Frank Lampard’s Chelsea will look to solidify their claim in the top four as they play hosts to a struggling Manchester United side. Having said that, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has had the better of Chelsea twice this season and would be aiming for a third straight win against the Blues in order to get back in the mix of booking a spot in the Champions League. However, Chelsea and United both have been a subject of inconsistency lately.
From the last five games in the league, Chelsea has won one, lost one and drawn three which positions them a point above Tottenham with 41 points at 4th. Manchester United on the other end has won one, drawn one and lost three from their previous five fixtures in the league. As a result of a poor show in recent times, Manchester United is 9th in the league with 35 points, which makes the game against Chelsea all the more important for Solskjaer and his troops.
Date- Tuesday, February 18
Kick-Off- 1:00 AM (IST)
Venue- Stamford Bridge
Christian Pulisic is out of contention due to an injury for the blues, while Tammy Abraham’s condition will be assessed prior to kick-off. Ruben Loftus Cheek has returned to training from his long term injury but might be given a longer break. Willian could possibly return to the starting eleven after being benched prior to the winter break. Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen and Fikayo Tomori will be battling it out for a spot in the defence. Either from N’Golo Kante, Mason Mount and Mateo Kovacic could settle for the bench. Frank Lampard could go with Kepa Arrizabalaga in goal this time around.
Latest recruit Odion Ighalo could be named in the squad and will be in line to make his debut for the red devils. Nemanja Matic will be seen in central-midfield after undergoing suspension prior to the winter break. Though Scott McTominay has returned to training, the 22-year-old has to wait a few more days before he’s match-fit. Paul Pogba is expected to be on the sidelines until Match, while Bruno Fernandes takes charge of midfield. Marcus Rashford is another key player who remains a long term absentee for the visitors.
CHE (Expected Playing 11)- Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Tomori, James; Kante, Jorginho; Hudson-Odoi, Mount, Willian; Abraham
MUN (Expected Playing 11)- De Gea; Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Wan-Bissaka, Fred, Matic, Williams; Fernandes; James, Martial
Willian can pack a punch in the advanced role for Chelsea. The 31-year-old has four goals, four assists and a pass accuracy of 82.6% from 1730 minutes in the league this season.
Anthony Martial has been going through a slump in form lately but can be effective on the forward line for Manchester United. Martial has eight goals, three assists and a pass accuracy of 82,5% from 19 league appearances this season.
Callum Hudson-Odoi has impressed for the Blues in the attacking midfield position. Hudson-Odoi has a goal, four assists and a pass accuracy of 85.1% from 770 minutes in the league this season.
Though Bruno Fernandes will be playing only his second in the Premier League for Manchester United, the Portuguese international looked sharp against Wolves. Fernandes scored eight goals and has seven assists from the 17 games he featured in for Sporting Lisbon in the 2019-20 season before completing his move to Old Trafford.
From the last six encounters between the two sides, it’s Manchester United that has the upper hand with three wins in contrast to Chelsea‘s solitary win. Two games have ended on level terms during the process.
Considering that both teams have been inconsistent this season, a draw could be the possible outcome.
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