Manchester United host Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday in a 5:30pm kick-off at Old Trafford.
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The Red Devils will come into this match with greater confidence than in recent weeks after last weekend’s 4-1 win at Newcastle was backed up by a superb 2-1 win at Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League in midweek.
Frank Lampard’s side, however, were frustrated by conceding a last minute goal in the 3-3 draw with Southampton last weekend, before drawing 0-0 with Sevilla in the Champions League in midweek.
The hosts are 11/8 to record a third successive victory, with the draw 13/5 and a Chelsea win 9/5.
The bookmakers clearly expect a very even encounter, then, as you’d generally expect between two of the league’s stronger side.
United won three of the four meetings in all competitions between the two sides last season, doing the double in the league by scoring six goals without reply as well as winning 2-1 at Stamford Bridge in the League Cup. Chelsea did gain revenge later in the season with a comfortable 3-1 win in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, though.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are without a league win at Old Trafford in their last four games, stretching back to last season, having lost to Crystal Palace and Tottenham in their two games there this season.
Personally, I think it’s difficult to predict the outcome of this match, with the odds on a draw the most appealing. Even though the possibility of both managers utilising a back five looms, I still expect goals. Anthony Martial is suspended, meaning Marcus Rashford may lead the line again.
He’s 2/1 to score anytime (Sky Bet) having bagged against Newcastle and PSG. Timo Werner appears to be settling into life in London having bagged a brace against Southampton, meanwhile, and is 7/4 (Sky Bet). The duo are also an interesting 9/1 (Betfair) to each have two or more shots on target.
Both players have done so in each of their two matches following the international break, suggesting those odds are generous.
My bet365 Bet Builder for this match is Both Teams To Score and Over 0 Cards for Each Team at evens. All four of United’s league games this season have seen both teams score, while both of Chelsea’s away games have, too.
Martin Atkinson officiates this one and while he’s one of the lower carders in the Premier League (averaging only two per game this season, and 3.38 in his 315 matches overall), he has shown both sides one or more yellow card in 11 of his last 19 matches in the division. That’s obviously not the greatest strike rate, but it’s still better than 50%.
More significantly, seven yellow cards were shown in both league meetings between these sides last season (four for Chelsea, three for United on both occasions for a total of 14 cards!), so I’m confident both will pick up at least one again.
Interestingly, all four of Atkinson’s latest penalties he has awarded have involved United or Chelsea, with two awarded to United, one to Chelsea, and one against United, suggesting there’s a decent chance of a penalty here. It’s 8/5 (Boyle Sports) for one to be awarded, with United scoring one 4/1 and Chelsea scoring one 9/2 (both Sky Bet).
Lastly, Axel Tuanzebe may start in United’s defence after an impressive performance in Paris, but he was booked and is 11/2 (bet365) to receive another caution here.
That simply seems too big with the pacey Werner and Christian Pulisic likely to be in his zone.