It's a massive encounter at Old Trafford for the second match running as Manchester United welcome Chelsea to town in the Premier League in a match that could prove decisive in the race for the top four.
Group EPL Old Trafford, Manchester, England
Key Stat: The home side haven’t lost any of the last 11 matches in this fixture that have taken place in the Premier League.
Expert Verdict: After losing seven of their last nine in all competitions, Manchester United will only be taking a little bit of solace because of the above stat. And the fact that Chelsea are just so hard to read. Chelsea won't change their tactical approach for anything, while United just continue to look impotent. Despite that fact, Solskjaer can outsmart the Blues' management team simply by altering his approach at times. That pays off as the Red Devils finally bounce back.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer continues to be without defenders Antonio Valencia and Eric Bailly and midfielder Ander Herrera due to injuries.
United’s one shot against City was to get the ball forward quickly over the top. It didn’t quite work out, but you can expect for there to be more cracks open against the Blues. Marcus Rashford can exploit that with his pace as he seeks to add to his ten goals scored on the season. Goalkeeper David de Gea did little to paint himself in glory on Wednesday against City, so there will be a lot of pressure upon him here to perform well. Look for him to bounce back, or he, too, could be headed out the door along with others this summer.
Manchester United have four losses and a win in their last five matches:
0-2 home loss vs Manchester City
4-0 loss at Everton
3-0 loss at Barcelona (UCL)
2-1 home win vs West Ham
0-1 home loss vs Barcelona (UCL)
Defenders:Young, Darmian, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw
Midfielders:Matic, Pogba, Fred
Maurizio Sarri got bad news in the form of Callum Hudson-Odoi, who looks set to be out for months after picking up an injury in the draw to Burnley on Monday. He joins defender Antonio Rudiger with injuries that will keep the pair out.
Like it or not, N’Golo Kante is more than a destructive, ball-winning midfielder now. And it might not be his best position, but he’s still had tremendous showings in there. He scored in the draw against Burnley after a rangy run into the box, and he could use his pace and energy to really bother United’s tepid back line even more here. Eden Hazard, a man United knows all too well, was the man that set him up. That made it 13 assists on the season, going along with the 16 goals he scored, showing his importance, and perhaps over reliance by the Blues, for their cause.
Chelsea have a draw, three wins, and a loss in their last five matches:
2-2 home draw vs Burnley
4-3 home win vs Sparta Prague (UEL)
2-0 loss at Liverpool
0-1 win at Sparta Prague (UEL)
2-0 home win vs West Ham
Defenders:Azpilicueta, Christensen, David Luiz, Emerson
Midfielders:Kante, Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek
Forwards:Pedro, Hazard, Higuain
This match will mark the 165th time Chelsea and Manchester United have faced off. So far, United lead the way with 66 wins, 52 losses, and 46 draws.
Here's a look at the last five results:
Feb 18, 2019: Chelsea 0-2 United (FA Cup)
Oct 20, 2018: Chelsea 2-2 United
May 19, 2018: Chelsea 1-0 United (FA Cup)
Feb 25, 2018: United 2-1 Chelsea
Nov 5, 2017: Chelsea 1-0 United
Bet365 have the following odds available for this match:
Manchester United are at 13/8 to win, a draw is at 23/10, and a Chelsea win is at 13/8.
Manchester United will begin this weekend’s round in sixth place in the Premier League on 64 points with only three matches left to play. Time is running out on their chances to make the Champions League, but this match offers them a lifeline. They need a win to catch the Blues on points. Then, it will be a battle between them, Arsenal, and the aforementioned Blues for the one spot. This is the only bullet left in their chamber as well, so they must make it work despite the fact that they have lost seven of their last nine in all comps.
Remaining Fixtures: vs Chelsea, @ Huddersfield, vs Cardiff
Chelsea start this match with a slightly better view of things than United, in spite of what has been an honestly horrible way of going about things. They still have this route as well as the Europa League that could get them into the Champions League for next season, and they also have three points over United. It would be easy to assume that they could just play a draw here, but they can’t afford to do that due to Arsenal potentially surpassing them. That means they have to go for the win, which they have failed to get in the past two outings.
Remaining Fixtures: @ Manchester United, vs Watford, @ Leicester
The Red Devils have 35 points from their 17 fixtures at home this season, the worst points total of any of the top six sides to date. They have only lost twice at Old Trafford, however, with one of them being against rivals Manchester City on Wednesday night. They also have picked up ten points there in their last five matches, so it’s not all awful news for them ahead of this tough fixture.
The Blues have really been hit or miss of late away from Stamford Bridge and in general as well. Overall, they have nine wins and seven losses, with just one draw, when playing away from their home stadium. That has carried over to their recent form with three losses- and two wins sandwiched in there- from their last five games on the road. It doesn’t suggest anything great, does it?
Both teams scoring, via Ladbrokes, is at 4/6.
Betfair have Hazard scoring at 2.8.
It won’t be easy, but United absolutely have to have this. There are no more lingering excuses to be had over the title race. This is all about them, and they have to take this shot from the last chance saloon or be marooned from the Champions League yet again.