- Venue: Stamford Bridge, London
- Monday: February 17th, 20:00
- Referee: Anthony Taylor
Back in 2008, both of these teams contested the Champions League final, but move forward to the present day and their qualification for next season’s tournament is still uncertain. Inconsistency has plagued Chelsea and Manchester United for much of the season although the hosts have managed to cling onto the fourth position in the current Premier League table while United languish just above mid-table. Now that the short Winter break has concluded, the Blues and their visitors will each aim to end a winless sequence of three league matches by claiming three vital points.
For Chelsea, their five home victories in league action this season have all been registered against teams residing eleventh or lower in the league table prior to the weekend fixtures. Six competitive losses have already been suffered at Stamford Bridge which includes defeats by Liverpool, Manchester United and Valencia. Of more concern for the Blues will be 1-0 defeats on home soil by both West Ham and Bournemouth in recent months. Yet on a more encouraging note, Chelsea earned score draws against both Arsenal and Leicester prior to the recent break.
In the case of Manchester United, three clean sheets were recorded in competitive action before their two-week break, but an extended winning sequence has been elusive to date this season. The Red Devils did manage three successive victories back in October, one of which included a 2-1 win in EFL Cup action at Stamford Bridge. A 4-0 home win against Chelsea was also earned by United on the opening day of the Premier League campaign and while they have failed to score a goal in losing their latest two league matches on the road, Man Utd have won twice at Manchester City in recent months.
Marco Van Ginkel (knee) is unavailable for Chelsea while Ruben Loftus-Cheek (heel) is closing on a return to action but is not likely to feature in this game. There is hope that Christian Pulisic (groin) will be involved.
Scott McTominay (knee), Marcus Rashford (back), Lee Grant (leg surgery) and Paul Pogba (foot/ankle) will be absent for Manchester United while Axel Tuanzebe (thigh) and Timothy Fosu-Mensah (match fitness) could feature after lengthy absences. Nemanja Matic should return after a suspension, and Odion Ighalo could make his United debut.
In the last five games played by Manchester United against Premier League opposition, no more than two goals have been scored, while the Red Devils have failed to net in three of those matches. The prolonged absence of Marcus Rashford is a blow for United, and he netted twice when Norwich were beaten 4-0 during mid-January and has scored four goals against the Blues this term. As for Chelsea, they have failed to net in three home matches since late November and appear to provide a greater goal threat on their travels. Therefore, it may be a good idea to select Under 2.5 Goals to be Scored priced at 10/11 with Bet365, as a decent bet.
A second pick is for Chelsea to register a Clean Sheet offered at 13/8 by Bet365. Although the Blues can be rather generous at times in defence with five goals conceded in their last three competitive matches, a 3-0 win against Burnley last month was impressive, and they comfortably contained Newcastle a week later before the Magpies scored a 94th-minute winner. Chelsea now face a Manchester United team which has failed to find the net in their three previous Premier League matches and were scoreless in their opening two games of 2020. The attacking problems of United may persist.
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Under 2.5 Goals to be Scored
A Chelsea Clean Sheet
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