The winter break for Premier League teams is still ongoing but both these sides are back and refreshed, ready to go again as we approach the business end of the season.
Ten or 15 years ago, this fixture would have no doubt been dubbed a “title decider” as these two teams dominated the Premier League in the early part of this century.
Now, these sides sit miles behind league leaders Liverpool and it is fair to say that Chelsea and Manchester United are going through periods of transition as they seek to enter the glory days once again.
Frank Lampard was appointed Chelsea manager in the summer and has done a really good job in stabilising the club following their transfer embargo before the season began.
Young players have flourished under Lampard’s management style and Chelsea currently occupy the last of those Champions League spots, sitting fourth in the Premier League.
Ole Gunnar Solksjaer is still at the helm at Old Trafford, despite constant pressure from supporters and a recent wobble in form has seen the calls grow louder for the Norwegian to be replaced.
He has a similar job to Lampard, helping to bring young players through the youth system but has spent more money than his counterpart and a big result would be a huge boost to get United closer to the top four.
Chelsea vs Manchester United Predictions
The Blues enjoyed an excellent start to the season, with Lampard creating a tight-knit unit and a fantastic blend of youth and experience to choose from.
Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount began the campaign in brilliant fashion, but their form has dipped recently. However, both players are still learning their trade at this level so you would expect ups and downs from the youthful Chelsea squad as the season progresses.
Battle-hardened players such as N’golo Kante and Cesar Azpilicueta will be key in a game where both teams have a fresh-faced look to them.
They have lost only one of their last five games, but have drawn three of those and Lampard will want to see his Blues side produce a real statement of intent against their old foes.
United’s form is even more flaky, and a real concern to Solskjaer will be the lack of goals United have scored recently. The Red Devils have failed to find the net in four of their past five Premier League games and with Marcus Rashford absent through injury, Solksjaer will be hoping Anthony Martial rediscovers his goalscoring touch.
It might not be like the days of old, but don’t underestimate how important this fixture is. It will be another tight encounter but I expect the Blues to edge this one at home.
Whatever happens, it should be a cracking game on Monday night (kick off 8pm).
Chelsea vs Manchester United Betting Tips
- Correct score 2:1 – 33/4
- Chelsea win and both teams to score – 9/4
- Mason Mount first goalscorer – 8/1
Chelsea vs Manchester United Head to Head
- These two teams have met 70 times since 1993, with Chelsea winning 25 and United 23.
- Both of last season’s matches ended in draws.
- United last won a league game at Stamford Bridge in October 2012.
Chelsea Team News
Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Christian Pulisic are likely to miss this clash as they continue to make progress following injury.
Both men could return after the United game but the match at Stamford Bridge is likely to come too soon.
Olivier Giroud is likely to be fit but Lampard will possibly only pick the French striker to be utilised from the bench.
Following Kepa Arrizabalaga’s shaky form between the sticks, Willy Cabellero is set to remain in goal following the 2-2 draw against Leicester City.
Possible team: Willy Cabellero, Reece James, Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta, N’golo Kante, Jorginho, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Mason Mount, Pedro, Tammy Abraham.
Manchester United Team News
Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba will definitely be missing from the squad on Sunday as both step up their fitness from long-term injuries.
Pogba is expected to return to the fray next month having also missed the recent crunch game with Liverpool, which we previewed here, but top scorer Rashford will be out until April after sustaining an injury in the FA Cup game against Wolves.
Young stars Scott McTominay and Axel Tuanzebe are very close to a return but Solskjaer may not choose to risk either player in such a high-octane fixture.
Bruno Fernandes is set to make his second league start for United following a promising debut at home to Wolves last time out.
Possible team: David De Gea, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Andreas Pereira, Fred, Juan Mata, Bruno Fernandes, Daniel James, Anthony Martial.