Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s romance at Manchester United seems to have come to an abrupt end to the extent that they look bereft of any ideas and hopes for another win. 2 wins in their last 9 matches makes for grim reading, especially in their hopes of finishing in the top 4.
Manchester United vs Chelsea Preview and Prediction
The good news for the Red Devils is that their home match with Chelsea still represents a meaningful 6 pointer against a direct rival a mere 3 points ahead. The major question will be if a win over the Blues is enough to get them into the promised land of Champions League qualification.
Fact of Interest:
- Draws are rare between these sides in recent encounters, with only one draw in the last 8 competitive matches.
- Chelsea haven’t won at Old Trafford since their 1-0 win in May 2013. Since then, 5 matches have passed with 3 draws and Man Utd winning the last two home matches against Chelsea.
- Man Utd have won 10 of 17 home league games this season, having lost twice, back in August to Spurs, and the most recent match against Manchester City, which ended a 14 match home unbeaten streak in Premier League competition.
- Chelsea have won 9 of 17 away league games. Their recent form is mixed, having alternated away defeats to Everton and Liverpool with wins over Fulham and Cardiff.
- Man Utd are most dangerous in the final 15 minutes before halftime and fulltime, having scored 46% of the goals thus far this season in those two 15 minute periods.
- Chelsea have scored nearly a third of their goals this season thus far in the last 15 minutes of their matches. 62% of their goals have been scored in the 2nd half of their matches.
- Romelu Lukaku has scored 3 goals in 12 appearances against Chelsea, with one scored while playing in a Man United shirt.
- Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford have both scored once in 7 and 8 appearances against Chelsea respectively.
- Anthony Martial has scored 2 goals in 7 appearances against Chelsea, both scored in the 2-2 draw earlier this season at Stamford Bridge.
- Marcus Rashford has scored 2 goals in 7 appearances against Chelsea.
- Eden Hazard has scored 5 goals in 18 appearances against Man Utd.
- Willian and Alvaro Morata have both scored once in 13 and 4 appearances against Man Utd respectively.
- Pedro and Olivier Giroud have both scored 2 goals in 9 and 14 appearances against Man Utd respectively.
Expected Line-ups and Tactical Considerations:
During this recent lean spell of results, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has tried to be versatile with his tactical approach, with 433, 4231, 352 and more recently (against Man City) 532 variations to try and manage more expansive opposition. Chelsea is a more tentative opponent, so the Red Devils may have the benefit of using more assertion against them. The backline should repeat itself with David De Gea, Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling, Luke Shaw and Ashley Young. The combative, yet creatively dulled midfield of Pogba, Fred and Pereira is also primed to feature again, while upfront, a combination of Rashford, Lukaku and Lingard is expected.
Sarri’s challenges remain ongoing challenges with consistency but 5 wins from the last 7 matches in all competitions will at least give them some hope of improvements. As such, expect the Italian’s 433 to continue with Kepa, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Luiz and Emerson in the backline. Given the importance of the match, the recently preferred configuration of Kante and Loftus-Cheek alongside Jorginho should continue in contrast to the inconsistent options of Kovacic and Barkley. Upfront, Callum Hudson-Odoi will likely continue his run of appearances with Higuain and Eden Hazard.
|Head to Head||Man Utd||Chelsea|
|Current Season Record||Played 35, Won 19, Lost 9||Played 35, Won 20, Lost 8|
|Current Season Top Scorers||Pogba (13), Lukaku (12)||Hazard (16), Pedro (8)|
|Last 10 Competitive Matches||Man Utd 3 Wins, 3 Draws, Chelsea 4 Wins|
|Last 10 Competitive Matches at Old Trafford||Man Utd 5 Wins, 4 Draws, Chelsea 1 Win|
|Last Season’s Result||Man Utd 2-1 Chelsea|
|Odds of Interest (as at 24 Apr)||Man Utd||Chelsea|
|Odds – Result (Draw = 2.39)||1.69||1.66|
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The morale couldn’t be lower at Old Trafford; Solskjaer went from presiding over Man Utd’s best run this season to their worst, and their 7 defeats in 9 matches couldn’t have come at a worse time. The quality of Barcelona and Man City as opponents cannot be understated, but that hardly compensates for the questions over player attitudes, squad quality and tactical depth that now surround the Norwegian and his Red Devils.
Chelsea aren’t tearing up the league with scintillating form, but apart from a difficult match away to Anfield and a tepid draw at home to Burnley, the Blues have been solid in picking up wins in both European and league competition. Chelsea now have a very strong chance to set themselves firmly into top 4 with both Arsenal and Man Utd losing crucial matches at the tail end of this season.
History may not necessarily favour Chelsea in recent respects, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t smell blood with a wounded Man Utd trying to restore confidence and respect both in fans and the locker room. The Blues will also be especially conscious of the fact that while Europa League glory may beckon, Champions League qualification is a offered by both top 4 and European success, and Sarri’s cautious nature is unlikely to make him trade off one versus the other. As such, it’s most likely that Chelsea will break their 6 year Old Trafford duck and take away 3 points from Old Trafford, likely condemning Man Utd to a Europe-less 2019/20.
Please note betting odds quoted are correct at time of publication and are subject to change. View the latest EPL Betting Odds