Chelsea will have to settle for a draw with Newcastle at the Bridge | Football

Alexander Isak can breach the Chelsea defence (Picture: AFP via Getty Images)

Social media went into meltdown last week when speculation swirled that Chelsea owner Todd Boehly was to part company with Mauricio Pochettino and replace him with basketball coach Steve Kerr.

The story went that Boehly, who also owns baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, was expecting Golden State Warriors chief Kerr to have a Ted Lasso effect at Stamford Bridge, rubbing off some of the success he has enjoyed by winning five NBA titles as a player and four as Warriors coach on the dysfunctional Blues.

Of course, it was absolute poppycock but there were those who believed it. After all, new Manchester United investor Sir Jim Radcliffe has appointed former Great Britain cycling guru Sir Dave Brailsford to oversee change at Old Trafford while Sir Clive Woodward, the mastermind behind England’s Rugby World Cup triumph in 2003, had a spell giving input at Southampton.

It cannot be denieda section of Blues fans are growing increasingly impatient with the club’s hierarchy, verbally abusing both Boehly and Poch during the 2-2 draw at Brentford which followed the poor extra-time performance in the Carabao Cup final when they lost to a Liverpool side consisting largely of untried kids.

The fact Chelsea had been superb in their previous outing, a 1-1 draw at Manchester City when they reigning Premier League champions were fortunate to salvage a point, has been long forgotten.

It’s the inconsistency which is driving fans loco and it could be become toxic at the Bridge if Newcastle take an early lead in their Monday night showdown, a feasible scenario as the hosts have not kept a clean sheet in their last eight games with injuries to Ben Chilwell and Levi Colwill only exacerbating the situation. 

Nicolas Jackson found the net last time out at Brentford

Nicolas Jackson found the net last time out at Brentford (Picture: Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

The mid-table Blues are fortunate the Magpies are equally poor in preventing opponents from scoring, with last weekend’s 3-0 win on Tyneside against injury-hit Wolves the first time in ten matches their opponents had not scored.

Newcastle are also poor on their travels, losing 4-1 at Arsenal the last time they were on the road, and this could end in the stalemate neither side wants at 16/5 with William Hill.

A 2-2 draw is 12/1 with bet365 while Alexander Isak is 13/2 with Paddy Power and Betfair to fire Newcastle ahead and 9/5 with the same firms to score at any time. Nicolas Jackson is 7/4 with Sky Bet to reply for the hosts.

• Emma Radacanu has shown she is on the way back from her injuries by reaching the third round at Indian Wells but will the brakes be applied to her exciting comeback when she faces Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka?

The Belarusian, last year’s runner-up, needed to save four match points in a second-round victory over American outsider Payton Stearns, when she also rolled an ankle, and that followed an opening-match defeat to Donna Vekic in Dubai. Radacanu may be able to nick a set and a 2-1 Sabalenka success is 7/2 with Coral.

• Willie Mullins needs six winners at this week’s Cheltenham Festival to reach 100 at national hunt racing’s blue riband event. He only had six victories last year but they included the first past the post in the Gold Cup and Champions Chase and at the last count his yard boasted 13 favourites for the 26 races over the next four glorious days.

That’s ignoring the numerous second favourites and the Pep Guardiola of horse racing is evens with Sky Bet to have nine or more winners in another landmark year.


MORE : Ex-Premier League referee explains why Kai Havertz wasn’t sent-off for Arsenal against Brentford


MORE : Dana White aims dig at Francis Ngannou after Anthony Joshua knockout loss