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Player Ratings: Rashford, Lindelof and Cavani did well against Chelsea in 0-0 draw; Chelsea were there for the taking – clean sheet and not a defeat are the positives

Manchester United drew 0-0 with Chelsea at Old Trafford in the Premier League. It was a better result for Frank Lampard than it was for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and perhaps it will be seen as a defensive display for both teams who will be happy to keep clean sheets. Chelsea hardly pressured United to go in front and United had a fair few chances to win the match. Edinson Cavani made his Premier League debut and almost scored with his first touch, having another chance late in the match after Mason Greenwood played a good ball into him. It was not a defeat, as have been the case in the last two matches at Old Trafford, which is the main positive to take here.

It was a pretty even start to the match for both United and Chelsea. At times, Lampard’s side looked under pressure and seemed to play behind the ball which is not the same of the Chelsea teams of the past and a worrying warning sign for Lampard and the club, but that is their problem at the end of the day. Christian Pulisic had the first chance in the 18th minute of the match with a right-footed shot from outside the box. Harry Maguire had a chance, from a header, in the 25th minute but it was blocked. Scott McTominay also came close for United in the 29th minute with a right-footed shot from outside of the box.

Bruno Fernandes had an opportunity to put United ahead in the 31st minute of the match, shooting with his right foot from outside the box forcing a save from Edouard Mendy. Pulisic then had two chances in as many minutes, one of them saved by David De Gea the other blocked. Marcus Rashford, one of the two top scorers at the club so far this season, forced a save from Mendy and then the Chelsea goalkeeper made a poor error to give away another corner, which United failed to capitalise from. Luke Shaw was the first player to be booked, seeing a yellow card in the 39th minute for a foul on Reece James.

Former Chelsea attacking midfielder Juan Mata could have put United into the lead in the 41st minute of the match with a left-footed shot from just outside the box, which was saved at the bottom left corner by Mendy. McTominay then had a chance a minute later with a header from right in the centre of the box, which did not hit the target after a corner taken by Mata. Kai Havertz was the second player booked in the match, in added time at the end of the half. United had seven shots in the first half; three of those were on target. Chelsea had three shots; one of those on target. The second half would need to be so much better for both teams.

With a start to the second half similar to the first 45 minutes, Solskjaer made his first change, a double substitution in the 58th minute of the match with Paul Pogba and Edinson Cavani, making his United debut, replacing Mata and James. Almost immediately, Cavani nearly put United ahead with his first touch of the match after Fernandes took the corner short to Shaw before getting the ball back and putting it into the area for Cavani to work his magic with. Sadly it was not an immediate spark of magic from his first touch in a United shirt. I am sure there will be more to come from the Uruguayan, who seems hungry to continue his career at United.

United would needed to become more clinical in the latter stages of the second half with the match thill there for the taking. Chelsea were getting forward more after bringing on Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount for Timo Werner and Havertz but still there were a team that seemed a long way from the team they once were. United had another chance just before the 80th minute with Pogba lacking conviction with his effort. Chelsea then made their third change with Hakim Ziyech coming on for Pulisic. United then on Mason Greenwood for McTominay in the 83rd minute. He played in a good pass to Cavani, which was missed by Rashford’s effort was the best chance to win the match, which was saved by Mendy.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Not really tested against Chelsea. Made a save in fir first half to deny Chelsea but aside of that, the away side were not really pressuring United much if at all.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Defensively, he was in the zone against Chelsea. Chilwell was probably the biggest threat on his side but he did what he needed to do a lot of the time. He seems to have found his form again and has a renewed sense of confidence after scoring his first goal last weekend and playing well against PSG.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Seemed to do well but that was probably down to the fact that Chelsea did not pile much pressure on him and the rest of the United defence. That said, more recently he's been more confident in himself which might be starting to see him enter a period of form, which with Tuanzebe on the hunt for a starting place might come at a good time.

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5 Harry Maguire

It was good to see the captain back against Chelsea after missing the victory over PSG with an injury. There was some controversy again with a possible penalty which Chelsea moaned about but was not given.

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23 Luke Shaw

I understand by Telles did not start ahead of Shaw and that it will start to happen soon. Shaw did well at times against Chelsea but going forward, he was not really a threat. Against PSG, Telles showed so much promise going forward and his set-pieces and crossing of the ball were both top notch.

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39 Scott McTominay

Continuing his form from the victory over PSG on Tuesday, McTominay looked up for this match. He had a coupled of good chances in the first half of the match but nothing seemed to come through for him. In the second half, United threw on Pogba and Cavani to help United's attack, which seemed to improve. Seemed to struggle late in the match, especially after a challenge which seems to have done some damage. He was replaced by Greenwood in the 83rd minute of the match.

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17 Fred

Dealt with the pressures in the midfield well. His marking is a good attribute to have. Matic would have offered more defensive surety but he could tire quite quickly.

