Galatasaray v Chelsea unlikely to be a turkey shoot
Everybody is talking about strikers in the build-up to Chelsea’s visit to Galatasaray in the first leg of the last-16 Champions League tie on Wednesday, in particular Didier Drogba, playing against the London club where he won 10 trophies in eight years and scored 157 goals.
Jose Mourinho has been making noises about his own strikers, too, but apparently in a less than complimentary way, saying, off the record and perhaps light-heartedly, that he has a team with no strikers.
The Chelsea boss has a point. Samuel Eto’o, Fernando Torres and Demba Ba have scored just 11 league goals between them this season, that’s less that midfielder Eden Hazard (12) has on his own.
Those stats certainly make the Belgian wizard a more appealing bet at 8/1 to score first or last for Chelsea (11/4 at any time) in Turkey than any of the aforementioned established strikers at shorter prices.
Drogba is by all accounts an emotional guy and the occasion might get a bit much for him, but he is still a class act and there will be plenty willing to back him at 2/1 to score against his old team-mates (7/1 first or last).
But again the stats suggest that Burak Yilmaz or Wesley Sneijder (both 8/1 to net first or last, 11/4 at any time) might be better bets to do Chelsea damage. Yilmaz is Galatasaray’s leading scorer in the league this season with 11 goals ahead of Sneijder (eight) and Drogba (seven).
But this is a game that may in fact be dominated by defences. Roberto Mancini’s men were slaughtered 6-1 in Istanbul by Real Madrid in the group stages, but that can happen to almost any team, and they would appear to be tighter at the back these days – they haven’t conceded a goal in six home games this year.
The words Mourinho and gung-ho just don’t go together and while the Chelsea boss will surely be looking to nick a win, one would imagine he will also be happy to return to Stamford Bridge from such a hostile environment with a draw.
The Blues set up not to lose at Manchester United and Arsenal earlier this season and came away with 0-0 draws and it would be no great surprise if similar tactics were employed and the same result played out (17/2 with Coral).
A 1-0 win (11/2) is also a distinct possibility, but either way, this is unlikely to be a goal-fest and Coral’s 2/1 under 1.5 goals or 8/13 under 2.5 are other bets worthy of serious consideration.