Chelsea play Manchester Utd in the highlight of the weekend’s English Premier League action. Jose Mourinho’s side are looking to lock down the English Premier League title, while Louis Van Gaal’s side are hoping to add to a winning streak that has propelled them into contention for second place in the EPL.
The absence of Diego Costa takes some of the impetus and finishing touch out of Chelsea’s attack, but Eden Hazard has been in game-breaking form with 12 goals in the league this season and 17 in total.
Mourinho won’t be overly concerned about that. He has proven in the past that he is completely happy to play “aggressively negative” football against good teams that are scoring goals. Expect something very similar here. He is going to particularly target Maroune Fellaini and Ander Herrera, he won’t allow Man Utd the room to work in the middle of the field and he’ll exploit the likely absence of Michael Carrick.
Patience will be the virtue preached with Mourinho probably suspecting that Man Utd’s defence is a little fragile and that if Chelsea can nullify the impacts of Man Utd’s attack, they will have an opportunity to score a goal or two. Considering Van Gaal’s possession style football – don’t expect a thriller in this game.
It’s hard to recall a better “zero to hero” example in recent Premier League memory than that of Man United Louis Van Gaal. United now have six straight league wins and the frustrations of the last couple of seasons are beginning to be released. Last weekend’s incredible demolition of Man City in the derby match was an especially impressive performance suggesting that this squad has really come together.
The lineup is likely to be very similar this weekend for Van Gaal, but he’s missing one of the EPL’s most in-form players in Carrick and it’ll be interesting to see whether the formation holds up and whether there’s a need to change up his team up.
Betting Preview: Chelsea 19/20, Man Utd 7/2, Draw 5/2
Mourinho will not allow Man Utd to do what they have been doing to teams. He’ll cancel out Young and Mata and he’ll clog up the middle of the park. Don’t expect Chelsea to go out on the offensive in this game, quite the opposite we fully expect a defensive, lockdown kind of an effort. This game will finish in deadlock either in a 0-0 or 1-1 score-line.
The Pick: (bet365.com) Draw 5/2