Chelsea to give United the blues
Chelsea are fancied to beat Manchester United by our Ben Coley in his betting preview of the Super Sunday clash.
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Love or loathe him, when Sir Alex Ferguson speaks, you listen. "I can't understand our defending," he said after his side beat Braga 3-2 on Tuesday. "I can't get to the bottom of it. We certainly make it difficult for ourselves. If you analyse the goals we are conceding they are all different types." So, the greatest manager of the modern era has a problem he can't fix. Cue the sound of alarm bells ahead of Sunday's trip to Chelsea. Of course, not everything is rosy at Stamford Bridge either, with their own midweek performance arguably a season's worst effort, albeit against a highly skilled and long-unbeaten Shakhtar side. As such, this is fascinatingly poised and Petr Cech, a man whose job it is to prevent goals, reckons Sunday will provide plenty. Who'd bet against that? As we wrote in our Champions League preview, when this modern Chelsea take on a good side, both teams tend to find the net and at 4/6 many will bank on that trend continuing. As for United, it's well-documented that they've conceded first seven times already this season. Last season, it took 24 games before they'd let in the first goal seven times, this time, it's taken half that time. In their 14 games, Chelsea have scored first nine times, so is the best bet here obvious? Chelsea to score first at 10/11. Consider that they're both on paper and in practice the better side anyway, and that they have home advantage, and 10/11 looks a fair price. Add in this growing trend for United to start slowly and, even with Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra back in the team, it's a very solid punt. However, I rate Chelsea worthy 6/4 favourites and that stands out as the best bet. It's over a decade since United won a Premier League game here and not only are the home side fancied to score first, but with their dynamic midfield trio firing on all cylinders they're capable of coming from behind if needs be. United simply don't have that midfield creativity and while Robin van Persie, who has scored more than any other opposition player at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League, is capable of doing it on his own, the league leaders are taken to stifle him and establish themselves as Manchester City's biggest threat.
Verdict: Chelsea 2 Manchester United 1