The perception that Andre Villas-Boas is living on borrowed time at Stamford Bridge was only entrenched by an Opta stat this week which revealed the Portuguese has a win percentage of just 47.4 per cent as Chelsea boss – lower than any Blues manager since Glenn Hoddle.
Hoddle, lest we forget, was in charge during the pre-Abramovich era, when he had the likes of Dmitri Kharine and John Spencer at his disposal rather than Petr Cech and Didier Drogba and when an 11th-place finish was considered par for the course.
Back to the present, and Chelsea are still in the hunt for a place in the top four – indeed, they are odds-on at 19/20 to qualify for next season’s Champions League – but five games without a win tells a different story.
The Blues have been in front at the interval in only two of their last 15 matches, while Bolton have only been behind in four of their 12 league away games this season.
So too do reports of a dressing room revolt and rumours that AVB holds a grudge against players who criticised his tactics in a team meeting.
Then there are the performances on the pitch – once so solid at the back, Chelsea’s defence is now something of a shambles, the midfield is even worse and not even the presence of Juan Mata and Daniel Sturridge can save the attack.
All this means it’s something of a surprise that the Blues are as short as 1/4 to beat Bolton on Saturday in bwin’s 3Way football betting market.
The Trotters might be in the relegation zone but they were at least able to see off Championship opposition in the FA Cup last weekend – unlike Chelsea, who could only draw with Birmingham at the Bridge.
It is also worth mentioning that, having played a match fewer, Bolton have won four games on their travels to Chelsea’s five, while Arsenal, Liverpool and Aston Villa have already conclusively proved that Stamford Bridge is no longer the fortress it was under Jose Mourinho.
Does this mean it is worth betting on a draw (9/2) or Bolton win (21/2)? Given Birmingham escaped with a draw at the weekend it would appear that way, while the price of 11/4 on a draw or Bolton win in bwin’s double chance market looks even more tempting given it offers added security while still providing healthy returns.
But for an even safer bet which plays on Chelsea’s vulnerability, consider the price of 11/10 on a draw or Bolton win at half time in the half time double chance market.
The Blues have been in front at the interval in only two of their last 15 matches, while Bolton have only been behind in four of their 12 Premier League away games this season.
And with odds of 11/10 offering returns of £52.50 for those who use bwin’s £25 free bet, this looks to be one of the stand-out opportunities of the weekend.
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