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8 Juan Mata

Had a good match against his former club and it was good to see him start again. In his recent appearances, he has two goals and two assists but he was unable to add to that against Chelsea. He was replaced by Pogba in the 58th minute of the match.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Tried to get it to work for United against Chelsea and after a few chances in the first half, his liveliness seemed to wane in the match. I am sure he will be annoyed with himself and unhappy with the result, which was not a defeat so an improvement at home.

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Player Ratings: Rashford, Lindelof and Cavani did well against Chelsea in 0-0 draw; Chelsea were there for the taking – clean sheet and not a defeat are the positives

Perhaps needs to go back to the drawing board in terms of how he's going to step up his stature at the Old Trafford club. He looked so lively in this fixture last season, scoring a goal on his debut. Today though, his pace was visible but aside of that, he struggled. He was replaced by Cavani in the 58th minute of the match.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Had a good impact in the match against Chelsea and had a fair few chances to get United ahead. His last chance late in the game could have won it for United by Mendy made a good save to deny him.

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Substitutes

6 Paul Pogba

Replaced Mata 58'. Seemed to add something to the match but when he had a chance on goal, he lacked conviction.

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21 Edinson Cavani

Replaced James 58'. Almost scored in his first minute on the pitch with his first touch of the ball.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Replaced McTominay 83'. Came on to possibly add something for United going forward. His impact was not what it could have been. He did play a good ball into Cavani which was blocked but that was it really.

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Goals:

Assists:

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay (Greenwood 83′), Fred; Mata (Pogba 58′), Fernandes, James (Cavani 58′); Rashford

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Tuanzebe; Matic, Van de Beek

Bookings: Luke Shaw 39′, Fred 47′, Marcus Rashford 76′; Kai Havertz 45+1′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Rashford leads the attack against Chelsea; Pogba, Van de Beek and Cavani on the bench

Manchester United will be back in Premier League action this 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:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

McTominay, Fred;

Mata, Fernandes, James;

Rashford

Substitutes:

Henderson; Tuanzebe; Pogba, Matic, Van de Beek; Cavani, Greenwood

Chelsea:

Mendy;

Azpilicueta, Silva, Zouma;

James, Jorginho, Kante, Chilwell;

Havertz, Pulisic;

Werner

Substitutes:

Caballero; Rudiger; Kovacic, Mount, Ziyech; Abraham, Giroud

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.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Cavani; Rashford, Fernandes, Greenwood lead the attack against Chelsea? Telles and Tuanzebe keep their places?

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.

How United have faired against Chelsea in the Premier League.

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.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Chelsea in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Saturday evening…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea has shown a lot of improvement in his last two matches as opposed to the match against Spurs. Two goals conceded with United scoring six in those two matches. He performed some great saved at St James’ Park, performing more in Paris at the Parc des Princes, which is a stadium that United have graced twice, winning both times. De Gea has given Dean Henderson a run for his money with his recent performances, which could well be related to how he has fared since the international break. Henderson will be making a push himself and could well feature in the next few weeks, only playing in the Carabao Cup so far this season.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Axel Tuanzebe, Victor Lindelof, Alex Telles

United’s defence shows so much improvement against PSG on Tuesday evening after both Eric Bailly and Harry Maguire did not travel to the French capital because of injuries. Axel Tuanzebe stepped up after his ten-month injury spell, which puts him in with a chance of featuring against Chelsea this weekend. Aaron Wan-Bissaka played well against both Newcastle, scoring his first goal for the club and PSG, performing well defensively, which puts him in line to keep his place in the team. Victor Lindelof could start in the left side of the defence with Alex Telles, who made his debut against PSG, showing signs of what is missing in the team.

Midfield Two: Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba

United started with Fred and Scott McTominay against PSG, also having Bruno Fernandes on the pitch in what seemed, at times like a three-man midfield. Solskjaer usually plays a 4-2-3-1 formation, which will leave both Paul Pogba, who should start against Chelsea and McTominay to start with both players doing well against the French side. Pogba has been the recipient of lots of criticism lately but in Paris, he played a part in the victory for United so has earned his place in the team this weekend based on that, which will also allow the likes of Fred and Nemanja Matic to rest this weekend, albeit one or both of them could be on the bench.

Midfield Three: Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford

This is where it could become frightening for United. There is a lot of talent at the club who could all play in these positions and it will only get tougher in January when Amad Diallo arrives from Atalanta. Mason Greenwood has received some bad press recently despite the fact Solskjaer confirmed that he had a slight niggle, he could be places back into the team to face Chelsea, if he has done enough in training to impress the manager. If not, his hiatus from the team will be extended. Bruno Fernandes could captain the club again in the absence of Maguire, who missed the PSG victory. Fernandes, like Marcus Rashford, has four goals to his name this season.

