Southampton v Chelsea: Cup replay means Blues hard to fancy

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Chelsea may have scored five goals when they visited St Mary’s in the FA Cup in January, but they are certain not to find things anywhere near as easy on their Premier League return and there is a real likelihood that they will not even win the fixture.

The Blues arrive as odds-on favourites for victory at 10/11 and this is not a fixture they can afford to take lightly given the battle they are engaged in for a top-four finish and a spot in next season’s Champions League.

However, there is a strong possibility that Rafa Benitez will have to refrain from selecting his strongest side, with Chelsea having their FA Cup quarter final replay with Manchester United just two days later.

And with this their sole remaining chance to avoid ending the campaign trophy-less, priority may be placed on the cup clash.

This is one reason why Southampton are worth backing at 33/20 in the draw no bet market, with 13/5 the price on offer that they secure all three points.

The other market that stands out from a betting perspective is the 8/13 available that both teams are on target at St Mary’s.

Southampton have played eight league fixtures this season against clubs to begin the weekend in the top five and have both scored and conceded in them all.

The difficulty in predicting Chelsea’s starting line-up has already been highlighted, but history suggests Benitez would be foolish to leave out Frank Lampard.

Lampard has four goals in as many appearances with Southampton and can be backed at 11/5 to score at any time in the 90 minutes.

But with Chelsea opening the scoring more than any other club in the Premier League this season, it could be worth backing the England midfielder to break the deadlock at 7/1.

Alternatively Chelsea are 4/6 to score the game’s first goal.

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.