Chelsea returned from the World Cup break with a routine 2-0 win over Bournemouth and will look for more of the same at Nottingham Forest on New Year’s Day.
The Tricky Trees were typically scrappy in their first game back but were undone by Manchester United’s class, going down 3-0 at Old Trafford.
Steve Cooper has said he is planning to sign more new faces in January, with Brazilian Gustavo Scarpa set to be a Forest player from Sunday, although this game will likely come too early.
The same can be said for Cooper’s opposite number Graham Potter and the trip to the City Ground may offer some of his stars the chance to prove they deserve a place in his squad as he looks ahead to his first January window in charge.
Nottingham Forest vs Chelsea Betting Tips
Forest are to assess Jesse Lingard after he limped off against his former club at Old Trafford.
Dean Henderson will return in goal after being ineligible to face his parent club in midweek, but Morgan Gibbs-White is a doubt with a calf problem.
Chelsea will be without Reece James for four weeks due to a recurrence of a knee injury, with Cesar Azpilicueta expected to come in.
The Blues should also be able to call upon Mateo Kovacic and Hakim Ziyech, who have returned following the World Cup.
Chelsea to win to nil @ 8/5
Chelsea have not always been watertight this season and conceded four times in their penultimate away fixture at Brighton.
However, they looked comfortable against a struggling Bournemouth side and Potter will expect his team to keep another clean sheet.
James’ absence is a huge blow but Azpilicueta is arguably a better defender. On the other side of the defence, left-back Marc Cucurella is clearly happier in a back four, while in the middle, Thiago Silva and Kalidou Koulibaly finally seem to be striking up an understanding.
Forest won their last home game 1-0 against Crystal Palace but lacked conviction against United and have a shortage of genuine quality without Lingard and Gibbs-White.
A fourth away league clean sheet of the season could beckon for the Blues on a successful afternoon on the banks of the Trent.
#PickYourPunt – Kai Havertz to score and Ryan Yates to be booked @ 13/2
Havertz hit the opener against Bournemouth and is one of several players with a point to prove following Germany’s early exit from the World Cup.
The German is again likely to lead the line, with Potter clearly appreciating his ability to both stretch the opposition’s defence and drop deep when required.
An option to add value to backing him in the anytime goalscorer market in a #PickYourPunt is to include Ryan Yates to be carded.
The tenacious midfielder has been booked three times this season and averages 2.36 fouls a game.
Expect him to be in the thick of the action so do not be surprised if he picks up a fourth caution of the campaign.