Exit-bound striker expected to start for Chelsea at Man Utd


The majority of the Sunday newspapers have pencilled Nicolas Anelka in to start for Chelsea in today’s huge game at Manchester United, despite his manager Andre Villas-Boas admitting that he expects him to leave at the end of the season.

Villas-Boas is believed to be planning on sticking with the front three who linked up in arguably the Blues’ most impressive Premier League result to date – last week’s victory at Sunderland – with Juan Mata and Daniel Sturridge supporting the Frenchman.

Unlike the injured Didier Drogba and the much-maligned Fernando Torres, who set up both goals in the midweek Champions League win over Bayer Leverkusen, Anelka has found the net in this campaign, firing in the 2-1 triumph over West Brom.

However, there are doubts over whether the 32-year-old will agree to an extension of his contract which expires next summer, with his Portuguese boss claiming that the club are eager to keep him but that the 2008-09 Premier League top scorer isn’t so keen.

Anelka is rated at 9/1 to boost his bargaining position considerably with the opening goal at Old Trafford, and 3/1 to strike at any time, a price that sees him tied alongside Torres as his side’s most likely source of firepower, besides expected absentee Drogba.

One player who has played a prominent part in many Premier League clashes between Manchester United and Chelsea, former Red Devils captain Roy Keane, is convinced that his old employers will prevail this afternoon at 10/11 though.

When asked for his opinion on perhaps the biggest match of the season so far, Keane said: “I always look at them and, even if they are not at their best, they seem to get results. I certainly can’t see them getting beaten today, but it will be their first big test.”

If you disagree his verdict, odds of 4/1 are available on the visitors taking all three points. Click here to read a full preview of this fixture.