United will struggle to Bridge the gap while Drogba’s around
It's the most hotly anticipated game of the season so far as two of the top three go head to head at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea will hope to try establish a five point lead over the champions and put themselves in the driving seat for the title race, and to be fair with Manchester United's recent record over the 'Big Four' you have to say they've got every chance of putting daylight between them and the rest of the challengers.
Last season Chelsea were the only team that United managed to beat out of their four title rivals, it was a comprehensive victory at Old Trafford but it was against a Blues team that were struggling at the time and coming towards the end of their time with big Phil Scolari, not that it mattered for the Red Devils as they went on to win the title anyway.
You can't help but think that this game will matter so much more at the top of the table, United by their own high standards are not as fluid as they were last season and midweek they were a shambles defensively without their regular centre-back pairing of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, the form that Didier Drogba is on at the minute he might have a field day should the Serbian not recover in time, as Ferdinand is definitely out.
Ivorian Drogba has been key to Chelsea's success so far, and luckily for Carlo Ancelotti's team they shouldn't really miss him come January when he departs for the African Nations Cup as their fixture list is hardly one to get worried about; Hull, Sunderland, Birmingham and Burnley are the teams that Chelsea will play in the new year; I'm sure they'll cope without him for those four matches.
The hosts will look to extend their incredible run of games without conceding, they've gone an amazing 13 hours without letting in a goal at the Bridge since Hull of all teams shocked Ancelotti in his first league game in charge by taking the lead, the Blues fought back to win that game and then their next eight on home soil; and with 15 goals in their last four Stamford Bridge outings it's looking ominous for Sir Alex Ferguson's side.
Chelsea are even money favourites to make it nine straight home wins, 21/10 to win to nil again. The draw is 23/10, and Man United are 14/5 to record their first win at Stamford Bridge since 2002.
I think that Chelsea could get a few goals against United, their defence was abject against CSKA Moscow and they don't have anywhere near the quality that the Blues do; should Drogba get into the game early doors the 9/2 on him for first goal will look like a steal, 6/5 to pounce at any time also appeals.
Should he feature, Joe Cole will be making his 250th appearance for the hosts, on his 28th birthday; and what better way to celebrate for the Londoner with a goal in a Chelsea win, he's 8/1 to get the opener and 11/4 to score at any point of the 90 minutes, 9/2 to score at any time and Chelsea win.
Wayne Rooney has also had reason to celebrate recently as his wife has given birth to a boy this week, the England man only featured for the latter stages of their Champions League tie and will be desperate to be involved and amongst the goals; he's 13/2 to grab the opener and 15/8 to notch at any stage of the game.
It promises to be a fantastic game, just make sure you join us when the action kicks off as you'll be able to bet on a whole host of markets with our In-Play service.