Manchester United vs Chelsea – Backing a score draw at 7/2 with Bet365
Statistics never tell the full story. Manchester United are 20 games unbeaten and have lost just once in the Premier League at Old Trafford all season, but they come into this weekend’s clash with Chelsea 18 points behind the champions elect.
Jose Mourinho’s side have had too many draws this season, 12 to be precise. It is that statistic that has harmed the Red Devils’ hopes of qualifying for the Champions League via the top four. Given the type of match up it is set to be, you have to imagine another sharing of the spoils is on the horizon here.
In the corresponding fixture, Mourinho’s first return to Stamford Bridge, Chelsea ran out 4-0 winners. United were far too open that day, and Paul Pogba in particular failed to make an impression on the game. It was the height of Chelsea’s all conquering 3-4-3 formation; while at the same time the peak of United’s uncertainty under Mourinho.
This time, the Red Devils are much more settled and know their system a lot better. Chelsea, too, have evolved, as teams began to work out how to play against them. High balls into the box, particularly on the right side and directly up against Cesar Azpilicueta, are an achilles heel. Mourinho will likely call upon the imposing aerial presence of Marouane Fellaini alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic in attacking areas. Playing Fellaini higher up the pitch will cause different problems for N’Golo Kante, who has been so used to dominating his area of the pitch all season.
Teams have looked to crowd out the area in front of their own box because there is no central player moving into it. Instead, Chelsea attempt to get Eden Hazard into that position and up against the back four with either Pedro or Willian running on from the other flank and Diego Costa up front. But Mourinho will target that and make sure whoever starts in that deep area does not allow Hazard any space. Conte has begun to sacrifice Nemanja Matic for Cesc Fabregas in midfield and he would be best served doing this to give Chelsea a better foothold in the game higher up the pitch.
United rarely commit enough players forward to be considered a genuinely consistent threat, and that could make pushing on a bit worth the risk for Conte. Juan Mata continues to struggle with injury, and other than Marcus Rashford, United do not have many players capable of stretching an organised defence like Chelsea’s.
Space will be tough to come by in this one and with Ibrahimovic on the pitch, goals for United are always possible. This game will follow the recent trend and end level.