Chelsea host Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday in a 3pm kick-off at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues won the Super Cup after a penalty shoot-out against Villarreal on Wednesday, with Thomas Tuchel likely to be wary of any fatigue given the quick turnaround in fixtures here.
Palace, meanwhile, are beginning a new era under Patrick Vieira, having undergone huge squad turnover during the summer.
Chelsea are 1/4 favourites to win the match, with the draw 19/4 and a Palace victory considered a huge 12/1 upset.
In all honesty it’s tough to disagree with the bookmakers here. Had any other team in the league bar Manchester City been involved in a 120-minute match less than 72 hours prior to their opening PL fixture I may be concerned, but Tuchel has enviable squad depth at his disposal.
Romelu Lukaku is unlikely to be involved after his £97.5m signing was completed on Thursday night, but they still have a ridiculous amount of options in defensive and attacking areas.
They improved immeasurably defensively after Tuchel took over in January, keeping 11 clean sheets in 19 league games under the German, and as such I’m happy to back the Blues to win to nil at 5/6 (bet365).
With so many new signings to integrate, I think Palace are going to be a slow burner under Vieira, especially given their tough fixture schedule in the opening weeks of the season.
With Chelsea having so much quality between the lines, I’m amazed to see Luka Milivojevic at 13/5 to be carded (bet365).
Jonathan Moss isn’t the ideal referee when backing cards but he will book when he has to; if he starts, Milivojevic will certainly test Moss’ patience.
The Palace midfielder has been carded 43 times in 150 PL appearances since joining in 2017, and could have plenty of work to do in midfield.
I also think Cesar Azpilicueta is way too big at 13/2 (bet365) given that Wilfried Zaha could be his direct opponent in Palace’s left channel, with the Spanish defender having a tough time against Jack Grealish on the final day of last season.
The double pays a huge 28/1.
Lastly, Marcos Alonso could start again at left wing-back for Chelsea, having been one hell of an offensive weapon on Wednesday.
The marauding defender had three shots on target in 90 minutes, so coupling him up with Zaha to test their respective opposition goalkeepers looks a decent way in at 4/1 (Betfair).
Chelsea to win to nil @ 5/6 (bet365)
Luka Milivojevic to be carded @ 13/5 (bet365)
Marcos Alonso & Wilfried Zaha 1+ shot on target each @ 4/1 (Betfair)
Milivojevic & Cesar Azpilicueta to be carded @ 28/1 (bet365)
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