Time is quickly running out for Chelsea who stands 13 points behind leading Manchester United, with one game in hand. Winning at home against Aston Villa would help them leapfrog four teams and secure the third-place, which explains why coach Rafael Benitez regards this match as crucial.
Bet: Chelsea -1.5 goals
Odds: Bet365 2.00
The host will be playing without John Terry but this is not a novelty and the Blues did just fine without their former captain. Another problem that affects the midfield is the absence of Obi Michel who serves a two game suspension as he found himself at the wrong end of a red card. Oriol Romeu is injured but his absence will be easy to offset as the 21-year-old only played six games this season. Good news come from the offense, where Spanish duo Torres-Mata have scored a combined 12 goals.
The visitors are undefeated in five games and have recently won away at Anfield Field by three goals to one against a struggling Liverpool. While they have the right players to keep an opponent under pressure even when they lacked home pitch advantage, neither Benteke nor Agbonlahor have been too successful against Chelsea. Coach Lambert is wary of the hosts’ offensive prowess and will probably field a starting formation featuring only one of the two strikers.
Unfortunately the bookmakers were not fooled by Aston Villa’s recent success against Liverpool and the odds correctly reflect the difference between the two squads. Having said this, backing the hosts for a straight win is not a profitable wager because the odds are ridiculously low. The best way to tackle this fixture is by trusting Chelsea all the way, and bet that they will cover the -1.5 goals spread with Bet365.