Mourinho to extend superb home record

Bill Esdaile
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DESPITE the gloom around Old Trafford at the moment, it’s interesting to note only local rivals Manchester City and Sunday’s opponents Chelsea are on better runs in the Premier League than the reigning champions.

David Moyes’ men might have suffered three straight reverses for the first time in 13 years earlier this month, but two were cup games. The 2-1 home defeat to Tottenham aside, Manchester United have won five of their last six league matches.

However, they face a tough task at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon as they bid to end Jose Mourinho’s incredible record of never having lost any of his 69 home league fixtures as Chelsea boss.

The Portuguese has not had things all his own way back in charge of the Blues and they have lost three in the league already, but just one of the last 10.

Fernando Torres remains a shadow of the striker who terrorised defences when playing for Liverpool but he has at least found the net on a more regular basis this term compared to the last few seasons. He has four in 11 starts but has been upstaged by Eden Hazard.

The Belgian wing wizard is the club’s top scorer and has proved a consistent threat. How United fans must wish they had a player of that calibre on their flanks. Adnan Januzaj has been a bright spot in an otherwise flat season for Moyes but he will do well to outshine the likes of Hazard, Oscar and Willian this weekend.

Chelsea’s tight defence has conceded just once in five outings and United haven’t managed to score in the last three meetings between the pair.

The hosts have also won nine of the last 15 meetings at the Bridge, losing just one, and it’s little surprise to see the four-time English champions as odds-on favourites.

I still think the 4/5 with Star Sports is a fair price, though, and sometimes in betting it’s best to just keep things simple. A Chelsea win looks by far the most likely outcome.

Tomorrow Sunderland welcome Southampton to the Stadium of Light hoping to secure a fourth consecutive win in all competitions. Adam Johnson’s hat-trick at Craven Cottage capped off an impressive seven days as they hammered Fulham 4-1 after beating Man United 1-0 in the Capital One Cup.

The Black Cats will fancy their chances of another victory against a side struggling with serious off-field issues. Saints chairman Nicola Cortese resigned this week and the long-term future of manager Mauricio Pochettino is uncertain, despite yesterday’s vow of commitment.

They could certainly do without that distraction as Southampton have won just once in six away league fixtures. It’s the third time these sides have met in this campaign, with Sunderland picking up a point in the corresponding league fixture before a 2-1 home win in the League Cup.

Poyet’s side are finally playing with some confidence after clambering off the floor of the table and they can take advantage of the uncertainty surrounding the visitors. Sunderland should be backed at 11/5 with Star Sports.