THE might of the newly-crowned English Premier League champions Chelsea has rolled into the Harbour City for a friendly clash with losing A-League grand finalists Sydney FC.
And punters with sportsbet.com.au are under no illusion as to who should be favourite in this clash at ANZ Stadium at 8pm AEST, tonight.
The gulf in class has been reflected by the market quotes, with Chelsea’s star studded line up a very short $1.30 favourite, with punters slamming more than 90 per cent of money on the Blues.
Sydney FC are at $8, but the bookie’s Christian Jantzen says they may fancy their chances of jagging a draw at $5.50 “if Jose Mourinho’s side enjoy the sights of the harbour city too much in the short lead up to tonight’s match.
“To understand the gulf between these two clubs, look no further than the first goalscorer market where the top seven picks are all Chelsea players headed by Diego Costa at $4.50,” Jantzen said.
Compounding the Sky Blues’ woes is colourful Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho’s promise to roll out a full strength side for the clash.
The Special One was up and about at the pre match press conference, dead panning to the media throng that his side might even ‘park the bus’ to ensure a win.
“When the opponent has the ball you have to park the bus all the time, if you don’t concede goals you have more chances to win,” Mourinho said.
“I can give already to the coach (Sydney FC’s Graham) Arnold (my team).
“The front three I will play will be (Loic) Remy, Diego Costa and (Eden) Hazard (yikes for Sydney).
“If we park the bus with these three (in attack) I’m sure we will be ok.
“What I’ve seen the few times I’ve watched matches in the Australian league, there’s always a good atmosphere, nice stadiums and people very enthusiastic, the game very enthusiastic too.
“We want a very good match. We feel always responsibility. You cannot lose, you cannot just play for fun, you have to go for a result.
Chelsea skipper John Terry said team mate and former Socceroos goal keeper Mark Schwarzer had told him about the A-League “every day”.
“We’ve watched little bits, a couple of players have come this way from the UK as well,” Terry said.
“We’ll watch the game they played against Spurs as well to get a better feel.
“We know the standard will be very good and it will be tough in front of a very hostile crowd as well, supporting both sides we hope.
“We had Schwarzy there who told us about it every day.
“When you do see it and look at the stadiums and the fans they are real passionate, very much like the English supporters.”
And you’d think they’d be a little wary, after the Sky Blues took it to Tottenham in their friendly on Saturday night, Spurs netting the only goal of the match through English wunderkind Harry Kane.
They might not have won the A-League title, but they did win respect there and a good performance against the EPL champions in front of a crowd expected to top 80,000 would top it off for Arnold.
“You have to pinch yourself,” Arnold said at the press conference.
“To have them out here a week after winning the Premiership in England and being here to play against us is special.
“It just adds that bit extra to Australian football which is huge for us.
“The A-League is young, it’s developing and for them to add to the game of football here in Australia and to have 83,000 people here on Tuesday night, it’s mind-blowing.
“We had a number of 17, 18 year olds on the field (against Spurs), to see the smiles on their faces after the game, playing against their idols they watch on TV every week was a real joy to see.
“We’re all looking forward to the occasion and we’ll certainly give it our best shot.”
Sydney FC vs. Chelsea markets
Head to head:
$8 Sydney FC (in from $9)
$5.50 Draw (out from $5)
$1.30 Chelsea (out from $1.25 at Sportsbet)
$4.50 Diego Costa
$5 Loic Remy
$7 Eden Hazard
$7.50 Dominic Solanke
$8 Juan Cuadrado
$9 Jeremie Boga
$10 Cesc Fabregas
$11 Shane Smeltz
$13 Bernie Ibini
$15 Alex Brosque
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