Chelsea vs Manchester UnitedEnglish Premier League, KO: 20:00 Feb 17, 2020, Stamford Bridge
CHELSEA and Manchester United meet on Monday night in what could be a pivotal fixture in the race for a top-four finish in the Premier League.
The Blues currently lie fourth and have done for a number of months now, however, Frank Lampard's side have wasted several opportunities to put some daylight between themselves and the chasing pack.
The capital club started the season strongly, but a run of just four wins in 13 Premier League outings has presented Chelsea's top-four rivals with a fighting chance in the chase for Champions League qualification.
One of those sides, Manchester United, will make the trip south occupying 9th spot in the table, just six points adrift of Lampard's stuttering young side.
Indeed, the Red Devils have endured a troublesome start to 2020, however, United will take confidence from the fact that they have already beaten the Blues home and away this season.
What's more, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appears to have found a knack of formulating a plan to thwart the heavyweights of the division – champions-elect Liverpool are the only top-eight side that have toppled United to date.
The Betting Odds
Chelsea have drawn three of their last five league fixtures and a repeat here pays 5/2 with Bet 365. while a home success is on offer at 17/20 with the same firm.
Manchester United are unbeaten in their last five matches against Chelsea, however, the Red Devils are an unfancied 18/5 (Unibet) to leave London with all three points.
The Betting Angles
Given that this could be a key match in the battle for the final Champions League berth, coupled with the fact that Anthony Taylor will take charge of this contest, value could lie in the cards markets on Monday night.
Taylor is dishing out an average of 4.25 cards per game this term and I wouldn't be surprised to see a fiery affair played out under the lights at Stamford Bridge.
Under Lampard's stewardship Chelsea games tend to be open and entertaining encounters, which in turn could lead to cynical fouls being committed by both sides and with that I mind, I like the look of backing both teams to collect over one card at 23/20 (Bet 365)
In considering who may have their name taken by referee Taylor, Chelsea midfielder Jorginho takes at appeal at 2/1 with Bet 365, however, I'm more attracted to the 11/4 (UniBet) on offer for Man United midfielder Nemanja Matic to be cautioned.
The former Chelsea player served a one match suspension last time out against Wolves and if the tough-tackling Serbian is restored to the starting XI on Monday night then he could be worth backing to pick up a booking at the Bridge.
In terms of who will come on top in this tussle, this is a tricky one to call given how inconsistent each respective side has been this season, however, backing both teams to score at 4/5 with PaddyPower appeals.
Chelsea have registered just two clean sheets in their last 13 Premier League matches and no side in the current top-six have shipped more goals than the leaky Londoners.
United have failed to score in their last three league matches, however, the Red Devils have racked up more points than the hosts in recent months and I suspect their new big-money signing Bruno Fernandes could have the tools to trouble a brittle Blues backline.
This English Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United will be played on Feb 17, 2020 and kick off at 20:00