Robin van Persie is the favourite to score first in Manchester United’s clash with Chelsea.
In other news, the sky is blue and water is very wet.
Although the Dutchman’s credentials in front of goal are obvious – he’s scored nine in his last eight Premier League appearances – backing a 4/1 shot in a market with such depth as this one looks a foolish play.
Past meetings between these teams at Old Trafford point towards unexpected goalscorers. And what happens when unexpected goalscorers pounce? Shrewd punters normally make huge profits.
Goalscoring virgins such as Chris Smalling, Ricardo Carvalho and Darren Fletcher have all rewarded big price followers in the goalscorer markets over the last ten seasons in this fixture. United’s aerial monster Nemanja Vidic has also managed to score twice at home to Chelsea. He can be backed at 23/2 to register another.
There are logical reasons to back up these unusual onion bag finders. Games between the top sides are notoriously tight affairs. The best attackers come up against the best defenders. This cancelling each other out policy opens up the possibility for teams to attack through different channels – in this fixture’s case, set pieces.
Chelsea racked up the most headed goals (16) in the Premier League last season and Branislav Ivanovic thumped home the first of this season against Aston Villa.
No player in either lineup tonight carries a bigger goalscoring threat from set pieces than Gary Cahill, who can be backed at an eye-catching 33/1 to score first and 11/1 to notch at any time.
His quick feet and sharp finishing ability have provided him with 27 goals during his career – a goalscoring record that some midfielders who have made a similar amount of appearances as him could only dream of. Nigel Reo Coker (22) and Kieran Richardson (20), who played with Cahill at England Under-21 level spring to mind.
This also looks the right time of the season to catch Cahill to find the net. When the sun shines and leaves are on the trees, the England centre half flourishes in front of goal for the Blues.
In his first ten domestic appearances last season Cahill defied his goalscoring odds week after week, banging in five goals, including one in Chelsea’s 5-4 win over Man United in the Capital One Cup.