Chelsea v Manchester United: Backing Ole's men at this price is a no-brainer

Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku
Mike fancies Romelu Lukaku to come into United's starting XI and play a big part in an away win
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The tie of the fifth round sees a repeat of last season's FA Cup final, but Mike Norman firmly believes that Manchester United will gain revenge over Chelsea on Monday night...

"And we shouldn't forget that when these two sides met earlier in the season - at a time when United were poor under Mourinho and Chelsea were in fine form - the Blues were extremely fortunate to come away with a point, securing a draw with virtually the last kick of the game."

Back Man Utd @ [3.9] to beat Chelsea

Chelsea v Manchester United
Monday, 19:30
Live on BBC1

We've been here before with Chelsea

Typical Chelsea some would say, except what's happening now is more of an accelerated version of what's happened in the previous four seasons. Champions under Jose Mourinho in 2014/15, also-rans during the next campaign. Champions for Antonio Conte in 2016/17, finished outside of the top four during the next campaign.

Now it's Maurizio Sarri who is seemingly getting the love/hate treatment from his players. The Blues were unbeaten in their first 18 games under their new boss, winning 14 of those matches in all competitions. A 3-1 defeat to Tottenham in late November raised eyebrows for the way Chelsea competed that day, and it's been pretty much downhill ever since.

Sarri's men have lost five of their last 14 matches and have slipped to sixth in the Premier League table. Their 6-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester City last weekend was an embarrassment, this coming on the back of a 4-0 defeat at Bournemouth in their previous away game.

The good news is that Monday night's clash with Manchester United is on home soil, where the Blues have won their last five matches, but the concerns far outweigh Chelsea's positive home form for many bettors; those being just how good is Sarri as a manager, and how motivated are his players under him.

Chelsea's 2-1 win over Malmo on Thursday night was hardly a ringing endorsement in support of the manager or his players, but at least the Blues go into this fifth round FA Cup tie on the back of a victory.

Happy United hoping to continue winning away run

Manchester United's season so far has almost been the opposite to that of Chelsea. It started pretty badly and got gradually worse, but it was questions about Mourinho and the attitude of his players that got more headlines than results.

Eventually Mourinho was sacked - take note Maurizio - and replaced by former United favourite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who immediately took the shackles off, got his team playing with a smile again, and got results on the pitch.

United won 10 and drew one of their first 11 games under Solskjaer, bridging an 11-point gap and eventually climbing into the top four, while away from home the Red Devils have a 100% record, winning six out of six including victories at Tottenham and Leicester in the league and a comprehensive win at Arsenal in the previous round of this competition.

The one blot of Solskjaer's copybook is Tuesday's home defeat to PSG in the Champions League. It was a poor performance from United but perhaps a bit of perspective is needed. The French champions are once again out of sight in Ligue 1 and are one of the emerging super powers in European football. United had a poor night, only time will tell if that sort of performance is repeated.

Away win looks a big price

It's time to roll out the old adage, if something looks too good to be true then it probably is, but for the life of me I can't understand why United are available to back at [3.9] to win this game. That looks a huge price to me.

Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard are definitely ruled out and that has undoubtedly had some influence on the market, but Solskjaer can still play a front three of Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez if he chooses while having his preferred midfield, and I see no reason why United won't line-up close to full strength.

Chelsea are also likely to be at full strength with Marcos Alonso, Eden Hazard and Gonzalo Higuain returning to the starting XI after being left out against Malmo, but on current form I much prefer to back an away win.

The Blues have a tremendous record at Stamford Bridge this season and have won the last three FA Cup ties against United, but they're just [2.08] to win this match and some of their recent performances have resulted in alarm bells ringing, not least from a tactical point of view.

And we shouldn't forget that when these two sides met earlier in the season - at a time when United were poor under Mourinho and Chelsea were in fine form - the Blues were extremely fortunate to come away with a point, securing a draw with virtually the last kick of the game.

The Draw can be backed at [3.75] this time, but with United's mood and performances stepping up markedly since that day, and Chelsea's regressing, it's the away win that gets our money.

Goals at both ends not certain according to recent meetings

Nothing else really stands out as a bet if I'm being 100% honest. When you find a price that you're delighted to back and have confidence in it landing - as I am with the United win in the Match Odds - then I'm happy to leave it as that. Putting up another bet would feel a bit forced in all honesty.

But for those who do like to bet in other markets then it's completely fair that the Yes option in the Both Teams to Score market is trading at [1.74] given that both sides possess great attacks and arguably much weaker defences, but it's worth mentioning that this is a bet that has landed just three times in the last 10 meetings between these two. The No option can be backed at [2.3].

Finally, don't forget that for the first time in FA Cup history at this stage of the competition, any game ending in a draw after 90 minutes will go into extra time before penalties decide the outcome if needed. Chelsea are [1.68] To Qualify - and I wouldn't put anyone off laying that bet - while United can be backed at [2.4].


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