Can the Danes cope with Anelka?
Chelsea v Copenhagen | 19:45 Wednesday live on ITV 1
They say a week is a long time in football, but the 22 days interval between the first leg of this Champions League second round tie has seen a huge turnaround in Chelsea's season. Going into the clash in Copenhagen, the Blues had just been eliminated from the FA Cup by Everton and the prospect of a trophy-less season at the Bridge seemed a very real one. Fast forward those aforementioned 22 days and a comfortable Champions League victory and back-to-back Premier League wins, one an enthralling comeback against Manchester United, later, and Chelsea are now chasing down another end of season double.
Carlo Ancelotti's Chelsea (1/3) are the clear favourites to win the match in 90 minutes and are pretty much assured of qualification (1/100) after a confidence building victory at the Parken Stadium, meaning that the Danes' need to score at least twice in west London to progress. Ancelotti will be guarding his team against any complacency versus FC Copenhagen as the players know that their manager will soon be able to call on the likes of Alex and John Obi Mikel, who are making their way back from injuries.
Ancelotti's counterpart Stale Solbakken knows that his Copenhagen team need nothing short of a miracle if they are to advance. Priced at 8/1 to win the match and 16/1 to qualify, it would need a fairytale of the most exaggerated nature to conjure up the happiest of happy endings for the men from the land of the fairytales. Indeed, No Scandinavian side has ever won a Champions League knockout-stage match (three draws and two defeats).
Solbakken will be without Zdenek Pospech who is suspended for the game after picking up a yellow card in the first leg while fellow defender Mikael Antonsson is struggling to recover from a muscle injury.
Didier Drogba (10/3 first scorer, 4/5 anytime) and Fernando Torres (11/4 first scorer, 8/13 anytime) started the game against Blackpool up front but never really clicked as a front pairing. I very much doubt they these two will start the game together when you look at Nicolas Anelka's record in Europe this campaign. The Frenchman has netted seven goals in just six Champions League appearances thus far and bagged both goals in the first leg in the Danish capital. Anelka can be backed at 3 /1 to open the scoring and 8/11 anytime while a repeat of his brace against Copenhagen is 3/1 in the 2 goals or more market.
It must be said that the first leg encounter was the Danish team's first competitive match back after a lengthy winter break and as such they did not perform to the same levels that we have seen at time times this season. After now playing more games they could look more like the side that held Barcelona to a draw during the group stages. An early goal may be essential for Copenhagen and they'll surely be looking to Senegalese striker Dame Ndoye (9/1 first scorer, 10/3 anytime) to secure it. He and Brazilian forward Cesar Santin (10/1 first scorer, 7/2 anytime) have formed an exciting partnership and both top the Danish Superliga goalscoring charts with 13 goals.
The William Hill Match Winner offer for this tie is an enhanced double on both John Terry and Frank Lampard to score at anytime. Both of these Chelsea stalwarts were on target in the Blues' recent win away at Blackpool and can be backed at 16/1 to both score once again.
My recommendation for this game is the wincast of Nicolas Anelka to score first and Chelsea to win at 7/2. If anyone can spark a rout for the hosts then Anelka is the man.