Ed Chamberlin: Hazard warning
Ed Chamberlin highlights the form of Eden Hazard as he prepares for a Super Sunday clash between Chelsea and Man United.
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Sky Bet are licking their wounds after the Premier League's top seven won last weekend and 17 of the 20 best backed favourites won on Saturday. Punters must be licking their lips at the prospect of Chelsea v Manchester United on Super Sunday.
The match is beautifully set up, not least because Chelsea are playing their best football of the season and on a run of four straight League wins. Manchester United have won three straight away games themselves. It's easily forgotten that in the sea of negative press following poor results in the Cups and at Old Trafford, Manchester United are unbeaten in their last seven away in the League, taking 17 points from a possible 21, and are the most in form side away from home in the Premier League.
Sky Bet still have Chelsea as strong favourites at 4/5 with Man Utd at 100/30 and the draw at 13/5.
Inevitably all eyes will be on Jose Mourinho and David Moyes. It seems Mourinho has single-handedly dragged this Chelsea team in to title contention but is slowly starting to mould a team he is happy with. Incredibly, the Special One is looking for his 100th Premier League victory in just his 142nd game in charge. No wonder the The Football Writers' Association are honouring Mourinho at a Gala Tribute dinner on Sunday night, which I'm very much looking forward to attending after we come off air.
What an opportunity Sunday's game is for David Moyes to prove a point, and his critics wrong, as the eyes of the football world will be focused on Stamford Bridge. Victory over Mourinho and Chelsea would relieve a massive amount of pressure and it's the kind of game where victory could ignite their season. However, Moyes has never won in nine meetings with Mourinho and never won in 12 Premier League visits as a manager to Stamford Bridge (D6 L6). His only win as a manager at Stamford Bridge was Everton's FA Cup win in February 2011 - 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the 90 minutes.
As Gary and Jamie discussed on Monday Night Football, Moyes has a big decision to make. Does he play young Adnan Januzaj or Shinji Kagawa or both? Januzaj has been United's one bright light in the last few weeks. He's been unfazed by everything so far but will Moyes throw him in against Branislav Ivanovic?
"Mourinho's tactics will be fascinating. If he names an attacking side, over 2.5 goals could be the way to go. There have been 11 goals in the last two League meetings here (Chelsea have scored 5, Man Utd 6) and 21 goals in the last four meetings in South West London."
Ed finalising his Super Sunday bets
I will never forget presenting the 3-3 draw two years ago. As my Twitter profile picture shows, Gary was emotionally drained in the studio after Andre Villas-Boas' Chelsea went 3-0 up after 50 minutes, before United replied with two penalties from Wayne Rooney and an 84th minute equaliser from substitute Javier Hernandez. It was a thriller and is the only game in Premier League history that Chelsea have failed to win having held a three-goal lead.
In contrast, the sides drew 0-0 at Old Trafford in August on Monday Night Football, which was David Moyes' first home game in charge of Man Utd and also the first Premier league goalless draw at Old Trafford since May 2009. Mourinho played with no striker and set up his team not to get beaten. They did an equally effective job at the Emirates against Arsenal. Surely he will go for it on Sunday? The champions look vulnerable and Mourinho has so much attacking talent at his disposal. No one is in better form than Eden Hazard, who has so impressed Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher in recent weeks. Hazard has scored nine League goals in his last 15 appearances and five goals plus three assists in his last eight. He's in red hot form and has also created 50 chances for team-mates in the Premier League this season - that's more than any other player. As a result, Mourinho has talked about the special attention now Hazard gets from the opposition. He has been fouled 59 times this season, which is more than any other player.
Hazard seems unaffected and has the stage on Sunday to show that he can grab a big game by the scruff of the neck. He's bound to be popular at 5/2 with Sky Bet to score during the 90 minutes.
Before the big one at Stamford Bridge, our first live game on Sunday is Swansea against Tottenham. Tim Sherwood has started really well as Spurs boss taking 13 points from a possible 15 since taking over from Andre Villas-Boas and has had the best ever five-game start by a Tottenham manager. The problem Sherwood has in their pursuit of Champions League football is that their rivals also keep on winning. They have made little progress up the table and are now 6th and still 100/30 with Sky Bet to finish in the top four. It was interesting on the show last weekend to hear Didi Hamman so positive about Tottenham's hopes of a top four finish and so down on Liverpool's chances, despite them being a 4/6 chance.
Spurs are in the mix and remain a potent force on the road, with seven away wins already this season. Swansea's form is puzzling. They have failed to win in their last seven games and if they fail to win on Sunday they will have gone eight Premier League games without a win for the first time ever. Their problems stem from further back as since winning the Capital One Cup (the club's first major honour) Swansea have won just seven of 32 Premier League games, taking 30pts from a possible 96. At the Liberty Stadium in that time, Michael Laudrup's team have won just three of 16 games.
As a result they are 8pts worse off than at this stage last season and have scored five fewer goals and conceded four more. Yet they are not playing badly. At Old Trafford on the Saturday Night Football registered the highest recorded possession by a visiting team at Old Trafford (61%), since Opta started records in 2006. Their problem has been the lack of a cutting edge. They will look to put that right this weekend.
There were ten goals on the show in two games last weekend. Let's hope for more of the same on Sunday. We start at 12.30pm on Sky Sports 1.