Preview: Carrick to set United up for a victory over Chelsea? With Rangnick getting closer, spirits will rise

Chelsea -v- Manchester United

Premier League

Stamford Bridge, London

Sunday 28 November 2021, KO 16:30 GMT

Referee: Anthony Taylor Assistants: Gary Beswick, Adam Nunn

Fourth Official: David Coote

VAR: Chris Kavanagh Assistant VAR: Dan Robathan

Manchester United return to Premier League action on Sunday as they face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. United have not won in the league since they beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 at the end of October, previously winning in the league in mid-September when they beat West Ham United 2-1. United’s poor form saw the end for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who was sacked after the 4-1 defeat to Watford last weekend with Michael Carrick taking the reigns temporarily. Carrick led United to a 2-0 victory over Villarreal in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday evening, seeing his side top the group and earning a place in the knockout stages this season.

Ralf Rangnick is expected to sign a six month deal to be United’s interim manager for the remainder of the season, then take up a two-year consultancy spell at the club.Because of the need for a work permit in the United Kingdom, which will not be in action before Sunday’s match, it is expected that Rangnick will take charge of his first United fixture on Thursday with United taking on Arsenal at Old Trafford in a match that will be live on Amazon Prime in the UK. United are expected to endure a few days training with the interim manager, which should hopefully see United adopt a better playing style post-Solskjaer.

Manchester United – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: WLLDWL

Villarreal 2-0 W, Watford 4-1 L, Manchester City 2-0 L, Atalanta 2-2 D, Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 W, Liverpool 5-0 L

Goals: 10 – Cristiano Ronaldo, 4 – Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood, 3 – Marcus Rashford, 2 – Jesse Lingard, 1 – Edinson Cavani, Fred, Anthony Martial, Jadon Sancho, Alex Telles, Donny van de Beek

Assists: 9 – Bruno Fernandes, 7 – Paul Pogba, 2 – Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luke Shaw, 1 – Mason Greenwood, Jesse Lingard, Raphael Varane

Chelsea – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: WWDWWW

Juventus 4-0 W, Leicester City 3-0 W, Burnley 1-1 D, Malmo FF 1-0 W, Newcastle United 3-0 W, Southampton 1-1 (4-3 penalties) W

Goals: 5 – Reece James, 4 – Kai Havertz, Romelu Lukaku, 3 – Trevoh Chalobah, Ben Chilwell, Jorginho, Mason Mount, Timo Werner, 2 – Callum Hudson-Odoi, N’Golo Kanté, Christian Pulisic, Antonio Rüdiger, 1 – Marcos Alonso, Andreas Christensen, Mateo Kovacic, Thiago Silva, Hakim Ziyech

Assists: 5 – Reece James, Mateo Kovacic, 3 – César Azpilicueta, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Hakim Ziyech, 2 – Callum Hudson-Odoi, Mason Mount, 1 – Marcos Alonso, Ben Chilwell, Jorginho, Antonio Rudiger, Thiago Silva, Timo Werner

Previous meetings with Chelsea and their connections with Manchester United.

United and Chelsea have met a total of 58 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 17 times, drawn 23 times with Chelsea winning the remaining 18 matches. United have scored 72 goals, winning five penalties and scoring four of them. Chelsea have scored 71 goals, winning two penalties and scoring both of them. United have kept a total of 16 clean sheets with Chelsea keeping 19. United players have been shown a total of 128 yellow cards and four red cards in this fixture with Chelsea players shown a total of 137 yellow cards and six red cards. This is going to be a fiery encounter at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

There is a rather vast history between United and Chelsea with many players donning the shirts of both clubs. Currently, both Nemanja Matic and Juan Mata have played for both and are in with a chance of featuring against their former club this weekend. Romelu Lukaku could feature against United for the first time since he left the Theatre of Dreams – he re-signed for Chelsea in the summer. Radamel Falcao, Juan Sebastian Veron, Mark Bosnich, Mark Hughes, Paul Parker, George Graham, Mal Donaghy and the late Ray Wilkins, a player both sets of supporters will hold immense respect for, have also featured for both clubs in the past.

Team News: United could have up to seven players out of action with four already ruled out; Chelsea have two players ruled out and a further two subject to late fitness tests.

Paul Pogba (Thigh), Mason Greenwood (Illness) and Raphael Varane (Thigh) have all been ruled out of the clash with Chelsea due to injury. Harry Maguire is suspended followings red card against Watford last weekend. This will cause some problems for Carrick regarding the defence as he has few options with Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones and Teden Mengi. Edinson Cavani (Tendon) has a 25% chance of featuring for United, which is also the same for Luke Shaw (Head) but Fred (Ankle) has a 50% chance of featuring, which could be necessary for United as they have a depleted midfield at this time. This is a big game for United.

Ben Chilwell (Knee) and Mateo Kovacic (Thigh) have been ruled out of the visit of United to Stamford Bridge on Sunday – not that Chelsea will be worried as they have a good squad to replace them with. N’Golo Kante (Knee) has a 25% chance of featuring for Chelsea this weekend, which will be a blow for them. Of course, there is a chance he could be involved in some respect. Kai Havertz (Thigh) has a 75% chance of featuring for Chelsea, which is a much better chance than Kante, so it would be likely that he is involved at some point in the match. Thomas Tuchel will be seeking to continue Chelsea’s great start to the season; United will need to be wary.

Predicted Starting XI: Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho to lead the line against Chelsea; midfield three to support the attack and defence?

Carrick will need to work with the squad he has ahead of this match with injury and suspension hampering his team selection at this time. United played well in the 2-0 victory over Villarreal earlier in the week, despite United being cautious a lot of the time, especially before the opening goal of the match. Chelsea will be a different kind of opposition as they can devastate with their attacking line, even with the fact that many of the clubs stars seem to have been benched by firing players at this time. It just shows that Thomas Tuchel is doing at the club which is something that Rangnick could instil at United when he takes charge of the squad.

I would expect David De Gea to keep his place in the squad for this match, but moving forward, Dean Henderson could be trusted by Rangnick so the Spaniard will need to show his ability. In defence, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, despite not having a good performance on Tuesday, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Alex Telles will complete the back four. This is not ideal against Chelsea but will have to do. Perhaps Raphaël Varane could be fit enough for the bench – here’s hoping. In midfield, Scott McTominay, Donny van de Beek and Bruno Fernandes should all be involved. In attack, Marcus Rashford, Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho could start.

Match Prediction: United have not been beaten by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge since the 5 November 2017 with United earning three wins and two draws in the last five visits. That is not all that bad, considering.

Last season, United and Chelsea battled out two 0-0 draws at both Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford. They were not the results that anyone had wanted but it just showed how Chelsea had improved from the previous season. United were last beaten by Chelsea in the Emirates FA Cup semi-final from the 2019/20 season after the delay because of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown. It was a 2-1 victory for Chelsea. Prior to that, United had gone six matches without a defeat, winning four and drawing twice, which is a positive. United’s form prior to those matches was not great, especially at Stamford Bridge.

At the time of writing, Chelsea sit at the top of the Premier League table having 12 points more than United, who lie in eighth place. United will need to start clawing back some points to have any chance of challenging for a top four place in the league this season, let alone challenging for the league title. That cannot be ruled out at this time with only 12 matches played so far this season. December will be big month for United and Rangnick and he will be expected to push United into the right direction to have them performing to the right standards and winning matches once again. United have a good squad but recently they have been lost.

Chelsea 2-3 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

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I support Manchester United, the greatest English football team to have ever existed. Bruno Fernandes is the latest in a long line of players with great ability to play for the club. I idolised Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Eric Cantona growing up.