Go for goals at the Bridge

  • By: Andy Schooler
  • Last Updated: March 31 2013, 17:08 BST

Goals would appear to be on the cards when Chelsea and Manchester United meet in Monday's FA Cup replay.

Javier Hernandez: Super record against Chelsea
Javier Hernandez: Super record against Chelsea

Games between the two sides have produced plenty of them in recent times, with 18 in just three meetings this season.

Javier Hernandez also looks a man to follow due to his superb scoring record against the Blues.

Chelsea v Manchester United (1230 BST)

There are usually goals when these two go head to head and getting on the overs line looks the way to go here.

The historical statistics are noteworthy to say the least. Both teams have scored in the last seven meetings between the sides and 10 of the last 11, the one time it failed to happen coming in a traditionally-tight Champions League first leg.

It's 11/20 about that trend continuing on Easter Monday when the pair meet in an FA Cup quarter-final replay.

However, 4/6 about there being more than 2.5 goals looks a better way to go. It is available at 4/6 even though this has also occurred in 10 of their last 11 meetings.

In fact, the last five matches - including three so far this term - between Chelsea and United have featured more than 3.5 goals (a 17/10 chance this time).

Given the attacking talent at their disposal, it's easy to see why that's been the case.

Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez - a man with a superb record against the Blues - look set to lead the United line, while Chelsea's attacking midfield threats of Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar have caused defences all kinds of problems. Certainly United did not know what hit them in the second half of the first game, when the under-rated Ramires also showed what he's capable of when given the chance to get forward.

Throw in Demba Ba, who has a strikerate better than one goal in every two games in the Premier League, and even Fernando Torres, who has some good memories of games against United to draw upon, and you have to think there will be goals.

Yes, United have kept things pretty tight at the back of late and this is an early kick-off, but I'm happy to get stuck into the 4/6 nonetheless.

As far as United's defence is concerned, it is significant that they've yet to keep a clean sheet in three games against Chelsea and the Red Devils have also struggled to keep out other top-ranked teams.

They've not kept a clean sheet against Tottenham (twice), Liverpool (twice) Manchester City or Arsenal, while Everton also scored in one of the two league games between the sides.

Overall that's 11 games played against fellow memebers of the top seven and just one clean sheet.

As for the early kick-off worry - there's a theory that such matches can result in early lethargy and a general lack of urgency - it's worth noting that United's early games against City, Arsenal and Liverpool (twice) have all seen more than 2.5 goals, as have Chelsea's lunchtime kick-offs against Arsenal (twice), Tottenham, Everton and West Ham.

Throw in the fact that only one team (Sparta Prague) has kept either of these sides out in a combined 38 games and the 4/6 looks a strong bet.

Given goals look likely to be on the cards, the goalscorer markets are also worth a good look and Hernandez appears to have stand-out claims again.

My colleague David John flagged Hernandez up in the first game and he duly found the target, a goal which extended his record against Chelsea to seven goals in 10 games (just seven starts).

It's no co-incidence the Mexican has played so often against Chelsea and he's set to start again here after being one of several big games to miss Saturday's win at Sunderland.

He's scored in the last four games against Chelsea, including all three this season, and surely has to be backed at 9/4 to net at any time.

On the Chelsea side, the aforementioned Ramires offers potential value - he's 6/1 to score at any time, something he's managed in all three games against United this term.

The issue with backing him now is Chelsea's side looks harder to predict and he's often asked to perform a deep-lying role when the likes of Mata and Hazard are available to Rafael Benitez.

However, if John Obi Mikel is in the side due to defensive duties, Ramires could well be worth a punt.

Verdict: Chelsea 1 Manchester United 2

  • The match is being televised live in the UK on ITV.

  • Preview posted at 1655 BST on 31/03/2013.