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Chelsea vs. Manchester United

Chelsea vs. Manchester United and Pick to Win
Date:Sunday, October 23rd, 2016
Where: English Premier League – Stamford Bridge, London, UK
by Keith, Professional Soccer/Football Handicapper, Predictem

Match Odds: Chelsea 11/9, Manchester United 11/4, Draw 5/2
Moneyline: Chelsea +122, Manchester United +275, Draw +250
Over/Under Best Market: OVER 2.5 42/41 (+101)

Jose Mourinho will make his triumphant return to London to take on his former squad Chelsea, a team that he won numerous English Premier League titles with and set new precedents and marks when his captainship propelled his former club to unparalleled supremacy. Now, Mourinho comes in as an invader, steering the red and black ship from the north that is Manchester United. This contest is a huge rivalry game pitting London against Manchester, the North of England against the South and a battle for bragging rights between arguably the two greatest clubs in English football history.

So far Manchester United has looked disappointing compared to the firepower they acquired in the off-season along with Mourinho. Initially, the Red Devils had set off many fireworks with recent signee Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring like a machine in the early stages of the 2016-17 campaign. Then the Red Devils picked up Paul Pogba, but Pogba has for many accounts failed to live up to the price paid for his services so far this season. Currently the Red Devils sit five points out of first at seventh in the English Premier League table with 14 points. Man U comes in off a draw against another heavy foe, Liverpool where they were involved in a stalemate at Anfield last Monday.

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After a very disenfranchising 2015-16 season where said manager Jose Mourinho was sacked as a result, the Blues seem to be back on the right path. Currently, Chelsea sits in fifth place on the English Premier League table with 16 points, two points ahead of Manchester United and just three points behind current table-topper Manchester City. The Blues sit third overall among London teams as fellow North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham sit in second and third on the heels of the Citizens. Chelsea has shown much improvement since the shambolic state of affairs that swept through North London last year causing utter disarray for the organization. There has since been a regime change and Chelsea was lifted out of a position where they sat at fifteenth at one point last year in the English Premier League table. The Blues are known for a robust home pitch advantage at Stamford Bridge and are looking to re-establish that after they were bludgeoned by Arsenal 3-0 at home and defeated by Liverpool 2-1 in their own backyard as well. Serving up a loss to Manchester United would serve as a landmark win for the club in spite of recent troubles.

Betting markets are very sharp in contests of this caliber so when Chelsea is offered as the favorite above even odds this is a fairly accurate assessment of things. Manchester United on paper is the better team but their price is nearly identical to a Draw, signaling the market believes Chelsea has a slight advantage here even if they have long rescinded home pitch advantage in North London. Chelsea has been riding a hot hand as of late and there is no reason to suspect they will cool off their jets given the emotional implications of this contest. The Blues just put away Leicester at home at 3-0, perhaps in a hopes to undo some really nasty blemishes that have taken shape over the course of the campaign. The Red Devils look out of sync but Chelsea’s defense is friendly enough to likely let up a goal to this fully capable and potent offense. The question is whether Manchester United will shut down the opportunities for Hazard and company to take their cracks at the net. United struggled mightily in a similar scenario against cross-town rival Manchester City. Therefore, Chelsea at home as the value play here along with the OVER 2.5 which is offered at above evens. We stand to net 2.23 units if both plays land.

Chelsea Recent Form
W – Leicester City 3-0
W – Hull City 2-0
L – Arsenal 0-3
W – Leicester City 4-2
L – Liverpool 2-1

Manchester United Recent Form
D – Liverpool 0-0
D – Stoke City 1-1
W – FC Zorya Luhansk 1-0
W – Leicester City 4-1
W – Northampton Town 3-1

Keith's Prediction for the Game: Chelsea 11/9 (+122) and OVER 2.5 42/41 (+101).

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