Chelsea (-155) vs Manchester United (+230), Draw (+240)
Chelsea (6-1-3, 19 points) host Manchester United (7-2-1, 23 points) this Sunday (November 5th) for what will either be an interesting spectacle or a complete bore. Chelsea have been disappointing at Stamford Bridge this season (2-1-2), while Jose Mourinho’s Man U have been needlessly cautious when playing away (2-2-1).
Both clubs have a midweek Champions League match to worry about first. Chelsea travel to meet Roma while United host winless Benfica. With both English clubs at the top of their groups, one more win should seal a spot for the knockout stages.
With the teams in good standing in the Champions League, Sunday’s EPL game is taking precedence, even if Mourinho has stated otherwise. A loss on Tuesday would mean the English clubs will have to fight a little harder to guarantee entry to the UCL Round of 16, but a loss on Sunday could be a significant blow to their EPL title hopes.
That said, injuries will prevent us from seeing the best starting 11s come Sunday. On the United front, Paul Pogba isn’t expected to return until mid to late-November and there’s still a question mark hovering over Marouane Fellaini’s knee. Chelsea’s N’Golo Kanté is set to recover in time for the match, but Conte has been known to take a cautious approach to injuries. Bettors should assume that both Fellaini and Kanté will be watching from the bench.
Man U, and more specifically, Jose Mourinho, temporarily silenced the critics by defeating Tottenham 1-0 at Old Trafford last week. It should be noted that a last-minute injury ruled out Harry Kane, and if the Spurs top-scorer had been present, it may have ended very differently. But hypotheticals aside, Mourinho’s United played an effective and, dare I say, exciting game against Tottenham. The match stood in stark contrast to their recent snooze-fest against Liverpool, where they slowed the game to a standstill and ground out a 0-0 draw.
Which Manchester United side will we see this Sunday?
Since the Red Devils are on the road, it’s more likely we’ll see a replay of the Liverpool-United affair. Mourinho can be notoriously conservative when playing away and a draw against Chelsea is still a respectable result.
With a nine-point deficit to make up against league-leading Man City, Chelsea will be playing for the full three points. Though they’ll be somewhat depleted after travelling to face a tough Roma on Tuesday, and with their luck, could return with a few more injuries. Everything here points to a draw. Mourinho is known to take an overly cautious approach when taking on top-level teams, especially when on the road, and Conte will be fielding an over-stretched side with a mediocre record at home.
Pick: Draw (+240)