Forward: Edinson Cavani

The Uruguayan striker did not travel to Paris to fa e his former club earlier this week with him needing to test himself to earn a place in the United squad this season, which is only to be expected as United’s fatigue showed at the start of the season and another player not ready for the rigours of the league would not be wanted in the squad right now, which could also do more damage than good with the player having a bigger chance of injuring himself. He could have proven enough to be in contention to face Chelsea this weekend. Anthony Martial will be missing from two more Premier League matches; Chelsea and Arsenal, so this could be a good time for him.

Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Luke Shaw; Daniel James, Facundo Pellistri, Nemanja Matic, Donny van de Beek; Odion Ighalo

United could have used up to five substitutes against PSG on Tuesday but only used three – the same number they will be allowed in domestic competitions this season. Dean Henderson will be the second-choice goalkeeper once more with Luke Shaw likely to be the only defender on the bench. In midfield, the experience of Nemanja Matic, Donny van de Beek and Daniel James plus the raw talent of Facundo Pellistri could work wonders for United, if they need to bring in experience, pace or ability. The only attacking player on the bench will be Odion Ighalo but he is yet to start in the league and that will be much tougher with Cavani at the club.

Written by John Walker

Preview: United looking to turn the screw on Chelsea after big victory over PSG; Cavani to make his debut?

Manchester United -v- Chelsea

Premier League

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

Chelsea: DDWLDW

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

Solskjaer’s verdict on Chelsea defeat; De Gea’s questionable display and more

Manchester United feels to their first defeat in their last 20 matches when they lost 3-1 to Chelsea in the semi-final of the Emirates FA Cup this season on Sunday evening at Wembley. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made some changes from the last match; a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Thursday ahead of their Premier League clash with West Ham United on Wednesday evening, which could see United rise to fourth in the table, which would be good enough to qualify for the UEFA Champions League.

United conceded the first goal in added time at the end of the first half, after Eric Bailly and Harry Maguire collided heads, which saw Bailly unable to complete the match, walking off the pitch then stretchered off from the sidelines. Chelsea opened the scoring through Olivier Giroud. Immediately after the break, Mason Mount doubles Chelsea’s lead before a Maguire own goal left United too far from a comeback. However, a late penalty scored by Bruno Fernandes gave United consolation.

Solskjaer won the FA Cup as a player back in the 1998/99 season when the club won the treble, adding the Premier League and the Champions League and becoming the first English team to achieve the feat, which also say Alex Ferguson being knighted for his achievement, which will be seen as his greatest in the game. United seem a long way from the team that they were more than 20 years ago but they are heading in the right direction under the Norwegian.

After the match, Solskjaer was asked a series of questions about the performance and many other things. Talking about the performance of his team against Lampard’s Chelsea side, the disappointed Norwegian, speaking to the official Manchester United website, said:

“Of course, if you lose the game you’re very disappointed. We had the first half that we expected, two teams that knew each other really well.

“We waited a bit for each other, nothing really happened until the long layoff and their goal and of course that’s disappointing that we go into half-time 1-0 down.

“We tried to make a change, a positive change, but it didn’t work.”

It is clear that United will need to do much better. A 19-match unbeaten run has now been ended and the club will have to start again, aiming to break that record, which will take the club into next season. It would have been good to finish the season unbeaten but it was not meant to be. Speaking about United needing to do better, Solskjaer stated:

“You want to win everything and we’re very disappointed in the dressing room, but we need to be better in these big games when it matters.

“We know that, we’ll have to take that into account, learn again and get ready for the next big ones. We’ve got two in five days coming up.”

During the first have against Chelsea, central defender Eric Bailly was injured then moments later collided with Harry Maguire and initially looked fine but kept falling over. This led to him being replaced by Anthony Martial. Bailly walked off the pitch but was stretchered off, suggesting that it was a serious injury. United conceded shortly after Bailly was injured. Solskjaer confirmed:

“We hope Eric will be fine. He had a cut on his head. When he and Harry were down for a long time, it was a big moment.

“Obviously the long layoff was a big test and we didn’t pass it because we lost our concentration and conceded a goal just before half-time, which was disappointing. That had a massive impact on the game.”

Maguire was also injured having a cut to his head. Are was bandaged up and was ready to continue after treatment. In the second half, he emerged without the bandage and looked fine to continue playing, which he did. Solskjaer confirmed that the player was fine, other than a cut to the eye, saying:

“Harry’s fine. He had a cut above the eye so he’ll be fine.”

Solskjaer was criticised by supporters and pundits for his team selection, changing the formation when he could have sent his team out better prepared in the same formation they have been playing in for the past month or so. It did not work for United, which was confirmed by the manager, as he said:

“We picked a team today to give us a best possible opportunity to go through in the cup and be ready for Wednesday.

“It didn’t work today. We almost got to half-time and we had the change when Eric had to come off, but that will stand us in good stead for Wednesday. I picked a team today to go through.”

Goalkeeper David De Gea made two mistakes in the first half – not making a save to deny Giroud from opening up the scoring and immediately after the break, not doing enough to prevent Mount’s strike from hitting the back of the net. The goalkeeper will know the mistakes that he committed but he has been full of them of late. Speaking about his goalkeeper, Solskjaer stated:

“Obviously everyone has to perform and everyone has a chance every time we play to stake a claim in the team.

