Let’s face it when the draw was released for the FA Cup quarter-finals this was the one tie that leaped straight off the page at you.
Premier League leaders Chelsea welcome a resurgent Manchester United and their old boss José Mourinho to Stamford Bridge tonight with a place in the Cup’s last four on the line.
The last time The Red Devils travelled to the capital to face the Blues they left burned at the hands of a 4-0 Premier League defeat. Spanish winger Pedro Rodríguez gave Chelsea a flying start last October netting the opening just after the 30 second mark and we’re fancying him to repeat the trick tonight.
After all, the former Barcelona man is The Blues top scorer in the FA Cup this season with four goals in three rounds to his name. He’s 10/1 to sniff out the first goal this evening and we love the look of that as a value play.
There’s no doubt about it, Antonio Conte has Chelsea on an astonishing run in the Premier League at the moment. His charges are ten points clear at the top of the table and surely must be seen as champions elect at this stage.
However, despite the 4-0 loss we’ve called out above, they must know the United outfit they entertain tonight are a totally different prospect to the one they smashed earlier this season. That’s because Mourinho has finally transplanted his legendry defensive tightness into the Old Trafford dressing room.
United have only lost a one game since November to Hull in the EFL Cup and even that loss was meaningless given that they progressed to the next round and won the competition outright anyway.
The reason we are going for Chelsea to inflict a rare loss in Mourinho’s column is because United are without almost their entire front line tonight. Zlatan Ibrahimović is serving the first game of a three-match suspension, Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial are injured while young sensation Marcus Rashford misses out through illness.
Take a narrow 1-0 Chelsea win to conquer United’s bluntness at 5/1.
Man United will be without Zlatan, Rooney, Martial and Rashford for the game at Chelsea.
Operation: Hoof It Up To Big Marouane is… GO! pic.twitter.com/AP60f1J9q4
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) March 13, 2017
While this contest used to have a horrible disciplinary record, recently affairs have been a little more sedate in terms of the referee’s notebook.
Taking the card index rules of 10 points for a yellow and 25 for a red, the average points over the last four meetings of these two has been exactly 45 points on the index.
With refereeing’s young dream Michael Oliver due to take charge of tonight’s game we’ve had a deep look at his record as well. Oliver has shown 94 yellows and two reds in the 31 games he’s been in the middle for this campaign.
His point’s average from that, is a fairly lenient 31.94 points for game. Those two stats mean we’ll tip the Under 50 points in the Card Index market at Evens to deliver on the whistle for our punters at the end of tonight’s contest.