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Chelsea shaping up for another Man United shut-out

Not so long ago you could guarantee plenty of goals whenever Chelsea played Manchester United. They faced each other three times during 2012 and scored 20 goals between them (ten apiece).

But the goals have dried up in recent encounters and with Jose Mourinho back at the helm, we are unlikely to see a goal-fest at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon.

We know that Roman Abramovich would love to see the entertaining brand of football played by United in their pomp and by Man City this season, but the Chelsea manager doesn’t feel ready to try that yet with the players he has inherited and this latest encounter might resemble more a game of chess than a game of basketball.

Mourinho played without a striker at Old Trafford at the start of the season and came away with a 0-0 draw and although he is sure to be more positive this time, it is still likely to be a case of grinding out what he can.

Coral go 10/1 that it again finishes goalless and 6/1 it ends 1-1, while a 1-0 scoreline is favourite at 11/2.

And let’s face it, a draw would be a better result for the Blues than it would be for the Reds. Two points dropped would still leave Chelsea well in the mix for a title bid, whereas it would leave United even more seriously adrift of the top four than they are already.

Chelsea are without Frank Lampard (thigh), but welcome home Serbian international Nemanja Matic. Bought for £1.5m in 2009 and then sold to Benfica as a makeweight in the deal to bring David Luiz to the Bridge in 2011, the 25-year-old is now back in west London after resigning for £21m.

Coral go 11/2 that he scores on his return (14/1 first or last), but he has averaged a goal every 13 games or so during his career and Eden Hazard (2/1 to get on the scoresheet, 7/1 any time), a player Mourinho now considers one of the best in the world, might be a better proposition.

For United, Wayne Rooney may be back after warm-weather training to aid a groin injury. That will be extremely welcome news for David Moyes, who, also without Robin Van Persie, has been ever more reliant on 18-year-old Adnan Januzaj for attacking creativity.

With Chelsea (8/11) winning their last four League games and United (4/1) unbeaten in their last seven away fixtures, this promises to be tight affair and there may be nothing in it after 90 minutes (14/5).