Chelsea’s quest to not win as many trophies as possible continues apace on Sunday when they make the short trip to Brentford for an FA Cup fourth-round tie.
The dismal two-legged defeat to Swansea City in the Capital One Cup semi-final meant the ailing European champions have now passed up five pieces of silverware (or six, if you include the Premier League title) so far this season and surrendering their FA Cup crown will certainly not amuse the natives.
Being paired against a side two divisions below has been kind enough for the Blues, but ironically, a game against the League One high flyers is both the best and the worst possible draw for Rafa Benitez’s side.
Defeat against the 33/4 outsiders will surely send Stamford Bridge into meltdown and further add to the disharmony permeating through the club.
Brentford are on a decent run themselves and sit just shy of an automatic promotion place in League One after losing only one of their last 15 league games.
Uwe Rosler’s side are also a dab hand at home, winning 11 of their 16 games at Griffin Park this season, but Chelsea are a couple of classes above and should surely get the job done.
bwin’s 3Way football betting market has Chelsea as strong 7/25 favourites and despite their various foibles in a range of different competitions, the Blues have enough quality to see off a side 44 positions lower down the league pyramid.
Yet Rafa the gormless gaffer will have to use the full depth of his expensively assembled squad because injuries and suspensions are mounting up.
David Luiz is struggling with a knock picked up against Swansea, while Eden Hazard will be on the naughty step after booting an over-aged ballboy.
With Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel at the Africa Cup of Nations and Oriel Romeu out long term, the Blues’ bench is looking decidedly threadbare these days and if Brentford can edge ahead with the first goal at 29/10, then the hosts to avoid defeat at 5/2 might be worth an outside punt.
Yet Chelsea are regularly the side to set the pace in the FA Cup and have only been beaten outright once in their last 35 ties.
With their options diminishing, Benitez and the Blues will have no choice other than to take this match as seriously as possible and I’m backing the extra quality to nullify any threat of a ‘cup-set’.
But considering the odds are heavily weighted towards the Premier League team, you’ll have to fumble about to find anything to make you rich quick, yet there are plenty of decent punts you should be adding to your weekend long list.
Certainly Chelsea to score in both halves is a touch at 83/100 and I’d also back the Blues to win both halves at 6/4.
If that comes to pass, then Chelsea with goals is the way to go and I reckon the cup holders will advance in a game featuring over 3.5 goals at 17/10.
New customers registering with bwin are entitled to a free £20 bet and putting that on Chelsea to win with over 3.5 goals in the match will set you off on your bwin journey with a healthy £54 in tow.
Should Chelsea do as expected and progress through to the next round, then they’ll be nicely placed to add to their haul of four of the last six FA Cups.
If you fancy the Blues to extend that sequence, then you may as well lump on now as their 4/1 joint-favourites price will only shorten after this weekend.