The Spaniard has certainly tightened things up at Chelsea and Adam Bate is expecting more of the same against Sam Allardyce's West Ham in Saturday's early kick-offIf there were mumbled concerns about Rafa Benitez’s tactically cautious approach when he was appointed at Stamford Bridge, those noises have become deafening after consecutive goalless draws at home in his first week in charge.
The draw with Premier League champions Manchester City was creditable given Chelsea’s porous efforts under Roberto Di Matteo but a stalemate with Fulham - who are notoriously poor travellers - was more alarming.
Roman Abramovich will surely be looking for Benitez to make the most of the Blues’ attacking potential against West Ham on Saturday.
Chelsea are 5/6 (1.83) favourites with William Hill to win at Upton Park.
But West Ham are entitled to fancy their chances against the European champions given that the visitors are on a run of six Premier League games without a victory.
The Hammers have lost just once at home this season and confidence in the camp is unlikely to have been dented by Wednesday’s one-goal defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford.
West Ham are a 3/1 (4.00) shot with William Hill to move up to seventh with a win here.
The draw is at 2/1 (3.00) and that is the pick of the bets in this one given that Chelsea have shared the points in four of their last five Premier League games and West Ham should offer stern resistance.
In the search for a value option, the goalscorers market offers Fernando Torres at 5/1 (6.00) to net first while Andy Carroll is out at 15/2 (8.50) with William Hill.
But there is every chance this will be a low-scoring affair – under 2.5 goals is at evens (2.00).
As a result, it may be tempting to consider a repeat of the scoreline for West Ham’s last victory – against Newcastle – and back the home side to win 1-0 at 11/1 (12.00).
But the best value has to be backing Benitez to continue his goalless marathon. Sam Allardyce’s side drew 0-0 at home to Manchester City at the start of November and a repeat here would pay out at a chunky 11/1 (12.00) with William Hill.
|Draw at 2/1 (3.00) with William Hill
||0-0 draw at 11/1 (12.00) with William Hill
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Adam Bate is a professional freelance journalist who specialises in football and betting. He is editor of GhostGoal which can be found here - you can also follow Adam on
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