EPL Betting – Can Chelsea Keep up Surge vs Man U?
Sascha P.No comments
Don’t look now, but Chelsea are on a bit of a roll. The defending EPL champs have won two straight and are unbeaten in their last nine (all competitions). Thanks to a dismal start to the year, the Blues are still mired in the bottom half of the table, but they can continue their climb out of the basement this weekend when they host Manchester United at Stamford Bridge (Sunday, Feb. 7, at 11:00 AM Eastern).
Both squads have mid-week games between now and then (Chelsea face Watford away, while United host Stoke), but the weekend matchup of traditional EPL powers has everyone looking ahead.
Chelsea started the year as title favorites, but are now 150/1 longshots to defend their crown, sitting 19 points behind league-leading Leicester City. They’re clawing their record closer to .500 (7-7-9, 28 points), but still have a -2 goal differential on the season.
Strangely, City’s struggles in the EPL haven’t extended to other competitions. The squad is alive and well in the Champions League, awaiting PSG in the Round of 16 after winning Group G, and just pounded MK Dons (5-1) in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
The Blues are also picking up the pace in the Premier League; they’re 3-4-0 in the last seven, and just handed (then) second-place Arsenal a 1-0 defeat at the Emirates on a goal by Diego Costa.
The streak finally has Chelsea fans breathing a sigh of relegation relief. Once just a few points up on the bottom three, they’re now seven points clear of 18th-place Newcastle.
The squad looked in top form against MK Dons thanks, in part, to the return of Eden Hazard. The Belgian speedster potted his first goal of the season on a penalty, while Oscar added a hat-trick.
Chelsea aren’t likely to put up another five-spot against the Red Devils this weekend. United’s performance this season has left a lot to be desired, but their defense has been among the best in the league. They’ve surrendered just 21 goals in 23 matches (second in the EPL).
And it’s a good thing, too, because the offense has all but disappeared (28 goals in 23 matches).
The lack of scoring is finally catching up to United. Among the league leaders through most of the first half, Man U have fallen off of late. They’re just 2-2-4 in the last eight and sit ten points back of Leicester (10-7-6, 37 points). If the squad doesn’t start a Chelsea-esque surge now manager Louis Van Gaal will likely be shown the door.
The criticism of the Dutchman reached an all-time high after the team’s recent 1-0 home loss to Southampton. United surrendered the winner in the 87th minute and were then unceremoniously booed off the pitch by the crowd.
United and Chelsea already met at Old Trafford this season and, somewhat unsurprisingly given the year both are having, the match ended in a nil-nil draw. Chelsea also drew United at Old Trafford last season (1-1), while taking the full three at home (1-0).
With Hazard back in the lineup and Chelsea streaking, expect a similar result this weekend against the goal-challenged Red Devils.
Pick: Chelsea (+105).