It would have taken a brave man to predict that when Chelsea and Liverpool clash on the first Saturday of November, ninth would be playing 15th in the league, and both sides would be closer to the relegation zone than the summit of the Premier League.
The Reds have already given Brendan Rodgers the heave-ho and welcomed in a new era of Klopptimism , while Jose Mourinho has used up more lives than a rough-and-ready alley cat. The Special One has already guided Chelsea to league defeats against West Ham, Crystal Palace, Southampton and Everton this season, and defeat against Liverpool on Saturday could be the final straw for the Stamford Bridge hierarchy.
In an attempt to pluck a bet out of Saturday’s chaotic smash-up, we’ve drilled down into the stats and picked out the five key trends you should know in a snazzy little GIF.
In each of Liverpool’s last six trips to Stamford Bridge a defender has found the onion bag. John Terry (2), Branislav Ivanovic, Martin Skrtel, Martin Kelly, and Glen Johnson have all scored in the six games at the Bridge in the last four years and there’s good reason to think that a defender could find the back of the net again. 32 per cent of Chelsea’s 19 goals conceded have been headers – and no other top flight side has conceded as many headers as the Pensioners this year (six). That’ll put a smile on Martin Skrtel’s fan club, while punters can back the Liverpool centre-back to score at any time at . Meanwhile Gary Cahill opened his Chelsea account for the season against West Ham last week, and is to score once again this weekend.
While Chelsea’s current dramas make last week’s Hollyoaks omnibus look tame, there is a silver lining for Mourinho and co. Chelsea are unbeaten in the last eight games against Liverpool (won four, drawn four) while Jose’s Premier League record against the Reds reads eight wins, two draws, and just one defeat. Chelsea are to pick up three points on Saturday, while it’s to finish all square. Three of the last eight meetings between the two sides have ended 1-1, so the correct score punt could tempt punters in at .
No Bore Draw?
The last time Chelsea and Liverpool played out a 0-0 draw was 23 matches ago back in February 2008, and there have been just 10 0-0 draws in 172 matches between the two sides – a strike rate of just six per cent. To put that into some context, the 3-1 scoreline has a strike rate of eight per cent so we’re heading into the clash confident of seeing at least some goalmouth action. It’s a skinny enough that both teams find the back of the net, and that there are no goals in the match. Good news for any neutrals waking up with a Halloween hangover on Saturday morning.
A Friendly Encounter
It should also be a relatively quiet day for Mark Clattenburg, who has been handed the gig as referee. His average of 3.8 yellow cards a game makes him only marginally stricter than the average top flight ref this year (the average is 3.7 a game), while he’s had to brandish red just twice – sending John Terry (v West Ham) and Crystal Palace’s Dwight Gayle (v West Ham again) for early soaks in the tub. There hasn’t been a sending off in this fixture for 18 matches, and while both Chelsea and Liverpool have shown indiscipline this year – a combined 41 yellow cards and four reds – the smart bet is for there to be no sending offs this week.
Duck Under The Line
While the trends suggest it’s not going to be a 0-0 draw, recent history still points to a relatively tight affair. There have been under 2.5 goals in 13 of the last 20 league meetings between Chelsea and Liverpool, and you’d have been in profit backing unders in six of Liverpool’s last eight league visits to Stamford Bridge. Under 2.5 goals is a shot on Saturday afternoon, while it is for the sides to be locked together at 0-0 at half-time.
Taking in all the stats and trends going into Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off, it might be worth having a sneaky £1 on Martin Skrtel to open the scoring and the teams to draw 1-1 at a tempting 125/1.