“David knows he should have saved the second goal, but that’s done now. We’ve got to move on and look forward to Wednesday. It’s hard for a keeper to make amends apart from David making two or three fantastic saves after. 

“It’s so much easier for outfield players but David, in the rest of the game, made a few good saves. But he knows he could have saved that one.”

Brandon Williams, 19, played like a proper United player in the defeat against Chelsea. He kept his head up and continued to do what he needed to do. It has only been a week since he clashed heads and came off worse, missing the victory over Crystal Palace on Thursday and returning to the squad for Sunday’s defeat. Solskjaer, full of praise for the teenager, said:

“You saw Brandon [Williams] and the character he showed. He played a square pass into Mount [which led to their second goal] and he probably felt a bit responsible, but for the rest of the half he was absolutely outstanding.

“The kid has been out for a while and not played, and had the eye injury, but his character and personality out there was great, he kept going and kept going.”

Finally, talking about learning as a team, Solskjaer confirmed that his Sid have a lot to learn and that they are developing. Many of the best teams will learn more from a defeat than they will a victory so this came at a great time for United. The players will need to stand up and be counted in their next match. Solskjaer concluded by saying:

“What do we have to learn? We’ve got loads of things to learn as a team, but we are learning and we are developing.

“This team took a knock today confidence-wise, but let’s see how the reaction is on Wednesday.”

United will be back in action on Wednesday evening, welcoming West Ham United to the Theatre of Dreams for the final Premier League match at the stadium this season, ahead of the final league match away to Leicester City a week from today (Sunday 26 July 2020). As Leicester fell to a 3-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, their goal difference, which was higher than United’s has taken a hit. United have the same number of points as Leicester (62) with a game in hand. If they win that, it will be advantage United in the race to finish fourth, or higher.

Written by John Walker

Player Ratings: Manchester United 1-3 Chelsea; FA Cup or bust – United chose bust

Manchester United were beaten 3-1 by Chelsea in the semi-final of the Emirates FA Cup at Wembley on Sunday. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will not be happy with this defeat, his first in 20 matches, which is a good sign of things to come. Frank Lampard finally got his win against United, fourth time lucky. United will have to get to the bottom of this poor performance with two big mistakes for David De Gea, which is something that needs solving sooner rather than later.

It was a poor start to this FA Cup semi-final for United, who were under the cosh by Chelsea from the very start of the match. Solskjaer will be worrying about his defence after Harry Maguire and Eric Bailly collided with the former suffering a cut and having his head strapped and Bailly coming off injured, on a stretcher after he left the pitch. To add more, Olivier Giroud opened up the scoring in the 11th minute go stoppage time at the end of the first half. United will need to dig deep to find something.

Chelsea doubled their lead in the first minute of the second half with Mason Mount putting a cracking strike towards David De Gea only for him to make a touch of the ball, sending it in off the post rather than out for a corner. This has been a disastrous performance for United and the deeper they dig, the further they will have to come back into the game. Solskjaer will not be happy with what he has seen here. All the work since the restart has been undone in 46 minutes of football.

Solskjaer made a double change with Paul Pogba replacing Fred in the 55th minute and Mason Greenwood replacing Daniel James in the 56th minute with United throwing all they can to get back into the game. In the minutes before, Marcus Rashford had a good chance but his diagonal shot rolled past the far post and out of play. De Gea made a save, denying Chelsea from another goal, although the sting was taken out by the United defender, cutting down the impact of the shot.

United found themselves 3-0 down in the 74th minute after Chelsea broke forward again with Marcos Alonso beating his man on the left, rolling the ball to Antonio Rudiger. He challenged at the near post with Maguire, the ball then ricocheted off both players with Maguire getting the last touch before beating De Gea for the third time in the match. Solskjaer then send on both Odion Ighalo and Tim Fosu-Mensah for Marcus Rashford and Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the 79th minute, too late to fight back?

United won a penalty in the 86th minute after Callum Hudson-Odoi clipped Martial in the box. Bruno Fernandes stepped up to take the spot kick, putting it past Willy Caballero giving United only a consolation in this FA Cup semi-final. United just did not seem determined to get anything from this match after going 1-0 down, certainly not after 2-0 or 3-0 down. The penalty was literally the only thing United have to write home about. Back to the Premier League on Wednesday.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

A terrible performance for the Spanish goalkeeper. He could have done more for Giroud's opener and definitely could have done better for Mount's goal, which put Chelsea 2-0 up over United. De Gea should be inspiring the team based on the length of time he's played for the club but today he let them down.

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2 Victor Lindelof

The Swedish Iceman let Giroud open the scoring at the end of added time and the evidence of him being the main problem in the back four is all the more plain to see.

