A new season and another new manager for Chelsea FC, with Andre Villas-Boas becoming the fifth man to assume the Stamford Bridge hotseat since Jose Mourinho left the club in controversial circumstances four years ago.
Carlo Ancelotti was unable to follow up his 2009/10 Premier League victory with any further silverware last season and the Italian paid the price, with Villas-Boas fully aware that immediate success is required to have any sort of shelf life at the west London club.
The 33-year-old is in for a culture shock when he heads north with his team this weekend to face a Stoke City team that held Chelsea to a 1-1 draw last season and the 14/5 (Betfred – £50 free bet) about this match finishing all square looks like a tempting bet.
Indeed, the Potters had the best home record in the bottom half of the Premier League last term and 5/1 (Coral – £25 free betting) is possibly too big about Tony Pulis’ side considering that they performed well in their recent Europa League tie against Hajduk Split which saw the Croatian side dumped out.
Stoke have actually been busier than Chelsea during the summer when it has come to signing new players and the defence should be even tougher thanks to the arrival of Jonathan Woodgate and Matthew Upson, although Robert Huth is 22/1 (bet365 – £200 free bets) to score first against his former club and the German will surely start.
As for Chelsea, they are a 4/6 chance with bet365 to make a winning start to their Premier League campaign and the Blues have performed impressively during pre-season with Villas-Boas spoilt for choice in attack. With Fernando Torres (9/2 Ladbrokes) having sustained an injury for Spain on Wednesday, it could be Didier Drogba that spearheads the attack although Florent Malouda (8/1 Ladbrokes) catches the eye at a bigger price.