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Rupert Wyman 18th Dec 2010 - 11:39

Lampard is over the Blues

Man United have a game in hand on Chelsea going into the clash at Stamford Bridge. The Reds sit three points ahead of the Blues in the league and they know a win away at the Bridge could be morale boosting and a season defining moment pre Christmas.

Man Utd's season last year can be remembered for Rooney's ankle injury and their failure to win a major trophy. Ancelotti's Chelsea secured a domestic double and were comfortably the best team in the league.

It is rare to not see Chelsea odds-on at home in a competitive match and the 23/20 for a home win can be put down to Chelsea's inability to grind out results of late. The draw is 9/4 and the away win is 12/5.

Chelsea will be buoyed by the return to fitness of Frank Lampard and he can give them a massive lift on the day. He is their talisman midfielder and Chelsea are not the same team without him.  He is a massive 9/4 to score anytime and he regularly takes the free-kicks and normal penalty duties will resume at the Bridge.

Lampard has not started since August when Chelsea were flying high in the Premier League. He is the last piece in the jigsaw for Chelsea, Chelsea looked far better against Tottenham last week and were the superior side over ninety minutes.  They were all over Birmingham a few weeks and they have lacked that bit of creation.

United have only won once away from home in the league this season and Lampard can add that bit of extra creativity. Drogba is looking hungry again and the draw/Chelsea double result is 4/1, if you fancy Chelsea to beak Man Utd down.

Chelsea can edge the game and both teams are playing their first choice centre-backs after injury problems this season. The Chelsea only to score could hold some value at 11/5. In recent months,  Man United have failed to score at Man City and Sunderland and are not as strong on the road.

The 0-0 is priced at 8/1 and both teams have world class goalkeepers but the tide has to turn for Chelsea and if you fancy them to tear Man Utd apart, they are priced at 8/1 to kick off with -2 goals in the match handicap market.  If you fancy United to ruin Chelsea's day and arguably cost Ancelotti his job, they are 20/1 -2 goals.

Ten years ago that price would be far shorter and Chelsea don't look like they will be whipping boys on Sunday. The game will be closely contested like the Manchester derby was recently.

I fancy the draw at 9/4 but the more obscure bet could be Man Utd to come from behind and win or draw at 5/1. Chelsea will attack early and can score in the first half. Confidence is not high and they will settle for a 1-0 scoreline (6/1) but Lampard has no match fitness and Chelsea's bench is weak.

Man Utd have the firepower to grab an equaliser and can finish the match stronger, they are 10/1 to come from behind and draw.  The Match Winner for this match offers punters the chance to back either team missing a penalty at 16/1, after Drogba's and Rooney's heroics last week.

Chelsea have been calamitous at the back recently and the 16/1 could be worth a dabble. However, Rooney is unlikely to make the same mistake again and Lampard will be back taking penalty duties.



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