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3 Eric Bailly

The Ivorian defender did not have the best of games against Chelsea. He came off injured after a lengthly break because of a collision of heads with Maguire, coming off on a stretcher in the end, after he had left the pitch. Not good for him, especially with all his other injuries.

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5 Harry Maguire

The captain received a head injury towards the end of the first half and carried on playing. United looked very poor during this game and needed some inspiration, which they were not getting. United conceded a third goal which was awarded as an own goal for Maguire.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

The right-back, playing as a right-wing-back was not all that energetic against Chelsea but tried to get the job done. He was replaced by Fosu-Mensah in the 79th minute of the match.

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31 Nemanja Matic

The Serbian midfield veteran showed his experience in this match but United needed more than that. The team just seemed destined to lose the game form the very start of it. One defeat in 20 matches is not all that bad really.

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17 Fred

It was a poor appearance for the Brazilian who just did not settle in the game. United were losing the game because of the weak midfield from the very start of the game. He was replaced in the 55th minute of the match by Pogba.

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33 Brandon Williams

The left-back played as a left-wing-back in this game and looked annoyed that United were out of the game at the end of the first half. He continued to run during the game and continued to keep his head high.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

The Portuguese midfielder forced a save early in the game and looked like he needed a rest. His passing was not the best, possibly because of fatigue. His missed Pogba in the game and when the Frenchman came on, it was probably too late to start something. Scored a late penalty, beating Willy Caballero this time.

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Player Ratings: Manchester United 1-3 Chelsea; FA Cup or bust – United chose bust

The Welsh winger performed well against Chelsea in the past but today, he seemed out of form and out of sorts. It has been a long season for him. Perhaps he will improve next season? Who knows. This spectacularly failed today. Solskjaer will not be impressed. He was replaced by Greenwood on the 56th minute of the match.

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10 Marcus Rashford

The England forward had a poor match against Chelsea. There was little creativity with a weaker midfield. 22 goals scored this season is a great start but it does not cover up the lack of creativity and options in this squad. Rightly replaced by Ighalo in the 79th minute of the match.

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Substitutes

9 Anthony Martial

Replaced Bailly 45+2'. The Frenchman was fouled within a minute of him coming on - nothing given. He was unable to start the magic which was needed to get United fighting in this match. Won the penalty which Fernandes scored. Nothing else to say really. It just did not work for United today.

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6 Paul Pogba

Replaced Fred 55'. The French World Cup winner should have come on much earlier than he did. The damage was already done when he came on at 2-0 down. United need serious options in this team as many players are playing above the level they should be, or so it seemed today.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Replaced James 56'. He was unable to inspire United as he has in the very recent past. It is not his fault that United have relied upon him recently. United will need to bounce back from this.

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Player Ratings: Manchester United 1-3 Chelsea; FA Cup or bust – United chose bust

Replaced Wan-Bissaka 79'. Came on late giving Wan-Bissaka some time to rest as he will likely start on Wednesday. The Dutchman did well and helped United minimise the damage, which had already been done.

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Player Ratings: Manchester United 1-3 Chelsea; FA Cup or bust – United chose bust

Replaced Rashford 79'. The Nigerian could have perhaps started this game ahead of James. When he came on, with 11 minutes to play, United just had no chance to get back into this game.

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Goals: Bruno Fernandes 86′ penalty; Olivier Giroud 45+11′, Mason Mount 46′, Harry Maguire (og) 74′

Assists: Cesar Azpilicueta 45+11′

Manchester United: De Gea; Lindelof, Bailly (Martial 45+2′), Maguire; Wan-Bissaka (Fosu-Mensah 79′), Fred (Pogba 55′), Matic, Williams; Fernandes; James (Greenwood 56′), Rashford (Ighalo 79′)

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Mata, Pereira, McTominay

Bookings: Paul Pogba 71′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Manchester United strong for Chelsea clash

Manchester United will face Chelsea in the semi-final of the Emirates FA Cup at Wembley Stadium this evening. It will be the fourth time this season that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side has met Frank Lampard’s side with the Norwegian doing the double over Chelsea in the league, which was a great achievement, also knocking them out of the Carabao Cup, winning twice at Stamford Bridge, an achievement in itself.

United will get a break from the Premier League this weekend with two matches still to play and a place in the top four up for grabs. Beating Chelsea and setting up an FA Cup final will be what Solskjaer would like to do, however, achieving UEFA Champions League football will be the more important task this season. Perhaps Solskjaer will try to do both, also having the chance of another trophy – the UEFA Europa League.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Lindelof, Bailly, Maguire;

Wan-Bissaka, Fred, Matic, Williams;

Fernandes;

James, Rashford

Substitutes:

Romero; Fosu-Mensah; Pogba, Mata, Pereira, McTominay; Martial, Ighalo, Greenwood

Chelsea:

Caballero;

Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Zouma;

James, Kovacic, Jorginho, Alonso;

Mount, Giroud, Willian

Substitutes:

Arrizabalaga, Christensen, Abraham, Pedro, Loftus-Cheek, Hudson-Odoi, Pulisic, Tomori, Emerson

United and Chelsea have played 16 times in the FA Cup with United winning nine, drawing twice and losing five times. United have scored 25 goals conceding 13. United have kept seven clean sheets with Chelsea keeping six. Three of the past FA Cup matches have been finals with United winning one against Chelsea, a 4-0 victory in 1994, losing twice by 1-0 scorelines in 2007 and 2018.

