Rafa Benitez can expect another frosty reception when Chelsea welcome Fulham to Stamford Bridge where he will be looking for a win over their west London rivals to help get the crowd on side.
The four previous renewals have ended in stalemate and there’s plenty of value in the 7/2 that says it’ll occur again here with both sides without a win in 10 Premier League games between them.
Both are missing big players at the back and this is one of a number of reasons pointing to a flood of goals at the Bridge.
Without the presence of suspended Brede Hangeland, Fulham’s back line were susceptible to Stoke’s strong arm tactics and his absence is sure to be felt again, despite Chelsea’s contrasting approach to that of the Potters.
John Terry will also watch the game from the stands as he continues to recover from a knee problem, though his services were not required in Benitez’s Blues bow as his side ground out their first clean sheet in eight matches.
In fact, this represented the first time that either team had managed a shut-out in a combined 13 games. This means there’s an exceptionally good chance of being paid out when backing both teams to score here at 4/6.
In terms of who scores the goals, the betting revolves around two usual suspects.
Fulham’s is Dimitar Berbatov who, in 10 starts against the Blues throughout his time in England, has notched five goals. He’s behind a host of Chelsea players – most of whom will be glad to make the bench – in the first goalscorer betting stakes at 8/1 and his 5/2 price to score at any time possess good prospect for a windfall.
As always, Chelsea will be turning to Fernando Torres for their goals, despite the sense of disappointment that tends to accompany this investment of faith.
His relationship with Benitez at Liverpool is thought to have played a big part in him landing his interim position and, although he’s had nowhere near enough time to stamp his own brand of football on the Chelsea squad – despite their 0-0 draw with Man City begging to differ – a Torres goal and home win can be backed at 7/2.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date