THE Premier League continues this Sunday as Man Utd welcome Chelsea to Old Trafford. Ben Levene (@BenLevene96) shares his best bets.
Man Utd| Sunday 25th February 2018, 14:15 | Sky Sports
Away from the obvious quality on the pitch, all eyes will be on the antics of Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte as the pair will be a fourth-official apart after their long-running war of words.
Goals to be sparse
Mourinho’s United travelled to Seville on Wednesday and returned with a 0-0 draw in his usual style. Paul Pogba picked up a niggle against Newcastle two-weeks ago, and only made the bench during the week in anticipation of Sunday.
Utd started the season impressively but seem to have lost the spark of late. They scored two or more goals in six of their opening seven Premier League games (86%) but have done so in nine of 20 since (45%).
Their record versus the top-six this season is W2-D1-L3. They beat Spurs at Old Trafford via a lapse in concentration, and Arsenal thanks to David De Gea.
We know how Mourinho approaches these games, so it’s no surprise to see five of seven home games against the top-six during his reign have seen Under 2.5 goals, with both exceptions coming against Man City.
Three of five Chelsea games v the top-six this season have seen under 2.5 goals, with the Blues conceding more than the single goal in just one of those. Their record in those games is W2-D2-L1.
Things haven’t been right at Chelsea this season, but they went into the game against Barcelona on Tuesday, having gone a week without a midweek game for the first-time since the November international break. After a valiant performance midweek, I get the idea a decent run could be brewing.
The game may take time to unfold given both sides played midweek in games where they lost the battle for possession. This adds to the temptation of opposing goals. Moreover, both Mourinho and Conte will be keen to avoid defeat, and Jose will not want to lose to his former side.
Last season Ander Herrera was sent-off in the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge when man marking Eden Hazard, and then carried out a similar duty in April’s 2-0 win. He was booked in that game too. In his absence, Scott McTominay could carry out a similar role. He’s started three of Utd’s last four. Hazard is Chelsea’s most fouled player and should McTominay start, the 11/4 about him to be carded could prove a value play.