Andre Villas-Boas has stated that three points are a must if Chelsea are to maintain any realistic title ambitions this season.
A draw may have to be the best he can settle for though, with visitors Manchester City yet to lose domestically.
Chelsea have improved over their past two league games, and are 7/5 to inflict the Citizens’ first defeat, though their opposition this time out will prove a much sterner test than that of Newcastle and Wolves.
Roberto Mancini’s men are 15/8 to score a victory that would see them move further ahead of second-placed Manchester United, and they could have Pablo Zabaleta back to deputise for the injured Micah Richards, with no other fresh injury worries.
The draw is priced at 23/10, and with Chelsea’s home advantage balancing out the greater squad depth of their visitors, it could be wise to back this outcome.
In terms of team news for the home outfit, Jose Bosingwa should return from injury, and start at right-back as Branislav Ivanovic will move into the middle to fill in for the suspended David Luiz.
Frank Lampard is pushing for a recall, in what would be his 350th start for the Londoners.
He is a big 9/1 to score first, though there is no guarantee he will be selected from the off.
Didier Drogba could be a better option at 7/1, having notched first in Chelsea’s past two matches in all competitions, whilst Sergio Aguero leads the betting for City players at 13/2.
With both teams having injury or suspension troubles only in defensive departments, Chelsea’s high line of defence a problem all season, and City having failed to keep a clean sheet since early October, the 9/1 for 4 or more goals in the match looks very generous.
Other markets that look to represent value are score line betting, with 14/1 for a 2-2 draw appealing, and the 15/8 for Man City to win or draw with 3 or more goals scored in the match looking good too.