Chelsea and Mourinho meet foes Barca in International Champions Cup
It may only be pre-season, but if one thing is certain, it’s that Jose Mourinho will be taking any match against bitter rival Barcelona, where he partly learnt his coaching craft, seriously.
‘The Special One’ is a superb 7/4 shout to guide his side to victory in 90 minutes, despite having previously being humbled 4-2 by New York Red Bulls and needing spot-kicks to stumble past PSG.
The Blues will undoubtedly be saving their best for Barca, who are slight favourites with odds of 7/5 to win in normal time, but fell to Manchester United and former boss Louis van Gaal in Santa Clara last time out.
In this clash between the champions on England and Spain, punters can also pounce on a draw at 12/5, with five of 15 previous duels between the two ending on even terms. There is little to separate these two sides quality-wise, who have five triumphs apiece against each other, though Chelsea have the advantage of being able to field their new signings.
Asmir Begovic did not have a brilliant start his Blues career against the Red Bulls, but is 3/1 to help the Londoners keep a clean sheet in Washington DC, while new forward threat Radamel Falcao is 7/4 to build on his cameo against PSG and poach a goal anytime.
Mourinho told press his loan star should feature, stating: “we decided to give Falcao, Willian and Juan Cuadrado this 20 to 25 minutes which was very good for them. Now they are not ready to start against Barcelona, but I think they can go from 20 to 30 minutes. I will give them that.”
Customers can also take advantage of Coral’s superb match special, with a fantastic price of 5/2 for star man Eden Hazard to score in 90 mins (maximum stake £20) and outshine his tricky Catalan counterparts. Meanwhile former Barcelona schemer Cesc Fabregas is a nifty 9/1 to net last.
Previous tussles between these two teams have provided a glut of thrills and spills, so another special it may prove prudent to back is 3/1 for Barca to win in normal time with over 2.5 goals in the game. Considering this match-up has only ended in stalemate once before, those are truly tempting odds.
The Nou Camp club have plenty of predators in their armoury, with lethal Luis Suarez (5/1 to strike first), Manchester United switch-linked Pedro (7/4 to score anytime) and Croatian playmaker Ivan Rakitic (5/1) all available to back at great prices.
Betting tip: electric Hazard is a great shout at 5/2 to fire home anytime in 90 mins (max stake £20)