Thomas Tuchel faces a second big test in a week as Chelsea manager in Sunday’s home clash with Manchester United.
The Blues have improved since the arrival of Tuchel and claimed an impressive win at Atletico Madrid in the Champions League in midweek, but some would argue that the German has has a relatively easy fixture list during his short time with the club.
Manchester United represent his biggest test yet in the Premier League and the upcoming fixture was thoroughly discussed on the latest edition of Betfair’s Football…Only Bettor podcast.
Speaking on the show, Mark O’Haire shared his thoughts on this improved Chelsea team, saying: “They’ve been efficient rather than spectacular under Tuchel. I think it’s eight games unbeaten in all competitions.
“Yes, the schedule has been kind, but I think that statement win at Atletico will do the team a load of good as well. They’re very controlling and that’s what we learned from them so far.”
“I do think Chelsea are set-up quite well to get something from this game. Certainly playing Tuesday to Sunday is going to help their recovery as well. I know that the rest advantage has eroded a little bit because United are playing Thursday nights, but they were already 4-0 up against Real Sociedad.
“I just think from a United perspective… they’re moving along at a reasonable pace but without really pulling up too many trees. Last weekend against Newcastle, there were a lot of jitters defensively in both halves. I think the performance was ok – it wasn’t vintage.
“They probably got the result because of the sheer quality at their disposal. There wasn’t anything particularly outstanding from that performance.
“But I do think it’s quite interesting coming into this game, how Solskjaer sets his team up. Twice this season he’s used a three-man defence. One of which was on the first day of the Champions League, winning away at PSG. The second of which was on matchday six against Leipzig when they lost – it was a disaster really.
“I think Chelsea will set up with a three-man defence with wing backs. Built to control possession. There might be an opportunity for United to switch systems. They may stay with four at the back, but I do expect United to try their contain and counter approach which has worked reasonably well for them under Solskjaer.
“We do expect Chelsea to hog possession and try and control the game and try to find a way through United that way.
“Games between the big six clubs have been reasonably poor – I think in entertainment quality at least. Fifty-nine per cent of 22 games have ended with under two and a half goals. And these two teams have been the chief protagonists in that regard.”
Bearing this in mind, Mark has decided to go with an Under 2.5 goals bet at around even money.
You can hear more tips and more insight from Mark, Kevin Hatchard and Jason Murphy on the latest edition of Betfair’s Football…Only Bettor podcast.