Sixth-placed Chelsea have home advantage over fifth-placed Newcastle on Wednesday night, with the Blues 8/15 favourites to get the win that would see them leapfrog their opponents in the table.
Newcastle have surprised pundits and supporters alike with their consistency this season, although tough remaining fixtures could see their hopes of a top four finish dwindle.
They are a big 11/2 to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, and it is 14/5 about the draw, but even this looks an unlikely outcome considering the home side’s superb recent form that sees them unbeaten in 11.
Indeed, the Blues have lost just once under caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo in 16 outings in all competitions, and the added freedom he has instilled into their play was perhaps most evident in a 6-1 win over QPR on Sunday.
With a rejuvenated Fernando Torres aiming to follow up his hat-trick in that game, Chelsea look tremendous value to win a match involving three or more goals at 11/10.
Sharpness in front of goal has not been mirrored by improved defensive displays from Chelsea to any great extent however, and the Blues have conceded in seven of their last nine games.
Their visitors have scored in nine of their last ten matches meanwhile, so look good to breach their hosts’ backline, and gain a return on both teams to score at 4/6.
What also looks attractive are the 2/1 odds about Chelsea side triumphing in a match where both teams find the net, as they have in half of their home league ties under Di Matteo.
The aforementioned Torres will see plenty of support as a first scorer option in Wednesday’s match, with the Spaniard a 4/1 shot to break the deadlock with a fifth strike in his last three games.
Forward Daniel Sturridge took less than a minute to find the net against QPR at the weekend meanwhile, and will want to prove he is worthy of an FA Cup final start, by notching first again at 9/2.