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Preview: United need a result against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge – unbeaten in four visits. Cavani, Rashford, Fernandes and Greenwood to start?

Chelsea -v- Manchester United

Premier League

Stamford Bridge, London

Sunday 28 February 2021, KO 16:30 GMT

Referee: Stuart Attwell Assistants: Constantine Hatzidakis, Simon Long

Fourth Official: Andre Marriner

VAR: Chris Kavanagh Assistant VAR: Sian Massey-Ellis

Manchester United travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon. It will be a big match for United, who will face Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea for the first time this season, having drawn with Frank Lampard’s Chelsea at Old Trafford earlier in the season. United’s form at the Bridge is better than it has been, undefeated in the last four visits with three wins, one draw, eight goals scored, three conceded and two clean sheets. United qualified for the UEFA Europa League round of 16 on Thursday evening and were drawn against AC Milan and will a few weeks break from European competition, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be seeking to improve their position in the league this season with many tough matches ahead of them.

United gave Shola Shoretire his debut in the Europa League on Thursday, making him the youngest player to represent United on the European stage, which is a big thing considering the talent that has played for the club at a similar age during the course of history. At this moment in time, United are second in the Premier League table level on points with Leicester City but with a better goal difference. Leicester face Arsenal in a noon kick-off on Sunday so could put some pressure in United ahead of their kick-off at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea are currently fifth, six points adrift of United. Manchester City top the table, ten points clear of United level on matches played and they face West Ham United, who are currently fourth in the table.

Manchester United: DWWDWD

Real Sociedad 0-0 D, Newcastle United 3-1 W, Real Sociedad 4-0 W, West Bromwich Albion 1-1 D, West Ham United 1-0 W, Everton 3-3 D

Chelsea: WDWWWW

Atletico Madrid 1-0 W, Southampton 1-1 D, Newcastle United 2-0 W, Barnsley 1-0 W, Sheffield United 2-1 W, Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 W

Top Scorers: Bruno Fernandes has scored 22 goals this season with Marcus Rashford on 18. Tammy Abraham is Chelsea’s top goal scorer with 12 goals, Olivier Giroud has 10 to his name.

Manchester United Goals: 22 – Bruno Fernandes, 18 – Marcus Rashford, 7 – Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial, Scott McTominay, 5 – Daniel James, 4 – Mason Greenwood, Paul Pogba, 2 – Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, Own Goal, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 1 – Victor Lindelof, Donny van de Beek

In their last six matches, Solskjaer’s United are undefeated with three wins and three draws. United have scored a total of 12 goals, conceding five and keeping three clean sheets. Granted, it is in the past month with all the draws that has seen Manchester City climb to the top of the table and open up a ten point lead. However, some see negativity in this but this is the best season United have had in the league post Sir Alex Ferguson as they have shown some major improvement, which has led the negative supporters of the club to change the goalposts and suggest that it is the manager of the club that is the problem once again. How many times have we heard that now and how many more times will it be said?

Chelsea Goals: 12 – Tammy Abraham, 11 – Olivier Giroud, 10 – Timo Werner, 6 – Jorginho, 5 – Kai Havertz, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Mason Mount, 4 – Kurt Zouma, 2 – Ben Chilwell, Christian Pulisic, Thiago Silva, Hakim Ziyech, 1 – Marcos Alonso, César Azpilicueta, Ross Barkley, Reece James

Chelsea have underachieved in the Premier League this season and Frank Lampard was one of the major reasons that has happened. Thomas Tuchel seems to have got his team firing once again but the honeymoon period will soon be over and the real Chelsea could stand back up, meaning the manager will have a massive task on his hands. I don’t think the summer signings have done as well as the Chelsea fans had expected and many of them still need to do a lot more to even think about catching the tails of Bruno Fernandes. In the last six matches, Chelsea are undefeated with five wins and one draw, scoring eight goals, conceding two and keeping four clean sheets. This will be a big match for Chelsea which could help them break into the top four again.

Team News: Chelsea have one injury with United seemingly sweating on four players with two also ruled out of the clash.

Phil Jones (knee), Paul Pogba (thigh) and Juan Mata (other) have been ruled out of the clash with Chelsea through injury. Edinson Cavani, Donny van de Beek and Scott McTominay have all missed the last few matches through muscular problems with McTominay coming off after an hour in the first leg against Real Sociedad. Daniel James is now a doubt after having to come off in the second leg against Real Sociedad with a muscular injury. It is a shame that United have so many concerns in the squad at this stage of the season and hopefully, Cavani, McTominay and Van de Beek will be back in contention for this important match with many more upcoming in the next few weeks. Solskjaer may have some problems if players are not close to returning.

Thiago Silva (muscular) is the only injury concern for new Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel. This will be the third time that United will be pitted against a Tuchel side this season after facing Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League group stage, beating them in the first match which was played in Paris but losing in the second at Old Trafford. Tuchel seems to have Chelsea playing a much better brand of football than hie predecessor, Frank Lampard, which will see United have problems against the club. United’s recent record at Stamford Bridge is good with United winning three and drawing once in their last four visits to the stadium. Chelsea will be seeking to make their home their fortress once again.

Predicted Starting XI: Edinson Cavani, Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford tasked with beating Chelsea? Scott McTominay and Fred inn midfield? Eric Bailly and Harry Maguire to partner in central defence?

Solskjaer will make some changes from the team which drew 0-0 with Real Sociedad on Thursday night, earning a round of 16 place in the UEFA Europa League setting up a tie with Italian giants, AC Milan. David De Gea will return in goal against Thomas Tuchel’s side and he will be expected to put in a good performance, possibly tasked with keeping a clean sheet against the Blues. Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw will complete the defence. In midfield, Fred and Scott McTominay will play in the pivot with Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood playing behind Edinson Cavani. The likes of Donny van de Beek, Amad Diallo and Shola Shoretire could all come of the bench to add something.

Match Prediction: 57 matches played in the Premier League; United have won 17, drawn 22 and lost 18 times.

United and Chelsea have met a total of 57 times in the history of the Premier League with this being the 58th meeting between the two sides who have both been in the top tier of English football since the Premier League was created. United have won 17 times with Chelsea winning 18 times, the two clubs drawing 22 times. United have scored 72 goals with Chelsea scoring 71. United have won five penalties, scoring four of them with Chelsea winning two and scoring both of them. United have kept 15 clean sheets with Chelsea keeping 18. United players have received 126 yellow cards and four red cards with Chelsea players receiving 136 yellow cards and six red cards. This will be an important match for both clubs.

Last season, United beat Chelsea twice at Stamford Bridge; 2-1 in the Carabao Cup which saw Marcus Rashford score a brace, including one penalty and Michy Batshuayi scoring a consolation. United also won 2-0 in the Premier League with Anthony Martial and Harry Maguire scoring the goals. United are undefeated at Stamford Bridge in their last four visits, winning three times and drawing once. The last defeat at Stamford Bridge was in the Premier League, a 1-0 scoreline on the 5 November 2018. This could be something that affects Chelsea, who have been less than a force in the meetings since. Earlier this season, when managed by Lampard, United and Chelsea drew 0-0 at Old Trafford, which was a poor result considering those prior.

Chelsea 1-2 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

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