Last time we visited the trusted Top Trump cards for Real Madrid’s visit to Liverpool in the Champions League, the 45 to 23 result in the former’s favour pretty well translated into the reality of a 3-0 scoreline at Anfield.
Now the focus switches back to matters domestic and a Sunday afternoon Premier League tussle worthy of some serious sofa time, as Manchester United entertain leaders Chelsea.
Ladbrokes can’t seem to pick a clear winner with United priced at 19/10, the draw at 12/5 and a Chelsea victory deemed a 7/5 shot, but our round-up of the areas that matter begs to differ.
Form: Man Utd 6 / Chelsea 10
There is no contest in this department. For starters there is the 10-point gap between leaders Chelsea and sixth-placed United.
Although the hosts have won three of their last five games, that does include a 5-3 loss to Leicester and having to settle for a point at West Brom last time out. In contrast, Chelsea are flying; unbeaten in 12 all-competition games, winning the last six.
Defence: Man Utd 3 / Chelsea 9
This is the area of most discrepancy and what really sets apart the two sides at present. Chelsea, armed with not one, but two, of the world’s finest goalkeepers in their squad and a fully settled, solid back four, have conceded just twice in their last half-dozen games.
Meanwhile, United, through a mixture of poor recruitment and injury have been forced to chop and change all season. Also not helped by Louis Van Gaal’s tactics of playing a dangerously high line, they have shipped seven in their last four matches.
Star Man: Man Utd 9 / Chelsea 10
This is a close one to call, as to his credit Angel Di Maria has taken no time at all lighting up the Premier League, with his incisive dribbling, goals and assists. £59.7m well spent.
However, over at Chelsea they have brought in a goal-scoring sensation who has notched and incredible 10 goals in his first 11 appearances in English football.
If you hadn’t guessed that man is Diego Costa, though his pals Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard have also been pretty special so far in 2014/15.
Attack: Man Utd 7 / Chelsea 9
When all fit, Van Gaal has one of the most enviable selections of attackers in world football to choose from since adding Di Maria and Radamel Falcao to a squad already boasting Juan Mata, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney.
But they haven’t yet gelled into the devastating force going forward that Jose Mourinho’s mob currently are. Chelsea’s second goal against Crystal Palace recently, which was described as ‘a scandal’ by Mourinho was fluid, attacking football at its peak.
Coaches: Man Utd 7 / Chelsea 9
Van Gaal may bring a glittering CV and tons of well-earned respect to Old Trafford, but he’s still finding his feet in the humdrum of the Premier League.
It’s a little early to judge, but the Dutchman is up against the Special One, who is the master of mind games, tactics, and most importantly a previous winner of two English titles.
Totals: Man Utd 32 / Chelsea 46
We’ll be backing Chelsea to take full advantage of United’s jittery backline at 7/5 for the three points.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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