Chelsea were hugely impressive in their 2-0 dispatching of Hull City on the opening day and while Aston Villa’s shock 3-1 win at Arsenal will give them confidence for the season ahead, the Jose Mourinho juggernaut looks set to roll over them at Stamford Bridge.
The 39/50 on the Blues winning by more than one goal looks like a great value bet, considering the home side won this fixture 8-0 last season when Rafa Benitez was at the helm and their dominating performance in the first half against Steve Bruce’s Tigers confirmed them as genuine title contenders, for which they are 21/10 second-favourites behind Manchester City.
Chelsea pressed Hull hard in the first 45 minutes and Frank Lampard could easily have had a hat-trick before half-time, with debutant goalkeeper Alan McGregor denying him from the spot early on and then pulling off a great save from a driven shot, before succumbing to the England man’s swerving free-kick on 26 minutes.
Mourinho’s side came through the fixture without any injury concerns and with midfield playmaker Juan Mata and striker Demba Ba left unused on the substitute’s bench – and defenders David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta not even in the squad – Chelsea can make changes to freshen up the side, without losing attacking impetus and experience.
Although Fernando Torres linked up tidily with the midfield, the former Liverpool hitman offered little in the way of goal-threat and is under pressure for his place, with Romelu Lukaku the 9/2 favourite to open the scoring against Villa, after returning to London following a 17-goal season on-loan at West Brom.
Villains’ manager Paul Lambert is unhappy that the fixture was moved at Chelsea’s request, as the original date of August 30th clashed with the west Londoners UEFA Super Cup tie with Bayern Munich and after the unlikely win at the Emirates his side will struggle to repeat the dose on the King’s Road.
Lambert’s team showed great resolve to come back from a goal down to beat Arsenal, but considering the amount of chances Chelsea created against Hull – with Kevin De Bryne close to scoring twice on his debut and Eden Hazard having a shot blocked before Oscar’s 11th minute opener – Villa, who had the worst goals against record in the Premier League, bar relegated Wigan Athletic and Reading last season, could be in for a tough evening.