Who: Manchester United at Chelsea
What: English Premier League, Week 9
Where: Stamford Bridge, London, England, UK
When: Sunday, October 28, 2012
Weather: The Weather Channel Forecast
Time: 16:00 p.m. GMT/12:00 p.m. ET/9:00 a.m. PT
Television: Sky Sports 1/HD, Sky Sports 3D (UK), Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Deportes
Worldwide Live Streams and TV Channels: LiveSoccerTV.com link
Radio: SiriusXM Satellite Radio Channel 94 (Internet 960)
Referee: Mark Clattenburg
2-Way Odds: Chelsea Pick -145, Manchester United +115
3-Way Odds: Chelsea +140, Manchester United +190, Draw +240
Total: Over 2½ -140, Under 2½ +120
Source: LVH SuperBook (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Decimal Odds: Chelsea 2.30, Manchester United 3.00, Draw 3.30
Decimal Total: Over 2½ 1.75, Under 2½ 1.95
Fractional Odds: Chelsea 13/10, Manchester United 2/1, Draw 23/10
Fractional Total: Over 2½ 3/4, Under 2½ 19/20
Source: sportsbook.com (Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles)
The biggest game of the season in the English Premier League so far sees first-place Chelsea welcome second-place Manchester United to Stamford Bridge on Sunday in a true clash of titans.
If the Blues (7-1-0, 22 points) can win here, they will increase their lead over the Red Devils (6-0-2, 18 points) to a robust seven points while if Alex Ferguson & Company find a way to hand Chelsea its first loss of the season, the home team’s lead atop the English Premier League table will be cut to a slim one point.
In the Blues loss, midfielder Frank Lampard re-aggravated a niggling calf injury and underwent a scan on Thursday. Manager Roberto Di Matteo will update the veteran’s status during Friday’s lunchtime press conference.
Chelsea captain John Terry will be serving the second game of his four-match suspension after accepting his punishment from the FA for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand and will miss the showdown.
Di Matteo will probably plug Gary Cahill into Terry’s left center-back spot while Ramires will likely fill in for the ailing Lampard in the holding midfield next to John Obi Mikel if he is deemed unable to participate.
Despite the Blues adding Eden Hazard and Oscar in the summer transfer window and having Fernando Torres (four goals) at striker and maybe the EPL’s hottest player in Juan Mata (three goals, five assists), the edge on offense in this one has to go to the Red Devils (21 goals for, 11 against) who have a number of dependable scorers on their roster.
Newly acquired Robin van Persie (six goals, tied for league lead), Wayne Rooney (two goals), Shinji Kagawa (two goals) and Javier Hernández, who had a brace Tuesday vs. Braga, will all present problems for Chelsea defensively.
As usual, Chelsea (19 goals for, six goals against) prefers to win games with its stellar defense and with a solid back four that has scored a surprising six goals of their own and the impeccable Petr Čech in goal, the Blues have not already had four clean sheets in their first eight games in the Premiership.
But with all that firepower on Manchester United headed to west London this weekend, a shutout is a slim possibility in my opinion which provides a great betting approach.
Host Chelsea should be good for at least one goal while either van Persie or Rooney will likely find a way to score for the Red Devils in this important match and conventional wisdom is that at least one of the two sides scores at least twice.
Translation? The over 2½ (-140) looks like a very logical wager on Sunday especially considering United games have averaged 4.1 goals per game this season while Blues' games are averaging 3.1 heading into this match.
With United’s defense being a bit suspect so far this season and an extremely fast pace expected, there very well could be two or three goals by halftime.
And recent history in this series in all competitions shows that six of the last eight meetings—including four of the last five—have had at least three goals in them with an average of 3.25 goals per game over that span.
In their two EPL meetings last season, the Red Devils were victorious 3-1 at Old Trafford (September 18) while the two teams tied 3-3 at Stamford Bridge (February 5).
With Terry out, Lampard a big question mark and Torres surely a bit tired from starting every single game at Chelsea’s lone striker spot in its 4-2-3-1 formation, Blues like Mata, Hazard and Oscar will be counted on heavily to make things happen for the defending European champions.
In the end, this is probably a game best to just to sit back and watch but if you want to try and win a few pounds or dollars or whatever, taking the over as well as the Red Devils at the near 2/1 odds looks pretty appetizing.
Either way, make sure you tune in on Sunday and enjoy watching these two clubs go head to head in what always proves to be an incredibly entertaining fixture.
PREDICTION: Manchester United 2 Chelsea 1
BET: Over 2½ -140
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