Place your bets on Chops

MICHAEL Chopra has never denied he likes a flutter.

In fact, the man who spent the night before his Portman Road bow at the home of horse racing has openly admitted placing a bet is a similar “buzz” to that of scoring a goal.

Well judging on his 76 minutes against Wolves on Saturday, there is no gamble being taken on the former Cardiff City man.

Town’s new number 10 is the real deal.

The striker is all about goals, as his four in pre-season testifies. But his performance against the Premier League side was about far more than that.

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Playing as a lone frontman, Chopra was an ever-willing runner, whether off the last defender or hitting the channels.

There might have been times when he was the only man in blue in a penalty area full of gold, but Chopra never moaned or went missing. He was a constant option to whoever had the ball.

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Unfortunately, he was rarely able to showcase his skills in front of goal but he turned provider, going tantalisingly close to setting up the two Lees, Martin and Bowyer, during an impressive start for Ipswich.

Only once did Chopra threaten Dorus De Vries’ goal but his second half drive whistled past the angle of post and bar.

He knows there will be times this season when Paul Jewell will deploy him as a lone frontman, preferring to pack the midfield.

But on such occasions, the emphasis has to be on the likes of Grant Leadbitter, and whoever occupies the wide positions, to support Chopra as much as possible with aimless long balls kept to a minimum.

Too often on Saturday, the 27-year-old was too isolated, perhaps understandable given the quality of opposition.

But the Wolves defence, second-string or otherwise, are still worlds apart from what Town will face week-in, week-out in the Championship.

So for the majority of matches, the Town faithful will hope Jewell adopts his preferred 4-4-2 formation.

Chopra, who was at the Newmarket Nights event on Friday where live music combines with racing, did nothing wrong against Wolves.

But he will surely work best with a partner alongside him with service coming from all angles. If that happens, it will be time to place your bets on Blue, number 10.

- Go to for my thoughts on why Ipswich must revert back to basics against Bristol City.

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