On Sunday 19 January 2014 Chelsea host Manchester United in the Premier League.
In seasons past this would type of match would be a marker on who was likely to win the league come May. And with that pressure, the teams would set themselves up not to lose.
But because Utd find themselves a bit off the pace this year, this doesn’t have the feel of one of those games. It doesn’t even feel like the reverse fixture earlier in the season. As only the third game of the new season not much was known about either team, and all we found out over those 90 minutes was that both teams could grind out a nil nil.
That seems an awful long time ago now. Since then Chelsea have asserted themselves in the league, Manchester Utd have stuttered and stalled in defence of their title. Normally we’d show some highlights from the last match at this point, but in this case I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s not necessary………..or even possible to find any highlights. It was that bad.
So instead, let’s enjoy last season’s cup match that ended 4-5.
So a draw used to be acceptable, but in this match everyone should really be going full out to gather all three. For Mouriniho’s Chelsea it would ensure they kept up with Manchester City and Arsenal at the top of the league, and for Moyes the points are needed to avoid being cut adrift in the hunt for fourth.
But can they be happy with the draw? From Chelsea’s point of view, Utd at home is no longer a match where anything more than a draw is a bonus, too many teams have already beaten them. Also given the widely reported interest Mouriniho had in the Utd job, and the apparent snubbing he received from Ferguson, he’ll relish putting one over on those prospective employers.
Two factors hindering Utd will be their inability to consistently beat top half teams this season (won only two of their games against the top half) and the mini injury crisis which will mean they will walk out with neither Wayne Rooney nor Robin van Persie leading the line.
In Chelsea’s favour is their impressive home record and, despite new (old) £21m signing Nemanja Matic unlikely to start the match, they have the midfield to run this game.
So who’s going to win? Chelsea will. Misfiring though their strike force may, they only have to out score Wellbeck. Ultimately, Utd are there for the taking. Although the memory of their last match against each other still burns in the memory, so maybe we're confident because a win would at least mean one goal was scored, and then every armchair fan would be a winner.
In terms of the odds Chelsea are the favourites for this match, best priced with PaddyPower at 3/4 on. Manchester Utd are best priced at 9/2 with Bet365.
In the first goal scorer market Torres is 31/5 and Eto 33/5, both at BetFair. Better value might be found with Hazard at 19/2, again with BetFair.
Where’s the extra value?
There are plenty of offers available on this match as, on paper, it’s the tie of the weekend…..or Super Sunday as its known.
• BetFair are offering their Pick Your Trigger cash back on first and anytime scorer markets up to £25
• 138.com are offering a refund on correct score and first goal scorer markets if there’s a penalty
• And BWin have double delight and hat-trick heaven on the first and anytime goal scorer markets
If you want to see all the offers from bookmakers across the web then join up for Premium Membership with full Forum access and the Today’s Offers page.