FA Cup Final Betting: Back United to edge out Chelsea

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho has a superb record in finals
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Jose Mourinho can put one over his former club in Saturday's FA Cup final showpiece at Wembley, says Dave Tindall...

"Starting with the 2-1 victory over Chelsea at Old Trafford in late February, United won five out of five in games against the Big Six."

1pt Man Utd to win at [2.84]

Chelsea v Man Utd
Saturday, 17:30
Live on BBC1

Out on a high?

It's been a hugely disappointing second season for Antonio Conte after he won the Premier League in his first campaign at Stamford Bridge.

Of course, failing to get a tune out of Chelsea the season after they've been crowned champions will be all too familiar to Jose Mourinho. It cost him his job and Conte looks set to follow suit.

Chelsea deserved to finish fifth after a mixed campaign and their haul of 70 points was 23 fewer than the season before.

They did beat a tired Liverpool at the start of the month but in their previous showdowns against Big Six rivals they'd lost 3-1 at home to Spurs, 1-0 at Man City and 2-1 at Saturday's rivals Man Utd. They also lost the second leg of their League Cup semi-final to Arsenal.

In other words, Chelsea's recent form in big games is very poor and they have to turn it around otherwise their 13th appearance in the final will end the same way as the 12th did against Arsenal last year - in defeat.

On the teams news front, Conte has no fresh concerns so deciding who to play up front - Olivier Giroud and/or Alvaro Morata - is his main decision as the Blues chase an eighth FA Cup win.

Jose getting it right

While Chelsea have definitely gone backwards this season, United have made some obvious forward strides.

Not in entertainment value - few would contest that - but in terms of the bottom line, points and position, United jumped from 69 to 81 and from sixth place to second.

One of the biggest differences was their improvement in the crunch games against the Big Six. In Mourinho's first season, United won just two out of 10 and had a goal difference of minus four over those 10 matches.

This season, United beat Arsenal home and away, took four points off Liverpool and three each off Chelsea, Man City and Spurs.

That 19-point haul was nine up from last season but, here's the key, starting with the 2-1 victory over Chelsea at Old Trafford in late February, United won five out of five in games against the Big Six.

Team news for United as they contest their 20th FA Cup final (12 wins) could be key and the good news is that Romelu Lukaku and Anthony Martial have both travelled while Marouane Fellaini has regained fitness to give Mourinho his late, 'lump it up to the big man' option.

Prince William (royal commitments) does miss out though.

United worthy favourites

The betting is relatively tight with Man Utd [2.84] to get it done in 90 minutes, Chelsea [3] and The Draw at full-time [3.15].

It's 1-1 this season, with Chelsea winning by a single goal at Stamford Bridge back in early November.

Their Wembley history is interesting. In seven previous head-to-heads at the stadium, they have two wins apiece while three have gone to spot-kicks, United winning two of those.

Either team to win on penalties is 10/3 on the Sportsbook while it's 7/1 if you want to back them individually.

Conte has lost both his previous domestic Cup finals (one with Chelsea, one with Juventus) and the contrast with his rival boss couldn't be greater.

Mourinho has contested 14 major European and domestic finals and won 12 of them.

Quite simply it's one of the most eye-catching stats surrounding this match and when added to his recent record (five wins out of five) against the Premier League's elite, it's why I'm backing United to win at [2.84].

Look beyond basic BTTS stats

Leicester were the team to follow for Both Teams To Score backers this season as it landed in 63.16% of their games. They lived up to their reputation at Wembley on closing day when, with just seven minutes gone, they were already 1-1 with Spurs.

But while Leicester top the BTTS table, Man Utd are second bottom on just 36.84%. Chelsea are also below 50%, finishing in 15th spot on 44.74%.

However, that could be misleading. A huge chunk of United's clean sheets came against lower-half opposition. By contrast, when United racked up those five straight wins against Big Six opposition, BTTS landed in all of them.

On those numbers, the 'Yes' for BTTS at [2.1] certainly looks worth a bet. 'No' is [1.85].

Overs looks tempting

Over 2.5 goals is even more generous if we again focus on the fairly narrow sample size of recent Man Utd games against the Big Six.

Those scorelines: Man Utd 2-1 Chelsea, Man Utd 2-1 Liverpool, Man City 2-3 Man Utd, Man Utd 2-1 Tottenham, Man Utd 2-1 Arsenal.

That's Over 2.5 in all although the takeaway from those results is that surely it's also worth heading to the correct score market and backing United to win 2-1 at [12.5]. I'm on!

Finals can be very cagey affairs of course and both managers certainly like to spar so some will insist Under 2.5 goals at [1.63] is the play.

For the record, the goal make-ups at 90 minutes in the last six finals starting from 2012 read: 3, 1, 4, 4, 2, 3 so Overs backers have done well.

Sanchez stands out

Alexis Sanchez has made an underwhelming start to life in a Man Utd shirt and scored just one his first 10 games following January's switch from Arsenal.

He's added two more since and, notably, one came in the 2-1 semi-final win over Spurs.

Those who've watched the forward's career closely won't have been at all surprised by that. Add in his two goals for Chile in a win over England and Sanchez has scored eight goals in eight Wembley appearances.

He netted in both the 2015 and 2017 finals for Arsenal so, given the energising effect the place has on him, backing Sanchez to score at [4.3] looks good business.

Sanchez's former Gunners team-mate Olivier Giroud is something of an FA Cup specialist after scoring 15 goals in his 26 appearances in the competition and he also found the onion bag in the 2015 final.

Will he start though? Perhaps backing him to bag the game's final goal wouldn't be the worst shout. He's done plenty of that down the years and came off the bench to complete the scoring in the 2015 final when Arsenal beat Aston Villa 4-0.

Ref watch

Michael Oliver gets the gig and the 33-year-old will be refereeing his fifth major final at Wembley.

He's flashed 144 yellows in 41 games this season and isn't afraid to show a red. Just ask Gianluigi Buffon!

Sending the Italian goalkeeping legend off in the Champions League semi-final second leg at Real Madrid was the seventh time he's given a player his marching orders this term.

Don't forget that VAR will be in operation.

Opta stat

This is the third time these sides have met in the FA Cup final, making it the joint-most played final in the history of the competition (Arsenal vs Liverpool, Arsenal vs Newcastle and Aston Villa vs West Brom also three).

Dave Tindall's P/L, 2017/18

Staked: 122.00pts
Returned: 88.93pts
P/L: -33.07pts

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