Many punters tuning into this blockbuster clash in Manchester will be expecting fireworks.
Perception is a very different beast to reality though.
Old Trafford may just as likely be a cagey place on Monday evening, but that’s not to say punters can’t profit if Jose Mourinho decides to employ his smothering tactics. The under 2.5 goals bet looks a cracker at evens.
The Chelsea manager’s football principles are built around stopping the opposition from scoring, and his title winning teams are organised, powerful and disciplined. It happened at Porto. It happened at Inter Milan. And it’ll happen once again at Chelsea.
His uncharacteristic failure to construct a ruthless defence at Real Madrid, where they dropped too many points in the first half of last season and so failed to win the league, was a mistake he’ll be unlikely to repeat so soon.
When big games like tonight come around, Mourinho is in his tactical element. It’s hard to erase his Inter Milan side’s performances away from home on their march to Champions League success when planning a punting angle in a game of this stature.
The away ties in Chelsea and Barcelona, where Inter defended deep and hit on the counter attack with successful results, defined Mourinho’s brilliance as a genius tactician.
In contrast to Barcelona’s obsession with possession, Mourinho’s Inter weren’t especially concerned with having control of the ball, just preventing the opposition from doing anything with it.
Some similarly counter-intuitive thinking may well be on display at Old Trafford tonight and don’t United and Moyes know it. Defensive showings have been a key trait of Mourinho’s against the Red Devils as 11 of his 16 encounters with Manchester United in the past have fallen under the 2.5 goal line.
There is also a fancy correct score price for punters who foresee a true defensive masterclass.
Man United haven’t drawn 0-0 in the Premier League at home since May 2009 when Arsenal stifled Sir Alex Ferguson’s side. You could say they are due one.
Trends are there to be broken – the goalless draw is a tempting 17/2.