By News Team
17th February 2020
As another season in the Premier League begins to reach its conclusion, the sense of inevitability surrounding Liverpool’s title chances only grows stronger. The Champions League race, on the other hand, is far too close to call, with just a handful of points separating the various challengers.
Some of these are large, wealthy and historic clubs whose fanbases have become accustomed to Champions League football. Others can be filed in the category of plucky newcomer. Monday sees a crucial fixture between two sides firmly in the former category.
As Manchester United head to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea, both sets of players will have half an eye on that all-important Champions League spot. And with Brendan Rodgers’ resurgent Leicester currently sitting eight points ahead of the Blues, it would appear that there is only one such space up for grabs.
Tammy Abraham has managed 19 goals so far this season, with the Englishman positioning himself firmly as Frank Lampard’s first-choice striker. However, Abraham remains an injury doubt, plagued by an ankle problem that almost prevented him taking part at the King Power Stadium last time out. He is 16/5 to score first, 11/10 to score at any time and 33/1 to bag his second Premier League hat-trick of the season on Monday.
The midfield choices enjoyed by Lampard, meanwhile, are frequently touted as some of the best in the league. With Ngolo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic all performing strongly this season, and with Mason Mount appearing to relish his No. 10 role against Leicester, it could be a good night for Chelsea.
Red sky at night, Kepa’s delight?
Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga’s inconsistent performances forced his manager’s hand in the team’s last league game at Leicester, with Lampard dropping the Spaniard from the starting line-up.
But a major midweek clash under the lights against a top-four rival and the country’s most successful club could prove the perfect stage for a comeback.
Regardless of Lampard’s goalkeeping pick, Chelsea’s man in the net will be protected by the imperious Antonio Rudiger, who was man of the match against the Foxes two weeks ago. Facing a United side without the injured Marcus Rashford and with new signing Odion Ighalo likely to need time to settle in, it’s hard to see how the Blues’ defence will be breached. Backing Chelsea to win and under 3.5 goals at 7/4 looks the best bet on offer.