Date: Sunday 28th November 2021
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Kick-off: 16:30 GMT
No doubt about it, our last couple of games have been a real feast for the eyes. In the league last weekend, I expected Leicester to give us a proper game, as it turned out, they didn’t. They looked lacklustre, and we had no intention of giving them the opportunity to improve that situation at any point in the game. To be fair, they tried second half, but we were ruthless and even if three of the six we scored hadn’t been ruled offside, it’s not a scoreline that would have flattered us.
In the Champions League Tuesday night, there was no let-up from us against Juventus. To drag out the obvious, The Old Lady was schooled by our youngsters. As many will no doubt point out, it’s probably not the best Juventus have ever been, but they’d have struggled to get any momentum going against us in that mood anyway.
As good as we’ve played though, we need our feet back on the floor this afternoon for the visit of Manchester United. Yes, they’ve been poor, laughably so at times this season. Yes, they were battered by Watford in their last league game and yes, they come into today’s game 9th in the table and 12 points behind us. Ole’s not at the wheel now though, and as if that isn’t enough of a bonus, Harry Maguire won’t be at the back for them either.
Caretaker Carrick kept things simple for his first game in charge, to get a confidence boosting win and clean sheet against Villareal midweek, and the club seems to have some sort of plan in place now with the pending appointment of Ralf Rangnick to tide them over until they can appoint a permanent manager in the summer. As we know only too well, these mid-season changes can make all the difference.
We haven’t beaten them in our last seven Premier League meetings and haven’t scored against them in the last four. I suppose the other thing to mention is that thirteen of our goals in the league this season have come from ‘defenders’ – and we’re one light now. Ben Chilwell will be a massive miss for us at both ends of the pitch – not ideal when you consider the attack United have available to them.
I can’t see this being the feast we’ve been treated to in our last couple games, I just hope it’s not a famine.
Going into today’s game, Thomas Tuchel, says “I listened to ABBA because I was in love with the singer! That was in my first years at school, the first four years. I had to go to school, I went by the shop where they sell the vinyl. That’s why! The music was, it was so-so. If you play football like ABBA, I don’t know if you make it through a Premier League season. Maybe not the whole season! We want to play every instrument. I feel in modern football, so many different things are demanded. It is so different if you play Manchester United, then Watford then Leeds at home. There is so many different characters of the opponent so you have to adapt. They oppose your style. It gets harder and harder. For that we need to have answers, to have different styles, we need to find solutions. This is what we are trying to do.
I don’t know if it is ever a good time to play against teams. That would mean we think we know or can predict something. You can see it either way. In the end, we will not lose too many minutes thinking about this. We will give all our energy and focus on our squad and what we want to do right. We only have one game with Michael Carrick in charge to focus on and analyse. Of course we have some individual behaviour and group behaviour that we think can be like, we can see as patterns and want to prepare our team for it. On the other side, it is always the best moment to play against Manchester United because we are up for the big challenges. We want to be out there and play on the highest level, to prove ourselves and prove a point. We just come from a tough match and there’s the next one. This is where we are and where we love to be. We get challenged on the highest level again on Sunday.”
Manchester United caretaker, Michael Carrick, meanwhile, says “It’s another massive game for us, Tuesday was a huge game, but it’s another massive game. These are the games you’ve got to enjoy, embrace putting yourself in these positions and test yourself against a team that’s playing very well, very well. Whatever individuals are on the pitch for them, in recent times, they’ve looked dangerous, they’ve looked a good team and obviously had some really terrific results. So it’ll be a test for us and I’m looking forward to it.
You’ve got to be hugely impressed by the way [Chelsea] go about things. Obviously, I’ve watched quite a bit of them. Super intense, well-organised, really good movement across our back line, their front line and very good at connecting with the midfield, with the back three building out and connecting in midfield. The wing-backs are really aggressive and test your backline and stretch you across the pitch. They’ve got a really good balance going at the moment, confidence is high and you can see that. They’ve had some really terrific results and so they’re on a high and I’m well aware of the challenges we face but, you know, as I said before, I’m looking forward to it because it’s a big test and a big challenge but we feel we can go there and get a good result, no doubt. We have to believe that.”
For Chelsea, Ben Chilwell (ACL) will be out for at least the rest of this year, Mateo Kovacic (thigh) remains out, whilst N’Golo Kante (knee) and Kai Havertz (hamstring) are doubtful. Romelu Lukaku (ankle) is unlikely to start.
For Manchester United, Raphael Varane (hamstring) and Paul Pogba (thigh) remain out, Fred and Edison Cavani are given as doubts, along with Mason Greenwood (Covid) who has missed the last two games. Fortunately for United, Harry Maguire is suspended.
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Mendy; Chalobah, Silva, Rudiger; James, Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek, Alonso; Hudson-Odoi, Mount; Werner
MANCHESTER UNITED (Possible line-up): De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Bailly, Telles; Matic, McTominay; Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford; Ronaldo
CURRENT FORM (PL)
MANCHESTER UNITED: DLLWLL
Chelsea 0-0 Manchester United (28th February 2021)
- Chelsea haven’t beaten Manchester United in the last seven in the Premier League.
- Chelsea have failed to score in their last four league games against Manchester United.
- Chelsea have lost just one of their 12 Premier League fixtures this season.
- Manchester United have lost five of their past seven Premier League games.
- Chelsea have conceded four goals in 12 league games this season.
- Manchester United have conceded 17 goals in their last seven games.
- Chelsea have scored 17 goals in their six home league games so far this season.
BBC Sport: Chelsea 2-1 Manchester United
Sportsmole: Chelsea 2-0 Manchester United