Man Utd host Chelsea at Old Trafford on Thursday. The Red Devils still need one point to seal a top four finish whilst the Blues sit 12th in the table. The last five meetings between these sides in all competitions have finished in draws.
Man Utd Form
United have followed up successive league defeats – 1-0 away at Brighton and 1-0 at West Ham – with two crucial victories. They beat Wolves 2-0 at home with 27 shots and 3.20 xG. After winning 1-0 at Bournemouth, United are on the brink of a top four finish, needing just one more point.
At home, United have been very strong all season. After losing to Brighton on the opening day, their last 16 matches have seen 13 wins and three draws with just six goals conceded. Perhaps surprisingly, they’ve only netted 29 goals in those 16 home fixtures, just the ninth most in the division at home in that period. The victory at Bournemouth saw them put up 20 shots but just 1.41 xG on Saturday.
Man Utd Team News
Erik Ten Hag remains without the injured Lisandro Martinez in defence. Donny van be Beek and Marcel Sabitzer are both out injured in midfield. Marcus Rashford could return having missed the last two matches with injury and illness respectively.
United could continue with Victor Lindelof alongside Raphael Varane. Diogo Dalot and Aaron Wan-Bissaka will battle to start at right back. Up front, Anthony Martial was unimpressive last time out so Alejandro Garnacho could take his place, with Rashford playing centrally.
Man Utd Motivation
United need a point to ensure they finish above Liverpool. They won’t necessarily play for a draw from the start, but it would be seen as a positive result.
Ten Hag’s side will play on the front foot but they won’t open up too much. They know Chelsea have scored very few goals of late so one goal could be enough to win.
The Blues have been absolutely dire for months on end. They sit 12th in the Premier League table having won just once in 12 matches in all competitions. It’s just four wins in the last 26 fixtures. Their last six away fixtures in the Premier League have seen four defeats and two wins. After taking over as interim coach, Frank Lampard lost his first six matches in charge.
His side were beaten home and away by Real Madrid (both 2-0), 1-0 at Wolves and 3-1 at Arsenal, and they also suffered home losses to Brighton and Brentford. A 3-1 win at Bournemouth stopped the rot although they threw away a lead to draw 2-2 at Nottingham Forest after that. On Sunday, Chelsea lost 1-0 at a Man City side who had made nine changes to their starting XI.
Chelsea Team News
Chelsea have a host of injuries to deal with, especially in defence and in midfield. Benoit Badiashile, Reece James, Ben Chilwell and Marc Cucurella will also miss this match but Kalidou Koulibaly is back and could be handed a start. Teenager Lewis Hall will continue on the left side.
In midfield, Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante are absent so Ruben Loftus-Cheek will start once again. Further forward, Frank Lampard could be without Joao Felix so Kai Havertz will lead the line. If the formation is changed to a 4-3-3, then either Noni Madueke or Mykhailo Mudryk will come into the front three.
The Blues are going through the motions and looking forward to the season coming to an end. They played decently in the second half against Man City and would take a point from this match.
The team selection could be indicative of Chelsea’s approach. If it’s a back five, then they are looking to keep it tight. A 4-3-3 shape would indicate that they’re trying to win the match.
Man Utd’s last 11 EPL matches have seen Under 2.5 goals in 10 of them
Manchester United have drawn their last 5 matches against Chelsea (all competitions)
Man Utd have won 13 of their last 16 home EPL matches, conceding just 6 goals
Chelsea have won 1 of their last 12 matches (all competitions)
Chelsea have won just 2 of their last 16 away matches
Chelsea’s last 6 away EPL matches have seen 4 losses and 2 wins
Man Utd are very strong at home and should win this match. A draw is enough for them so that is another possible option in terms of betting – the double chance + goals market. Not many goals are expected in this clash overall.