Mourinho the man for Old Trafford
Ian Ogg previews the Monday Night Football clash between Manchester United and Chelsea and expects the Blues to prevail.
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Manchester United v Chelsea (2000BST)
There are some sporting events that simply don't need a bet to spice them up and a clash between the 'trash talking' Jose Mourinho and his boys in blue and Manchester United has to be high up on the list.
Mourinho appears to enjoy nothing better than trying to antagonise his rivals but there is so much more to the 'Special One' than that as his record at Old Trafford (see below) shows.
Chelsea have made a perfect start to the campaign with home defeats of Hull and Aston Villa although the referee in the latter contest was alleged to be more villain than friend to the away side who felt that a couple of key decisions didn't go their way.
That game showed that there are clearly one or two issues with Chelsea's defence that Mourinho has to address and Manchester United certainly have more bite to their attack than Steve Bruce's Tigers although they don't have a striker in the mould of Christian Benteke who caused so many problems on Tuesday night.
They do, however, have a striker in a similarly rich vein of form in Robin Van Persie who has now scored nine goals in his last eight Premier League appearances and the Dutchman should provide a continual threat throughout the night and is a top price 29/20 with BetVictor to net at anytime.
Sitting in the wings are Javier Hernandez (an injury doubt but he has netted six times in his last nine starts against Chelsea) and, possibly, Wayne Rooney who has been publicly courted by Chelsea for some time.
That adds an extra fascinating twist to a game which already has plenty going for it but none of the peripheral machinations should distract us from attempting to pinpoint a sensible betting strategy.
Arguably, the weakest area of both sides is the defence and, although their last two clashes produced just one goal in each game, it would be no surprise to see a reproduction of their early encounters last term with 18 goals being scored in just three remarkable games.
The bookmakers have that angle covered, however, and there's little appeal in the long odds-on prices being quoted about both teams to score or in the 'overs' markets.
Indeed, such is the reaction that you could make a case for the opposite scenario being value with Mourinho rarely throwing caution to the wind but I'm not convinced that there's sufficient mileage in going down that road.
The reigning Champions are favourites to win the game at a top price of 6/4 but, as the stats below suggest, they simply have to be taken on with a team they have struggled to master.
For all their talent, the Manchester United line-up lacks the 'wow' factor of their two title rivals - a point that was made over and over again last season - and Mourinho can be expected to harness the undoubted potential of Chelsea's squad.
That spells bad news for David Moyes with Chelsea having the upperhand in their meetings during the last campaign and they make plenty of appeal at Coral's 21/10.
We will, however, throw caution to the wind as this is, first and foremost, a game that Mourinho won't want to lose so, instead, we'll look to side with Chelsea in the draw no bet market at a tasty 23/20 with Coral.
Verdict: Manchester United 1 Chelsea 2
Manchester United have suffered 14 Premier League defeats against Chelsea; more than against any other side.
These two sides met five times in 2012/13 in all competitions, with Chelsea prevailing three times and losing just once.
Jose Mourinho has lost just two of his seven competitive games as a manager at Old Trafford (W3 D2 L2).
- Manchester United v Chelsea is being televised live in the UK on Sky Sports.