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Manchester United v Chelsea Tips: Mike Dean to dish out the cards in Sunday's Semi-Final

Mike Dean has the highest cards per game average of any Premier League referee this season
Mike Dean has the highest cards per game average of any Premier League referee this season

Manchester United face Chelsea in the weekend’s second FA Cup semi final at Wembley on Sunday with the reds looking for a fourth win over Chelsea this season after a Premier league double and victory in the league cup. 

The game kicks off at 18:00pm and is live on BBC 1. Having a look into the prices for the game and United have been made the 7/5 favourites for this one. The draw can be backed at 12/5 with BetVictor, while a win for Chelsea in 90 minutes is at the time of writing, top priced with bet365 at 2/1.

Both sides have been in good form since the resumption of the Premier League with United looking to go 20 games unbeaten in all competitions. The race for the Champions League places is looking like it will go down to the wire and having a look at the top 4 betting market, both Chelsea and Manchester United are currently given an 80% chance of doing so with odds of 1/4. 

It would be no surprise to see numerous changes from both sides due to the importance of qualifying for the Champions League and the riches that it brings. N’golo Kante looks set to miss out yet again as he struggles to recover from a hamstring injury. Both Luke Shaw and Brandon Williams came off injured against Southampton last Monday and missed Thursday’s victory at Crystal Palace. Both are a doubt for this game with Timothy Fosu-Mensah set to continue if called upon. 

Manchester United v Chelsea Tip #1
Match to be a draw
Two similar sides at the moment Fatigue and tempo could be an issue in the second half with both teams settling for extra time
Odds correct as of 2020-07-18 13:00 Odds subject to change.

My first selection for this one is the match to be a draw, priced at 12/5 with BetVictor. It’s worth noting that Chelsea have had an extra two days recovery time for this one after their 1-0 win over Norwich last Tuesday. With the hectic fixture schedule at the moment it would be no surprise to see fatigue become a factor in this one especially into the latter stages of the second half.

I do feel these two sides are very similar at the moment with United having a slight edge when it comes to their attacking firepower. I see extra time as a real possibility here and having the draw onside in clashes like this and it’s often a nice way in. I’ve taken a little bit of the 12/5 on offer from BetVictor for the game to be a draw and think this one could peter out in the second half with a lack of tempo and intensity.

Manchester United v Chelsea Tip #2
Giroud & Martial both to have two or more shots on target
Two strikers in good form with competition for places Martial has six goals in his last seven games Giroud has taken sixteen shots in his last three games
Odds correct as of 2020-07-18 13:00 Odds subject to change.

Next up I’ve gone for a little match double on two Frenchmen who are both in good form. Oliver Giroud and Anthony Martial both to have two or more shots on target is currently 8/1 with PaddyPower which doesn’t look too bad a price. Giroud has had a good number of starts for the Blues since the resumption of the season with Tammy Abraham being dropped to the bench. In Giroud’s last three games he’s actually taken 16 shots with six of those hitting the target. 

There’s also competition at Manchester United at the moment for which of their forwards gets to play the prominent role as the most central of the front three. Anthony Martial currently holds the position with both Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood chomping at the bit for a run down the middle. Still only 24, Martial is enjoying his best season so far in front of goal for United and he has scored six in his last seven games with two of those coming in the last week against Southampton and Crystal Palace. I feel these two players are the most likely to rack up the numbers on the shot count in this Semi Final and have had a small play on the 8/1 available. 

Manchester United v Chelsea Tip #3
Fernandes & Willian 1+ shot on target, Wan-Bissaka & Alonso to be carded
Fernandes to have 1+ shot on target has landed in seven of his last eight Willian is in good form with four goals and three assists since the restart No United Player has more cards than AWB this season Alonso goes forward to much and could potentially get caught from a United counter 
Odds correct as of 2020-07-18 13:00 Odds subject to change.

Finally it’s onto the longshot and followers of my column will know that I recommended a 66/1 selection which landed for the Crystal Palace v United game on Thursday night. I’ve opted again for the same formula of two players to have a shot on target and two players to be carded, however one thing to consider here is that the prices are a lot shorter in the cards market for this game. One possible reason for that could be due to Mike Dean being the man officiating the game. Dean has the highest cards per game ratio of any Premier League referee this season and this has been reflected in the ‘to be carded’ markets.

I’ve picked out both Bruno Fernandes and Willian to have one or more shots on target with both Marcos Alonso and Aaron Wan-Bissaka to be carded, available at around 28/1 with Betfair or 22/1 with PaddyPower. As I mentioned I was a little disappointed with the prices available for this one but do think with the man that is Mike Dean in the middle, we could be in for a card fest.

Bruno Fernandes averages the most shots per game of any United player since he arrived at the club. Since the restart he’s played eight games and has managed to land one or more shots on target in seven of those. He always looks a threat and busts a gut to get into the box and can let fly from anywhere and therefore goes straight into this bet.

It still remains to be seen whether or not Chelsea or not will offer Willian another contract. I personally think they would be silly not to as he could slot into any title-challenging squad with the qualities he possesses. He’s managed four goals and three assists since project restart and it 4/7 as a single he looks one of the better propositions for a shot on target in this tight market.

Onto the cards and yes some of you think I’m absolute crackers but I’m going for Aaron Wan-Bissaka to be carded for a fourth game in a row. I’ve backed him in all three of those and even though he’s a shorter price in this one I feel he will be given more of a defensive testing than in some of the games recently where he tends to spend more time up the pitch attacking. He goes to ground too easily at times and I’m hoping for four in a row with yet another AWB booking. 

I’m rounding this one off with Chelsea’s Marcos to be carded, I think the Spaniard could be in for a busy evening with most of United’s attacks coming down the right partly via Wan-Bissaka. I feel Alonso forgets his defensive duties at times and I think this leaves him vulnerable for a potential United counter attack on Sunday evening. He’s been booked four times this season and is the one I’m opting for to be booked for Chelsea. At the time of writing this priced at 28/1 with Betfair with PaddyPower being slightly shorter at 22/1. Enjoy the game and as always, please remember to gamble responsibly.

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