As Liverpool are threatening to make the Invincibles and the Centurions look like rank amateurs, the real interest at the top end of the Premier League is confined to the battle for a top four finish. With the Reds and Manchester City locks, and Leicester a skinny 1/12, this looks like it could be a key match in the race for the final Champions League berth. Chelsea are 1/2 to end 2019/20 in the top four, while Tottenham are 13/5 and Manchester United 8/1. If the Red Devils win here, they will be just three points behind the Blues and back in the hunt.
Unfortunately for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he is far more likely – at 2/1 – to be the next Premier League manager to get fired. His team are not in good form either, having taken 14 points from their last 10 league matches. On the plus side, Chelsea have only earned 12 in the same period.
The Premier League feels like an early heat in the 100m at the Olympics this season, with some poor teams trying to keep up with the quality in the field. Going into this weekend, the Blues have no home wins from four games against the table’s current top 10, while United only have one from five on the road against the same teams.
Still, Lampard’s lads have possession of fourth place at the moment, and Paddy has them down as 8/11 favourites to win here. The nerdy expected goal numbers from this season are even more emphatic in favour of Chelsea too.
It’s also hard to make a case for United in their current state. They may have their secret weapon in the middle – Anthony Taylor has never sent off one of their players and has only awarded one penalty against them in 29 matches – but their road form is very poor. They’ve won just three away league games since Ole was given permanent control of the wheel, and Marcus Rashford scored in all of them. They may have won at Chelsea in the Carabao Cup in October, but Rash scored both goals that night too.
Without him available, we should be in for a Blue Monday. Tell me, Mr Woodward, how does it feel to treat fans like you do?
Neither of these teams can hit a barn door. When it comes to converting expected goals into actual ones, Chelsea have the worst home record in the division, while United have been the second most inept on the road.
Luckily for us, neither side has a goalkeeper in great form either. If United draw a blank, it’ll be the first time for 31 years they’ve not scored for four league games in a row. It can’t happen, can it? The Red Devils have had at least one clear-cut chance in every away league game in 2019/20, and with Chelsea incapable of shutting up shop these days, they should get some decent opportunities here.
But the home side will have clear-cut chances too, as only Liverpool and City have had more at home this season. There should be goals.
You know United are in for a long afternoon when their shortest priced player in the goal scorer markets last scored in November, managed two goals in his previous 32 appearances in the Premier League, and possibly has coronavirus.
Luckily for them, Anthony Martial has done better in recent times. Like Rashford, he scored in all three of United’s away league wins this season, and since the start of 2017/18, only three players – Firmino, Kane and Bernardo Silva – have netted more away goals in the big six mini league. He bagged two in this fixture last season too.
Selecting a Chelsea scorer bet in a big game is always difficult. Their three home league goals against other top clubs in 2019/20 have been bagged by Azpilicueta, Jorginho and Kante, while Marcos Alonso is their top scorer in big matches over the last three seasons. None of that quartet have more than four league goals to their name in this campaign.
Tammy Abraham looks due a goal though, having missed five clear-cut chances in the last four league games. No Premier League player has given his side the lead more times than Tammy has this season, so let’s back him to score first.