Chelsea v Aston Villa: Ivanovic the bet to score, not the Belgians

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We have already highlighted here as to why there is every reason to expect goals as Aston Villa travel to Stamford Bridge, but there is also money to be made in identifying which players will be responsible for finding the back of the net.

Thinking Belgian is the obvious ploy, with Christian Benteke far and away Villa’s main scoring threat and Romelu Lukaku looking a likely starter for Chelsea given that Fernando Torres led the line in their opening Premier League victory over Hull.

Lukaku is the favourite to bag the opening goal at 4/1, but didn’t manage to find the net in either of West Brom’s meetings with Aston Villa last season, which could make him worth opposing.

However, with Chelsea having scored first in this fixture at Stamford Bridge in each of the last five seasons, it may be one of Lukaku’s teammates and not Benteke, who should be sided with.

Frank Lampard would look a wise choice at 6/1, bearing in mind he scored three goals against Villa last season in two appearances and has eight in his last five starts with the opposition.

But, with Manchester United up next for Chelsea, there is a strong possibility that Jose Mourinho will rest a few of his big guns for this game with Villa, with Lampard a prime candidate given his age and the fact he completed the 90 minutes with Hull.

Therefore, preference is for Branislav Ivanovic at 20/1 to be the first scorer, while he is 13/2 to strike at any time in the 90 minutes.

Ivanovic has three goals in his last two starts against Villa and should retain his place from the win over Hull given that David Luiz is still injured.

The Serbian’s chances are also potentially enhanced by the knowledge that Alex, John Terry, Ivanovic himself and Luiz have all scored against Villa at Stamford Bridge in the last six seasons, suggesting that defenders have good scoring potential here.

Meanwhile, in 10 of the last 11 league meetings between this pair, the opening goal has come no later than the 23rd minute, with the one exception being a goalless draw.

The last three have all had a goal in the first 15 minutes and a repeat here is priced at 17/10. A goal in this period also arrived in both season openers for Chelsea and Villa against Hull and Arsenal respectively.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.