Scotland V England Saturday 24th February. 4:45PM. BBC One Scotland v England renew their rivalry…
Chelsea V Manchester United
Saturday 18th April. 5:30PM. Sky Sports 1
It might be FA Cup semi-final weekend, but Saturday’s headline event easily comes from the mouth-watering Premier League battle of the titans as Chelsea welcome Manchester United to Stamford Bridge.
These two Premier League giants regularly serve up mind-blowing contests and United’s return to form certainly adds another dimension to this already fascinating prospect.
Prepare yourselves for a blockbuster at the Bridge.
Chelsea To Retain Unbeaten Home Record?
Cesc Fabregas’ late winner at QPR last Sunday has put Chelsea within touching distance of a first league title in half a decade, but Jose Mourinho’s men must keep their composure as they look to see out the job. In particular, this back-to-back test of Manchester United and Arsenal could be key to clinching the trophy.
Luckily for the Blues, they not only possess the Premier League’s most talented squad, they also boast a tactical genius on the sidelines and the Special One is more than ready to lead his side to the title. Even without top scorer Diego Costa, or understudy Loic Remy, Chelsea will be raring to go at Stamford Bridge.
Mourinho’s home record has been phenomenal wherever he has coached and the Blues have looked impregnable at Stamford Bridge in the league. The league leaders are not only unbeaten with 12 wins and three draws, they’ve additionally shipped just seven goals whilst notching an impressive 30.
Facing an in-form Manchester United won’t be easy, but the Blues possess more than enough quality to cope with those demands. As long as they avoid defeat, it will be Chelsea’s title to lose.
Resurgent Red Devils Closing In On Champions League Return
Hitting optimum form at this time of year was a trademark of the Sir Alex Ferguson years and new manager Louis van Gaal seems to be following in the footsteps as Manchester United enter head to the capital on the back of six straight league victories.
The Red Devils have faced scrutiny aplenty during Van Gaal’s rollercoaster maiden campaign but impressive victories over the likes of Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City would suggest that the Premier League’s most successful club are on their way back towards the upper echelons of English football.
Michael Carrick’s return has provided a calming influence, whilst the high pressure of Wayne Rooney, Ashley Young and co is proving to be a successful tactic. Perhaps most pleasing, though, is that Van Gaal has shown the tactical versatility to cope with the demands of facing matches like the aforementioned as well as the bravery to bench high-profiled assets such as record signing Angel Di Maria.
Recent results offer validation that the Red Devils are well en route to recover. A big performance at Chelsea could complete their resurrection and leave them in a fantastic position to kick on next term. Perhaps more importantly, it would virtually guarantee their return to Champions League football.
Chelsea V Manchester United Betting
The champions elect are favourites for this clash but odds of 19/20 suggest that Bet365 believe this will be anything but a walk in the park. Meanwhile, the draw is priced 5/2 and Van Gaal’s men are available at 14/5 to inflict Chelsea’s first home defeat of the Premier League campaign.
Avoiding defeat is the primary focus in both camps. Chelsea are looking to keep a considerable distance between themselves and the chasing pack, whilst Manchester United will be eager to keep this rich vein of form going as they close in on a top four finish.
We think there’s too much quality for it to remain goalless, but it could be a tentative and close fought affair. A repeat of the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford wouldn’t surprise us at all.
BTTS & Draw @ 19/5 with BetVictor
Mourinho doesn’t get many things wrong but his decision to rate Juan Mata as surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge is one that raises a few question marks.
The Spaniard has really come into his own in recent weeks, rediscovering the form that saw him named Chelsea’s Player of the Year twice, and is bang in form ahead of this return. It would be fitting if he were to score.
Juan Mata to score anytime @ 4/1 with Paddy Power