Chelsea can beat Manchester United to rekindle European dreams | Football

Cole Palmer has been brilliant for Chelsea (Picture: Getty Images)

Chelsea and Manchester United enter an intriguing contest at Stamford Bridge knowing victory will set them up for a decent chance of European football next season while defeat would be a serious setback.

Wait! What? Chelsea playing in Europe next season? You’ve got to be kidding!

Well, admittedly the Blues would have to buck up their ideas rather drastically and it’s something of a long shot to think they can qualify for even the Europa Conference League but the maths tells us that they are in with a chance.

They may be just 9/2 with Bet Victor and William Hill to finish in the bottom half of the Premier League and 7/1 with Ladbrokes and Coral to finish in the top six but there is a reasonable chance they overhaul United in the standings.

For all their inconsistent performances under Mauricio Pochettino, he has guided them to a Carabao Cup final and an FA semi-final and if they beat United, who have also been flattering to deceive in recent weeks, the 12th-placed Blues would be just five points Erik Ten Hag’s sixth-placed team with a game in hand.

Then factor in their next couple of matches are at Sheffield United and at home to Everton and it’s more than feasible they pick up six points to really inject momentum into their late run.

They only need to finish seventh to play in the Europa Conference League so it’s all systems go right? 

Well, both Chelsea and United enjoyed oodles of good fortune at the weekend with the controversial penalty decision against ten-man Burnley favouring the Blues and some wasteful finishing by Brentford letting United escape from west London with an unlikely point. 

That was just a game after they beat Liverpool in the 4-3 FA Cup thriller at Old Trafford but in truth they have looked fragile for a while. 

It’s far from being must-bet material but home advantage should help Poch’s players beat United. They are evens with Betway, bet365 and Betfred to win while Cole Palmer is 11/2 to open the scoring with bet365, Paddy Power and Betfair and 8/5 with BetUK and Unibet just to find the net.

Virgil Van Dijk can score for Liverpool against Sheffield United

Virgil Van Dijk can score against Sheffield United (Picture: Getty Images)

Title-chasing Liverpool are 8/1 with bet365 to beat Sheffield United 4-0 at Anfield and Virgil Van Dijk is 6/1 with Sky Bet to score at any time.

• Billy Horschel, a Tipster favourite who has been under the radar for a while, has three top-four finishes at the Texas Open and will tee-off in San Antonio with a T7 at the Valspar on Sunday his third top-ten in his last four starts. Back him each-way at 30/1 with bet365 along with defending champion Corey Conners and English duo Matt Fitzgerald and Aaron Rai who are 22/1, 25/1 and 50/1 respectively with the same firm.

• Luke Littler won last week’s Premier League Darts in Belfast in style and is 8/11 pretty much everywhere to continue his good form by beating Michael van Gerwen in their quarter-final duel in Manchester. Stick him in an acca with Nathan Aspinall to also win outright and Luke Humphries and Gerwyn Price to triumph by more than one leg.


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