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Monday, 10 December, 2018

Cards could be low in Chelsea's Toon clash

Wise words from the Soccer Boffin

Kevin Friend takes charge at Stamford Bridge
1 of 1

Chelsea v Newcastle
Sky Premier League, 12.30pm Saturday

Only two of the seven Premier League games at Stamford Bridge this season have featured fewer than four cards. Usually low make-ups occur more regularly. And there could be a small number of cards in the televised Saturday lunchtime kick-off between Chelsea and Newcastle.

Back under four Asian total cards with bet365 at decimal odds of 1.7 – fractional odds of 7-10. Each yellow will count as one and each red as two. If the total is lower than four the bet will win, if it is four stakes will be refunded and if it is higher than four the bet will lose.

What normally happens in this sort of contest? Generally speaking, the chance of a low card count rises as the difference in ability between teams expands.

The result-related markets for Stamford Bridge imply almost an 80 per cent chance of Chelsea scoring each goal that is scored. They are probably at least in the right ballpark – Chelsea, third in the table, are nearly always one of the best teams in the Premier League while Newcastle, 12th in the table, are settling in again after a season in the Sky Bet Championship.

In a typical Premier League game with comparable goals expectations fair decimal odds about under four Asian total cards would be little more than 1.4.

For this game they should be higher. Allowance ought to be made for the individual circumstances of a fixture – ways in which it might differ from others of the type.

This season at Stamford Bridge things have not always gone as well for Chelsea as they usually do, and consequently there have been high numbers of cards more frequently than usual. The Asian total cards make-up was five in a come-from-behind win against Watford and 11 on the opening Saturday in a loss to Burnley.

But sooner or later, in all likelihood, something closer to normal service will be resumed. In the ten seasons before this one Chelsea scored 73 per cent of all the goals in their Premier League home games and during that period fair decimal odds about under 4 Asian total cards in a randomly chosen fixture would have been 1.55.

Bet365’s opening odds were 1.85, which probably would have represented excellent value for money. On Thursday the odds were cut to 1.7. Although they now seem a much less clear-cut betting proposition they may still be bigger than they should be.

The referee at Stamford Bridge will be Kevin Friend, a good official with experience of more than 160 Premier League appointments over nine seasons. Hopefully he may not be required to reach for his pocket very often.

Under 4 Asian total cards in Chelsea v Newcastle
1pt 7-10 bet365

Thought for the day

Some things you only miss when they are not there. Like technique in football.

I watched two FA Cup first-round ties. They were painful experiences. The second round is this weekend. I will swerve it.

What I saw consisted mostly of this: a defender headed the ball clear as far as they could, then a player on the other team headed it back as hard as they could, and so on, and so on.

It was like a ferocious sort of head tennis in which the loser would be whoever could not keep the rally going.

Nobody seemed to consider the possibility of heading the ball down to a member of their team, who might then be able to pass it forward to another member of their team. Presumably that was because everybody realised that nobody would be able to do this.

I felt sorry for the ball. It must have hurt badly.

Brian Clough used to say that footballers should befriend the ball. These seemed to regard it as an enemy, which they thumped with all the force they could muster.

That is the best way to play if you cannot exercise any control over the ball. How much better football is, though, when players are able much of the time to make the ball do what they want.

I would not expect lower-level players to be able to manipulate a ball like Premier League players. It was terrible, though, to see how little control some of them have. Only ten of the 32 non-league teams in the first round have reached the second round. One of the teams I watched came from League One.

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Sooner or later, in all likelihood, something closer to normal service will be resumed.
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