This season, United have beaten Chelsea three times already winning 4-0 at Old Trafford at the start of the season with Rashford scoring a brace with Martial and James on the scoresheet also. In the Carabao Cup, United won 2-1 at Stamford Bridge with Rashford scoring both goals then in the second Premier League match, played at Stamford Bridge, United won 2-0 with Martial and Maguire scoring the goals. Here’s to a fourth victory.

Written by John Walker

Solskjaer hits back at Lampard’s ‘VAR favours United’ comments

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hit back at the comments made by Chelsea manager Frank Lampard ahead of the Emirates FA Cup semi-final clash at Wembley on Sunday between the two teams. Lampard, a Chelsea legend with 648 appearances and 211 goals made the claim that VAR favoured United at this moment in time. United have had seven goals scored against them chalked off by the video assistant referee, which The Sun state is a league high.

On Thursday evening when United beat Crystal Palace 2-0 at Selhurst Park, Jordan Ayew scored once against against United, like he did earlier in the season but VAR cancelled the goal for offside. Palace chairman Steve Parish tweeted; “Is the VAR broken ? Serious question …”. During his press conference on Friday morning, Lampard labelled cartoon VAR decisions as confusing. On hearing the suggestions that VAR favours United, reported by The Sun, Solskjaer stated:

“I can sit here for hours now and try to talk about this. It looks like there’s a narrative, it looks like people want to influence whoever’s making the decisions. I hear people talking about luck, that we’ve been lucky more than unlucky.

“If you look at the factual decisions, I don’t want to sound like a certain manager talking about facts, but if you’re offside, you’re offside.

“That’s clear. Talking about lucky, the penalty we got against Tottenham in the last minute that was taken away from us, that might be two points for us.

“Talking about the red card Romeu should have had against us when he almost got Mason Greenwood crippled, that should’ve been a red card, maybe that would’ve helped us.

“Talking about Mark Noble when he should have been sent off against us when we lost at West Ham, talking about the actual decision that is made that is against Manchester United but is overturned and corrected.

“So it’s actually me that should be complaining that we get decisions against us on the pitch by the on-pitch referee.”

Lampard was asked his opinion ahead of Chelsea’s clash with United at Wembley in the FA Cup with him giving a good suggestion of the issue as VAR has not been the best. Granted, United might have had more conceded goals chalked off this season, in the Premier League, but if a goal is not a goal, it is not a goal. VAR is there to get rid of the things that should not be missed by referees and after a period of time, things will iron out a little. Lampard, reported by The Sun, said:

“People said it would favour big teams maybe, because of the pressure or fan influence.

“But those days are gone. VAR has come in to try and change that, not just favouring teams but just to get the right decision.

“But there is always a human element to VAR, still, and clearly they have to make a decision. 

“The confusing thing about some of the recent ones, and the one on Thursday night, is that it’s a very, very clear and obvious decision that was wrong and didn’t get reviewed and changed.

“A few of those have happened and that is strange. I would like to think that with VAR you have to be level headed.

“Some might go against you or not, but we seem to be in a period where, in terms of Manchester United, they’ve got a few in their favour. It would be nice if VAR worked in our favour in this one.”

It is going to be a good match between United and Chelsea on Sunday. It will be the fourth time that Solskjaer’s side has met Lampard’s time this season, beating them twice in the Premier League; 4-0 at Old Trafford and 2-0 at Stamford Bridge. The other match was played in the Carabao Cup, against played at Stamford Bridge winning 2-1. So far this season, United have beaten Chelsea three times, scoring eight goals and conceding just one. Could Lampard be worried about a fourth consecutive defeat by United? It has certainly got to be a worry of his ahead of this match.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: Manchester United to field strong side against Chelsea in FA Cup semi-final?

Manchester United will face Chelsea in the semi-final of the Emirates FA Cup at Wembley Stadium on Sunday evening. It will be the fourth time this season that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side has met Frank Lampard’s side with the Norwegian doing the double over Chelsea in the league, which was a great achievement, also knocking them out of the Carabao Cup, winning twice at Stamford Bridge, an achievement in itself.

United will get a break from the Premier League this weekend with two matches still to play and a place in the top four up for grabs. Beating Chelsea and setting up an FA Cup final will be what Solskjaer would like to do, however, achieving UEFA Champions League football will be the more important task this season. Perhaps Solskjaer will try to do both, also having the chance of another trophy – the UEFA Europa League.

How United have faired against Chelsea in the Emirates FA Cup, plus their recent form in the Premier League and the Carabao Cup.

