Ruthless Chelsea scent blood and points at wounded Newcastle
This has been a superb week for Jose Mourinho, and it looks like a great time for punters to ride on his coat-tails and bet on Chelsea, who are 8/13 to take the points.
Last Sunday, a triple coup:
1) Three points against his closest title rivals Manchester City.
2) A victory gained in such outrageously lucky circumstances that City must have spent the next 48 hours in therapy dealing with their frustration.
3) Yards of column inches praising his supposed restoration of Fernando Torres, a task plenty of other managers have tried and failed at.
Then on Tuesday he gave Arsenal a lesson in how to crush the opposition with your reserves, a lesson that Arsenal themselves regularly used to hand out in the League Cup.
What’s more, he’s easily slipped back into the Chelsea driving seat and got the team looking ominous, making a mockery, so far, of the rule that clubs should re-hire old managers at their peril.
The one low grade on his report card is in Chelsea’s away form in the league, with just one win in four, away to Norwich. They have dropped points at United, Everton, and Tottenham, scoring just one goal in those three games.
Newcastle, however, can expect no such kindness. With a weak home record themselves, of one win in four (against the feeble Fulham, and that 1-0), the best they can hope for against Chelsea is to turn the lights out and pretend they are not at home.
Chelsea to win to nil @ 2/1
Even in 120 minutes against Manchester City in the Capital One Cup Newcastle only managed four shots on goal. Although they haven’t picked up many points at home, Newcastle have still managed to score, but Chelsea have defence in depth and Mourinho demands meanness.
Chelsea under 2.5 goals @ 7/20
This fixture finished 3-2 last year, with Newcastle coming from behind to nick the points with an 89th minute winner from Moussa Sissoko. Six of the seven previous St James’ park meetings between the two, however, ended under 2.5 goals and Chelsea have yet to show themselves eager to bury opponents beneath embarrassing scorelines.
Chelsea to win 2-0 @ 15/2
Correct scoreline prediction is always the thinnest of ice, and 2-0 also feels like a slightly freakish result – when the second goal goes in an opponent either suddenly wakes up, finds some urgency and bangs in a consolation, or accepts the jig is up, calls it a day, and concedes more. However, Chelsea have registered 2-0 results twice in the league this season, against Hull and Villa, and it feels like a Mourinhian kind of result: get the game won, then close everything down to prevent any nasty suprises. Two of Chelsea’s last three wins at Newcastle have also been by 2-0.