Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas will make several changes as his side take on Fulham in the Carling Cup but with his Cottagers counterpart, Martin Jol, set to do likewise, a youthful-looking Blues outfit should have too much for their neighbours at Stamford Bridge.
They’re 2/5 with Coral to progress in normal time and 3/1 courtesy of Ladbrokes to edge it by one in what could prove to be an open and high-scoring affair. With that in mind a case can be made for Sportingbet’s 7/5, marked against the match generating at least four goals and Didier Drogba, who could return following concussion, should contribute to that tally.
The Ivorian striker is 7/2 (Paddy Power) to break the deadlock and he’s identically priced, this time at Skybet, to grab a brace. Romelu Lukaku meanwhile, is a tasty 5/1 in Boylesports first scorer betting.
At Eastlands, last season’s two cup winners go head-to-head as FA Cup holders Manchester City entertain defending Carling Cup champions Birmingham. Naturally, the high-flying hosts are strong favourites at 1/4 (Ladbrokes) and with a squad more capable of coping with a raft of changes, Roberto Mancini’s men should run out comfortable winners against their Championship opponents.
Paddy Power quote them at 7/5 in the handicaps, where they kick-off two goals behind while Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli, who could be given a chance to impress, are both 7/2, at bet365 and Paddy Power respectively, to open the scoring.
Elsewhere, Everton are 8/11 (888Sport) ahead of their all-Premiership tie against West Brom, Totesport make Championship high-flyers Southampton 4/7 to see off League One Preston at St Mary’s but Cardiff and Leicester are hard to separate and it’s 5/1 via Sportingbet for either team to win on penalties.
Didier Drogba to score at least twice for Chelsea – 7/2 (Skybet)
Manchester City (-2) to beat Birmingham – 7/5 (Paddy Power)
Cardiff and Leicester to go to penalties – 5/1 (Sportingbet)