How deliciously ironic, for anyone who isn’t a Chelsea fan, that after splurging more than £1billion on new players, owner Todd Boehly apparently cannot afford to part company with manager Mauricio Pochettino and his coaching staff.
A report has suggested if the Blues decide to sack the former Tottenham and Paris Saint-Germain boss the compensation they will have to splash out will cause them to be in breach of Financial Fair Play regulations.
Chelsea are already under scrutiny and cannot risk being in further trouble, so if the concerning predicament at Stamford Bridge does not improve they are stuck with a dead man walking.
Poch was unable to make an immediate impact when joining the Blues in the summer and although there were signs of recovery after a slow start, the problems have been exacerbated by successive defeats at Liverpool and at home to Wolves in which his expensive underachievers conceded a combined tally of eight goals.
Pochettino has a similar record at this stage of the season to former Blues boss Graham Potter – and we all know how that alliance ended – but he has the chance to put things right in the next few weeks by winning the FA Cup replay with Aston Villa and then lifting the Carabao Cup by beating Liverpool in the final.
However, Jurgen Klopp’s Reds are no better than 11/20 with Betway to win at Wembley at the end of the month and, with Aston Villa finding their shooting boots and thrashing Sheffield United 5-0 at Bramall Lane on Saturday, it’s difficult to see the Blues progressing to a fifth-round tie at home to either Plymouth Argyle or Leeds United.
As long as Unai Emery doesn’t make widespread changes ahead of Sunday’s huge Premier League home game with Manchester United, Villa are worth supporting at 47/20 with Unibet to win in 90 minutes, while Leon Bailey is 17/2 with bet365 to break the deadlock and 3/1 with the same firm to get on the scoresheet.
Prolific Cole Palmer is 3/1 with BetUK and Unibet to score at any time and a 2-1 Villa victory is 9/1 with William Hill.
• Nigeria are 8/13 to reach the Africa Cup of Nations final by beating South Africa in normal time and Ivory Coast are 6/5 to beat DR Congo in their semi-final – put them in a double with Coral.
• San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy threw 11 interceptions in the NFL regular season, gifting four against the Baltimore Ravens on Christmas Day, and was also picked off by the Detroit Lions in the playoffs. The Kansas City Chiefs defense registered nine picks so have an interest in the 5/1 offered by Paddy Power and Betfair that an interception is returned for a touchdown during Sunday’s Super Bowl in Las Vegas.