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Preview: Manchester United need to keep Old Trafford a fortress against Chelsea in must-win encounter

Manchester United -v- Chelsea

Old Trafford, Manchester

Premier League 2017/18

Sunday 25th February 2018; KO 14:05 GMT

Live on Sky Sports Premier League HD

Manchester United welcome Chelsea at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon. United have the chance to reduce the deficit with Manchester City in the Premier League to 13 points, with City not facing Arsenal in the league until Thursday evening – having to play the North London club for the contention of the Carabao Cup after United’s encounter with Chelsea. United are no longer fighting to contest the destination of the Premier League title as City have a great lead right now. What they are fighting for is to remain in the position they have spent the majority of the season in and to remain in the top for as it is all getting close with just four points separating United in second and Tottenham Hotspur in fifth.

This season has been an improvement for United in terms of moving on in the league. Last season United finished sixth and occupied the places around their eventual finish for much of the season. This season they have been in second place for the majority of the season and did, at one stage, have a cushion in that position which has since gone. In the next few weeks, after the important Chelsea fixture, United will travel to Crystal Palace and welcome Liverpool to Old Trafford. Facing both Chelsea and Liverpool at this stage of the season means that United will need to win both matches to keep some distance between the two sides in the league table.

Form: Both United and Chelsea have lost twice, drawn once and won three matches in the last six in all competitions

Manchester United: DWLWLW – Sevilla 0-0 D, Huddersfield Town 2-0 W, Newcastle United 1-0 L, Huddersfield Town 2-0 W, Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 L, Yeovil Town 4-0 W

Chelsea: DWWLLW – Barcelona 1-1 D, Hull City 4-0 W, West Bromwich Albion 3-0 W, Watford 4-1 L, Bournemouth 3-0 L, Newcastle United 3-0 W

Previous Matches: Manchester United have not lost against Chelsea at Old Trafford since 2013

Manchester United and Chelsea have played 178 matches in the history of both clubs – the first match being played on the 25th December 1905, a 0-0 draw in the old Football League Division Two. United have won 76 of the matches played, drawn 49 and lost 53 times. United do not have a great record against Chelsea recently but at Old Trafford, the last time they were beaten was on the 5th May 2013, a 1-0 defeat with Juan Mata scoring the only goal of the game three minutes from time. In this fixture last season, United won 2-0 with Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera scoring the goals. Earlier this season, United were beaten again at Stamford Bridge, a 1-0 defeat which was an improvement on the 4-0 defeat last season.

Team News: Ander Herrera, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind, Marouane Fellaini, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to miss Chelsea clash

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Ander Herrera is out of the Chelsea clash and could be out for a number of weeks. The manager also confirmed that none of the other injured players will be involved against the reigning Premier League champions as they have not recovered in time. This means that Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind, Marouane Fellaini, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will all be absent. Speaking in his press conference on Friday, Mourinho confirmed:

“Ander [Herrera] is out. I don’t know the final diagnosis but I know he’ll be out for a few weeks. I don’t know how many is a few – two, three, four, five, six weeks – I don’t know, but a few weeks, for sure. Coming back from injury – nobody else.”

Chelsea trio David Luiz, Tiemoue Bakayoko, and Ross Barkley have also been ruled out of the fixture by manager Antonio Conte.

Predicted Starting XI: 

Predicted Score: 

Manchester United 2-1 Chelsea

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