Chelsea v Fulham Betting Preview
I am somewhat surprised that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has not sacked Rafa Benitez after he only managed a 0-0 draw against league champions, City, in his first match in charge. But all jokes aside, this is an extremely important match for two teams who are both struggling at the moment. Choose free bets for this match.
After a fantastic start to the season Chelsea were looking like title challengers and Roberto Di Matteo looked safe in his job. But after only one win in their last eight Premier League and Champions League matches, things have completely changed. Chelsea have struggled to score goals and had conceded in their previous nine games until their bore draw with City on Sunday. New interim-manager Rafa Benitez has his work cut out at Chelsea this season with a fairly weak squad and a set of fans already calling for his head.
In recent weeks Chelsea have looked lethargic going forward, rarely creating many goal scoring matches in games. Further to this, Chelsea are missing an out and out goal scorer. With Fernando Torres misfiring Chelsea are left without any suitable alternative to play and score goals. With creative talents in Mata, Hazard and Oscar it would seem that Chelsea would score goals for fun, but that is not the case at all, in fact the blues have only scored two goals in their last four matches. So what is going wrong? Can they turn it around?
To be fair to Chelsea they have had a very hard run of fixtures playing Man City, Man United and Liverpool all in their last three home games and been away to in-form West Brom and Swansea. So it may just be that they have struggled against the better teams in the league and the run of hard games including Champions League fixtures against Shakhtar and Juventus, may have taken it out on them, so to speak. This game on Wednesday against Fulham will give a good indication in which direction Chelsea are heading and whether recent form has been a blip. It is vital that Torres hits form soon if Chelsea want to challenge for the title this season.
Fulham come into this match having lost back-to-back Premier League matches at home to struggling Sunderland and away to Stoke City. Moreover, Fulham have also not won any of their last five Premier League matches.
Recent performances have been quite good and score draws at home to in form Everton and away at Arsenal have been impressive. Fulham have shown that they are more than capable of scoring goals in recent weeks having scored nine goals in their last five Premier League games, including to 3-3 draws away at Reading and Arsenal. When adopting a counter-attacking style of play Fulham look the most dangerous with Ruiz, Duff and especially Berbatov being their most influential. However, having said this, Fulham have been very disappointing in their last two league matches against two out of form teams (Sunderland and Stoke). Fulham did show signs against Sunderland but were doomed for defeat when Hangeland received an early red card, but showed very little on Saturday against Stoke City.
Similarly to Chelsea this is a game where Fulham will be looking to prove themselves and play better than recent performances. It will be interesting to see how they approach the game and whether they attack for the win or try and hold out for a draw. I think that trying to hold out for a draw may pay dividends as Chelsea are struggling to score goals and look most dangerous on the counter attack. So if Fulham limit them and allow Chelsea to come at them, then this may be a low scoring game and one that Fulham will be very happy with. This would be the best chance Fulham would have of getting a result at Chelsea given the way Chelsea are likely to play.
Chelsea come into this game as 4/9 favourites, with the draw at 7/2 and the unlikely away win at 6/1.
This is a game that Chelsea need to win and should win. Chelsea have the ability to break down Fulham, who will again miss Hangeland, which could prove costly in such a big game. Further to this, Rafa Benitez and the players will be keen to win this game and get back to winning ways as the fans are already angry with the appointment and see this as a must win for Benitez to prove his worth. Although Fulham offer some threat I feel that they will miss Hangeland and do not have the creativity to break Chelsea down if they play to central defensive midfielders, which is again, likely.
Therefore Chelsea at 4/9 to win the game is a good bet and although does not offer fantastic value considering their recent form; it is a big price in relation to who they are playing. Chelsea should win this game and although it may not be easy, I except a narrow Chelsea win.
Some value bets that may be worthwhile include:
Under 2.5 goals @ 27/20
Draw/Chelsea @ 4/1
Chelsea to win 2-0 @ 8/1
I don’t expect this game to be the most thrilling encounter to watch as both teams are out of form and Fulham may go to the Bridge in search of a point. This is likely to be a low scoring game with Chelsea trying to break down a resilient defence. However, having said this, if Chelsea return to the form we know they are capable of, an early goal may see them win this game in a comfortable manner. Therefore low stakes are advisable on the alternative bets, but Chelsea should win this.
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Article by Mark Stefanyszyn
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