Manchester United host Chelsea at Old Trafford in the midweek round of Premier League fixtures with both teams off the pace in this season’s league campaign. Read on for Last Word on Football’s preview and prediction for Manchester United vs Chelsea.
Manchester United vs Chelsea Prediction – Opportunity for Both Sides to Make a Mini-Statement
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Poor Performances in Big Games Adding to Red Devils’ Woes
There continues to be an abundance of off-the-field issues to comment on but it is matters on the pitch which are the ultimate concern for Erik ten Hag and his squad. The defeat at Newcastle was narrow on the scoreline, but there was a significant gap in terms of quality between the two teams and this will be a major concern for United, who had put in improving displays against Galatasaray and Everton.
The loss at St. James’ Park continues this incredible run where Manchester United have not picked up a point against a team currently in the top half of the table heading into this round of fixtures. If this is coupled with the defeat to Bayern Munich and just the one point collected from two games with Galatasaray then there is a mentality problem heading into the bigger fixtures which needs to be addressed.
It is six wins and five defeats at Old Trafford in all competitions so it is difficult to be optimistic ahead of the Blues’ visit, but Mauricio Pochettino’s side have problems of their own to contend with. It is five wins from seven in Premier League fixtures despite all of the criticisms levelled at the team so there is a relatively decent run of form to work with domestically ahead of a run that will define the manager’s time in charge.
Goals Aplenty as Forwards Begin to Click
The start of the season began as the previous one had ended for Chelsea with disjointed performances ensuring that Poch’s reign never really took off early on, but it is now just two defeats from ten in all competitions and a total of 25 goals shared between Chelsea and the opposition across the last five games.
There are question marks around some of the defending but the more expansive style has allowed Nicolas Jackson (six), Raheem Sterling (Five), Cole Palmer (Four), Enzo Fernandez and Mykhailo Mudryk (Both Two) to flourish in front of goal.
The 3-2 win over Brighton last time out was achieved with ten men for more than 45 minutes and this showed the team can be resolute while also keeping the the creativity in forward areas that has been on display over the last five games. There are signs that when everyone is available, there is potential for an exciting side here that can be moulded by the manager.
This Chelsea team is on the right path, unlike opponents Manchester United, but they must find the right balance between attack and defence. It should be an interesting watch until Poch can find the right formula. Potentially key players are still ruled out with Christopher Nkunku, Ben Chillwell, Wesley Fofana and Romeo Lavia all still to be added into the mix.
There is very little to separate these two in recent history. Five of the last six meetings have ended in draws, either 1-1 or 0-0. The exception to the rule was the most recent fixture in May when Manchester United ran out 4-1 winners over a poor Chelsea side under Frank Lampard. Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial and Casemiro were the scorers at Old Trafford.
The last Chelsea success was in the FA Cup semi-finals in July 2020 and there was a victory for the Blues in the 2018 FA Cup final. The last Chelsea league victory was in November 2017 and the last Premier League win at Old Trafford was in May 2013 when Juan Mata scored late on against his future employers. That encounter was one of the final games of Sir Alex’s Ferguson legendary reign in charge of Manchester United.
Manchester United vs Chelsea Prediction
Both of these big names pose a nightmare in terms of making a prediction, as it is difficult to envisage what sort of performance we are going to get from either one. Manchester United have been dreadful in games against opponents in the top half of the table and with all of the discontent at the club recently, it is hard to give them much of a chance against Chelsea, who are scoring goals at an impressive rate in recent weeks.
There will be chances for both sides and it does seem as if a victory would be massive for either one as it could be seen as a statement of their intent ahead of the festive fixture list. We have been waiting all season for a statement from the Red Devils and it probably will not happen here, even against a side that sits 10th ahead of this round of fixtures.
Attacking players could prosper here and should find space and that may result in goals but Chelsea are in a slightly better place despite their league position, so an away win is on the cards to add to the problems facing Ten Hag.