It is hard not to feel sorry for Andre Villas-Boas. Yes, he is being paid millions a year for the pleasure of managing a top European football club, although his media duties extend to having defend his tactics, selection policy and the various rumours about various players leaving.
There was also a degree of pressure on the Chelsea manager coming into Monday’s game against Manchester City, although his team were somehow able to land the three points despite going a goal down within 120 seconds.
The Christmas period will ultimately determine whether the Blues can seriously challenge for the title this term and they have a winnable match at the DW Stadium on Saturday night, with Ladbrokes (£50 free bets) among those offering 2/5 about the visitors.
We might expect Frank Lampard to be recalled to the starting line-up after his cameo substitute appearance against City and the Chelsea penalty taker is a 6/1 chance (bet365 – £200 free betting) to open the scoring against the Latics.
Didier Drogba was being linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge in the summer and the Ivorian was out of favour in the early stage of the season although he will almost certainly continue in attack and will be a popular wager at 4/1 to score first.
Fernando Torres is apparently going nowhere in January and knows that Drogba leaving for the ANC and Nicolas Anelka’s departure means he will get a run of games.
Meanwhile, Wigan Athletic are looking to remedy some poor recent home form, with a 4-0 drubbing by Arsenal being sandwiched by two away wins – at Sunderland and West Brom respectively.
They have nothing to lose from having a go at opponents who don’t seem adept at keeping clean sheets and 8/1 seems a decent price about the home side, with the draw on offer at 7/2.