Goal starved and desperate
At 5.30PM on Saturday, Chelsea will host Newcastle at Stamford Bridge. The Blues have kept clean sheets in their last three games but are struggling to score. Newcastle are also able to keep it tight at the back, but are showing little to no intention of scoring. This could result in a frustrating afternoon for the West London team.
I don't think Chelsea are in serious trouble at the moment. They have a well organised defence, a central midfield that is reliable and secure with the ball as well as several offensive players who can get the ball into the final third.
Giroud and Morata are simply not netting enough
But it's the final third that's the problem. Chelsea's manager Sarri, does not trust his strikers Giroud or Morata up front as they're simply not netting enough goals. In their last two PL matches at home Chelsea have scored no goals. 0-0 against Southampton and 0-1 against Leicester.
They have an average of 1.73 goals scored and 0.73 conceded per game at Stamford Bridge this season, and this average is much worse if you look at the winter period. These numbers are in line with their expected goals, which means that their goal drought is not down to a high number of missed chances.
The positive thing for Chelsea at the moment is that they are not letting in that many goals. They have not conceded any goals in their last five home matches. they have a few injuries, including Giroud, Willian and Pedro. Now they will meet Spurs in the League Cup on Tuesday, which means more rotation to the starting XI.
- League Position: 4
In contrast to Chelsea, Newcastle are not a team that will put safety first, especially away from home. At St James' Park, they have often taken a more aggressive approach, which has often resulted in goals conceded.
It is common knowledge that Benitez aims to pick up points away from home, or at least against the bigger clubs. They sit deep and try to hit their opposition on the counter, but they lack the quality up front to really threaten.
Three away games this season have ended 0-0
Newcastle use a five man defensive line, which is also their strength, with really competent centre-backs in Schär and Lascelles. 0.80 goals scored and 1.20 goals conceded away from home on average this season, which shows how low the stats are in Newcastle's matches.
According to the expected goals ratio, Newcastle should have conceded a few more than they actually have, but that's mainly thanks to their central defensive wall and shot stopper Dubravka. Three away games for Newcastle this season have ended 0-0 and in four of their last five matches they have let in one goal or less. Diame and Fernandez are out injured.
- League Position: 15
The under 3 goals bet is always at hand when Newcastle are playing away from home. But this time it's especially attractive, considering the problem Chelsea have with scoring goals, coupled with the fact that they are so strong defensively; conceding very few chances let alone goals. Newcastle will do everything in their power to keep it tight at the back, whilst it is unlikely they will really create many goalscoring opportunities.
I'll bet on under 3 goals at odds of 5/6, which means that you get your money back with exactly three goals in the game.