Who: Manchester United vs Chelsea
When: Saturday, October 24th @ 12:30pm ET
Line: Man U +145 | Draw +260| Chelsea +175
Suddenly, the sense of a ‘crisis’ seems to be fading away from Manchester United.
After the embarrassing loss to Tottenham, the Red Devils have come out swinging by picking up big results. The most prominent one saw them oust PSG once again at their own yard. United’s form away from home is exceptional, with 10 consecutive win on the trot.
But their disappointing home form is a worry & reason why the clash against Chelsea is whole different ball-game. Frank Lampard’s side arrives on the back of some topsy-turvy performances & with a similarly stuttering start to the season as the Red Devils. United easily did the league double over the Blues last season, but their shakiness at home gives the visitors confidence to get all three points. It’s high time United replicate their heroic away form at home and light up Old Trafford with a dominant performance.
Manchester United Likely XI
De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Tuanzebe, Telles, McTominay, Fred, Pogba, Fernandes, Rashford, Cavani
Harry Maguire missed the PSG game through an injury he suffered on Saturday, so he’s unlikely to recover this fast. Eric Bailly is now ruled out till late November, while Mason Greenwood could start from the bench. After his heroics against PSG, Axel Tuanzebe deserves to keep his spot –as does Fred. Expect a possible debut for Edinson Cavani with Anthony Martial still suspended.
Chelsea Likely XI
Mendy, James, Silva, Christensen, Chilwell, Kante, Jorginho, Ziyech, Havertz, Pulisic, Werner
There’s no chance that Lampard won’t play his strongest attacking options against a shaky defence like United’s. Hakim Ziyech & Christian Pulisic are now fully fit, so they should start.
Manchester United vs Chelsea Preview
United have experienced somewhat of a zero-to-hero transformation in recent days and the win against PSG especially makes it seem like the Spurs defeat was just a bad nightmare. The players are booming with confidence, looking much fitter & seem to actually care into putting in maximum efforts to help Ole Gunnar Solskjaer get some big wins.
But the away games have suited to their style pretty well. United are among the best counter-attacking teams around and proved that in recent games, scoring pretty goals in fast-breaks. Their games at home, however, are a different ball-game. At Old Trafford, they’re under pressure to play attacking football from the get-go & take the fight to the opponents rather than sit back & look for swift breaks.
They need to be careful not to gift Chelsea easy opportunities as they did to Spurs & Crystal Palace. The Blues have one of the most dangerous forward lines in the Premier League who can cause plenty of destruction despite not being in perfect sync so far. Timo Werner can cause havoc with his predatorial instinct in the final third, Kai Havertz can both set up & finish chances with grace, Christian Pulisic is a terror to deal with when on song & Hakim Ziyech is a creative wizard.
As they did against PSG, the Red Devils must defend like a sturdy unit to keep Lampard’s men quiet on Saturday. Victor Lindelof seems to have gotten over his early-season blues and needs to put in another assertive performance to keep United’s backline shape strong. Tuanzebe looks a man reformed & will look to maintain his momentum by bullying Werner & co. Aaron Wan-Bissaka has rediscovered his ‘tackling machine’ form & needs to maintain his ‘you shall not pass’ attitude to keep Pulisic silenced.
But more than the backline, it’s time United’s attack shows their quality against an error-prone Chelsea defence. Bruno Fernandes loves thriving under pressure & performing in big games, so he’ll be more pumped to continue his goal-scoring streak & create more definitive chances to lead United from the front. Marcus Rashford has rediscovered his goal-scoring brilliance & will look to use his blistering pace & incisiveness to cut through the opposition backline.
Paul Pogba should start & if he does, the Frenchman needs to be less error-prone & more influential in creating clever chances & helping United dominate possession. Fred & Scott McTominay both played like warriors against PSG & will need to maintain their high-octane pressing style to counter Chelsea’s midfielders.
But quite understandably, all eyes will be on Cavani if he starts. The new United #9 isn’t exactly what the fans wanted this summer, but he still has enough experience & ability to make a difference. He’ll need to get into the right areas, showcase an impressive work-rate & carve out chances for himself to get the best out of former teammate, Thiago Silva.
Like they did on Tuesday, United need to play as an unbreakable United against Chelsea. Lampard’s side has enough firepower & talent to burn them. The only way the Red Devils can get over the Spurs defeat is if they outplay & completely overpower the Blues on Saturday to brighten up Old Trafford.
This is very difficult to predict mostly because of United’s terrible form at home this season & Chelsea’s regular stutters and inability to seal victories from comfortable positions. So I think it’ll be an entertaining, action-packed encounter which will end up in a 2-2 draw – ensuring both sets of players won’t be particularly happy nor sad after the game.