Squad rotation has no bearing on Chelsea’s ability to score goals


Chelsea displayed the squad depth necessary to make a bold bid towards winning the Champions League for the first time this season by continuing their ruthless streak in front of goal in Slovakia against MSK Zilina.

Carlo Ancelotti has watched his side triumph in all of their opening four Premier League games, but it has been the manner of these victories which has most impressed as they have netted 17 goals, while only conceding once.

This has left them 10/11 to win the Premier League and barring serious injuries in key positions, another run to the deeper stages of the Champions League is a given.

They travelled to Slovakia without the likes of talismanic striker Didier Drogba, midfield heartbeat Frank Lampard and rampaging left-back Ashley Cole, but this was hardly noticed as they avoided a potential banana skin and emerged comfortable 4-1 winners.

Nicolas Anelka stepped into the role of chief striker without hesitation by scoring twice, while Daniel Sturridge took advantage of a rare start with a goal.

The other was scored by Michael Essien, who added to his brace against West Ham recently to show that he is liable to chip in regularly this season.

Yuri Zhirkov replaced Cole but provided the same willingness to surge forward, while Yossi Benayoun added some extra creativity to the midfield and was arguably man of the match against Zilina.

It is a virtual guarantee that Chelsea will now finish at the head of Group F, particularly as Marseille, who many thought would pose the biggest threat, were beaten 1-0 at home by Spartak Moscow in their opener.

Chelsea have won their opening game in the competition in seven of the last eight years and made at least the semi-finals in three of the last four.

The 1/7 available for group success is on the short side, so taking the 5/1 for Chelsea to win the Champions League may be more advisable. See the whole Champions League winners market.