Newcastle United host Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday in a 12:30pm kick-off St James Park.
Chelsea should be travelling to Newcastle full of confidence after two comfortable wins against Burnley and Sheffield United prior to the international break.
Newcastle, on the other hand, looked desperately short of creativity in a 2-0 defeat to Southampton last time out, and may be missing top goalscorer Callum Wilson with the hamstring injury he picked up in that loss.
As such, it’s perhaps little surprise to see Chelsea odds-on favourites at 9/20 to win the match. The draw is 15/4, with a home win 11/2.
Chelsea do look a little skinny in price when you consider that they have only won one of their last seven visits to St James Park in the league, especially with experienced defender Thiago Silva doubtful to start after returning late from international duty.
However, after spending around £200m in the summer, Frank Lampard has arguably assembled the strongest squad at Stamford Bridge since Antonio Conte’s title-winning side in 2016/17.
Hakim Ziyech has made a real impact since returning from injury against Burnley, creating three and scoring one in his two starts.
His fellow summer signing Timo Werner, meanwhile, is aiming to become the first player to score in five league games in a row for Chelsea since Didier Drogba. The first bet I am recommending is for the German to have a shot on target at Evens with Sky Bet (max stake £10), which the forward has managed in six of his eight Premier League games this season. Given he has replaced Jorginho as the club’s primary penalty taker, and is odds-on with some bookmakers to score, this is an offer which simply has to be taken up providing he starts as expected.
Craig Pawson officiates this one, with the experienced referee showing each side one or more card in 13 of his last 16 Premier League matches. Newcastle are averaging just over two cards per game this season, with Chelsea averaging exactly one card per game, and both sides have picked up at least one card in the last four head-to-heads, so I’m putting this in my Bet Builder to start with appealing odds of 7/10.
Despite their shaky record at Newcastle in recent years, I’m also happy to back Chelsea to score – as they have done in 19 of Lampard’s 23 away games in the Premier League – to bring the bet close to evens. Adding Over 6 Corners, which has landed in every Chelsea match this season and should do so again here with the Blues likely to pin Newcastle back for large spells of the game, brings us to 11/10 for a nice looking Bet Builder:
On the player cards front, I fancy Fabian Schar to have a tough afternoon against Werner. The Swiss defender – who on the right side of Newcastle’s back three will likely find himself in Werner’s zone off the left flank – is averaging over a foul per game this season, and he has been booked 17 times in 44 league starts since joining the Toon (as well as 10 times in 25 matches for Deportivo in La Liga the season before).
For Chelsea, I’d wait for team news, but Allan Saint-Maximin will undoubtedly cause them problems on the counter attack. The Frenchman tends to play tucked in off the left, so the likes of Reece James, Jorginho, Matteo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante could all be sucked into his zone depending on what systems the two sides use.
Saint-Maximin looks good value to make a tackle at 8/13 with Sky Bet, too, having done so in six of his seven league games this season. Mason Mount has made two or more tackles in five of his seven appearances, meanwhile, and can be backed to do so again at 11/10 (also Sky Bet) in his deeper role.