Anelka must start if Chelsea are to beat Man Utd
Nicolas Anelka’s scoring exploits in Europe this season mean that starting him against Manchester United could prove the difference in Chelsea reaching the semi finals of the Champions League.
Anelka has already scored seven goals in the Champions League this season, which puts him just one adrift of the current tournament top scorers Mario Gomez, Lionel Messi and Samuel Eto’o.
Some may argue that these goals have come against weaker opposition in the Champions League, such as Copenhagen and MSK Zilina, but the fact remains he has averaged a goal every 75 minutes in the competition this season.
With Chelsea needing to score at least once if they are to overcome their 1-0 home defeat to Manchester United in the first leg of their quarter final, it may pay to start Anelka.
This is especially true over Fernando Torres, who is still to score in ten appearances since signing for Chelsea from Liverpool.
Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti left out Anelka from the first leg at Stamford Bridge at the expense of Torres and Didier Drogba, which may give the Frenchman an even bigger point to prove.
If Anelka does start, then 8/1 may prove a big price in the Champions League odds that he scores the first goal against Manchester United, while it is 5/2 that he strikes at any time within the 90 minutes.
Another big decision facing Ancelotti is in defence and whether Alex is ready for a start after recovering from injury.
Chelsea will need strength in defence and it would appear to make more sense to allow the Brazilian and John Terry to re-unite in central defence and move Branislav Ivanovic to right-back instead of Jose Bosingwa.
It is 23/10 in the Champions League odds that Chelsea win at Old Trafford and 5/2 that they do enough to qualify for the semi finals to face either Schalke or Inter Milan.
A £30 stake on the scorecast of Anelka scoring first and Chelsea winning 2-1 would return £1500. New customers can sign up here for a free £30 bet.