Former Arsenal forward Charlie Nicholas backs Chelsea to overcome Manchester United in the Premier League on Monday.

Charlie Nicholas expects Manchester United to lose at Chelsea

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  • 2020-02-15 07:10:07 7 days ago
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Former Arsenal forward Charlie Nicholas has backed Chelsea to overcome Manchester United in Monday's key Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea are currently fourth in the Premier League table, six points ahead of eighth-placed United, who have only picked up one league success since the turn of the year.

Nicholas has said that Frank Lampard's side will need to 'get the basics right' on Monday evening if they are to triumph but has predicted a 2-1 success for the capital outfit.

"Manchester United will have got some of their players fit during the break. They were excellent when they went to Manchester City twice, but they are showing no consistency. This is why people are still backing, and hoping for, Mauricio Pochettino to come in," Nicholas told Sky Sports News.

"I do think Chelsea will have enough, but they will need to focus on getting their style right and doing the basics effectively."

United have already beaten the Blues twice this season, following a 4-0 success on the opening weekend of the 2019-20 Premier League season with a 2-1 victory at Stamford Bridge in the EFL Cup.

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Charlie Nicholas expects Manchester United to lose at Chelsea

Football betting tips TODAY: Firmino on target vs Norwich plus Arsenal to beat Newcastle – Premier League predictions

THE big guns return to action in a much more packed Premier League schedule this weekend.

Twelve top-flight teams had last week to put their feet up - sort of - and many stars opted for a warm weather getaway as Storm Ciara wreaked havoc on the remaining schedule.

 Bruno Fernandes made his Man Utd debut against Wolves
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This weekend we've a packed column for you, featuring four top-flight matches starting with Liverpool's trip to rock-bottom Norwich...

Norwich vs Liverpool - Saturday, 5.30pm

IT'S a true David vs Goliath showdown at Carrow Road.

On paper this looks the toughest test of the season for a Canaries side who have found the going tough on their return to the top-flight.

Daniel Farke and Norwich chiefs should be applauded for sticking by their guns in restricting their spending and retaining a football philosophy.

But that will mean little to a ruthless Liverpool, who arrive now as one of the most celebrated teams in the Premier League era.

Still unbeaten and on target to wrap up the title weeks early, the Reds haven't lost a league game since January 2019.

This fixture never appears to disappoint and it's goals which are on the menu - and plenty of them.

The past three H2H's here at Carrow Road have finished 4-5, 2-3, 2-5, all in favour of the men in red.

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Infact Liverpool have won their last five games in Norfolk, whilst they dismantled a plucky but out-classed Norwich side 4-1 on the opening day of the season.

Farke and Co beat Man City here earlier in the campaign simply by sticking to their attacking philosophy.

They're not going to change and WILL get chances against this Liverpool side, who have conceded at Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and Wolves this season on the road.

Basically, the 4/5 on both teams to score is way too high.

We're expecting Liverpool to take all three points back to Merseyside, but Norwich have drawn a blank at Carrow Road just once all season.

 Liverpool are close to securing their first league title in nearly 30 years
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The 1/2 on there being a goal in each half is short, but is our banker of the day and a great bet to top up any acca.

While all the value falls with Roberto Firmino in this one.

Liverpool's attacking quartet of the Brazilian, Mo Salah and Sadio Mane all dominate the scoring betting.

But Firmino has ten goals this season, all on the road - 3/2 is a massive price for him to make it eleven.

SunSport's best bets

Both teams to score: 4/5

A goal to be scored in each half: 1/2

Roberto Firmino to net again on the road: 3/2

Aston Villa vs Spurs - Sunday, 2pm

HAS the tide turned for Jose and Spurs?

If anything, the new-look winter break has come at just the wrong time for Mourinho's side.

Hard-fought wins over Man City and Southampton had breathed some optimism and momentum into a stuttering season - and Tottenham are without a defeat now in six games.

Villa on the other hand are scrapping to keep their heads above water.

They've a trip to Wembley to look forward to in March after reaching the Carabao Cup final - but remain just one point ahead of the relegation zone going into this one.

Every game is huge now and there's no way Dean Smith is writing off any points here.

Spurs on the road this season have been - to put it bluntly - awful.

They've just two wins from 12 matches away from North London, with a goal difference of -5 and five defeats.

And yet they're odds-on to win here. Don't go anywhere near that.

 All hell broke loose as Spurs beat champions Man City
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This Villa outfit are spearheaded by Jack Grealish and even the most optimistic Villan must know that he's likely leaving in the summer, relegation or not.

Spurs have been long-time admirers of the creative midfielder and he's a terrific 12/5 to bag at anytime.

One thing Villa do here is net - they've drawn just one blank here all season, in a drab 0-0 draw with West Ham way back in September.

Man City, Liverpool, Leicester and Wolves have all left without a clean sheet.

And so to we reckon will Spurs, who have stopped the opposition scoring just once in a Premier League away game this campaign.

Both teams to score is a 4/7 shot and we can't recommend that one enough.

Even though we're not backing Spurs to win this one, we do like the look of them on the team goals market.

They've scored two or more on their last five visits to this ground and that's the safe play at 7/10.

