THE Premier League returns on Saturday lunchtime as Chelsea welcome Newcastle to Stamford Bridge. Ben Levene (@BenLevene96) shares his best bets.
Chelsea v Newcastle | Saturday 2nd December, 12:30 | BT Sport
In midweek I wrote that Chelsea have impressed me over the last few weeks. Antonio Conte made changes during the week as his side saw past a poor Swansea 1-0 in a game that was far more comfortable than the scoreline suggests.
As is the case with most of their home matches, Chelsea again go off at short prices across all markets. Cesar Azpilicueta and Tiemoue Bakayoko will likely return after being rested during the week, while Victor Moses will be welcomed back after injury.
Much is made of the limited resources with which Rafa Benitez is functioning at Newcastle, and it looks as if that’s beginning to take its toll.
The Magpies are five-games without a win and have won just one of their seven away matches. Newcastle have conceded nine goals in their last three matches and with skipper Jamal Lascelles still out, it’s difficult to see that trend changing against a talented Chelsea frontline this Saturday.
I have no interest in touching the Blues at such short prices, instead I’m drawn to the card markets. Bet365 have the Asian Card line set at four and I believe this is too high.
Kevin Friend is in charge here and has shown more than four cards in none of the seven Premier League games he’s officiated this season. In fact, he hasn’t shown more than four cards in any of the 12 games he’s taken charge of across all competitions this season.
This campaign, Friend on average shows 2.1 cards per-match. We can get even more specific and look at games officiated by Friend between a ‘top-six’ opponent, and a ‘non top-six’ opponent. He’s refereed four games of this ilk and in the most recent three of those, has shown three or less cards. He averages 2.25 cards per match across these four games.
Moreover, Friend has shown three or less cards in each of the last nine games he’s taken charge of across all competitions. Quite convincing stuff.
In addition to this, only one of Chelsea’s last four home games have seen over four cards. Two have seen under this mark while the other levelled the handicap.
Few bookings fancied
This becomes even more significant when you consider this four-game sample includes games against Manchester United and Manchester City. Across these four games Chelsea have received one or less cards in three of those.
Newcastle’s last five away games have seen fewer than four cards. The Magpies have received more than the single card in just one of their last five games on the road and average 1.6 cards per away-game.
With all things considered, the 7/10 about Under Four Asian Cards looks a solid bet. Especially when you consider our stake is refunded if exactly four cards are awarded.
Chelsea v Newcastle – Under 4.0 Asian Cards (7/10 Bet365)