Ask most Chelsea fans which trophy they want most for the cabinet and it would be a bit of a toss-up between the Premier League and the Champions League. But ask Roman Abramovich or José Mourinho and you kind of know the Champions League is the big one for them.
The Special One would dearly love to become the first ever manages to lift the trophy with three different clubs and you just know it irks him that he wasn’t able to win it when he was in charge of the world’s biggest club (whatever Man United fans may think…) Real Madrid.
Of course we all know he could never quite manage it at his first spell in charge at Stamford Bridge. Then when we did win it under the stewardship of Roberto Di Matteo, it wasn’t quite accomplished in the style with which Mr Abramovich would have liked to have won it.
In other words, when push comes to shove and there’s any kind of trade-off due to fitness concerns between the Champions League and the Premier League – it seems it’s the later that’s likely to suffer.
And at the time of writing with four wins from four and a 12 point maximum possible of the board – perhaps it doesn’t matter? The Blues took six points off both the champions and Premier League runners-up last year – and that was with a team that José Mourinho largely inherited from his predecessors Roberto Di Matteo and Rafael Benítez. Since then, he’s had the chance to put his stamp on the side and we’ve seen big names in and big names out. And what a start the biggest name of the lot, Diego Costa has made.
So it may well be that we can win the Premier League without necessarily having to scrap every inch of the way. That’s certainly what the bookies seem to make of it after the perfect start anyway. At the time of writing, Chelsea are 8/11 to win the Premier League with bookies including Unibet, 32Red and others.
But when it comes to the Champions League, the Blues have made a far more diffident start with a 1-1 home draw against German side FC Shalke. But don’t let this worry you. It just means we can have even more of a run for our money.
And Chelsea’s odds are long as you might expect, given the ominous presence of Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Barcelona and all the rest of them in the mix. Here, Chelsea are a more appealing 13/2. But if we’re right about the owner’s and the manager’s real focus this season, that might just be an appealing bet. Who would back against a determined José Mourinho in charge of his favourite club with Diego Costa up front and in such fine form – playing in front of a rampant Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas, Oscar and the rest of the team? And don’t forget the ace in the hole – the old war-horse Didier Drogba. He’s won us one Champions League when we needed him – and maybe he can do the same again at the grand old age of 36?
All in all then, the Champions League looks to be an appealing bet and it’s a bet you may be able to make for free if you fancy it. The major bookmakers make much of their free bets and they’re genuine enough. But the online casinos like 888.com, Skyvegas and several others have far bigger intro bonuses. But here’s the interesting thing; some of them like 32Red also run a sports book to which you can transfer cash. So if you play on mobile at 32red.com now, for example, and you haven’t registered with the site before, you’ll get a straightforward free £10, plus a free £32 for each additional £10 of your own cash you put down. True; you’re then obliged to play a number of casino games before you can withdraw or transfer the cash, but as many casino games like roulette approach even money anyway, you’d have to be very unlucky not to have a decent chunk left for a free bet in the site’s sports book.
And maybe, just maybe, the best home for that is a punt on the club with the best attacker in the world right now, and with a manager who wants to win the biggest trophy in club football like nothing else – and with this club like no other.