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Chelsea v Sunderland: Cards not as unlikely as the odds suggest

Almost certainly the last time you'll see this image of John Terry wearing the captain's armband in a Chelsea match.
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This may at first seem like a match that's no more than a victory parade but as ever, it's all about betting value. And there are reasons to think that a high card count isn't that unlikely at a big price, says Jamie Pacheco...


"Party atmosphere it may be for the Chelsea players but it’s still a professional game of football and that could mean the odd shirt tug or slight late challenge you’d get in any other other game."

Chelsea v Sunderland
Sunday May 21 15:00


Chelsea

I'm unlikely to say anything here about Chelsea's title success that hasn't already been said 100 times before.

To win a Premier League title (and pretty comfortably in the end) in your first season in England is only for a select few. Antonio Conte deserves a huge amount of credit in this regard and did what he did without falling out with senior players like John Terry or Cesc Fabregas, who hardly got a look-in simply because they didn't fit in with his system and style of play.

Conte has an interesting dilemma ahead of this game. He'll want to put on a good show in the final match of the season in front of his team's fans but won't want any injuries to any of his key players who are chalked in to start against Arsenal in the FA Cup final next weekend.

But where does that leave the likes of Marcos Alonso, David Luiz and Diego Costa, who didn't feature against Watford on Monday? Might they be a little under-cooked if they sit this one out, too?

Just about everyone is fit to play in this game.


Sunderland

Hard to find any positives at all about Sunderland's season. David Moyes' stock continues to fall with this just the latest of several setbacks to his career progression.

The handful of players like Jermain Defoe, Jordan Pickford and Didier NDong who actually did ok are unlikely to be at the club next season and there isn't really even any young talent coming through to speak of.

David Moyes' team selection dilemma comes about for very different reasons to that of Chelsea. Is it worth giving a couple of fringe players a game thinking about next season? Or does he play his strongest side and try to avoid suffering one final humiliation?


Match Odds

Despite the strange, narrow 4-3 win over Watford there's nothing to suggest Chelsea won't win this game. But then, given they're [1.13], you didn't need me telling you that.


Over/Under 3.5 goals

In a game with understandably few betting opportunities given the question marks over motivation and energy levels, plus team selection, this might just about be the safest one you can get that isn't at a prohibitively-short price.

Obvious thing to say but there might be a real devil-may-care attitude by both sets of players. No-one has anything to lose at all and in their match against Watford, Chelsea showed they can still keep on scoring goals even though some of the big-name attacking players aren't there.

In addition to that, the famed quintet of Moses-Cahill-Azpilicueta-Luiz-Alonso is likely to be broken up again with Terry almost certainly getting the chance to say goodbye to his fans in style and at least one more of those five getting a rest ahead of that Arsenal game. Meaning that strange as this may sound, a Sunderland goal isn't out of the question at all. Which would obviously help our over 3.5 goals cause.


Total Booking Points 1

I can see why it's such a huge price (4/1) about 45 booking points. No Chelsea player will want to risk getting themselves sent off ahead of the FA Cup Final nor will a Sunderland man want to add insult to injury by capping off a horrible season with a last-day sending off.

That's all well and good but football doesn't always work out that way. You could have said similar things about Chelsea's game against Watford and that game saw four bookings (two of them Chelsea guys) and a red.

Party atmosphere it may be for the Chelsea players but it's still a professional game of football and that could mean the odd shirt tug or slight late challenge you'd get in any other game.

It's by no means an obvious bet to place in a match under these circumstances but maybe that's the point.


Recommended Bets

0.5pts Back Over 3.5 goals @ [2.0]
1pt Back Over 45 points in Total Booking Points 1 on Betfair Sportsbook @ 4/1


Jamie's P/L 2016/17
Staked: 74pts
Returned: 75.96 pts
P/L: +1.96

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