Manchester United v Leicester
Sunday May 1, 11:05pm
Manchester United have found some form towards the end of the season thanks largely to the emergence of Marcus Rashford and the development of Anthony Martial. The Red Devils have made it through to the FA Cup final and are now just five points behind Manchester City and Arsenal in third and fourth with a game in hand.
Leicester, meanwhile, know that a win here at Old Trafford would hand them the title and the prospect of lifting the trophy at the home of the Premier League’s most successful club with two games still left of the season will no doubt excite Claudio Ranieri and his men.
United’s win over Palace was their fourth victory without conceding in five games as they continue to impress at the back, with only Spurs better defensively this season.
Their record at Old Trafford this term is W11-D4-L2 with wins in their last six, five of which were without conceding, as Southampton and Norwich are the only teams to have won here.
Indeed, United have kept 12 clean sheets in 17 home games whilst conceding just seven times and their record when hosting top-five sides since the start of last season is W4-D3-L0 under Van Gaal.
United led at the break in five of these matches with three clean sheets and they managed to score more than twice in three of their four wins.
Leicester have also been excellent defensively recently with six wins without conceding in their last seven matches, including four 1-0 wins.
The Foxes’ away record this term is W11-D4-L2 as their defeats have come at the Emirates and Anfield. Indeed, Leicester’s record at top-half sides this term is W3-D2-L2 as they’ve managed just one clean sheet in these games but managed to score in six. As a result, five of these seven games had more than two goals, with three seeing more than three strikes.
Jamie Vardy is once again suspended and while the Foxes managed to find the net in his absence against a seemingly disinterested Swansea side, it should be a different story against a United side fighting for the top-four.
United’s excellent home form and their strong record when hosting the top teams means that we’re siding with them in this one and we wouldn’t put anyone off backing them to win to nil at 3.4, as they have done in their last four at Old Trafford.
Chelsea v Tottenham
Tuesday May 3, 5:00am
After disappointing defeats against Swansea and Man City, Chelsea bounced back with a 4-1 win at Bournemouth and in the aftermath former Gunner Cesc Fabregas suggested that his side would be extremely keen on being the ones who ended Spurs’ title aspirations in this fixture.
However, Tottenham went a long way to doing that themselves as they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to West Brom and as a result trail Leicester by seven points heading into this round of fixtures.
Chelsea continue to struggle defensively in the absence of John Terry and Kurt Zouma as their only clean sheet in their last 10 matches came against the hapless Aston Villa.
Their record at the Bridge under Guus Hiddink is W1-D6-L1 with that sole victory over notoriously poor travellers Newcastle and the defeat a 3-0 hammering in their last home game against City.
Chelsea have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of these matches and their overall record when hosting top-eight sides this term is W1-D2-L3 as a customary victory over Arsenal was the Blues’ only home win over a side inside the top-16.
Spurs had put seven goals past Stoke and Man Utd heading into the West Brom game but they failed to make their first-half dominance against Tony Pulis’s side pay and were always susceptible with just a one goal lead.
Spurs’ away record this term is W9-D6-L2 with one of those defeats coming at Old Trafford on the opening day of the season and the other at Upton Park. However, Mauricio Pochettino’s side have won at the Etihad, Saint Mary’s and the Britannia whilst picking up draws at Anfield, the Emirates and the King Power Stadium.
They’ve conceded just six goals in their eight trips to top-half sides and these games have tended to be tight affairs with six seeing fewer than three goals.
Following the West Brom game, Dele Alli has been charged with violent conduct by the FA and as a result could well miss the rest of the season. The PFA Young Player of the year has only missed seven games for Spurs this term and they’ve only won two of them (29%), whilst scoring seven goals (1 gpg) but in the 27 games he’s started, Spurs have won 17 (63%) whilst scoring 58 (2.2 gpg).
Indeed, four of the seven games Alli has missed had fewer than two goals and as a result Under 2.5 goals makes appeal at 2.08, though Chelsea’s leaky defence is a concern. Instead, given the Blues’ poor record when hosting the top teams this term the best play in this one looks to be siding with Spurs, who could have a sniff in the title race again following Leicester’s trip to Old Trafford.