Chelsea and Manchester United probably hoped they would be involved in the title chase at this stage, but the reality is that even a top 4 finish seems unlikely at the moment. It is for that reason that both sides will have extra motivation to give their best on Saturday afternoon and attempt to record a morale-boosting victory that would be more than welcome.
Nobody can quite pinpoint what went wrong for Chelsea this season, but the mere fact that the team are now closer to the relegation zone than the Champions Legaue positions speaks volumes about their performances in the current campaign. The Blues have finally showed some character after Guus Hiddink had taken over the reigns from Jose Mourinho, but they are still unable to find any sort of consistency. Sitting 16 points behind top 4 positions with 14 games to go, the Champions League qualification now seems like mission impossible and it would appear as though the players feel the same way as they are not actually pulling their weight at the moment. The likes of Diego Costa, Oscar and Cesc Fabregas have raised their game of late, but this is still a far cry from last year’s championship form. And even though Chelsea will want to make amends for missing an opportunity to extend the winning run at Vicarage Road, we have reasons to believe they will struggle to break revived Manchester United.
Willian returned into action after recovering from a minor knock, meaning that Loic Remy and Radamel Falcao remain the only unavailable players.
Despite sitting 11 points clear of their next opponents, Manchester United have been almost equally disappointing this season, although they have finally started to show signs of improvement. Five wins in last seven games are enough to suggest that the Red Devils have raised their form, with their performance in the 3-0 victory over Stoke especially impressive. Granted, the Potters are going through a very rough patch, but Man Utd fans were, nonetheless, delighted to see their team record the first convincing triumph in quite a while. Anthony Martial, Wayne Rooney and Jesse Lingard all managed to get on the scoresheet, while youngster Cameron Borthwick-Jackson also managed to prove his worth. Buoyed by such a good performance, the Red Devils arrive at Stamford Bridge in high spirits, and hoping to end a three-match losing run in away games vs Chelsea. Man Utd have also failed to beat the Blues in last nine meetings, so no doubt they will be out to get revenge.
Ander Herrera and Morgan Schneiderlin should be recalled to the side, but Ashley Young, Phil Jones, Luke Shaw, Antonio Valencia and Marcos Rojo continue to miss out.
Key Factors to Consider
- Man Utd are winless in last nine meetings with Chelsea (D5 L4)
- The Blues won last three home games vs Man Utd
- Chelsea are unbeaten in last ten matches (W5 D5)
- Man Utd won five of last seven games on all fronts (D1 L1)
- The Red Devils recorded back to back wins on the road
Chelsea have been more successful in the previous meetings between the two sides, but Manchester United appear to be in better form at the moment, and while a tight game is on the cards, we do not think that the Blues will record fourth straight home win vs Man Utd.
Verdict: Man Utd not to lose
Best Odds: 8/11