On Sunday 5 February, Manchester United look to end a winless run at Chelsea that spans almost a decade in the Premier League while Newcastle United could unleash the “Two Demba’s” on an Aston Villa side unbeaten in their last five away fixtures.
Newcastle United vs Aston Villa
Newcastle welcome back top goal scorer Demba Ba and could hand a debut to £10 million striker Papiss Cisse in the televised lunchtime kick off. Alan Pardew’s side are in good form at home, winning their last three in all competitions, including a 3-0 defeat of Manchester United.
What is exciting about Newcastle’s form is they have won four of their last six league matches, even when key players like Ba and Cheick Tiote have been missing. The Magpies are unbeaten in their last five at home against Villa, including handing out a 6-0 drubbing at the beginning of last season.
This is not a cut-and-dried home victory though. Villa are unbeaten in their last five away matches in the Premier League and have won their last two – at Wolves and Chelsea.
Alex McLeish’s side showed great spirit coming from two goals down against QPR midweek to draw the fixture but they have not scored in their last three visits to Newcastle.
With a bolstered front line – the “Two Demba’s” have scored 59 league goals between them since the start of last season, the Magpies are tipped to outgun Villa, with Darren Bent having scored in his last three league appearances.
Verdict: Newcastle United @ 2.15 (Bet Victor)
Chelsea vs Manchester United
This is a crucial time in United’s season – having beaten Arsenal a few weeks ago, they face Chelsea this weekend and then host Liverpool next Saturday. They have also played Manchester City and Liverpool in the FA Cup in recent weeks.
The big games are coming thick and fast and it is time to put the notion that United always step up a gear in the second half of the season to the test.
Chelsea are unbeaten in their last nine home league matches against United – winning six and drawing three with United scoring just five goals during that sequence.
But, with John Terry missing with a knee injury and Ashley Cole suspended, United have a great opportunity to end their winless run at Stamford Bridge. Wayne Rooney, Ashley Young, Nani and Tom Cleverly are all available for Sir Alex Ferguson too. Under-fire goalkeeper David de Gea is set to return between the sticks after Anders Lindegaard was ruled out for six weeks.
Chelsea’s form has not been great. Since beating Manchester City at the Bridge convincingly, they have won just twice in eight league fixtures, despite having a relatively easy run of opponents.They lost at home to Aston Villa and dropped points against Wigan Athletic, Fulham, Tottenham Hotspur, Norwich City and Swansea City.
Rooney has a great record against Chelsea – scoring six in 12 meetings while it is now 17 hours and 56 minutes since Fernando Torres scored for the Blues. Only youngster Daniel Sturridge looks dangerous for Andres Villas-Boas and he hasn’t found the net in his last five league and cup appearances.
Verdict: Manchester United @ 2.9 (Betfred)