Where: Old Trafford, Manchester
When: Wednesday, December 6
Manchester United and Chelsea are getting up to 200 games played against each other. They have played 193 times in all competitive competitions, with United winning 82 of those games. The one that still stings the Blues the most is when United beat Chelsea on penalties to win the 2007-08 Champions League in the first-ever all-English final.
John Terry and Cristiano Ronaldo (of all people) missed their spot kicks before Nicolas Anelka missed in sudden death for Chelsea following a successful spot kick by Ryan Giggs
Recently, this has been a fixture Manchester United don’t lose. The Blues beat the Red Devils 1-0 at Stanford Bridge back in November 2017. Since then, United have won four of the 11 meetings between the two giants, and the other seven games have ended up as draws.
Chelsea’s last win in the Premier League at Old Trafford was over a decade ago, with their 1-0 victory in May 2013 coming behind a goal from future United player Juan Mata.
The Red Devils are in the middle of another weird season. They sit seventh on the log with 24 points from their 14 games. They are just five points off of a Champions League spot (fourth in the Premier League), yet manager Eric ten Hag still hasn’t done enough to win over the Old Trafford faithful with his style of play.
One big issue that Ten Hag faces – other than owners who seem intent on running the club into a shell of its former self – is on the injury front. United will be without a host of first-team players like Casemiro, Lisandro Martinez, Christian Erikson, and Jonny Evans, all struggling for fitness. The injury bug at Old Trafford also looks set to cost Mason Mount a chance to play against the club that sold him last summer.
A big issue for United at home has been goals. They have failed to score in the first half in six of their seven home Premier League games this season, which puts massive pressure on their defense to keep them in games.
Chelsea is once again in a mid-table position that makes no sense, given the money that owner Todd Bowley has paid to put this squad together. They are tenth in the league on 19 points from 14 games, five points behind United and just six points ahead of 16th-placed Bournemouth.
If we are being kind, the argument is that Chelsea’s players need games to fit into the team with so many new arrivals. Chelsea has also had to deal with injuries disrupting the flow of the side that Mauricio Pochettino would like to put on the pitch. Christopher Nkunku, Romeo Lavia, and Ben Chillwell are just three of the names Chelsea have in the treatment ward, with Nkunku still yet to play after his summer arrival.
Reece James and Marc Cucurella return from suspension, meaning that Chelsea will at least have fullbacks as an option after playing four centrebacks across the backline at the weekend. Conor Gallagher replaces them as banned after a red card against Brighton on Saturday.
There have been a total of 26 Premier League draws between United and Chelsea. This is more draws than between any pair of teams in the history of the completion. Given the up-and-down form of both sides, playing the draw at 26/10 is the clear option on Wednesday night. Given that Chelsea haven’t kept a clean sheet in seven games – and given the performances of United goalkeeper Andre Onana of late – making a bet on a score draw is also worth considering.