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Chelsea have been having a torrid time on all fronts in recent weeks but after a good win at Newcastle at the weekend, victory here will enable them to look forward to the Champions League knockout phase in the New Year.
In fact, the home side can also qualify with a 0-0 score line with an away win or score draw enough to see Valencia edge Chelsea out. Bayer Leverkusen look certain to win the group, with their final game against the group whipping boys Genk and both these sides will be desperate to join the Germans in the next round.
The Stamford Bridge side managed a comfortable (in the end) win at the weekend, becoming the first side to win at Newcastle this season. That moved them fourth in the league and will have done wonders for the confidence. Odds of 3/4 (Unibet – £20 free betting) for the home win therefore seem about right. Although they have been well beaten at home twice in the league, in general their form there has been good.
Daniel Sturridge has made a fine start to the season and after netting against the Geordies he can be backed at 6/1 (Victor Chandler) to open the scoring here. Given the likely squad rotation up front it may be better to take a look at an outsider who is at least certain to play. John Terry has four league goals this season and at 25/1 he could be a good pick in what should be a tight game.
Valencia will certainly go in search of goals, knowing that if they can get one, Chelsea will have to score twice. The Spanish side are 4/1 with bet365 (£200 free bets) for the win and that looks a great bet. The only game in the last eight they have failed to win was a 3-2 loss against Real Madrid and with four away wins in La Liga they certainly travel well.
Failure to qualify for the next stage of the Champions League would be a disaster for the west London side and manager Andre Villas-Boas, but against an accomplished Valencia it will be no easy task to get the three points.