Match Preview: Chelsea vs Manchester United

After a successful trip to Spain during the week, Manchester United head to the capital to take on an in-form Chelsea side.

It will likely be Michael Carrick’s final game as interim manager before Ralf Rangnick takes over for the remainder of the season, United will be hoping to secure a vital three points and put an end to their losing streak.

The match will be shown live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League. Click here to sign up to NordVPN, where you can stream matches safely and securely.

Form Guide

The Red Devils have struggled to pick up results domestically in recent weeks being humiliated by Liverpool, Manchester City and most recently, relegation-battling, Watford.

However, after winning 2-0 away to Villarreal, Carrick will be hoping his side have turned a corner. The club currently sits in eighth and have one of the worst defensive records in the division conceding 21 goals in 12 games which is the third-worst record in the league behind Newcastle United (20th) and Norwich City (19th).

Meanwhile, United’s opposition on Sunday are top of the league, have the best defensive record conceding only four goals and have scored a total of 30. The Blues come into this game in fine form, beating Juventus 4-0 on Tuesday and Leicester City 3-0 last weekend. This will no doubt prove a scary proposition for a United side who have been leaking goals for fun in the league.

But having looked rejuvenated in their first game since Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s sacking, the club will be hoping to avoid defeat at the very least to build momentum going into the first game of the Rangnick era.

Team News

Harry Maguire will miss out through suspension after his red card at Vicarage Road last weekend. Paul Pogba also remains out through injury despite completing his three match suspension after his red card against Liverpool. Raphaël Varane is still out with an injury sustained against Atalanta in Bergamo.

Striking duo, Mason Greenwood and Edinson Cavani, will also likely remain unavailable with the former suffering with Covid and the latter still recovering from a tendon issue.

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Fred twisted his ankle against Villarreal, making him a potential doubt for this weekend’s fixture. Luke Shaw could potentially feature again after suffering head knocks against both Man City and Watford.

Chelsea will be without Ben Chilwell and midfield engine, N’Golo Kanté who picked up injuries against Juventus. Mateo Kovacic is another doubt but Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner look likely to be available for selection after varying periods out injured.

Ones to watch

Reece James has proven to be an outstanding threat from right wing-back this season for the West London club with 10 goals involvements in 14 games. This has been enough for the Englishman to establish himself as his side’s top goalscorer in addition to having the joint-most assists with the aforementioned Kovacic.

Chelsea have proven to be more of a collective threat than an individual one with 17 different goal-scorers this season. The spreading around of the goals has been crucial to Thomas Tuchel’s side as their two main striking options Werner and Lukaku have been out with knocks.

The Belgian centre forward still managed to bag four goals before his lay-off and will no doubt be looking to get back amongst the goals against his former side.

After the impact they had coming off the bench in the Champions League, Michael Carrick will be hoping Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford can do something similar in this game. Despite his side’s poor form, Bruno has managed 4 goals and 8 assists in 18 games and will be looking to show he can influence the outcome in fixtures against one of the top teams in the division.

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Victor Lindelof will also be a key player for Manchester United in dealing with the attacking threat of the home side considering United’s other first-choice centre backs, Varane and Maguire, are out through injury and suspension. The Swede could also prove to be important going forward for Carrick’s side having already provided two assists with his raking long balls over the top and his driving runs forward with the ball may also help aid ball progression.

Predicted line-up

David De Gea;

Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Luke Shaw;

Fred, Scott McTominay;

Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho;

Cristiano Ronaldo

Do. Not. Lose.

Manchester United could potentially be 9 points off the top four if results go against them before the game. But with fourth-placed West Ham taking on a dominant City side, there’s a real chance for United to close the gap on West Ham to three points.

Avoiding defeat could also add momentum going into another big fixture against Arsenal on Thursday at Old Trafford and give Ralf Rangnick something to build on once he’s appointed.

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