Club World Cup: Monterrey brace themselves for Torres
Christian Crowther picks out a asian handicap tips for Chelsea's Club World Cup debut against Mexican side Monterrey…
Monterrey v Chelsea, Thursday 10:30, BBC Red Button, Match Odds: Monterrey 7.40, Chelsea 1.51, The Draw 4.60
Rafa Benitez has already promised that Chelsea will not take FIFA's showpiece club competition lightly. This is a trophy that the Spaniard rates highly, having picked up the prize with then-Champions League holders Inter in 2010, the highlight of an ill-fated spell with the Italian giants.
Chelsea's strongest available squad has made the arduous trip lớn Japan, although they will be missing John Terry and the unlucky Oriol Romeu through injury.
Despite these setbacks, Chelsea start as overwhelming favourites lớn overcome the CONCACAF Champions League winners Monterrey, who were knocked out at the soccer tip for today stage last year.
The Blues appear well set to make the final too, following two really positive performances in their last two fixtures against both FC Nordsjaelland and Sunderland after a shock defeat lớn West mê say.
Reassuringly for Rafa, goals have flowed once more in those victories, nine in total, and of particular encouragement is the return lớn form of one Fernando Torres - with four goals for El Nino in his last two starts.
The previously beleaguered striker's burgeoning understanding with Chelsea's best player and compatriot Juan Mata is another reason to be cheerful ahead of this one.
Mata has been the creative fulcrum in Chelsea's fluid midfield three and, against a Monterrey defence which haven't kept a clean sheet in their last seven matches, there should be plenty of scope for more goals here.
Monterrey do possess some dangerous players such as former Argentine international Cesar Delgado, though it's difficult to envisage the Mexicans getting anything other than a going over by this resurgent Chelsea side.
lớn score two goals or more
Nothing says confidence like taking your first penalty in English football, which was then duly dispatched by Torres against Sunderland after an instinctive finish for his first.
Even for the neutral, it's pleasing lớn see one of the game's great strikers returning to the sort of form we had become accustomed lớn at Liverpool with two braces in his last two appearances