One of the standout fixtures in the Premier League calendar will take place at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon as Chelsea welcome Manchester United.
Chelsea are currently fifth in the table, two points behind fourth-placed West Ham United on the same number of matches, while Man United are second, 10 points behind the leaders Manchester City.
Chelsea’s form under Thomas Tuchel has been excellent, with the Blues winning six and drawing two of their eight matches since the former Paris Saint-Germain manager replaced Frank Lampard at the helm.
A top-four challenge appeared difficult in the latter stages of Lampard’s tenure, but the capital outfit have picked up 14 points from the last 18 available to rise into fifth position in the table, just two points behind fourth-placed West Ham and actually only six points off second-placed Man United.
Chelsea were held to a 1-1 draw by Southampton in the league last weekend, with Mason Mount’s penalty cancelling out a first-half effort from on-loan Liverpool attacker Takumi Minamino.
The Blues will enter this weekend’s contest off the back of a brilliant result and performance, though, having beaten Atletico Madrid 1-0 in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League contest on Tuesday night, which has left them in a strong position to reach the quarter-finals of the competition.
The Blues are actually bidding to make it four clean sheets in a row at home in the league for the first time in over three years, while they are unbeaten in the top flight at Stamford Bridge since the start of January, when Manchester City recorded an impressive 3-1 victory.
Man United, meanwhile, will enter the contest off the back of a goalless draw with Real Sociedad in the Europa League on Thursday night, which saw them advance to the round of 16 courtesy of a 4-0 aggregate success.
The Red Devils have been handed a glamour tie with AC Milan in the next round but cannot afford to switch their focus from the league as they are very much in a battle for a top-four position, despite the fact that there is currently a six-point gap between them and Chelsea down in fifth.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have not been at their best domestically in recent weeks, winning just two of their last six in the Premier League, including draws in three of their last five, which has seen them drop 10 points behind league leaders Man City, who appear to be breezing their way to the title.
Man United drew back-to-back league games with Everton and West Bromwich Albion at the start of February before recording a 3-1 victory over Newcastle last weekend. The 20-time English champions were far from their best against the Magpies but scored twice in the second half through Daniel James and Bruno Fernandes after Allan Saint-Maximin had cancelled out an effort from Marcus Rashford.
Solskjaer’s side are entering a vital period of games as they face Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Man City in their next three league games before hosting Milan for the first leg of their last-16 Europa League contest.
How the match could go
Despite how it may seem, don’t expect too much fire-works from this fixture. Compared to other editions of this fixture in the past, this one is probably just a ‘top-four’ battle. More so, Manchester United have mostly played out with bore draws against the top-six this season. To go with, Chelsea remain unbeaten under Tuchel and it’ll be difficult to predict his approach for this game. The Red Devils are on superb away form but coming to the Stamford Bridge could take that out of the water.
Tip: Over 1.5 goals
Despite the possibility of a goalless draw, we’re tipping this game to see goals at least. Given what is at stake for both sides, we expect to see a more adventurous tie and that should translate to goals as well. Chelsea seem to have hit form of late and they’ll fancy their chances of handing the Red Devils their first defeat since they suffered a shock loss to Sheffield United back in January. Bet9ja and Bet365 have 1.30 odds while 1xbet have 1.32.
For obvious reasons mentioned above, we don’t expect a stalemate in this one. Either via individual errors or a rare moment of brilliance from one player, we can expect to see a winner after 90 minutes. Bet365 have 1.30 odds, Bet9ja have 1.31 and 1xbet have 1.37.
Penalty to be given: Yes
We don’t say this often but we’ve got it right a good number of times. This kind of fixture has everything in the making to see a penalty from either side. Besides, both sides have seen the most penalties in the Premier League since the start of 2021.Infact, United got a penalty in their last league game against Newcastle and there’s a good chance it could happen once again today. Bet9ja have 1.40, Bet365 have 1.43 and 1xbet have 1.50.
Anytime goal-scorer (Chelsea)
Giroud is the man in-form at the moment. The Frenchman comes into this game with much confidence after scoring a brilliant overhead kick against Atletico Madrid in midweek. He has enjoyed himself under Thomas Tuchel and is proving to be Chelsea’s consistent goal-scorer at the moment. Bet365 have 2.25 odds while Bet9ja have 2.50.
He has blown hot and cold over the course of the season. You can’t just stop him from scoring.
He recently ended his goal drought against Newcastle but is yet to score since then. His confidence hasn’t been the best of late but a good best could perhaps be the best motivation to be at the level we know Werner can be at. Bet365 have 2.75 odds whileBet9ja have 3.00.
Anytime goal-scorer (Manchester United)
Only Mohamed Salah has scored more goals than him at this stage of the season and that says a whole lot. Even on days he isn’t at his best, he’s always behind the ball the moment the referee points to the spot and he rarely misses. He has made the most goal contributions since his Premier League debut and he’s now United’s best option for a goal or move leading to it. There is value for the Portuguese with Bet365 offering 3.10 odds and Bet9ja having theirs at 3.50.
Daniel James netted his first PL goal against Chelsea on his debut last season, and he’s registered four goal involvements (three goals, one assist) in his last four competitive appearances for Manchester United. He is growing in confidence at the moment and he could prove to be a value option for a goal at Stamford Bridge. Massive value comes with the Welshman as Bet365 have a whopping 4.75 odds while Bet9ja have it even better at 6.00.
Football Lover. All-round junkie of the beautiful game. Could be found watching football most of the time. If not he’s writing about them or making some punditry you don’t agree with. A certain bias for Arsenal and Santos FC.