CHELSEA are already through to the knockout stages of the Champions League, but can they go out on a Group G high on Wednesday night? Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) gives us his thoughts.
Chelsea v Sporting Lisbon | Wednesday 19:45 | Sky Sports 1
How do you approach this game as a punter? Chelsea are already through to the knockout stages as group winners and have nothing competitive to play for. Sporting Lisbon on the other hand need a draw to qualify alongside the London club.
Jose Mourinho’s side would usually be around the 2/5-4/11 mark if they needed a result in this game, but they don’t, and that’s why they’re as big as 4/5 with Coral to take three more group points here.
Should Chelsea be beating Sporting at home? Of course. They beat them in Lisbon on Matchday 2, so most definitely yes. But how much will their performance by affected by the lack of intensity and (likely weaker side) in this tie?
I thought I’d take a look at similar scenarios involving the club and Mourinho. Last year, they had secured qualification but not the winners berth when they hosted bottom side Steaua Bucharest. They won 1-0.
In 2011/12 Mourinho’s Real Madrid side had virtually clinched group winner qualification after Matchday 4, but they still went on to cruise past Dinamo Zagreb and Ajax by an aggregate score of 9-2 in the final two matches. Easy.
And there was a similar story the previous season with Real smashing eight past Ajax and Auxerre in the last two matchdays despite having already qualified. So, the evidence is there that Chelsea will definitely be competitive enough to win this fixture.
This is a huge game for Sporting though, they need a draw to qualify as long as Schalke beat Maribor at the same time. I’m willing to back them to score at least in this match. They’ve notched 11 times already in this group, with 10 of those goals coming in the last three matches. Even domestically they’ve been proficient, with six goals scored in their last two games.
This may be a case of both sides happy with a 0-0, but I can’t see that. I’m happy to back both of them to score in this game at the 10/11 offered by Coral. Sporting really need to offer something, while we know Chelsea won’t completely drop off the pace.
Chelsea v Sporting Lisbon – Both Teams To Score (10/11 Coral)