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P.J. Murray 13th Mar 2012 - 16:57

Chelsea v Napoli - Someone will be singing the Blues

Times, they are a changing, and no more so than Stamford Bridge. An AVB managed Blues faced Napoli in the cauldron of Stadio San Paolo and came away 3-1 losers. The Portuguese manager didn't last long after, now former midfield legend Roberto Di Matteo is in charge. Will he be able to inspire a better performance?

The Londoners have slowly regained their ability to win since the 3-1 defeat, beating Stoke and Birmingham City in recent games. However Napoli have won six on the bounce, with a 6-3 thrashing of Cagliari the most recent clash. The Azzurri have not failed to score in their last seven games, and a goal at Stamford Bridge would be devastating for the hosts.

Di Matteo will most likely field the most experienced side possible as his goals for the rest of the season are quite clear, plus the room for error is non-existent. A solid defence will be required to stop the attacking threat of the Italians, Cole, Terry, Cahill and Ivanovic the likely contenders.

We have enhanced the price of the match being decided by the dreaded penalty shootout, originally 20/1 we are offering 25/1.

Chelsea are odds on at 17/20, but if you fancy the Blues it might be a better bet at 2/1 to back them to qualify. Napoli are 16/5 to win in 90 minutes while the draw is 5/2.

There is no doubting that Chelsea will try and keep it tight, they need to try and keep a clean sheet, a 2-0 win at 9/1 would see them through, but possibly 3-1 at 12/1 is the way to go.

Daniel Sturridge (5/1 first, 5/4 anytime) has done enough to warrant a starting place in the Chelsea side with some impressive performances. Frank Lampard (6/1 first, 7/4 anytime) though could be the man to inspire a Chelsea win. The midfielder never saw eye to eye with AVB, but you'd imagine he has more respect for Di Matteo and as such his role and level of commitment have been upped in recent weeks.

With Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi in the team it's hard to see past the visitors failing to score. Both have been prolific in recent weeks and Cavani has piqued the interest of both Liverpool and PSG.

Much has been made of the Arsenal-Milan match, but the simple fact is that this is a different prospect altogether. Chelsea have an away goal which could be vital, but they still need to score. Both teams to net is quite short at 6/10, but over 3.5 goals at 13/8 could well be the way to go here.

I think it's quite possible that Chelsea will turn this around, they need to continue in the Champions League as they may not qualify for it next season. Since the departure of AVB there is a renewed focus surrounding the club and there's a lot less talking done off the pitch.


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