Ba’s turn to help extend Mourinho’s unbeaten League Cup record
Demba Ba has featured in all five of Chelsea’s games in December so far, having made only eight appearances in the four months previous, and this suggests that he can win the battle to lead the line in the Capital One Cup quarter final at Sunderland.
Jose Mourinho is sure to get involved in a spot of squad rotation for this clash, with choosing from his three misfiring strikers one of the key decisions that have to be made.
Recent weeks suggest that Ba is moving up the food chain and he has scored two goals in these five appearances, from just 207 minutes on the pitch.
Interestingly, he also scored in the one game in this period where he was called upon from the start, in the 1-0 Champions League triumph over Steaua Bucharest.
In comparison, Fernando Torres has started four of Chelsea’s last five fixtures in all competitions and so may be due a game on the bench, while Samuel Eto’o has seemingly fallen out of favour after playing just 20 minutes across the same period.
Ba is 10/11 to score at any time in the 90 minutes against Sunderland and 7/2 to open the scoring, as he did on his last start.
Of this pair, preference is for the former though, given that Sunderland have conceded the opening goal in only one of their last eight games.
Jose Mourinho has still never lost a League Cup game with Chelsea in 90 minutes, with his three previous seasons fetching two trophies in the competition and a penalty shoot-out defeat to Charlton.
Therefore, although Sunderland’s odds can be deemed a little on the large side at 11/2 to win at home to opposition that have been beaten on three of their past five away days, this bet may be best opposed.
Given Chelsea’s away record, their win price of 4/7 has little appeal either, even though they did win 4-3 at the Stadium of Light earlier in December. The draw that will see the game require extra time can be backed at 3/1.
The correct scoreline market is another that may generate some interest and a case can certainly be made as to why Chelsea will beat Sunderland 2-1, which is available at 15/2.
All of Chelsea’s last four fixtures have been settled by a single-goal margin, with the Blues coming out on top in three of these, while Sunderland have also lost two on the bounce at home by the odd goal.
Meanwhile, Sunderland’s last six at the Stadium of Light have had a win margin of one goal.
Sticking to this line of thought, it is 22/1 that Chelsea win 3-2 and 100/1 for a repeat of the 4-3 win for Mourinho from his latest Premier League encounter.