Chelsea vs Manchester United
An old Premier League rivalry resumes on Sunday when Manchester United head to Chelsea for the top-flight match of the weekend, but it will be a new experience for the Londoners’ head coach Thomas Tuchel.
The unceremonious sacking of club legend Frank Lampard annoyed some Blues’ fans. But since his arrival at Stamford Bridge, Tuchel has charmed the media and impressed the club’s supporters.
Away from the pitch, he has become the big Premier League 2021 news over the last few weeks. With five wins and a draw in February, the former Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund boss has reignited Chelsea’s season and they are now in a healthy position to qualify for next season’s Champions League while thriving in this year’s European campaign.
The visit of second-placed Manchester United poses Tuchel his biggest Premier League test so far, though arguably his team overcame even better opposition when they beat Atletico Madrid on Tuesday.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is having his best period yet as Manchester United manager and his team has won four and drawn two this month, so we can look forward to a fascinating 90 minutes when these two giants clash on Sunday.
New boss lifts the pressure off Chelsea new boys
Tuchel inherited an expensively assembled squad when he arrived at Stamford Bridge, and one which Lampard struggled to blend in the opening half of the season.
Big money signings Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, and Kai Havertz all arrived with a fanfare in the summer alongside wing-back Ben Chilwell, but the attacking trio have struggled to make the impact hoped for with heavy price tags weighing heavily on their shoulders.
Each have shown glimpses of their undoubted talent, particularly Ziyech and latterly Werner. But after a strong start to the campaign, any hopes they would combine with Christian Pulisic to dominate the league this season have long gone.
Werner seems to have regained some confidence while Tuchel has shown faith in some of the old guard to great effect.
France striker Olivier Giroud scored one of his specials in Chelsea’s 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid, and he along with top scorer Tammy Abraham gives his boss a high quality option.
That victory was some result against Los Rojiblancos’, who were leaders and favourites to win the La Liga title this term and it shows that Chelsea’s all-round game is taking shape.
The Blues climbed back into the top four of the Premier League recently with a 2-0 victory over Newcastle United, though the outstanding form of West Ham has pushed them back into fifth.
But with a squad virtually at full strength with only Thiago Silva sidelined, the Blues should move back into the top four before too long, particularly as the Hammers face Manchester City in the Saturday curtain-raiser.
United must protect Fernandes
Here in the SBOTOP football team we can’t see beyond Pep Guardiola’s Sky Blues for the Premier League title this year, though my colleagues in James and Jordan might be holding on to their dreams that the Red Devils can win their first league trophy since 2013 at odds of 34.00.
The Red Devils have a minor distraction of a Europa League second leg tie against Real Sociedad on Thursday night. But while this competition is a high priority for Solskjaer, the boss will be able to rest his key players after racing away with a 4-0 first leg lead.
This means that teenagers Amad Diallo and Shola Shoretire could make their full first-team debuts.
Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani, Donny van de Beek and Scott McTominay are receiving treatment, so OGS is unlikely to risk his other big players.
With 15 goals and 10 assists, Bruno Fernandes is still massively relied on by the Red Devils and I’d be amazed if he was sent out to face the Spaniards.
The Manchester United boss must take great care of his prized asset.
The Premier League head-to-heads between these two teams are really close at 26 victories to 24 in favour of Chelsea and there have been 23 draws.
The last meeting was a goalless stalemate at Old Trafford in October, and I’m sure there won’t be much in it this time.
Both teams are banging in form as Chelsea won five from six and United four from six, while the Red Devils are unbeaten in eight games away from home.
|Chelsea vs Manchester United||Total Goals 2-3 @ 1.93|
|March 01, 00:30 (GMT+8)|
The Premier League 2021 betting odds favour the hosts at odds of 2.13 and they should have the edge over Manchester United at 3.06, while the draw is at 3.16.
The Blues have an extra two days of preparation for this match, though Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will rest many of his first team for the clash against Real Sociedad and his best available players should make the action at Stamford Bridge.
I can see a 1-1 draw or Chelsea winning by the odd goal, so I’m hedging my bets on 2-3 goals.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:|
|= €20 (Highly confident)||= €10 (CONFIDENT)||= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)|
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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