CHELSEA host Manchester United on Monday night. We asked Tom Love (@TomLove_18) to source the best bets from the Premier League encounter.
Chelsea v Manchester United | Monday 17th February 2020, 20:00 | Sky Sports
If you rewind the clock back a decade these two sides were contesting an almighty title challenge. Chelsea were the eventual victors that season, pipping Manchester United by a single point.
Back at the current day and the pair look shadows of their former selves, struggling to keep up with the rising forces of firstly Manchester City and latterly Liverpool.
It’s the top four that is the aim for the two former league winners with Chelsea currently owning that berth, however, teams are creeping up on the Blues and they’re now just a point ahead of Spurs in fifth – a win here would give the West Londoners a much needed four-point buffer ahead of the chasing pack, as well as a sizeable nine-point advantage over United.
It’s been a tale of inconsistency for Frank Lampard’s roster since November, after a strong start to the season. Chelsea have failed to win back-to-back games for over three months and it’s making them a less than appealing betting proposition. At odds-on to win they hold little appeal given their home record this season can be described as average at best. They’ve won just five of 12 at Stanford Bridge in the league and Lamps has been irked by the lack of transfer activity in the January window.
The club legend has played down his sides chances of a top four finish by labelling Chelsea “outsiders” despite currently sitting in that spot. I sometimes wonder how players react to their manager coming out with such comments, especially when the general consensus is that statement is false. It’s putting the pressure off the players but it can have a belittling effect on the reverse side of things.
The Blues smashed the record for a price paid for a goalkeeper when they brought in Kepa from Athletic Bilbao. He was dropped a fortnight ago for the Leicester game given his poor form but Lampard has said he has responded very well to that and it may be the kick up the arse needed.
Even so, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be keen on his side taking pops at goal given the Spaniards shoddy save percentage. You’d have to think the Norwegian would be expecting his side to try and have a greater focus on hitting the target and that leads me to my first bet…
Bet365 have priced up the Team Shots-On-Target market under their ‘Specials’ tab, and you can get some even-money on the Red Devils having Over 3.5 Shots-On-Target and I think that’s quite a generous line. United average 5.70 shots on-target per-game so I was expecting this line to be 4.5 and not 3.5.
With Bruno Fernandes in the side, United have a player who does the job of two midfielders, he really is an all rounder. He had five shots against Wolves on debut, three of which were on target. With no Paul Pogba or Marcus Rashford, there is a much greater onus on the Portuguese international to be a goal threat. He on his own is priced at 4/6 for one and 7/2 for 2 shots on-target with Betfair which could be of interest.
Given his busy nature, Fernandes is always worth looking at it the tackles market. He loves getting stuck in and that will make him a firm fans favourite at Old Trafford. However, this can lead to him committing quite a few fouls and BetVictor go best price of 10/3 that he is booked here and that looks big especially given he’s shorter than 2/1 with most firms.
Fernandes was booked in that Wolves game and already had seven cards to his name this season at Sporting Lisbon. He was cautioned 12 times last season too, so I’d be expecting best price to be shorter than 3/1 and I think the 10/3 is a touch too big.
In terms of the outright and the goals market I think the bookies have it about right although a little too in favour of the hosts. That being said I can’t back United with any faith. Gun to head I’d play the draw at 13/5 but it would be a tentative selection.
There is a bet in SkyBet’s Request-a-Bet market which I think looks a touch big though. You can get 10/11 on Both Teams 1+ Corner in Each Half and Both Teams 10+ Booking Points .Effectively this means you need a corner in both halves for both teams as well as a card for both.
With the card line set at 4.5 the bookies are expecting this to be feisty as usual and I wouldn’t be surprised by a few cautions here. In terms of corners, Chelsea average 6.64 and United 5.32, so the stats back that up too.