Newcastle United visit Stamford Bridge on Wednesday hoping to recover from last weekend’s 4-0 mauling at the hands of Wigan.
Rather than asking ourselves how anyone can lose to Wigan by that kind of a score, or question where this rampant Latics side has been all season, it is interesting to point out that this isn’t the first time Newcastle have been butchered this season and it has always taken them a couple of games to recover.
When they lost to Tottenham 5-0, for example, they went on to draw 2-2 at home to Wolves (in Terry Connor’s first game in charge), while their 5-2 thrashing at the hands of Fulham preceded their limp FA Cup elimination at Brighton.
In other words, it is reasonable to expect a game chock-full of goals this evening, though most of them may not come from Newcastle.
Chelsea are in impressive form, with Roberto di Matteo managing not merely to resurrect their waning fortunes at home and abroad, but to bring Fernando Torres back to the land of the living (and scoring) after a long stay in purgatory.
Though Di Matteo has stated that securing fourth place in the Premier League is “crucial” and that he consequently won’t be resting players for this game – arguing, among other things, that he’d never done so in the past – the feeling remains that he may leave Didier Drogba on the bench with Saturday’s FA Cup final meeting with Liverpool in mind.
And why not? With Torres suddenly rediscovering his touch, Di Matteo can’t be accused of cutting the Toon any slack and after his hat-trick against QPR at the weekend, the Spaniard can be backed to net a brace or more tonight at 17/4 against a defence known for suffering against pace.
Torres is also a 7/2 shot to open the scoring and evens to notch at any time, with the latter price returning winnings of £50 for punters backing it with their free £25 bet for registering with bwin.
Newcastle certainly couldn’t handle Chelsea’s pace on the counter in their previous meeting this season, as the Pensioners romped to a 3-0 win at the Sports Direct Arena.
With Torres suddenly rediscovering his touch, Di Matteo can’t be accused of cutting the Toon any slack and after his hat-trick against QPR at the weekend, the Spaniard can be backed to net a brace or more tonight at 17/4 against a defence known for suffering against pace.
Daniel Sturridge scored in that game and the former Manchester City man is an interesting option at 9/2 to score first, as he did against QPR on Sunday.
Blues skipper John Terry is another good play, as his odds of netting at any time (11/2) are very interesting for a player who has scored five of his six goals this season at home, most of them from corners.
Newcastle’s chances of scoring are hardly poor: with their minds likely to be at least partially on Saturday’s trip to Wembley, Chelsea could let themselves be caught by surprise.
The Toon have only failed to score in four away games this season, while seven of their last 16 Premier League goals have come in the first 20 minutes of play.
With Papiss Demba Cisse on such hot form, his 15/2 to score first is a scandalously good price – it could be worth £212.50 to any new customers who choose to invest that free £25 bet on it.
For a longer shot, the Senegalese striker (who is to score at any time and whose arrival has, oddly enough, effectively put a stop to Demba Ba’s accuracy in front of goal) could be backed to net two or more at 25/2.
Newcastle have two further players on further form, two talents whose mind is set on France boss Laurent Blanc’s Euro 2012 squad. Yohan Cabaye’s 5/1 to score at any time is a logical step for those who argue that he is capable of picking up from where he left off against Stoke, against whom he netted a spectacular brace.
Otherwise, Hatem Ben Arfa is the talk of the French media of late, as his recent run of form is making Samir Nasri look surplus to requirements.
With many arguing that he should be France’s number ten in June, he needs to strike while the iron is hot by adding to his five league goals for the season – he is 13/4 to score at any time.
But in a game where it would be no surprise to see goals scored at both ends, opting for the form strikers in Torres and Cisse provides the best avenue for potential returns.
Recommended bet: Torres to score at any time @ Evens Outside punts: Cisse to score first @ 15/2, Torres to score two or more @ 17/4
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