United and Chelsea have played 16 times in the FA Cup with United winning nine, drawing twice and losing five times. United have scored 25 goals conceding 13. United have kept seven clean sheets with Chelsea keeping six. Three of the past FA Cup matches have been finals with United winning one against Chelsea, a 4-0 victory in 1994, losing twice by 1-0 scorelines in 2007 and 2018.

This season, United have beaten Chelsea three times already winning 4-0 at Old Trafford at the start of the season with Rashford scoring a brace with Martial and James on the scoresheet also. In the Carabao Cup, United won 2-1 at Stamford Bridge with Rashford scoring both goals then in the second Premier League match, played at Stamford Bridge, United won 2-0 with Martial and Maguire scoring the goals. Here’s to a fourth victory.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Chelsea in the FA Cup at Wembley Stadium on Sunday evening…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

Normally, I would think Solskjaer would rest David De Gea in cup competitions but against Chelsea, it makes me think that he would play him, no matter the fact that United will need to be rested enough to face West Ham United on Wednesday evening in the final Premier League match at Old Trafford this season. Sergio Romero has been a good back up goalkeeper this season, but something makes me think that he’s probably likely to remain on the bench, possibly getting a run out against West Ham or even Leicester – probably in the UEFA Europa League next month too, especially in the round of 16 second leg against LASK.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Brandon Williams

In defence, I think we are likely to see as strong a back four as possible. Aaron Wan-Bissaka will keep his place, possible for the first half, giving him a break before the visit of the Hammers next week. Brandon Williams seems the most likely to recover, out of him and Luke Shaw, so the left-back position will be his. If not, Tim Fosu-Mensah could be drafted in as he did well against Crystal Palace. Victor Lindelof and the captain, Harry Maguire will keep their places too. Both will need to be at the best of their ability as this season looks to get longer.

Midfield: Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba

United’s midfield does need some reinforcement. Scott McTominay did not look at his best against Crystal Palace and Nemanja Matic needed to come on to strengthen it with Paul Pogba unable to stabilise it himself. Solskjaer will have seen this and the fact that after Matic, Pogba and Bruno Fernandes, the ability remaining is pretty questionable. As Solskjaer says, Wembley will give anyone energy, so that is a clear indication that his best team will start and this is not something that is debatable, his first choice XI includes these two in the centre of midfield.

Attacking Midfield: Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood

United have been playing some spectacular football of late but in the past two matches, the magic seems to have burnt out and needs that spark to reignite is once again. This attacking trio with Mason Greenwood on the right, Bruno Fernandes in the middle and Marcus Rashford on the left is the best creativity in the squad right now – hopefully with Solskjaer seeking to bring in quality additions to his squad this summer so rotation will be an option without quality lacking. There are 46 goals and and 24 assists in this area alone this season, so goals are not something that United should struggle with these three on the pitch. Wembley should bring the life out of them as they could play again there this season if they send Chelsea packing.

Striker: Anthony Martial

The Frenchman as scored 22 goals and eight assists this season – 30 goal contributions. It is his best season at the club, by far and he looks set to continue his run of form, which is great to see. It is clear that his talent was never an issue but his application was, which could have been down to the manager more than anything else. That said. Solskjaer seems to have brought out the very best of Anthony Martial this season, seeking to continue his form into next season, albeit after a little break, after the UEFA Europa League, of course. United should be fired into the FA Cup final this season, where they will either face Manchester City or Arsenal.

Substitutes: Sergio Romero; Eric Bailly, Tim Fosu-Mensah; Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira, Fred, Daniel James, Scott McTominay; Odion Ighalo

Solskjaer has five substitutes to use for the remainder of the season, and into next season. There are three opportunities within a match to make the substitutes, not including the half time break. Solskjaer might need these to keep his team fresh, pushing for the kill early in the match, like they did in the opening match of the season, beating Chelsea 4-0. Sergio Romero will likely be on the bench, if needed. I defence, Eric Bailly and Tim Fosu-Mensah could be brought it, if needed. In midfield, the experience of Juan Mata could be needed with Andreas Pereira, Fred, Daniel James and Scott McTominay could be utilised. In attack, Odion Ighalo could add a different type of forward, if required/

Written by John Walker

Preview: Solskjaer to go for broke against Chelsea aiming for FA Cup final?

Manchester United -v- Chelsea

Emirates FA Cup

Wembley Stadium, London

Sunday 19 July 2020, KO 18:00 BST

Referee: Michael Dean Assistants: Ian Hussin, Richard West 

Fourth Official: Andrew Madley Replacement Official: Stuart Burt

VAR: Michael Oliver Assistant VAR: Sian Massey-Ellis

Manchester United will face Chelsea in the semi-final of the Emirates FA Cup at Wembley Stadium on Sunday evening. It will be the fourth time this season that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side has met Frank Lampard’s side with the Norwegian doing the double over Chelsea in the league, which was a great achievement, also knocking them out of the Carabao Cup, winning twice at Stamford Bridge, an achievement in itself.

