BEN CLEMINSON PREVIEWS CHELSEA V MAN UTD AND THE WEEKEND’S FA CUP SEMI-FINALS
IF MANCHESTER United can come away from the sternest of fortnights with six points from matches against Manchester City and Chelsea, then their supporters might dare to dream of more than just a Champions League place and a pinch of restored pride.
The 4-2 victory over Manchester City last weekend reversed a poor run of form against their neighbours, but wasn’t wholly unexpected given United have now won six in a row. The Red Devils have scored an average of two goals a game in that period, with Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini shining.
Ex-Chelsea star Juan Mata, who bagged a goal against City, has also settled well into manager Louis van Gaal’s system in recent weeks.
The form of Chelsea – unbeaten in eleven league games – hasn’t been too shabby, either. Plus, the Blues are unbeaten this season at Stamford Bridge, a place where United have only won twice since the 2001/02 campaign.
However, behind the results lie some cracks in the Chelsea armour. They needed 88 minutes to find a winner against struggling Queens Park Rangers, while Stoke and Hull also caused the champions-elect problems.
With Diego Costa currently on the sidelines with a hamstring injury, Chelsea’s striking options are severely limited. They managed just one shot on target against the Hoops last Sunday, so it may fall to a rock-solid backline led by the forever-young John Terry to spare home blushes.
A rejuvenated United taking on a perennially consistent Chelsea promises to be a match of the highest order. The encounter should prove to be tight, as the hosts look to come away from a tough run-in without conceding too much of their lead in the league.
They face Liverpool and Arsenal in the coming weeks and, despite being seven points clear with a game in hand, history has shown that leaders are there to be chased down.
There have only been seven goals in the last four meetings between Chelsea and United so total goals, trading at 2.4 with Sporting Index, is an attractive sell.
Sporting Index make Chelsea 0-4-0.6 favourites on the supremacy market, but I’d rather back the draw at 12/5 with Betway with both teams surely happy to share the spoils.
Sell total goals at 2.4 with Sporting Index
Draw at 12/5 with Betway