Chelsea Betting Preview

It is a bold statement to make but we think that Chelsea are far from certainties to win the Premiership title this year. The reasoning is complicated but compelling. If you’re thinking of putting that lump sum on Chelsea rather than getting interest from a bank then think again. This is the season that things could start going wrong, at least on the domestic front. There’s no denying what this team under Mourinho has achieved and don’t be lured too much into thinking that they only succeeded with Abramovich’s millions. It is not as simple as that and that’s precisely the reason why we think they are vulnerable this year. The point is that football is never so straight forward. There is simply too much going on nowadays and Chelsea are about to find out that the pressure will be greater than ever this season.

Historically teams -- however strong -- have a shelf life. Mourinho espouses the virtues of the Chelsea “family” and it may be trite to assume that complacency will set in at Stamford Bridge. Mourinho’s mantra is based around the fact that when nobody likes us it just makes us stronger. All well and good, but footballers aren’t machines and with achievement already fulfilled on the domestic scene, maybe they will be turning up on cold nights without the fire they once had. Make no mistake this season will be a real test of their character and this is just one of the traps they must avoid.

One thing’s certain: the honeymoon is over. Other sides now know how to beat them. There’s a trend to back this up. Whenever a team has romped the Premiership they always seem to win the next one well, but then fail on the third time. In the 1999-2000 season Man Utd romped home losing just three matches, a season latter they won again losing six games and then failed to win losing nine matches. Arsenal when they won the title without losing a match, lost five a season later, and then they lost 11. Chelsea lost one match when they blitzed the Premiership under Mourinho two seasons ago, but they lost five matches in their last campaign. If they were to lose between nine and 11 matches, then they’ll probably fall short of lifting the Title. Almost certainly they will get beaten at Stamford Bridge a couple of times.

There’s also a train of thought that Mourinho (or is it Abramovich) has his eyes set on the Champions League this year and this could be another thing that could upset their domestic season. It is very difficult to do both well and if he decides to “rest” leading players around the Champions League campaign, Mourinho could leave himself exposed on the home front. Also their “galacticos” signings of Michael Ballack and Andriy Shevchenko could have a negative effect. Are there now too many big personalties in the squad? Look what happened with Real Madrid. It is often a recipe for disaster. The Shevchenko signing could very easily backfire, and Ballack might not blend in too well and could easily have a negative effect on Lampard’s performance over the season. There are also murmurings of discontent in the team, Gallas being the prime example, and if they do not acquire Ashley Cole, or John Terry gets a prolonged spell out injured, things could start to go wrong defensively as well.

Lastly we will centre on Jose Mourinho. He was like a breath of fresh air when he arrived on the scene and how we laughed at his jokes and marvelled at his attitude. One year later we began to see a different side. Still occasionally funny he started to display a pernicious streak and a tendency to be overly confrontational. It can only begin to backfire and teams certainly won’t be intimidated any more. Mourinho’s style of play is starting to be read. Do not underestimate the ability of our managers to disrupt Chelsea now that they’ve found out what they are all about. The bag of tricks could be running low. Another thing we will see this year is a strong, and quite possibly virulent, media campaign against Mourinho. Not exactly sure why but again it is a trend that happens. Mourinho might be tough enough to withstand it, but it just might begin to cloud his judgement. Do not forget we have a big ego here and history tells us that these people often have a propensity to self-destruct.

So there it is. We could quite easily be wrong and Chelsea could be romping away with the Title at Christmas, but it is certainly food for thought. Remember football is almost never what it seems…

Premiership Outright  4/9
Season Handicap (Scr)  15/1
Season Match Bet – Chelsea 1/5, Arsenal 3/1
Season Group Bet – Chelsea 4/9, Man Utd 11/2, Arsenal 13/2, Liverpool 13/2
Premiership Top Scorer – Shevchenko 9/2, Drogba 16/1, Lampard 20/1, Ballack 25/1, Robben 50/1
Relegation – 5000/1