Sunday, 4pm, live on Sky Sports 1
IT'S hard to gauge just how much motivation and focus Manchester United retain at this stage of the season and for this reason alone Sunday's home clash with Chelsea is devilishly difficult from a punting perspective.
The fact the runaway champions of the Premier League can be backed at 2.2 on home soil perhaps indicates layers are a bit like me in thinking United might not be focused sufficiently to play like champions.
That's not to say United won't win, there will undoubtedly be times when they have plenty of possession and create chances, but I can't help but question their desire and motivation. Chelsea on the other hand will be up for this game and there's arguably no better time for them to be playing Sir Alex Ferguson's men.
If it boils down to who plays at a higher intensity, who wants it more, who needs it more etc, then I'd fancy Rafa Benitez's men.
Unfortunately games are not always won or lost on these factors alone. And that means being confident about a selection in this market isn't easy, but if pushed Chelsea at 3.7 would be the call. The draw can be backed at 3.6.
Over/Under 3.5 Goals
I notice both Lee Dixon and Michael Cox fancy a low-scoring game – or at least a low-scoring first 45 minutes – but I'm not convinced that will be the case at all.
After Arsenal and Spurs won on Saturday the Blues are clinging to the final Champions League qualifying spot on goal difference. And with Spurs to come in midweek (arguably a tougher game in my opinion despite being at home) they'll want to get something from this game and if the opportunity arises they'll go for the goals to win the game.
Chelsea have only once failed to score away from home in the league since September and that was against Manchester City so no disgrace there. And they're on a run of 14 league and cup games where they've found the net at least once.
In fact they've scored an average of more than two goals per game during this time, including two at Old Trafford in the FA Cup a few months ago.
United haven't failed to score at Old Trafford in the league all season and games at the Theatre of Dreams have veraged over 3.5 goals per game. I expect the same here and will recommend a wager at 2.84.
Both teams to score
Given what I've said above I'm of the opinion the 1.6 available about both teams getting on the scoresheet is an outstanding bet. At the prices I believe the over 3.5 goals bet is a better wager but if I were a big hitter – and I'm far from that – then backing both teams to score would be my only investment in this game.
Back over 3.5 goals @ 2.84
Back both teams to score @ 1.6