CB: It’s the game of the weekend at Old Trafford and I’m expecting fireworks – but who will be celebrating at the final whistle?
NS: I think the stats tell their own story in terms of how this game will turn out. Unbeaten in 30 home games in all competitions, a 100% record so far this season and favouritism in the 3Way market at 4/5 – all the signs point to the champions being victorious over Chelsea.
BR: United may well be clear favourites, but Chelsea have come into their own in recent weeks under new boss Andre Villas-Boas and should not be ruled out. They’re also unbeaten so far this term and the win against Leverkusen on Wednesday will have done wonders for Villas-Boas’ men before the tough trip this weekend.
Chelsea have won four out of five in all competitions this season and are decent value at 33/10 to beat United in my opinion. After all, Chelsea are the side who have won most at Old Trafford during the Premier League era with five victories. United also average fewer points per game against Chelsea than any other opponent (1.47) and the Blues are the only side that Sir Alex’s men have a lower than 50% win percentage against them during that time, at 37%.
CB: In games as big as this, the first goal often proves crucial. Who will get it though?
NS: Well obviously Wayne Rooney is in imperious form, and he is at 19/20 to score at any time. But I fancy Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez to score first. He has poked three goals in five games past Petr Cech, including the first in their last meeting together, and I think 5/1 on a repeat here is a little peach of a price.
BR: If there’s ever a time to break your goal-scoring drought, it’s surely at Old Trafford against the Premier League champions. Fernando Torres will be looking to do just that as he searches for his first goal for Chelsea since April and only his second for the club.
Torres may well be lacking in confidence in front of goal but his performance against Leverkusen on Wednesday will give many Chelsea fans hope that he is about to come good. You don’t lose the class that the Spaniard undoubtedly has overnight and he will be out to prove his critics wrong. At 17/10 to score during the game, Torres should be seen as a good bet to get his season up and running this weekend against a side that he tormented at times when he was at Liverpool.
And don’t forget Juan Mata, who has scored twice in three games since joining from Valencia. Both of those goals came in the 90th minute, so this should make odds of 9/1 from bwin tempting ones for anyone backing Mata to score late on for the Blues.
CB: Have you got any particular scorelines in mind?
NS: Now, I know Barny will point to the fact Chelsea won two of them, but in four of the last five encounters, excluding the Community Shield, the game has ended 2-1. The last two at Old Trafford have gone in the favour of the Red Devils, and at 29/4 they are unbelievable odds for such a regular outcome in matches between title contenders.
BR: I think a similar scoreline is possible, but in Chelsea’s favour obviously! Odds of 21/2 on this outcome are pretty attractive. It’s also interesting to note that Chelsea haven’t lost a second half this season, while United have scored first in each of their four Premier League games so far. This makes a Man Utd/Chelsea halftime/fulltime result at 50/1 a possible big-money maker.
CB: I can see the case for 2-1 either way, without doubt. Final thoughts, lads?
NS: Despite what Barny says, what must worry that old Chelsea back-line is United’s form in the second half. They have scored 11 goals, eight at Old Trafford, after the interval in their games. I think you can look to United at least grabbing one in the second 45 minutes at 29/20.
BR: It’s the same story for Chelsea though! They’ve scored seven of their nine goals in all competitions in the second half of matches this season so they will, surely, be fancied to score more goals in the 2nd half than the first at 19/10. Failing that, 7/4 on a single Chelsea goal after the break could be the best way to go.
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