SunSport best bets

Both teams to score at Villa Park: 4/7

Spurs to score two or more goals: 7/10

Jack Grealish to net his eighth of the campaign: 12/5

 Star man Grealish has attracted some interest, as well as a late push for the UEFA Euro England squad
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Arsenal vs Newcastle - Sunday, 4.30pm

IT'S an unbeaten 2020 so far for Arsenal.

But that doesn't really tell the full story, does it.

Only two teams have won fewer games in this year's Premier League season than the Gunners - Watford and Norwich, who both linger in 19th and 20th.

With just SIX wins from 25 games - the same as Brighton - Arsenal are only really out of relegation trouble thanks to their quite ridiculous tally of thirteen drawn matches.

Arteta has certainly made his side hard to beat, with four stalemates on the spin.

But it does mean they start this game level on points with Toon, who are unbeaten in four top-flight matches.

Steve Bruce's side haven't done much on the road this term though, winning just three of 12 games and without a success since beating Sheffield United in early December.

And their record on this ground is nothing short of horrendous.

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Arsenal have won the last seven meetings, with an aggregate score of 20-5.

In fact, Newcastle have won in North London just TWICE since the turn of the century. Ouch.

There are the green shoots from recovery showing all over the pitch as Arteta gets his house in order.

Even Granit Xhaka is starting to look like a player.

We reckon this is Arsenal's time to break that run of draws and three points are there for the taking on Sunday afternoon.

With talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang back from suspension - and a healthy 23/10 to celebrate with the opener - they can extend Toon's misery in this part of the world.

Take the 4/9 on them winning and use it to boost your accas.

Or be more adventurous and take the 23/20 on the Gunners to be winning at both half time and full time. That's a big, big price.

SunSport best bets

Arsenal to beat Newcastle: 4/9

Gunners to be winning at HT and FT: 23/20

Aubameyang to open the scoring at the Emirates: 23/10

 Newcastle have enjoyed the lowest amount of possession of all the Premier League sides this season
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Chelsea vs Man Utd - Monday, 8pm

CAN Utd make it three on the spin at the Bridge?

Up until their victory here in February last year, Man Utd hadn't picked up a win at Stamford Bridge in seven years.

They followed up that top-flight win with a Carabao Cup triumph here in October and the Bridge hoodoo is most certainly broken.

Chelsea continue to flit from the sublime to the ridiculous, with Frank Lampard's young side just about keeping their place in the top four.

They're without a Premier League win in three games though and have lost four times on home soil already this season.

But on their day - and especially on the road - they've excelled with the fast-paced game Big Frank has brought back to the club.

Neither of these sides can be trusted on the results market.

Who saw Southampton, Bournemouth and West Ham all winning in West London? Not us.

We're not quite sure why anyone would put their hard-earned on United in this one.

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They've won just three out of 12 away games this term, with three defeats in their last four on the road.

And 29/10? Not for us.

We're not convinced by goals either.

Four of the last six H2H's here have featured three goals or less, while just ten of United's 25 PL games have seen similar. That's the third lowest in the division.

Basically, 10/11 on their being under 2.5 goals is an excellent bet.

And even better is the evens on both teams failing to score.

That bet would have won on seven of the last ten meetings at the Bridge. Expect a cagey one.

SunSport best bets

Under 2.5 goals at Stamford Bridge: 10/11

One or both teams to keep a clean sheet: Evens

Ighalo vows to dedicate every goal he scores to beloved sister Mary ahead of Man Utd debut

ODION IGHALO has his beloved sister Mary’s name inscribed on his football boots.

It is also etched into a white T-shirt he will wear under the Manchester United jersey he will proudly don for the first time at Chelsea on Monday.

 Man Utd new boy Odion Ighalo treasures the memory of his sister, Mary, who was only 43 when she died in December
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 Striker Odion Ighalo, seen visiting Mary at her home in Canada, is still trying to come to terms with his sister's death
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 Loan signing Odion Ighalo will wear these boots inscribed with Mary's name and will dedicate each goal he scores to her
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 Mary was a Man Utd fan, just like Odion, and always hoped he would join them
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But United’s new loan signing admits he is struggling to come to terms with her sudden death, breaking down in tears when he is on his own.

Speaking for the first time about the December tragedy, Ighalo revealed: “I feel very emotional because it has not really struck me that my sister is gone forever and I am never going to see her again.

"Sometimes when I am alone and I just remember her, I have one sharp pain in my heart.

Mary was like a mother to all of us. Even when I was young she would look after me.

Odion Ighalo

"My twin sister, Akhere, will call me, crying, saying she misses her and, sometimes when I am alone, I cry too.

"It is a very painful loss but I am trying to be strong as a man."

The Nigerian striker, 30, posted a poignant picture of himself with Mary on Instagram, announcing her shock death, accompanied by the words “RIP sister” together with a broken heart emoji.

Married Mary Atole collapsed at her home in Canada on the morning of December 12, just as she was getting her children ready for school. She was only 43.

Ighalo added: “It was a very painful moment.

