Down The Wings

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Match Preview : Chelsea vs Manchester United

The winter break is finally over and it’s time to get back into the action for Manchester United, with a trip down to London to face Chelsea in a huge top four six pointer.

United have failed to score in each of their last three league matches, whilst Chelsea are on an underwhelming run of no wins in the same period of time, having drawn against Leicester and Arsenal, whilst losing to Newcastle.

How do Manchester United look?

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United go into this match, again, with a number of injuries effecting the team. Scott McTominay is getting closer to full fitness, participated in the warm weather training, but isn’t expected to be involved on Monday night.

Paul Pogba, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Axel Tuanzebe and of course, Marcus Rashford, are also unavailable due to long term injury.

New signing Odion Ighalo will, however, be in contention to make his Manchester United debut at Stamford Bridge, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saying “He’ll be involved with us and he will travel down with us”.

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The manager went on to say “As a striker, you get thrown on out there and it might be, he’ll have to come off the bench and get us a goal and he does whatever he’s done”, suggesting he may make a substitute appearance if needed in the match.

Opposition: Chelsea

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Chelsea find themselves in a similar situation to Manchester United- battling for top four with a somewhat inexperienced manager, and are looking to rebuild a squad for the future.

They are sitting in fourth place, six points ahead of United, who are down in eight place, so a win for the blues would all but end United’s pursuit of Champions League football, via the league at least.

Since taking over, Frank Lampard has set his side up in a number of formations, but mainly operating with a 4-2-3-1, with lone frontman Tammy Abraham being the focal point, chipping in with 13 league goals this season. However, Abraham is a doubt for the game due to injury, meaning much of the host’s threat may be nullified, allowing United to attack with less caution and with more intent.

Key Stat

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United have fared well under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer against Chelsea, winning three out of the four times they’ve faced them, most notably the 4-0 demolition on the opening game of the season, as well as a 2-1 league cup victory, with Marcus Rashford’s Ronaldo-esque freekick the stand out goal of the game.

Solskjaer appears to have the tactical edge over Lampard and Chelsea, so will surely enter the match on Monday with high confidence.

Prediction

Chelsea 1-2 Manchester United. Goals from Bruno Fernandes and a debut winner from substitute Ighalo.

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