Can Mourinho’s Side Halt Conte’s Premier League Stream Train?

Last updated: April 13, 2017 by Leon Marshal

Game details

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Kick-off: Sunday, 4.00pm
Venue: Old Trafford
Coverage: Sky Sports 1 (HD, Ultra HD)
Home Form: WDDWWL
Away Form: WWLWWW
Last Meeting: Chelsea 1 – 0 Man Utd
Competition: English FA Cup

There seems an inevitability to the Premier League this season. Chelsea, out in front for some time now, sit 7 points clear of second place Spurs with seven to play. All over then. Done and dusted. Or is it?

Chelsea visit Old Trafford on Sunday with the best away record in the league. The Blues have taken 36 points from their 16 away games, and have more than a good chance of extending that at the weekend. The lack of European football has really benefited Conte’s men this season. Chelsea come into this one off the back of an eight-day break, whilst Man Utd have the trip to Belgium to face Anderlecht on Thursday to factor into preparations.

I don’t expect Mourinho to hold back in Anderlecht. The Portuguese manager’s hopes of finishing in the automatic Champions League places this year are all but over. The UEFA Europe League remains United’s best chance of qualifying to play with the big boys in Europe, and Mourinho will likely sacrifice a bit of freshness against Chelsea to get a result in Belgium.

Combine the added fatigue with Manchester United’s tendency to struggle at home – recent draws against Everton, West Brom, Bournemouth and Hull City were hardly rousing for the home support – and this looks like a Chelsea win all day long. Write-off a José Mourinho side in a big game like this, with the odds seemingly against his men, and it’s easy to look a fool. This is the kind of game that José built his reputation on. This won’t be straight-forward for Chelsea.

Team News

Chelsea have a full-strength squad available for this one, so expect a return to that solid 3-4-3

United have injury concerns already and a midweek fixture to get through before selecting a team for Sunday

Juan Mata is out with a groin injury, Chris Smalling and Antonio Valencia have knocks and are doubtful

Ashley Young is still out with a knock and could force Mourinho to play unfancied Shaw at left-back

Expected Line-Ups:

Man Utd(4-3-3): Romero, Darmian, Bailly, Rojo, Shaw, Fellaini, Herrera, Pogba, Mikhitaryan, Ibrahimovic, Martial
Subs: de Gea, Blind, Rashford, Carrick, Lingard, Fosu-Mensah, Tuanzebe
Injured: Smalling, Jones, Mata, Young, Rooney
Doubtful: de Gea, Valencia
Not available:
Chelsea(3-4-3): Courtois, Luiz, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Moses, Alonso, Kante, Matic, Pedro, Hazard, Costa
Subs: Begovic, Zouma, Willian, Fabregas, Batshuayi, Terry, Chalobah
Not available:

So Far This Season

. . .
Man Utd This Season Chelsea This Season
5th League Position 1st
15 (9) Wins (away) 24 (11)
4-1 vs. Leicester City Biggest Win 5-0 vs. Everton
12 (3) Draws (away) 3 (3)
4-0 vs. Chelsea Biggest Defeat 3-0 vs. Arsenal
Ibrahimovic (17) Top Goal Scorer Costa (17)
Y66, R1 Discipline Y60, R0
1 Failures to Score 5
14 Clean Sheets 7
40% Both Teams to Score Games 52%
48% Over 2.5 Goals 68%
52% Under 2.5 Goals 32%
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic has now scored more goals since he turned 30 (250) than he did in the twelve years he played since he burst onto the scene at 18 (232). Back him to score anytime at 11/10.
  • A fresh, full-strength Chelsea side is a huge test for anyone this season. United come into this one with injury concerns and limited preparation time. Chelsea to win both halves at 10/1 is a superb price.
  • I don’t expect United to come out of the blocks here. They’ll be looking to keep things nice and tight in an attempt to not lose the game early doors. The correct score at half-time market is priced accordingly, but 0-0 at the break is available for 6/4 and is a fairly safe bet.
  • Diego Costa has bagged 17 goals this season and tends to shine in these high-intensity, hyped TV matches. Backing the Spanish International to score two or more goals at 6/1 is far from the worst bet you could make this weekend.

Head to Head

Last 5 meetings between the two sides
Date Competition Game Result First Goal-scorer
03/03/2017 English FA Cup Chelsea 2 – 1 Manchester United Kante 51′
23/10/2016 English Premier League Chelsea 4 – 0 Manchester United Pedro 1′
07/02/2016 English Premier League Chelsea 1 – 1 Manchester United Lingard 61′
28/12/2015 English Premier League Manchester United 0 – 0 Chelsea
18/04/2015 English Premier League Chelsea 1 – 0 Manchester United Hazard 38′

Conclusion & Betting Tips

Chelsea have the best away record in the league this season, but things have been tighter in reality than they look on paper. The Premier League leaders won by just a single goal against both Stoke and West Ham after the 1-1 draw at Burnley in February. They put 3 past Bournemouth last time on the road, but Eddie Howe’s team leak goals like there’s no tomorrow, so I wouldn’t read too much into last weekend’s result. The away win is going for 17/10 on Bet365, and I’d say that a great price given United’s midweek commitments.

José Mourinho is the master of killing big games like this, and Manchester United’s form against the league’s top 6 – a 4-0 thumping at Stamford Bridge in October aside – has been that of low-scoring, tight encounters. Under 2.5 goals at 8/13 looks like a good price, but you’ll have to run the risk of a Chelsea thrashing. Manchester United to win and under 2.5 goals to be scored is priced at 4/1 if you fancy a classic Mourinho performance on Sunday.