Chelsea v Newcastle: Bank on Blues

The FA Cup is Conte's best chance of a trophy now
The FA Cup is Conte's best chance of a trophy now
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Chelsea can bounce back from their loss to Arsenal by easing past Newcastle in the FA Cup on Sunday, says Dave Tindall...

"The FA Cup has taken on increased importance for Chelsea. It's by far their most likely chance of silverware."

2pts Chelsea (-1) at 11/10 (Sportsbook)

Chelsea v Newcastle
Sunday, 13:30 GMT

Blues hoping to avoid double blow

After a semi-final, second leg exit to Arsenal in the League Cup, Chelsea run the risk of a second Cup elimination in a week.

Looking at the wider picture, hopes of winning the Premier League are far-fetched while they face a last-16 clash with Barcelona in the Champions League.

In other words, the FA Cup has taken on increased importance. It's by far their most likely chance of silverware.

Traditionally, Stamford Bridge has been a fortress in this competition and they've won eight and drawn two of their last 10 FA Cup ties against Premier League opposition.

Toon Army desperate for Cup run

The FA Cup has been an annual source of misery for Newcastle fans, with their team having failed to reach round five since 2006.

Last season in the fourth round they lost 3-0 at Oxford, the fourth successive year they'd crashed out at this stage.

With Premier League survival the number one priority for Rafa Benitez - they're just a single point above the drop zone - it's easy to think that realism will trump emotion.

Big signings are yet to appear in this transfer window and there's every chance they'll have more than half an eye on Wednesday's home fixture with Burnley.

Chelsea hot favourites to progress

Chelsea are [1.45] to book their place in the fifth round, with Newcastle [7.8] and the Draw [4.9].

Punters have the benefit of some recent head-to-head form at Stamford Bridge, with Chelsea winning the Premier League fixture 3-1 at the start of December after Dwight Gayle had given the visitors a surprise lead.

Chelsea host Bournemouth in the Premier League on Wednesday so they should be able to go strong here and put out a team capable of getting the job done.

It's worth noting that they they left N'Golo Kante and Eden Hazard on the bench in the last round against Norwich and they nearly paid for it, the Blues eventually squeezing through on penalties.

Can Antonio Conte afford to do that after the League Cup exit? I think not.

With the hosts not crazily-short in the outright markets, there's scope to play them on the handicaps so I'll take Chelsea (-1) at 11/10 on the Sportsbook - a bet that would have landed when the two met last month.

There's a slight feeling that Rafa has kept the score down in games against the big teams but they've lost 4-1 at Man Utd and 3-1 at Man City and, of course, Chelsea in the Premier League.

Overs fancied

There's a real split here, with Over 2.5 goals a clear favourite at [1.63] and Unders at [2.1].

Perhaps the latter is a spot of value given that the goal make-ups in Chelsea's last eight home games read: 2-0-0-5-2-3-1-2.

In other words, Unders has landed in six of their last eight home matches since they beat Newcastle on December 2.

Ref watch

Kevin Friend takes charge on Sunday and so far this season he's shown 49 yellows and a red in 20 matches.

Friend was also the man in the middle for the Premier League game here and booked just a single player, Newcastle's Ciaran Clark.

Chelsea beat Stoke 5-0 on his most recent visit to Stamford Bridge.

Opta stat

Chelsea have progressed past Newcastle in five of their last six FA Cup ties.

Dave Tindall's P/L, 2017/18

Staked: 77.00pts
Returned: 58.51pts
P/L: -18.49pts

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