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Preview: Manchester United vs Chelsea – prediction, team news, line-ups

Seeking amends for another dismal Premier League weekend, Manchester United entertain mid-table rivals Chelsea in Wednesday’s blockbuster at Old Trafford. 

Issues are piling up for under-pressure manager Erik ten Hag following a disheartening 1-0 defeat at Newcastle United on Saturday.

Anthony Gordon’s second-half winner condemned United to a tenth loss in 11 top-flight away encounters against top-nine sides since the start of last season (D1).

However, the result itself wasn’t as much of a problem, but the Red Devils’ disjointed performance at St James’ Park left ten Hag with more questions than answers. 

Man United attempted just one shot on target while allowing Newcastle to rack up a resounding 2.98 xG, only a few days after letting a two-goal cushion slip through their fingers in a 3-3 draw against Galatasaray.

With United’s hopes of making it out of the Champions League group stage reduced to a bare minimum going into a final-round clash against Bayern Munich, making strides in the Premier League is imperative. 

Ten Hag needs every encouragement he can get in these uncertain times, and beating Chelsea could be what the doctor ordered as the Red Devils bid to haul back a five-point deficit on fourth-placed Aston Villa. 

Like their hosts, Mauricio Pochettino’s side fell victim to Newcastle’s home prowess on their last Premier League travel, finishing on the receiving end of a 4-1 scoreline. 

However, the 10-man Blues bounced back at the weekend with a spirited 3-2 home triumph against Brighton & Hove Albion, setting themselves up nicely for this traditionally unpleasant trip to Manchester.

Match Preview

Not since Sir Alex Ferguson’s last season in charge have Man Utd lost a home game against Chelsea, clocking an impressive ten-match unbeaten H2H run at Old Trafford (W4, D6).

Ten Hag must use United’s long-standing dominance in this fixture to orchestrate a breakaway from his side’s dire form against teams from the upper half of the table. 

Newcastle’s triumph left the Red Devils without a single point from five Premier League showdowns against the top-ten clubs this season (L5), casting further doubt on the Dutchman’s managerial credentials. 

His attackers have undoubtedly let him down. Apart from Crystal Palace and the bottom four, no side has scored fewer league goals than Man Utd (16) this term.

In a crusade for breaking their ‘Man United hoodoo,’ having gone winless in the last 11 Premier League meetings between the sides (D7, L4), Chelsea take this mouth-watering trip without stand-in captain Conor Gallagher.

His expulsion against Brighton had its hand in the Blues’ fourth consecutive failed attempt to keep a clean sheet in top-flight action, a feat they last achieved at Old Trafford in a 0-0 draw in December 2015.

Given the London outfit’s precarious position in the standings, Pochettino cannot settle for a draw, even though it has been a common theme in this fixture. 

Man United and Chelsea have drawn the most games (26) in Premier League history. Fourteen of those stalemates finished 1-1, representing the most common final score in the competition. 

Team News

Christian Eriksen, Casemiro, Lisandro Martinez, Tyrell Malacia and Jonny Evans are still in the treatment room. Mason Mount is unlikely to face his former club, having just returned to training from a calf injury.

After Diogo Dalot’s disappointing showing on Tyneside, Luka Shaw could move back to his natural left-back position, paving the way for Victor Lindelof’s reintroduction into the starting XI.

Malo Gusto, Wesley Fofana, Carney Chukwuemeka, Trevoh Chalobah and Ben Chilwell remain out for Chelsea, but Christopher Nkunku and Romeo Lavia are edging closer to full recovery.

Gallagher won’t be part of the travelling squad, but Reece James is back from suspension.

Manchester United potential starting line-up:

(4-2-3-1): Andre Onana; Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw; Scott McTominay, Sofyan Amrabat; Antony, Bruno Fernandes, Alejandro Garnacho; Rasmus Hojlund.

Chelsea potential starting line-up:

(4-2-3-1): Robert Sanchez; Reece James, Thiago Silva, Benoit Badiashile, Levi Colwill; Enzo Fernandez, Moises Caicedo; Cole Palmer, Raheem Sterling, Mykhailo Mudryk; Nicolas Jackson. 

We Say: Manchester United 2-1 Chelsea

Now’s the time for Man United to show what they’re made of and prove they’re capable of going toe-to-toe with top teams and not just relegation-threatened opposition. 

Chelsea’s defensive woes are well-documented, and Ten Hag has more than enough ammunition to break down the visitors’ porous backline at least twice.