Last weekend’s TV pieces saw Chelsea easily beat Leicester whilst MNF was a dull affair thanks to Man United’s defensive set-up.
Once against Man United feature, but will we see a different performance?
Chelsea v Man United
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Kick Off: 16:00
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Antonio Conte looks set to stick to the same back three that started in their victory over Leicester last weekend despite the return of John Terry.
Brazilian pair Willian and Oscar are both available after missing out last time but Cesc Fàbregas is a doubt with a muscle injury.
Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera sat out of Thursday night’s Europa League win over Fenerbahçe and that pair are likely to return with Jose Mourinho likely to go with the same team from Anfield.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan has returned to training and could feature on the bench, as Mourinho has stated he lacks match sharpness.
Jose Mourinho returns to Stamford Bridge for the first time since his dismissal as Chelsea supremo in December and he could be looking for revenge.
He is likely to set up in the same way he did against Liverpool on Monday night with Fellaini and Herrera in holding midfield meaning I’m not expecting this to see plenty of goals.
In the last eight meetings there has only been 15 goals and that is down to a high scoring game in each of the 12/13 and 13/14 seasons. That suggests this game averages 1.86 goals per game. That average falls to 1.25 in the last four matches where there have only been five goals.
On the back of that 50% (four of eight) have seen Both Teams to Score. When you look at where the goals have come then three of those four matches where it has landed it has landed have been at Stamford Bridge. Personally I’d be tempted to back No at 21/20 (BetVictor & Marathon) in this market.
There are two markets I’d be avoided in this one. They are corners and goalscorers. As stated above I’m not expecting it to be goals galore, so I wouldn’t want to back anything at a short price.
In Man United’s game on Monday there were only four corners and under Mourinho there games haven’t been full of corners either with there matches averaging out at 8.75 per game.
Chelsea games average out to 10.5 per game, so a way in with this market could be Chelsea Most Corners at 5/6 with Bet365 given that they are likely to be on the front foot.
Head to head wise the last eight between these sides average just under 11 corners however that is inflated due to the last meeting having 21 alone – there were only 21 corner when both meetings were totalled together in the 14/15 season.
The Blues are unbeaten in the last six meetings against the Red Devils but saying that there have only been two wins with the other four being draws. Given what we saw on Monday night I’m expecting Mourinho set up not to lose and for that reason the Draw looks to be a bet in this one.
There might be the chance that Jose will want to keep it tight for as long as possible before making an attacking change to try and get the points but I’m sure he’ll be more than happy with the point.
Conte once again quashed rumours about his future at the helm at Stamford Bridge but he hasn’t had it all his own way against the bigger Premier League clubs being on the wrong end of the results against Liverpool and Arsenal, but those opponents were willing to have an attack.
Martin Atkinson is the man in charge of this one and how shall I put it – he’s got previous in this fixture.
The 45 year old is a very experienced official and in his seven Premier League outings this season he’s shown 21 yellows and one red – that was the disastrous two card trick for Aaron Cresswell last weekend.
He was at the Bridge earlier in the season when Liverpool came to town and showed just two yellows. That’s quite in keeping with his record this season where he averages just 3 cards per game.
He took charge of this fixture in 2013 and 2015 – both of which finished 0-0 but he’ll be known for his decision making in Chelsea’s 2-1 win back in 2011.
I do think cards could be a way into this fixture because Chelsea have received the fourth highest amount of yellows and United sit in fifth. Between themselves they have collected 39 cautions this season.
Fellaini is one to look at to be carded but the bookies aren’t going as big as they did on Monday and he’s already EVS.
Another player that got cautioned on Monday was Eric Bailly. It was only his second card of the season but I think he could collect a third here. He tries to nip in front of the attacker to intercept passes but up against Diego Costa he’ll have to be careful. I’ll admit this is one battle I’m looking forward to seeing in this game.
The 22 year old saw 12 yellows and a red last season in Spain. Fair enough the referees do like to show a card or two over there but I’m expecting to see a bit of tension and a possible flair-up between Costa and Bailly that results in this card.
Overall, I’ve got a feeling that this is going to be a cagey and possibly a bad tempered midfield battle, so my two bets for this one are.
Draw (12/5 – Bet365 & BetVictor – 0.5pt)
Eric Bailly to be carded (8/5 – Paddy Power – 0.5pt)