by Tom Allen
The biggest game of the Premier League season so far on Sunday at Stamford
Bridge and the visitors can earn at least a draw in west London.
Manchester United head to the capital four points adrift of their hosts, and
current Premier League leaders, Chelsea, and Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson
will be all too aware of conceding any more ground at the summit.
Defeat for United would leave the Old Trafford club playing catch up early in
the campaign but they have produced some of their best displays this season away
from home and are unbeaten on their travels since an opening day reversal at
Both warmed up for Sunday's showdown with Tuesday fixtures in the Champions
League and the pair will have been disappointed by their efforts.
United ultimately overcame a sluggish start to rally past Braga 3-2, Javier
Hernandez with a brace, but the Blues, defending European champions of course,
were well beaten in Ukraine.
Chelsea's 2-1 loss to Shakhtar in Donetsk was a big blow for their hopes of
reaching the knockout stage and, in truth, they have yet to be truly tested
domestically so far this term.
Robert Di Matteo can point to successes at the Emirates Stadium and White
Hart Lane but opponents Arsenal and Tottenham were both poor in their respective
fixture and tougher assignments lie ahead for the current pace-setters.
They don't get much tougher than United and Fergie's boys will have fond of
memories of a stirring comeback in the corresponding fixture last season when
earning a share of the spoils having trailed 3-0 early in the second half.
In fact, United had won each of the previous four matches between the pair
before that six-goal thriller, scoring eight times in the process, and will be
boosted by John Terry's enforced absence through suspension.
United have defensive worries themselves but Ferguson's gamble to rest Rio
Ferdinand and Patrice Evra for the match with the Portuguese in midweek will see
that experienced duo return to the starting line up refreshed and United will
surely fancy their chances.
While not anticipating quite the drama of February's match, I do expect goals
between the pair and United might just edge it. They are certainly the value
call at 9/4 and the Premier League's highest scorers will be confident of
finding the net on at least one occasion.
That could well be enough for United to depart having added to their points
tally and quotes of odds against in Bet Victor's draw no bet market appeals.
2pts Back Man Utd (Draw No Bet) vs. Chelsea @ 6/5 (Bet