Go for Goals in Donetsk

  • By: Ben Coley
  • Last Updated: October 22 2012, 17:11 BST

Shakhtar will provide a stern test for Chelsea

3pts both teams to score in Shakhtar v Chelsea at 9/10 (Stan James).

1pt BATE Borisov to beat Valencia at 13/5 (General).


When Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea, he wanted two things. Top of the list was titles, but a close second came entertainment.

Until recently, however, it was a case of 'never the twain shall meet'. Even last May, when Champions League glory came in thrilling fashion, Chelsea were criticised for their so-called anti-football approach, even if it did successfully nulify two of the most creative and destructive teams in Europe.

From that base, though, it appears that Roberti Di Matteo is aiming to tick both boxes. In have come Eden Hazard and Oscar, complementing the excellent Juan Mata, and they rate one of - if not the - most dynamic attacking midfields in the Barclays Premier League.

Chelsea will need them at Shakhtar Donetsk, runaway leaders in the Ukrainian Premier; a side unbeaten in 28 games and winners of 26 of those. It's a quite remarkable run and, while much of it is based on superior domestic form, they look a tough test for the Blues.

William, Eduardo and the excellent Henrikh Mkhitaryan will pose great problems for a talented but penetrable defence, and it's hard to imagine these sides not fashioning plenty of chances.

As such, instead of trying to predict the outcome - Chelsea would look a fair price but Shakhtar's form is so hard to assess that they can't confidently be opposed - the best bet here is surely both teams to score at 9/10.

Both teams have scored in Shakthar's most recent encounters with Dnipro and Dynamo Kiev, arguably their two biggest threats domestically, while Chelsea's 4-2 win at Tottenham on Saturday further highlights the prospects of this wager.

Indeed, they also won 2-1 at Arsenal, lost 3-2 to Manchester City in the Community Shield, and 4-1 to Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup. Simply put, in what on paper look tight games, both sides have contributed to the final score.

Remember, Chelsea have scored four goals in each of their last three games, but seeing as Shakhtar have scored in each of their last 15 at home, Di Matteo's men have their work cut out to keep a clean sheet.

It's a simple selection, but odds of 9/10 look wrong. It wouldn't be unreasonable, given the nature of these sides and their attacking prowess, to expect something closer to 4/7.

Elsewhere, old friends BATE Borisov rate value to beat Valencia at anything greater than 2/1.

The best team in Belarus have often been underrated in the Champions League as, on paper at least, they're not as exciting as some of their peers.

But there can be no doubt that their form stands up to close inspection and it's possible to argue that they should in fact be favourites to see off Valencia here.

The bare facts are these. BATE are unbeaten at home this season, whereas Valencia haven't won away from home - indeed they've lost their last four including at Bayern Munich.

BATE deservedly beat last year's finalists Bayern 3-1 on home turf last time, and a similar display would surely be good enough to avoid defeat against a side who simply don't travel well.

The travel woes of Los Che are nothing new, either. Last year they drew 0-0 at Genk, a side they beat 7-0 in the return fixture, alongside defeats at Chelsea and Bayer Leverkusen.

Resigned thereafter to the Europa League, they edged past a poor Stoke side by a solitary goal before losing away from home at AZ Alkmaar and eventual winners Atletico.

Valencia's 3-2 win against Athletic Bilbao at the weekend was largely thanks to a sending off - they were 2-1 down when Ander Herrera was dismissed with just over 20 minutes to go - and are poor even-money favourites.

Indeed, while bookies are growing wise to BATE to a degree, there's still plenty of juice in 13/5 quotes.

  • Preview posted at 1410 BST on 21/10/2012.