United will get a break from the Premier League this weekend with two matches still to play and a place in the top four up for grabs. Beating Chelsea and setting up an FA Cup final will be what Solskjaer would like to do, however, achieving UEFA Champions League football will be the more important task this season. Perhaps Solskjaer will try to do both, also having the chance of another trophy – the UEFA Europa League.

Form: United unbeaten in 19 matches now with Chelsea losing two of their last six. United will be the team to beat in this match for the simple reason that Chelsea have not beaten United in three attempts this season.

Manchester United: WDWWWW

Crystal Palace 2-0 W, Southampton 2-2 D, Aston Villa 3-0 W, Bournemouth 5-2 W, Brighton and Hove Albion 3-0 W, Norwich City 2-1 W

Chelsea: WLWWLW

Norwich City 1-0 W, Sheffield United 3-0 L, Crystal Palace 3-2 W, Watford 3-0 W, West Ham United 3-2 L, Leicester City 1-0 W

Top Scorers: United have scored 104 goals this season with Chelsea scoring 90; Rashford and Martial have 22 goals each with Abraham on 16, Willian on 11.

Manchester United Goals: 22 – Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, 16 – Mason Greenwood, 8 – Bruno Fernandes, 5 – Odion Ighalo, Scott McTominay, 4 – Daniel James, 3 – Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, 2 – Fred, Own Goal, Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, 1 – Diogo Dalot, Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, Luke Shaw, Brandon Williams, Ashley Young

United are unbeaten in 19 matches, scoring 50 goals, conceding eight times, keeping 13 clean sheets. Solskjaer’s side will be seeking to end the season on a high with a place in the top four of the Premier League, which is not something they can work towards this weekend. However, winning a trophy will be important too. United could hope to set up a first Manchester derby FA Cup final, providing City beat Arsenal.

Chelsea Goals: 16 – Tammy Abraham, 11 – Willian, 9 – Christian Pulisic, 6 – Michy Batshuayi, Jorginho, Olivier Giroud, Mason Mount, 5 – Ross Barkley, 4 – Marcos Alonso, César Azpilicueta, 3 – Callum Hudson-Odoi, N’Golo Kanté, 2 – Reece James, Mateo Kovacic, Pedro, Antonio Rüdiger, Fikayo Tomori, 1 – Kurt Zouma

Chelsea are a team that are in a position that they perhaps do not deserve to be in based on their form since the restart of the Premier League and the FA Cup. They find themselves seemingly secure in third-place in the Premier League with United likely to take on Leicester City for a place in the top four the season. United have beaten Chelsea three times, doing the double in the league and knocking them out of the Carabao Cup.

Team News: Solskjaer definitely has two players out of action with Lampard having three; United to sweat in the fitness of Shaw and Williams?

Solskjaer will continue to be without defenders Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones with the former out for the remainder of the season and the latter likely to return to training soon. Against Southampton, United lost Luke Shaw (ankle) and Brandon Williams (head injury) – both players missed the 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Thursday evening. Shaw has a 50% chance; Williams having a 75% chance of making the match. We shall see.

Lampard looks set to be without at least three players for the FA Cup semi-final this weekend. Marco van Ginkel (knee), Billy Gilmour (knee), and N’Golo Kante (thigh) could miss the match with the former two ruled out and the Frenchman only having a 25% chance of making the squad for the encounter at Wembley on Sunday. Could Lampard have the right players to take on this high-press attacking United side?

Predicted Starting XI: I predict that Solskjaer will put out a full team. pushing for the win then grinding out the result in the Wembley spectacular. UTFR.

Many United supporters feel that Solskjaer should be making many changes ahead of this match, just to focus on the Premier League and finishing in the top four. However, I don’t think Solskjaer will give Chelsea the chance to make a cup final easily. It could be a trophy for Solskjaer this season, the same first trophy Sir Alex Ferguson won, setting off his fantastic reign of the club. Therefore, not one to turn down.

Match Prediction: United have beaten Chelsea nine times in the FA Cup in the history of both clubs, however, Chelsea has beaten United in two finals, which means nothing at this stage.

United and Chelsea have played 16 times in the FA Cup with United winning nine, drawing twice and losing five times. United have scored 25 goals conceding 13. United have kept seven clean sheets with Chelsea keeping six. Three of the past FA Cup matches have been finals with United winning one against Chelsea, a 4-0 victory in 1994, losing twice by 1-0 scorelines in 2007 and 2018.

This season, United have beaten Chelsea three times already winning 4-0 at Old Trafford at the start of the season with Rashford scoring a brace with Martial and James on the scoresheet also. In the Carabao Cup, United won 2-1 at Stamford Bridge with Rashford scoring both goals then in the second Premier League match, played at Stamford Bridge, United won 2-0 with Martial and Maguire scoring the goals. Here’s to a fourth victory.

Manchester United 2-0 Chelsea

Written by John Walker

copyright: JW