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Apr 10, 2017
Apr 10, 2017

Premier League preview: Manchester United vs. Chelsea

The truth behind Manchester United's unbeaten run

What's the secret to Chelsea's success?

Why has Manchester United struggled this season?

Premier League preview: Manchester United vs. Chelsea

There’s only seven games left in this Premier League season and Chelsea has a seven-point gap on the chasing pack. A win away at Manchester United on Sunday would take Antonio Conte’s side one step closer to clinching the title. Will Mourinho’s men stay within touching distance of the top four? Can Chelsea pick up a crucial three points? Read on for some betting insight.

Having left Chelsea less than 18 months ago, Jose Mourinho now plays host to the league leaders as they travel to Old Trafford to play Manchester United on Sunday. A win for the home team would keep faint Champion League hopes alive, while a win for Chelsea brings them to within touching distance of the Premier League title in Antonio Conte’s first season in charge. 

In the 25 games since Chelsea lost to Arsneal, they have won 21, drawn 2 and lost only two.

Manchester United might be unbeaten in the last 20 league games, but 10 of those games have been draws - the 50% win percentage is the lowest win percentage of any Premier League unbeaten run that has lasted 20 games or more. Manchester United is priced at 2.80* to beat Chelsea and improve that win percentage.

Discipline defines success

One of the defining characteristics of Jose Mourinho’s style that helped him become the most successful manager in Chelsea’s history is the level of discipline he demanded of his players. Not in terms of fouls and bookings, but defensive shape and playing as a unit.

Antonio Conte has brought an unparalleled level of discipline to this Chelsea side, one that they had lost in Mourinho’s final six months in charge. Since that famous switch to a three-man defence after a 3-0 loss to Arsenal in September, Chelsea has looked nigh on unstoppable (in the 25 games since then Chelsea has won 21, drawn two and lost only two) - the away side is 2.88* to win on Sunday. 

The importance of goals at either end

While Manchester United can boast a slightly better defensive record compared to Chelsea (they have conceded 0.8 goals per game and Chelsea has conceded 0.81 GPG), it is at the other end of the pitch that they have struggled.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored 37% of Manchester United's league goals this season, while Diego Costa has scored 26% of Chelsea's.

Manchester United has the lowest goals scored per game average of any team in the top seven in the Premier League (they have managed 1.53 GPG so far this season). Another problem is the reliance on Zlatan Ibrahimovic in front of goal - the Swede has scored 17 of United’s 46 league goals this season (37%).

Chelsea, by contrast, has the second highest scoring average in the league (2.1 GPG) and although Diego Costa has been key in terms of leading the line for the Blues, his 17 league goals only equates to 26% of his team's total - this highlights how Conte has placed importance on a collective effort. 

What can we expect?

Manchester United appears to be a team of high-profile individuals struggling to gel and play together. Paul Pogba’s 74.4 passes per game, 2.0 key passes per game and 85.5% pass completion rate, combined with Ibrahimovic’s impressive goal scoring stats might make for pleasant reading, there are nine other players on the pitch that will make the difference.

Chelsea, on the other hand, is a team of superstars that are playing for each other. Right the way through the team, from Courtois in goal, to Luiz and Cahill at the back, Kante and Matic in midfield and Hazard and Costa in attack, it’s hard to pick any faults in a Chelsea side that has been the model of consistency this year.

Two of the most resilient defences in the Premier League will meet on Sunday so under 2 and 2.5 goals at 1.90* might seem like the obvious bet to make. However, Chelsea could offer value and with the away win priced at 2.88*, it could be worth siding with the league leaders.

Analysing the odds

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Benjamin studied English with Creative Writing (BA) before pursuing a career that combined his love of sport and fascination with betting. An avid fan of numerous sports, his writing now covers anything from in-depth major sporting event previews, to examining betting trends and techniques.

By Benjamin Cronin

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