Manchester United -v- Chelsea
Old Trafford, Manchester
Saturday 24 October 2020, KO 17:30 BST
Referee: Martin Atkinson Assistants: Lee Betts, Constantine Hatzidakis
Fourth Official: Jonathan Moss
VAR: Stuart Attwell Assistant VAR: Simon Long
Manchester United will be back in Premier League action on Saturday evening when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side welcomes Frank Lampard’s Chelsea to Old Trafford. United have played twice at the Theatre of Dreams in the Premier League so far this season, losing 3-1 to Crystal Palace in their first match of the season and 6-1 to Tottenham Hotspur almost three weeks ago. United responded to that defeat to Spurs with a 4-1 away win over Newcastle United, also returning to the UEFA Champions League in style with a 2-1 victory over French champions and finalists of the competition last season; Paris Saint-Germain. A great win for United.
United will be seeking to get their first home win of the season, which would see United (currently having six points) rise above Chelsea (currently having eight points). It would also better their league position, although that could change before the last matches are played on Monday evening. Chelsea, however, are seeking to go four matches without defeat and based on their current form, will be in need of a victory, not that Lampard will face any of the same kind of criticism that Solskjaer has faced already this season. United, will also be looking to beat Chelsea three times in a row in the Premier League, winning both matches, home and away last season.
Marcus Rashford scored a brace in this fixture last season and considering the fact he’s scored four goals already this season, including the winner against PSG on Tuesday, he could become the first United player to scored two goals (or more) in back to back home matches against Chelsea, which will be something he would be aiming for. If Edinson Cavani is passed fit to face Chelsea, making his Premier League debut, he could become United’s second oldest debutant scorer at 33 years and 253 days after Zlatan Ibrahimovic who scored his debut goal against Bournemouth on the 14 August 2016 aged 34 years and 316 days.
Manchester United: WWLWWW
Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 W, Newcastle United 4-1 W, Tottenham Hotspur 6-1 L, Brighton and Hove Albion 3-0 W, Brighton 3-2 W, Luton Town 3-0 W
Sevilla 0-0 D, Southampton 3-3 D, Crystal Palace 4-0 W, Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 (5-4) L, West Bromwich Albion 3-3 D, Barnsley 6-0 W
Top Scorers: 17 goals scored by United, 20 scored by Chelsea this season. Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Kai Havertz lead with four goals each so far…
Manchester United Goals: 4 – Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, 2 – Juan Mata, 1 – Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Donny van de Beek, Harry Maguire, Mason Greenwood, Own Goal, Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay
United have gone from strength to strength after that 1-6 defeat to Spurs at Old Trafford almost three weeks ago. Back then, United seemed to not be in the zone in terms of fitness or team strength but the last two matches, which were played after the international break, saw United dominate Newcastle and play for the victory, also play a much better tactical match against PSG, winning for the second time in a row at the Parc des Princes. If United can continue to push for the results, they will start to head into the right direction after a terrible start to the season. Solskjaer has a plan and I am confident that he knows which way he is going.
Chelsea Goals: 4 – Kai Havertz, 3 – Jorginho, Timo Werner, 2 – Tammy Abraham, Kurt Zouma, 1 – Ben Chilwell, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Mason Mount, Olivier Giroud, Reece James, Ross Barkley
Chelsea supporters seem to think that the signings that the club has made this season has turned the club into title contenders, but in reality, that really does not look like the case yet. Lampard should have had a lot worse criticism than Solskjaer this season but because he is English and the fact that he played for Chelsea, before doing the dirty and ending up playing for Manchester City, he seems to escape criticism, which seems so wrong. The draw against Spurs looks like a good result considering United’s defeat against them but the draws against Sevilla (0-0), Southampton (3-3) and West Bromwich Albion (3-3) show Chelsea’s weaknesses for all to see.
Team News: United rocked by injury once again which could see another lineup similar to the one which played against Paris Saint-Germain earlier in the week.
United have six players who could all miss the clash with Chelsea at the Theatre of Dreams on Saturday evening; Eric Bailly (muscle), Harry Maguire (buttock), Mason Greenwood (niggle), Jesse Lingard (other), Edinson Cavani (fitness), Anthony Martial (suspended – two matches). There would have been seven but Phil Jones (knee) was not named in the Premier League squad along with Sergio Romero so their futures are both up in the air. Bailly and Martial are both ruled out of the match whereas Cavani has a 75% chance of playing against Chelsea with Greenwood, Maguire and Lingard all having a 50% chance of featuring for the Red Devils.
Chelsea have just one injury heading into the clash with United at Old Trafford; Billy Gilmour (knee). New goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and defender Thiago Silva both played against Sevilla in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday evening so both could be ready to start against United this weekend, boosting Chelsea’s chances of overcoming their 4-0 defeat in this fixture last season. Hakim Ziyech could also feature for the Blues against United, which could be tricky for United but would also see Ziyech and Donny van de Beek reunite after they both left Ajax this summer. It is sure to be an interesting match after United escapades in Paris.
Predicted Starting XI: Edinson Cavani to make his United debut against Chelsea? Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay to play in midfield? Axel Tuanzebe and Victor Lindelof to start in central midfield? Alex Telles to start at left-back?
Solskjaer has now seen two good results in a row for his club; the 4-1 victory over Newcastle and the 2-1 victory over PSG. United’s confidence will be much higher now than it was after the 1-6 defeat to Spurs almost three weeks ago. Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes and leading in terms of goals scored and both should feature for United. Edinson Cavani could make his United debut after missing the victory over his former club. Alex Telles played well at left-wing-back, so should start in a back four in the left-back position. Axel Tuanzebe did so well against PSG that he should start again, with Victor Lindelof of Harry Maguire is not fit to start.
Match Prediction: 17 wins for United, 18 for Chelsea with 21 draws. Could this be the 18th victory over Chelsea for United this weekend?
United have met Chelsea 56 times in the Premier League. United have won 17 times with Chelsea winning 18 times with 21 matches being drawn. United have scored 72 goals, whilst Chelsea have scored 71 goals. United won five penalties, scoring four (80%) with Chelsea winning two scoring two (100%). United have kept 14 clean sheets with Chelsea keeping 17. Discipline: United’s players have been shown a total of 123 yellow cards with four United players being sent off. Chelsea’s players have been shown a total of 135 yellow cards with five players being sent off. It all seems pretty even at this stage with United seeking to keep their recent record.
Last season, United beat Chelsea at Old Trafford at the start of the Premier League season in a 4-0 thriller with Marcus Rashford scoring a brace (18′ penalty and 67′), and both Anthony Martial and Daniel James scoring a goal each. At Stamford Bridge in the Premier League, United were also victorious over Frank Lampard’s side in a 2-0 thriller which saw both Anthony Martial and Harry Maguire score the goals with United young the double over Chelsea in the league for the first time in a good few years. United met Chelsea four times last season, winning 2-1 in the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup (Rashford brace) but losing 3-1 in the FA Cup semi-final.
Manchester United 3-1 Chelsea
Written by John Walker