Jose out to spoil Moyes’ Old Trafford coronation

Bill Esdaile
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Jose Mourinho will get his closest look yet at striker Wayne Rooney, as Manchester United host Chelsea in a titanic clash at Old Trafford on Monday night.

Rooney appeared off the bench in United’s 4-1 thrashing of Swansea but in not celebrating either of the last two goals with his teammates, the wantaway player made his feelings clear for all to see.

Sadly for the England international, a 20-minute cameo is all he is likely to give the new Chelsea boss as he attempts to force a move away from the Theatre of Dreams, and his total playing minutes spread is only 24-27 with Sporting Index.

Robin van Persie showed just why he is David Moyes’ main man with two terrifically-taken goals against the Swans and, having also notched a brace in the Community Shield against Wigan, the flying Dutchman looks ready to shoulder United’s title aspirations single-handedly.

Chelsea have made a promising start with home wins over Hull and Aston Villa, but neither performance has been the finished article. With Oscar, Juan Mata and Eden Hazard, the Blues possess one of the most potent midfields in the league but without an in-form, world-class striker they may just struggle in front of goal.

United lost this fixture 1-0 last term and in his first home game in charge, Moyes may look to play a little safe. Being so early in the season, and with so much at stake for the two new managers, I can see this being a tight and nervy game, so the draw looks the best bet at 21/10 with Coral.

In Mourinho’s previous spell at Stamford Bridge, the 10 fixtures against United only saw 17 goals, so a sell of total match goals at 2.8 with Sporting Index looks the way to go.

Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa stole most of the headlines on the opening weekend of the Premier League, with Arsene Wenger’s virtual absence from dabbling in the transfer window coming under renewed scrutiny.

The Gunners showed, though, that the loss may have just been a blip, as goals from Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud helped them to a comfortable 3-0 win in Turkey on Wednesday against Fenerbahce.

Their opponents this weekend, Fulham, beat Sunderland 1-0 last weekend. But Martin Jol’s side were far from fluent and will be concerned by the injury to keeper Maarten Stekelenburg, who is a major doubt after damaging his shoulder in that victory.

The visitors to Craven Cottage won this match 1-0 last season and I’m tipping Arsenal to triumph again at 23/20 with Coral.

Christian Benteke has already proved a nightmare for opposition defences in Aston Villa’s openers against Arsenal and Chelsea and I anticipate him to be a real danger again when he bids to add to his tally of three goals versus Liverpool this Saturday.

Villa showed that their victory at the Emirates was no fluke as they pushed Chelsea all the way on Wednesday before eventually going down 2-1.

The Reds were far from their best for long periods last Saturday against Stoke and I fully expect Paul Lambert’s men to continue their promising start with another upset. Villa are 14/5 with Coral to take the three points.

■ Pointers…

Draw (Manchester United v Chelsea) at 21/10 with Coral
Sell total match goals at 2.8 with Sporting Index
Arsenal to beat Fulham at 23/20 with Coral
Aston Villa to beat Liverpool at 14/5 with Coral