The return of domestic football takes place this weekend after a fortnight of international matches, though Manchester United fans will be nervously anticipating this match at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon.
Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea have been in fine form, sitting in second place, having accrued the same amount of points as both Manchester City and Liverpool, to some peoples’ surprise.
After the problems with Antonio Conte’s tenure, it has come as quite a shock to see Sarri adapt so swimmingly to English football and turn things around to fit in with his demanding style.
José Mourinho, on the other hand, has struggled considerably this season. It has been dire, at times, with Manchester United sitting in 10th and the Portuguese coach hanging on to his job by the skin of his teeth.
The Red Devils fans have expressed their disappointment and boredom with the way United have played so far this season and expect a more enigmatic brand of football to be played out in front of them.
Here are three betting selections to consider when approaching this game…
Manchester United’s recent record against Chelsea, no matter the manager, has been incredibly poor - especially at Stamford Bridge.
While Mourinho’s men staged an impressive comeback against Newcastle United before the two-week break, there are systematic problems with the way United play and a better team than the Magpies would have put the Red Devils to the sword.
Sarri’s Blues have been in stellar form so far this season and are a team in contention to battle City and Liverpool all the way for the title. Keeping Eden Hazard was Chelsea’s best bit of business over the summer transfer window, with the Belgian kickstarting what will surely be one of his best ever campaigns.
Chelsea remain undefeated in their last eight matches, equalling Liverpool and City’s unbeaten records this season in the Premier League.
The Blues have won four of the last five games in all competitions at Stamford Bridge, and have not been beaten at home by the Red Devils since 2012, when Sir Alex Ferguson was still in charge.
Even then, the Blues had two men - Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres - sent off and were still in with a shout of recording a result.
United have famously struggled on the road to Chelsea and with the way they are currently playing, it suggests that this match is only going to go one way.
In Mourinho’s first return to Stamford Bridge since leaving the club, Conte’s players punished Man United and raced to victory in a 4-0 thrashing. Sarri’s men are 7/10 to take the three points at the weekend with Coral, which looks likely to provide dividends.
He might have flirted with Real Madrid over the summer and still gives indications that he is open to a move, but Hazard’s form has been nothing short of exemplary.
The Premier League top scorer has found the back of the net on seven occasions, two more than second place Sergio Agüero, and looks a threat every time he receives the ball.
Although some would have thought Hazard would move into a centre forward position, much like Dries Mertens was when Sarri was in charge of Napoli, the Belgium international has stuck to his left wing but has had more freedom to go and cause a nuisance in the inside channels.
With the help of the pioneering Marcos Alonso on the left-hand side, Hazard has the ability to deceive defenders and constantly keep them guessing with what decision he is to take.
In the past, it has taken Ander Herrera’s man-marking mission to stop Hazard influencing the game, but this new and improved Belgian looks revitalised this season, like a man on a mission.
Mourinho might have the reputation of a manager who favours defensive stability, but his back four has been all over the shop. Hazard is likely to reap the benefits of major disorganisation within United’s ranks.
He is offered at 5/4 to add to his already seven goals in the Premier League with William Hill during any point throughout the match, while he is at 6/1 to score two or more against his former manager with Betway.
In this fixture’s last eight matches in all competitions played at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea have kept a clean sheet in six of them. Such is the Blues’ dominance over United at home, the Red Devils have regularly struggled to find the back of the net.
Manchester United have conceded 14 goals in eight Premier League games, while Chelsea have scored five more than them and conceded nine less. There is a clear structure to Sarri’s play that is built around Italian Jorginho and his dominance with the ball at his feet.
While David Luiz might appear to be a defensive weak link in Chelsea’s back four, the Brazilian is an integral player in Sarri’s system, as the former Paris Saint-Germain centre back is comfortable with the ball at his feet and can kickstart attacks from well inside his own half.
United might try and target Luiz, but the Brazilian has had great success in playing the dark arts at Old Trafford and is not easily rustled when faced with confrontation.
Backing only one of the two teams to find the back of the bet is an enticing 1/1 with Betfair, and that team is likelier to be Chelsea.
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