 Odion Ighalo is proud to be the first Nigerian to play for Man Utd but devastated Mary is not here to see it
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MAN UTD NEWS LIVE: Follow for all the latest on the Red Devils

“She just collapsed and died before the kids could even call for an ambulance. When the medics arrived they tried to revive her but she was already gone.”

His heartache is shared by Akhere, elder sister Beatrice, brothers Austin and Moses and mother Martina.

Ighalo said: “Although she was my older sister, Mary was like a mother to all of us.

“Even when I was young she would look after me. She tried to make everybody happy, make sure everyone was OK.”

Mary was such a passionate United fan a framed picture of her in a Red Devils shirt, with her name on the back, hung on the wall of her home.

 Mary loved United, while her husband followed Chelsea, and their children supported Man City and Liverpool
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They had grown up together in Ajegunle, a district in the heart of Nigeria’s capital city Lagos.

Ighalo added: “My sister was a strong United fan. All of us grew up watching Manchester United, we all supported them.

“Mary's husband followed Chelsea, while their children were Manchester City and Liverpool fans, but she stayed loyal to United.

“She always prayed I would sign for United. Even when she came to watch me in the Premier League playing for Watford she hoped I would join United.

“The painful part for me is that I now HAVE signed for United, but she is not here to see it.

“However, I know she is up there watching me.

PRAYING FOR CHINA

DEVOUT Christian Odion Ighalo is praying for China as the deadly coronavirus claims more lives.

The striker, who spent three years in the Chinese Super League and won last year’s CFA Cup final, is anxious health chiefs can halt the spread of the deadly flu.

He said: “It is very sad what is going on in China.

“I am praying for China, for all those who are infected and who have lost their lives.

"China is part of my life, part of my history. I lived there for three years, had no problems and enjoyed my stay.

“It’s one of the best countries I have ever played in, so I pray by God’s grace it is resolved very soon so people can return to a normal life. God bless China.”

Although Ighalo has been training on his own since jetting into Manchester from Shanghai, he rubbished claims he has been banned from United’s Carrington HQ due to fears over the virus.

The rest of the squad are in Spain on a winter break. And he added: “I could not go because I had just arrived from China.

“That’s why I remain here. There is nobody at Carrington, everybody is in Spain.

“This is what we discussed before I came and before the team travelled to Spain.”

“That is why I am going to play with her name on my boots, so she is always with me at Old Trafford or in any game for Manchester United.

“Every goal I score from now until I finish my career will be dedicated to God and to her.

“I have written her name on my special white T-shirt and put her name on my boots. I want to show the world she is always with me.

“It means she can feel me playing at Old Trafford, feel that dream we all prayed for, even though she is not here to see it.

“But she will be on my feet, assisting me on the pitch.”

 Odion Ighalo won the 2019 CFA Cup final with Shanghai Shenhua and is now hoping to pick up silverware for Man Utd
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Devout Christian Ighalo completed his loan from Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua on deadline day last month.

Despite interest from other Premier League and European clubs he was only interested in signing for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer — even if it meant taking a pay-cut on his £300,000-a-week Chinese wages.

However, the player who scored 46 goals during his three seasons in China feared the deal could be wrecked by the coronavirus crisis.

He admitted: “Yeah, I was a bit scared.

“My agent, Atta Aneke, called me from Norway and said United wanted me, but were looking at another striker because I was in China and there was the coronavirus.

“I wanted it to happen, to fulfil a lifetime dream, so joining United was more important to me than money.

“Of course having money is good, but playing for Man United is a dream I have had since I was little.

“I wanted it to happen but I was relaxed. People starting sending me messages, my children were telling me ‘Hey, Papa, I hope it's going to happen’.

“But I told them ‘If it is the will of God, it will happen, if it is not, then it won’t’.

I said ‘No, if it is not United, don’t speak to them. Let’s do the deal with United, I don’t mind a pay cut’

Odion Ighalo

“I was calm until Atta called me and said ‘Man U have decided they want you’. Then I told him to make it happen.

“I had been playing in China for three years and was OK there. I had some offers from Premier League clubs and from Europe.

“But I told my agent ‘If it is not Manchester United I am not coming’, even if it meant taking a pay cut to play for them.

“Some other Premier League club came and offered more money, but I said ‘No, if it is not United, don’t speak to them. Let’s do the deal with United, I don’t mind a pay cut’.

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“Achieving it makes me even more grateful and to become the first Nigerian to play for United is an honour I will cherish for the rest of my life.”

After the loan transfer was agreed, Ighalo flew from Shanghai to Dubai then on to Manchester, as his new team-mates departed for their warm weather training camp in Spain.

Since then, Ighalo has been working with a personal trainer at the Great Britain taekwondo centre near his Lowry Hotel base in Manchester.

But he will join up with his new team-mates tomorrow and is expected to play some part in Monday’s clash at Chelsea.

Ighalo added: “I want to thank the fans for all the messages of support since the day I arrived in Manchester.

“This is the biggest club in the world. I know it’s a new team and a big challenge, but I am going to give my best in every game to make sure we accomplish what we want. God bless all the United fans.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ‘to be handed mega £274m transfer warchest this summer’ starting with £100m Jadon Sancho move
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