score the first goal if he starts at the Bridge.
Chelsea have been ahead at half-time in each of their three Group E games so far this term, including when going down 2-1 to Basel at home.
With that in mind, backing them at 17/20 for a fourth Champions League first-half lead in a row here looks a solid punt.