Man Utd host Chelsea at Old Trafford on Thursday night in the English Premier League. The hosts still have hopes of sneaking a top-four finish but need to win this match to keep that a realistic objective. With just two wins in ten matches, they face a Chelsea side who have taken their foot off the pedal. Ralf Rangnick sees his squad reduced to the bare bones whilst Thomas Tuchel has to deal with the news of Antonio Rudiger’s impending departure.
Man United Form
The Red Devils have now appointed a coach for next season in Erik Ten Hag and appear to be treading water until the summer. Their last ten matches have brought just two wins. There have been five defeats in the last eight, all with very poor performances. The worst results were being embarrassed 4-1 at Man City and later losing 4-0 at Liverpool.
The only victories in the last ten were both 3-2, against Tottenham and Norwich, thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s hattricks. The latter match preceded the Liverpool defeat before a 3-1 loss at Arsenal in the most recent match. United actually had good spells in the game, missed a penalty, and had valid complaints about a couple of the goals for the Gunners.
Man United Team News
Ralf Rangnick barely has any options for this match. Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw look set to miss out in defence with Victor Lindelof and Alex Telles starting. Fred and Paul Pogba are absent in the engine room so Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay will anchor the midfield.
With Jadon Sancho missing this match, Marcus Rashford could be set for a recall. Anthony Elanga will play on the opposite flank with Ronaldo leading the line. Edinson Cavani remains an injury absence and Mason Greenwood won’t be seen again this season.
Man United Motivation
The side have looked flat and disinterested of late, despite the carrot of Champions League football. Many players know their futures lie elsewhere, injuries have decimated the squad and many players look short of confidence.
United will play to win this match but shaking hands on a draw may suit both clubs as they sleepwalk through the rest of the league season.
Chelsea have lost three home matches in a row. Having been beaten just four times in 49 matches this season, they have now lost three of their last seven. The manner of those losses, being beaten 4-1 at Brentford, 3-1 by Real Madrid, and 4-2 by Arsenal at Stamford Bridge is alarming.
When the team has looked focused in recent weeks, top performances have been forthcoming. A 6-0 win at Southampton, a 3-2 win away at Real Madrid (having dominated and finding themselves 3-0 up) and a solid 2-0 FA Cup semi-final win against Crystal Palace have also come in the last seven. The most recent encounter saw a late Christian Pulisic goal to beat West Ham’s low block 1-0.
Chelsea Team News
Thomas Tuchel is without Ben Chilwell, Mateo Kovacic, and Callum Hudson-Odoi due to injuries. Antonio Rudiger should be fit to start after a knock despite his impending exit from the club. Reece James should also be back in the XI after missing the West Ham match.
It looks like a straight choice between Jorginho and Ruben Loftus-Cheek in midfield. Andreas Christensen has been ill so Trevor Chalobah could get another opportunity at the back. Timo Werner should complete the front three in preference to Christian Pulisic.
The Blues have looked distinctly disinterested in their last two matches against Arsenal and West Ham. There does not appear to be much to play for in league action with all focus for the rest of the season on the FA Cup final.
Without complete focus, the Blues have been leaking goals for fun. The news about Rudiger’s departure could further disrupt the backline. Chelsea will play to win but a draw may be a sufficient result to keep control of the top three finish.
Man Utd have won 2 of their last 10 matches in all comps
United have lost 5 of their last 8 matches
Man Utd have conceded in 10 of their last 11 matches (21 goals leaked)
Ronaldo has scored just 1 goal in 15 apps against Chelsea (0 in 10 PL matches)
Chelsea have won their last 9 away matches (all comps)
CFC have kept 6 clean sheets in their last 9 PL matches
Chelsea are winless in 8 PL matches against Man Utd (D5, L3)
This match is tough to call because both sides have looked complacent and disinterested of late. United have a great record against Chelsea but the Blues are superb in away matches. A draw looks like great value for this clash.
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