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Manchester United vs Chelsea: Prediction & Preview | Premier League 2023/24

A Critical Clash at Old Trafford: Manchester United vs Chelsea Preview and Prediction

As we approach the midweek fixture at Old Trafford, the spotlight falls on two giants of English football, Manchester United and Chelsea. Both teams, traditionally powerhouses, find themselves in a precarious position, desperately seeking a win to bolster their UEFA Champions League qualification hopes.

FJY244I5EVKP5D7K4DG7NXD34I Manchester United vs Chelsea: Prediction & Preview | Premier League 2023/24
Soccer Football – Premier League – Manchester United v Chelsea – Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain – May 25, 2023 Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford celebrates scoring their fourth goal with teammates REUTERS/Molly Darlington EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

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Match Preview: Crisis at Old Trafford

In the aftermath of a demoralizing 1-0 defeat at the hands of Newcastle United, Manchester United faces a moment of reckoning. The loss shattered their impressive 334-minute clean sheet streak, adding pressure on manager Erik ten Hag, particularly after a tumultuous Champions League draw with Galatasaray in the preceding week.

Marcus Rashford, once a talisman at Old Trafford, is grappling with a surprising goal drought. Despite scoring 20 goals in 30 home outings last season, Rashford has failed to find the back of the net in 10 appearances at Old Trafford in the current campaign. This lack of home comforts reflects the broader struggle at United, having lost three of their last five Premier League games at Old Trafford.

Marcus Rashford Image via Reuters Manchester United vs Chelsea: Prediction & Preview | Premier League 2023/24
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football – Carabao Cup – Round of 16 – Manchester United v Burnley – Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain – December 21, 2022 Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford celebrates scoring their second goal Action Images via Reuters/Phil Noble.

The injury list compounds the challenges for United, with key players such as Christian Eriksen, Casemiro, Tyrell Malacia, and Lisandro Martínez unavailable. However, the potential return of former Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount could inject creativity into their lineup.

Chelsea’s Rollercoaster Season

In the blue corner, Chelsea occupies the 10th spot in the standings, five points adrift of United. Pochettino’s tenure has been marked by inconsistency, evident in a rollercoaster ride from a thrilling 4-4 draw with Man City to a 4-1 defeat at Newcastle. However, they responded emphatically with a 3-2 victory against Brighton.

The suspension of Conor Gallagher, who received a red card in the last game, poses a challenge for Chelsea. Notably, this incident marked the 31st red card of the Premier League campaign, surpassing the total from the entire previous season.

Conor Gallagher’s red card threw a wrench into Chelsea’s momentum after a promising start at Stamford Bridge. Despite Facundo Bounanotte responding with goals after Enzo Fernández and Levi Colwill headers, Fernández secured a second from the penalty spot, ensuring breathing space for Chelsea. This made João Pedro’s late effort redundant.

licensed image Manchester United vs Chelsea: Prediction & Preview | Premier League 2023/24
LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 02: Conor Gallagher of Chelsea looks on during the Premier League match between Fulham FC and Chelsea FC at Craven Cottage on October 02, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Gallagher’s dismissal, marking the 31st red card of this Premier League campaign, surpasses the 30 reds shown in all 380 games in the 2022-23 season. The first 14 matchdays witnessed an average of 0.22 red cards per game, the highest rate ever seen in the competition.

Pochettino, despite facing selection challenges, sees some relief with the availability of full-backs Reece James and Marc Cucurella. However, long-term absentees such as Ben Chilwell and Wesley Fofana, coupled with the likely absence of Malo Gusto, create additional hurdles.

Pochettino expresses eagerness to have Roméo Lavia and Christopher Nkunku in contention, although their participation against Brighton was close. Long-term absentees Ben Chilwell and Wesley Fofana, along with the likely absence of Malo Gusto, continue to pose challenges for Chelsea.

licensed image 1 Manchester United vs Chelsea: Prediction & Preview | Premier League 2023/24
BURNLEY, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 7: Mauricio Pochettino the head coach / manager of Chelsea arrives ahead of the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Chelsea FC at Turf Moor on October 7, 2023 in Burnley, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

In the attacking front, Chelsea pins hopes on former City star Raheem Sterling to make an impact on his return to Manchester. Although he has contributed with two goals and one assist in his last three Premier League road trips, Sterling has never scored in 24 career games against United, making it the club he has faced the most without finding the net.

Head-to-Head Battle: Manchester United vs Chelsea

Manchester United, draws encouragement from their recent record against Chelsea, remaining unbeaten in their last 11 Premier League meetings (W4, 7D) since their 1-0 away loss in November 2017. Chelsea’s last victory at Old Trafford in the Premier League dates back to May 2013, and the subsequent visits have resulted in six draws and four defeats in 10 encounters.

This fixture stands out as having witnessed more draws than any other in the Premier League era, with 26 contests finishing level. Among those, 19 were score draws, a joint-high figure alongside Arsenal versus Tottenham, while 14 concluded with a 1-1 scoreline, the most common result between any two teams in Premier League history.

Erik Ten Hag Image Credits Getty Images Manchester United vs Chelsea: Prediction & Preview | Premier League 2023/24
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 11: Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag applauds the fans after the Premier League match between Manchester United and Luton Town at Old Trafford on November 11, 2023 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

Despite Chelsea’s historical struggles, they have had a relatively better record in midweek encounters against United. In the last eight Premier League games played on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, Chelsea has only suffered one defeat, winning two and drawing five. However, the previous season saw a significant setback as United convincingly defeated Frank Lampard’s Blues 4-1 in May, confirming Champions League qualification with goals from Casemiro, Anthony Martial, Fernandes, and Rashford.

Pochettino boasts a favorable recent record against United, securing four wins in his last seven Premier League matches against them after a lackluster initial run of six games without a victory. However, his success at Old Trafford has been limited, overseeing only one victory in seven trips (D1, L5), with the last triumph occurring in August 2018 when Tottenham emerged victorious with a 3-0 scoreline.

Recent Form and Prediction

Examining recent form, Chelsea has struggled in midweek fixtures, winning only one of their last 10 Premier League games played on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Meanwhile, United faces skepticism regarding their performance on the road against elite teams, a sentiment shared by Chelsea.

ZAYQ5TJCZ5O6BCP3TU4SMGKQ4I Manchester United vs Chelsea: Prediction & Preview | Premier League 2023/24
FILE PHOTO: Football – Premier League – Chelsea v Manchester United – Stamford Bridge, London, Britain – October 22, 2022 Manchester United’s Jadon Sancho in action with Chelsea’s Mason Mount REUTERS/Tony Obrien/File Photo

As for the prediction, United emerges as the slight favorite for victory, taking into account Chelsea’s recent struggles and United’s historical dominance in this fixture. A draw is considered a highly likely outcome, with a Chelsea win perceived as less probable. Looking at the broader picture, both teams face skepticism in achieving a top-four finish, according to overall season predictions.

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