Title contenders – free-scoring forwards fire Chelsea title charge
With Chelsea 13/8 favourites to retain the Premier League title this season, we assess where the holders could keep or lose their crown.
Having torn a calf muscle, first-choice goalkeeper Petr Cech is expected to miss Chelsea’s first game of the season against West Brom on August 14th, which Carlo Ancelotti’s side are a very convincing 1/8 to win.
A supreme shot-stopper and commanding presence at the back, Cech will be a big loss to Chelsea, as their only replacements in goal are Hilario and Ross Turnbull, who both have only limited Premier League experience.
Ashley Cole has been linked with a move to Real Madrid, and Chelsea will be desperate to hold on to the 29-year-old, whose forages forward are a crucial attacking outlet on the left flank.
There are no such doubts about the future of captain John Terry, who will again be a totemic figure at the heart of defence.
Terry’s partner in central defence is a little uncertain, as Brazilian Alex is injured, while Ricardo Carvalho is said to be a transfer target for Inter Milan.
Ancelotti will need to reinforce his midfield resources following the departures of Michael Ballack and Joe Cole, as well as Deco’s probable exit.
The Italian has signed Yossi Benayoun from Liverpool, but he will need to add to his squad if they are to challenge for other trophies. Chelsea are 6/1 to win the Champions League.
Frank Lampard scored a typically impressive 22 league goals last season, and the England midfielder is a tempting bet at 25/1 to be the leading Premier League’s scorer this time around.
Chelsea scored a record 103 league goals last season, and spearheaded by Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba, the Blues’ attack is sure to fire again.
You can bet on Drogba to be the Premier League top scorer this season at a price of 9/2, while Anelka is available at 20/1 to beat his team-mate to the gong.
Can Chelsea match last season’s double? They are 10/1 to win the Premier League and the FA Cup. See the full Chelsea Specials market.