Chelsea vs Manchester United Preview

Barclays Premier League | Sunday January 19 | Stamford Bridge | 18:00





Chelsea's excellent recent form will be tested by Manchester United when the two sides meet at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. United will be looking to upset Jose Mourinho’s men after getting a morale boosting 2-0 win over Swansea last weekend. 

To Win (90mins)
Chelsea 8/10 
Draw 26/10 
Man United 37/10

CHELSEA

As 2013 turned into 2014, the clocks started to go back at Stamford Bridge – to the last time Jose Mourinho was managing Chelsea.

The early season 4-3 win at Sunderland and the 3-2 defeat at Stoke were not the kind of results anyone has come to associate with Mourinho.

In his first season at Chelsea, they did not concede a goal between the 12th of December and the 5th March. Saturday’s 2-0 win at Hull was Chelsea’s fifth clean sheet in six games.

Chelsea are exactly where they were expected to be when the season began. Though they haven't been able to knock Arsenal off their table-leading perch, the Blues are within striking distance, just two points behind in third place.

Powerful, talented and starting to keep clean sheets, they look dangerous. Showing distinct signs that Jose Mourinho is starting to shape this team the way he wants them.

The strikers are still spluttering, but the goals from Eden Hazard, Oscar and Frank Lampard are making up the shortfall.

A season ago, Juan Mata surely would have been one of the players mentioned.

Under Mourinho, however, he continues to be a player whom the manager doesn't consider to be a great fit for the system he runs.

It's a bit maddening to watch, seeing how talented and adaptable Mata has proven to be in the past, but Mourinho generally doesn't care what the rest of us think.

Of course, other players have credited Mourinho with spurning their revival this season, John Terry among them.

Mourinho’s men have little to be scared about going into the match, as they are the only side to have recorded more victories than defeats against United since the inception of the Premier League in 1992.

The Blues are in good form having won their last five Premier League games and have the second best defence in the league behind Arsenal.

Chelsea are positioning themselves rather nicely for a title-charge in the second half of the campaign and look to be clicking at the right time of the season and that could prove difficult for Manchester United.

MANCHESTER UNITED

After three straight losses and a hilariously poor first half, Manchester United remembered that they were champions and rose to see off Swansea 2-0 on Saturday making it their first win in 2014.

Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck scored in the second half for United, who ended a three-match losing run and avenged last weekend's FA Cup defeat at the hands of this same Swansea side.

With the victory, seventh-placed United moved onto 37 points—five behind Liverpool.

As their position in the table would suggest, United have conceded more goals than the top four sides this season.

But the good news for Moyes and United is that the team have actually improved defensively this season, with figures rising in most areas.

This time last season, United had conceded 28 goals in 20 league games, but that number has dropped to 24.

Yet critics will point to this reflecting a further nod towards Everton, with United’s traditional attacking game being compromised in favour of the more defensive approach.

It’s fair to say that life at Old Trafford under David Moyes thus far has been less than overwhelming, the gloom grows ever darker, with his hopes of claiming a piece of major domestic silverware in his maiden season very much unlikely.

Moyes's sympathisers will return to the fact it took Ferguson three and a half years before he accumulated the first of his 39 different trophies for the club.

Yet it is a flimsy line of argument. Ferguson inherited a team that was fourth from bottom, 19 years since United's last championship, and with a group of players who habitually turned up for training still half-cut from the night before.

It has been a bumpy ride for the defending champions and they will need to be at their best when they face an in-form Chelsea side this weekend.

The united fans are starting to lose confidence in Moyes' ability to succeed at the highest level, but he will know that going head-to-head with Mourinho on equal terms represents an opportunity to prove himself to the wider world.

Chelsea manager Mourinho expects a stiff test in the rematch as the reigning Premier League champions seek to respond to criticism.

As for injuries, Manchester United have several worries ahead of the clash.

Wayne Rooney could return to the United squad as the club continue to manage his groin problem but Robin van Persie is still unavailable with a thigh injury.

Jonny Evans (knock) and Phil Jones (knee) are in contention but Nani (hamstring) and Marouane Fellaini (wrist) are definitely out.

Betting Prediction: CHELSEA 8/10
My pick is for a Chelsea win. David Moyes has yet to win against Jose Mourinho, but I think the big key in this match will be whether Wayne Rooney is fit or not. With a fit Wayne Rooney, United stand every chance of getting a goal and possibly a draw. Without him, they will struggle. Chelsea’s depth and quality is outstanding and far better than Manchester United’s. United's best chance of getting a result is to hold Chelsea at bay and work for a counter attack or set piece goal. In the last six meetings between the two clubs Chelsea holds the advantage with three wins to Manchester United’s one win.

Written by Chadley Nagel for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now! 

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