There are eight Premier League games on a bumper Saturday this week, and the two that stand out are the two that have been selected for live TV coverage.
Manchester United play host to last season’s Champions Leicester in the lunchtime kick off, while Saturday tea will be accompanied by a cracking London derby between Arsenal and Chelsea. Mourinho’s Red Devils halted a slide of three straight defeats in midweek by overcoming Northampton 3-1 in the EFL Cup, but it was not without a scare as they went in all square at half-time. In fact it was only Rashford’s late second half goal after a goalkeeping blunder which set the nerves at ease on a difficult night. They face a Leicester side which has found it’s shooting boots, but which let a two-goal lead slip against Chelsea in the cup to go out 4-2 after extra-time.
Arsenal and Chelsea has been a fiercely contested fixture over the years, and one which has drawn several battles between Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese has made way for Antonio Conte in the Chelsea dugout, but the rivalry between the clubs and fans is as fresh as ever. The Gunners have a poor Premier League record against their West London opponents, but with the teams locked together on 10 Premier League points, it’s all to play for.
Manchester United v Leicester
First to the match at Old Trafford, where the -115 on offer about both teams to score looks a sensible betting avenue to take.
United have kept two clean sheets this season in victories over Hull and Southampton, but they’ve conceded at least once in each of their other five competitive games. Watford, Manchester City, Feyernoord, Bournemouth and Northampton have all found the net against the Red Devils this year. A top four finish will be the minimum requirement for Mourinho this season, and his priorities were crystal clear during the week as star men Ibrahimovic and Pogba were left out of the starting line up at Northampton. United rarely fail to score at Old Trafford and they face a Leicester side which has lost some of its defensive prowess of last year.
The Foxes have managed clean sheets against Burnley, Arsenal and Club Brugges this term, but they’ve conceded four at Liverpool, four to Chelsea in the EFL Cup in midweek, two against Hull, and one against Swansea. In Vardy, Mahrez, and new signing Slimani, Claudio Ranieri’s side will always pose a goal threat, and Manchester United look far from impenetrable. At the back though, its been much less convincing for Leicester, and they will have done extremely well if they survive this test with a clean sheet intact.
Arsenal v Chelsea
Going against the grain slightly, a price of +113 with 188Bet on under 2.5 goals at the Emirates is a tempting prospect.
Both Arsenal and Chelsea have been racking up the goals this season, so it may seem unusual to take this stance, but the last five meetings between the sides have featured two goals or less. That run goes back to a 6-0 Chelsea victory at Stamford Bridge in March 2014, and in recent times these two have had a habit of cancelling each other out.
Arsenal have scored eight goals in two away games in the last week – a 4-1 win at Hull in the league, and a 4-0 win at Nottingham Forest in the EFL Cup. Prior to that they’d featured in four domestic games, each of which went over the 2.5 mark. The notable exception was the 0-0 draw with Leicester. However, those games were against Southampton and Watford, two teams the Gunners would expect to beat, and a Liverpool side which plays with carefree abandon.
For a man prided on his defensive organisation, Antonio Conte must be tearing his hair out at Chelsea’s season so far. They’ve conceded in all but one game – the 3-0 win over Burnley – and all games have gone over the 2.5 mark. They are level on 10 points with Arsenal, the two teams occupying 4th and 5th place in the league, and a point would not be a terrible result for the Chelsea chief. One suspects he will revert to a much more defensive strategy than has been evident in recent games, and Arsenal have always found it difficult to break down a compact and disciplined Chelsea team.
This one could well go against recent form and more the way of history, with the two teams having the potential to cancel each other out.
Manchester United v Leicester – Both Teams to Score
Saturday 24th September, 12:30 GMT
Arsenal v Chelsea – Under 2.5 Goals
Saturday 24th September, 12:30 GMT
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