It’s been another huge week of European football, but things get even better in the Premier League this weekend with a massive match between Manchester United and Chelsea on Sunday.
Both sides drew their respective midweek Champions League ties, but Chelsea’s result may have been slightly better than United’s. The Blues were 1-0 up against Barcelona before being pegged back by Messi’s goal, giving a good account of themselves overall. The Red Devil’s fought out a 0-0 draw away at Sevilla but were arguably the lesser of the two sides and needed David de Gea’s heroics in goal to come away all square. Only three points separate United in 2nd and Chelsea in 4th and this game could have a big impact in the final shake-up for Champions League places next season.
In other games, there is a mid-table match-up between Bournemouth and Newcastle. The two clubs are 10th and 13th, but it’s so tight down at the bottom that either could be easily sucked into the relegation battle. The Cherries have been involved in some high-scoring games of late, while the Magpies’ form has picked up considerably – culminating in a shock 1-0 win over Manchester United two weeks ago. Both sides have had a long break, having been knocked out of the FA Cup before last week’s 5th round, and this game has all the ingredients to be a thriller for fans and neutrals alike.
First, we’re backing both teams to score when Chelsea visit Old Trafford at odds of -116 with ComeOn.
Chelsea won the reverse fixture 1-0 back in November thanks to Morata’s second-half goal, making it three wins from four against United. However, each of those was at Stamford Bridge, and you have to go back to 2013 for the last time the Blues were successful in Manchester. At Old Trafford, United won the last meeting 2-0 in April 2017, and the three meetings prior to that were all draws.
Mourinho’s side has made a very good habit of keeping clean sheets – four in a row at home – but can they afford to adopt a defensive posture in front of their own fans at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’? They’ve won 10 of 13 home games in the Premier League and have lost only one to Manchester City back before Christmas. Burnley and Southampton have ground out draws here recently, but Chelsea are unlikely to follow the tactical backs-to-the-wall approach of those two sides.
Surprisingly, Chelsea have only won three of the last ten on the road and have been beaten in the last two away games at Arsenal and Watford. Overall their top-flight away record is good though, and Conte will have his team fired up for a big display.
United have only failed to score at home once all season, but Chelsea have the attacking prowess to breach their defence so both teams to score looks a fair bet.
The same bet applies to the Bournemouth v Newcastle fixture at odds of -125 with ComeOn.
Eddie Howe’s side continues to receive the plaudits for their style of play and it looks like paying off as they sit 10th with 31 points. However, this is still a mere five points above the relegation zone, so they are by no means out of the woods. Both teams have scored in all but two of their last ten games and those have included 3-3 and 2-2 draws at home.
Newcastle’s victory over Manchester United brought an unexpected three points, but the Magpies will need to make games like this one count to reap the benefits of the shock results. Rafa Benitez’ side is 13th in the table with 28 points, only two above the drop zone. Their away form has been far from impressive but they have found the net in seven of the last ten on the road.
This is a game that could go either way but should almost certainly have a few goals in it.
Finally, despite their poor recent run, odds of +200 with BetVictor are too tempting to pass up about a home win against Southampton.
The Clarets are without a win in ten Premier League games, but a look at their previous opponents suggests they are underestimated on Saturday. The last four at home have been against Spurs, Liverpool, Man United and Man City. Sean Dyche’s men lost the first three of those but battled to an impressive 1-1 draw with City. This match is a good chance for them to get back to the form which saw them beat Stoke, Watford, Swansea and Newcastle at home without conceding a goal.
Southampton are still in the relegation zone but recent form has given them hope of climbing to safety. They were five without defeat prior to the 2-0 loss at home to Liverpool, a run which included a win over West Brom and a draw with Spurs. FA Cup wins have given an even better gloss to the Saints form but they have lost on each of their last two visits here and face a very organised side.
At the odds, Burnley are worth a small punt to make home advantage pay.
Manchester United v Chelsea – Both teams to score
Sunday 25th February, 14:05 GMT
Bournemouth v Newcastle – Both teams to score
Saturday 24th February, 15:00 GMT
Burnley to beat Southampton
Saturday 24th February, 15:00 GMT