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Prediction: Chelsea vs Manchester United


Verdict: Both teams to score – No

Best Odds: 19/20

Bookmaker: bet365

Jose Mourinho returns to Stamford Bridge for the first time after his second spell in charge of the Blues came to an end, and this is a good time for his side to be facing Chelsea having just hammered Fenerbahce in midweek. Antonio Conte’s men have also showed improvement of late, and a win in the high-profile encounter would effectively revive their title charge.

Chelsea

Following the huge success he enjoyed with Juventus and mixed fortunes in charge of the Italy national team, Antonio Conte arrived at Stamford Bridge with a world-class reputation, but he faced a tough task of guiding the Blues back to the Premier League summit. The Italian tactician didn’t make too many changes in the early days, and that resulted in a bright start to the season, but he did decide to implement his preferred three-man defence after his team began to struggle. The change worked like a charm as Chelsea recovered well from the disappointing run of results to defeat Hull City and Leicester City, keeping back to back clean sheets for the first time this season. Conte will obviously want his back line to remain as solid as they were in the last two fixtures, but chances are that his attackers will have a much tougher task with Jose Mourinho likely to park the bus at Stamford Bridge, just like he did at Anfield. And with the likes of Costa, Hazard and Willian not exactly on top of their game at the moment, we are afraid we will witness yet another boring clash between Chelsea and Man Utd, with only one of their previous eight meetings producing more than two goals.

Team News

Captain John Terry is reportedly fit to play, but it remains to be seen whether he will be drafted into the starting line-up after the back line impressed in recent weeks.

Willian and Oscar are back in contention as well, but Branislav Ivanovic and Cesc Fabregas have failed to recover from muscle problems.

Manchester United

Jury is still out on Jose Mourinho and his overall performance as Manchester United boss, as while the Portuguese has brought improvement to Old Trafford, he received a huge backing from the club board as the likes of Zlatan, Pogba, Bailly and Mkhitaryan all joined in the summer. As that usually happens, Mourinho removed several first team players from his plans, namely Bastian Schweinsteiger, Matteo Darmian and Marcos Rojo, while Michael Carrick and Morgan Schneiderlin have also struggled for playing time. Nevertheless, summer recruits Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and Eric Bailly have already developed into key members of the side, and the team have done pretty well of late. The Red Devils are unbeaten in last six matches, winning four of those games, with goalless draw at Anfield and impressive 4-1 triumph over Fenerbahce doing wonders for the players’ confidence. But, rather than utilising the attacking potential this team clearly possess, The Special One will revert to his ultra-defensive approach at Stamford Bridge, hoping to keep another clean sheet and catch Chelsea on the break.

Team News

Jose Mourinho is sweating over the fitness of Chris Smalling, who picked up a muscle injury against Fenerbahce, with Marcos Rojo ready to deputise if needed.

Ander Herrera, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marcus Rashford and Antonio Valencia should all be recalled, but Phil Jones and Morgan Schneiderlin continue to miss out.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Under 2.5 goals were scored in 7 of their last 8 meetings
  • Under 1.5 goals were scored in five of those matches
  • Chelsea won three of last four home games vs Man Utd (D1)
  • The Blues won last two fixtures without conceding
  • Man Utd kept two clean sheets in four away Premiership fixtures this term

Conclusion

With Jose Mourinho almost certain to park the bus at Stamford Bridge, this match should be no different than seven of last eight meetings between the two sides, all of which ended with fewer than three goals scored. Therefore, backing at least one team not to score looks like the right thing to do.

Verdict: Both teams to score – No

Best Odds: 19/20

Bookmaker: bet365

Sat 22 Oct, 2016
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