Sunday Soccer stats

26/10/2014 | By | Reply More

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PREVIEW: Man Utd v Chelsea (Sun, 17:00)

Chelsea remain unbeaten in all competitions this season as their impressive form has seen them move five points clear at the top of the table. Man Utd, meanwhile, are still adapting to life under Louis van Gaal and this is only the second time in Premier League history that they have gone into a home game as outsiders. But with Liverpool and Arsenal both stuttering they have avoided losing any ground to their main rivals in the race for a top four finish.

After United’s tepid early season displays they have steadily improved but defensive mistakes continue to plague them and a fixture list featuring trips to Man City and Arsenal in their next three games following this one point to a critical period of the season over the next month. In the past two seasons, including the title winning campaign of 2012/13, United have lost seven of 11 home games against top-six finishers, including picking up just one point from five matches against top-three sides.

Furthermore, United have lost half their last 10 matches against Chelsea and scored just two goals last season in their six home games against the top six, whilst conceding three times against both City and Liverpool.

Chelsea have dropped just two points all season and those came away at Man City. Last season they were excellent away to the top sides and were it not for some careless defeats at middle-third teams they may well have claimed the title. In the past two seasons they’ve W6-D4-L2 away to teams that finished in the top seven including conceding just twice in their six such matches last term. All seven of those matches had fewer than three goals and going back to Jose Mourinho’s last spell in charge of the Blues the last 13 times he’s taken Chelsea to Liverpool, Arsenal, Man Utd or Man City in the league they have all had fewer than three goals.

Given Mourinho’s strong under-goals trend and Chelsea’s strikers suffering from injuries, the evens for Under 2.5 Goals looks tempting. However, it would be brave to back this given United’s recent form, particularly at home where they’ve had at least three goals in 10 of their last 11 matches whilst keeping just two clean sheets (against QPR this season and relegated Norwich last term). Instead look to the away win but perhaps with some cover on the draw in case Mourinho adopts his cautious tactics and attempts to create a negative match similar to the nil-nil in this fixture last year.

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