Chelsea’s problems set to increase

ANDRE Villas-Boas is a man under pressure. Following a decent start to the season, Chelsea have now lost three of their last four games across all competitions and their confidence appears to be shot to pieces. I haven’t seen such a disorganised Blues defence for years and Liverpool made them pay again on Tuesday night.

Newcastle have been excellent so far this season. Alan Pardew wasn’t a particularly popular appointment, but he has done really well with a limited budget and they got a fantastic point at Old Trafford last weekend. The Magpies have won four and drawn two of their six home games this season and I just can’t work out why they are 3/1 with Ladbrokes. St James’s Park is a very difficult place to go and I wouldn’t be backing Chelsea at any price at the moment – they have to be a lay on Betdaq at around even money.

It has been a poor week for Manchester United with the draw against Newcastle and then getting knocked out of the Carling Cup by Crystal Palace on Wednesday. Sir Alex Ferguson’s players just don’t look sharp at the moment and they may struggle against Aston Villa tomorrow evening.

Alex McLeish’s side picked up a valuable point at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday and the manager will be pleased that they are back at Villa Park tomorrow. Villa have only been beaten once on home soil this season and they have drawn seven of their 13 games. The last three meetings between the sides in the West Midlands have finished level and I fancy another stalemate at 13/5 with Paddy Power.

United haven’t been prolific in recent weeks and I’m sure McLeish will adopt defensive tactics, so it’s worth selling goals at 2.6 with Sporting Index. I also wouldn’t put anyone off taking some of the 13/2 William Hill offer about a 1-1 correct score.

Steve Bruce finally paid the price on Thursday for Sunderland’s poor start to the season. The Black Cats have been tremendously disappointing and Saturday’s defeat against Wigan was their sixth of the season. It’s looking as though Martin O’Neill or Mark Hughes will be next in the hot seat, but Eric Black will be taking charge of the side against Wolves on Sunday.

The last four games between these teams have produced 19 goals and I fancy that trend to continue. There have been three or more goals in 17 of Wolves’ last 25 matches at Molineux and the same is true in seven of Sunderland’s last 10 home and away. Goals can be bought at 2.7 with Sporting Index and that looks the correct call. I marginally favour the Black Cats in the win market at around 2/1, but not enough to have a bet.

The Euro 2012 draw is made later on today and Sporting Index have gone down with their tournament win index. At this stage I still favour Spain, but I won’t be getting involved for a few months.

POINTERS...

Newcastle at 3/1 with Ladbrokes

Draw in Aston Villa v Man United at 13/5 with Paddy Power

Sell goals in Aston Villa v Man United at 2.6 with Sporting Index

Buy goals in Wolves v Sunderland at 2.7 with Sporting Index