The Blues Are In It To Win ItStats
Man United v Chelsea
Premier League leaders Chelsea take on Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday with the visitors looking to continue their fantastic start to the season.
Entertaining though it was, a 2-2 draw with West Brom in their last outing wasn’t what Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal needed nor wanted on Monday night and left his side in sixth place with 12 points from their opening eight Premier League games.
That tally is eight points less than the Dutchman thinks they should have following a favourable run of fixtures to start the season – they’ve played none of the top seven – that already sees them trail Chelsea by ten points. United have lost just once in their past six games though, and scored 13 in their last five outings. Midfield duo Marouane Fellaini and Daley Blind each struck fine goals in the clash with WBA, a first for the club for both players, while Angel Di Maria has three goals and four assists in his last five appearances.
The Blues continued their hugely impressive start to the season on Tuesday when they crushed Maribor 6-0 in the Champions League to put them in complete control of their group with two wins and a draw from their three games to date. They remain unbeaten and top of the pile in the Premier League with only two points dropped from their eight games, with those points surrendered at the home of second-placed Manchester City – who they lead by five pints.
That game at the Etihad was also the last time Jose Mourinho’s side failed to win, with their streak now stretching to six, and they’ve also kept four clean sheets in their past five.
Di Maria came off early at the Hawthorns on Monday and is a doubt for Van Gaal with the thigh problem he suffered that night. Antonio Valencia, Paddy McNair and Jonny Evans are all nearing fitness but will probably have to make do with a place on the bench at best while captain Wayne Rooney serves the last game of his suspension after his sending off against West Ham. Michael Carrick could make his first appearance of the season after watching from the bench at West Brom.
Diego Costa is expected to miss out for Chelsea with the Premier League’s joint top scorer only recently released from hospital with a virus and still suffering from hamstring issues. His likely replacement, Loic Remy, is also doubtful after the Frenchman came off just after opening the scoring in midweek with a groin problem. John Obi Mikel is out but Andre Schurrle and Ramires should be available following injuries.
Chelsea won the last meeting between the sides 3-1 at Stamford Bridge last season, with Samuel Eto’o grabbing a hat-trick after the reverse fixture had finished scoreless at Old Trafford.
The Blues have now won four and drawn two of the past six clashes.
It’s surprising to see a Chelsea side in great form as big as 6/4 for the win, although the likely absence of both their main strikers does make it more understandable. United do seem there for the taking regardless with their rearguard in tatters and so it all looks to depend on if Mourinho’s objective is to win or not to lose.
Still, the visitors should have too much and look great value at that price with Eden Hazard the standout pick in the goalscorers market at 21/10 to score anytime with both teams scoring more than acceptable at 7/10 too.