Manchester United have started a new era this week, with a 2-0 win over Villarreal in the Champions League. That was the first match the team played since the departure of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The Norwegian manager got relieved of his duties on Sunday morning, when Michael Carrick was appointed as a short-term interim manager, before another interim manager is brought in. The reports in the media suggest that will be resolved very soon, but until then, Manchester United will be lead by their former midfielder.
And Carrick will have a very tough job in his first Premier League match in the role. Man United will be visiting Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge, as they are set to face European champions and the league leaders.
Here is everything you need to know ahead of this big Sunday clash.
There have been some bad news at Chelsea, with Ben Chilwell damaging his ACL during the Juventus game this week. The left-back could be out of action for several months. N’Golo Kante also suffered a knee injury, not as serious, but one that will keep him out of this match. Two more players are most probably going to miss facing Man United – Mateo Kovacic and Kai Havertz, former Red Devil Romelu Lukaku is unlikely to start the game, but could feature later on.
Man United will be without Harry Maguire following his red card in the big loss against Watford. That will mean United will be without the main centre-back partnership, as Raphael Varane is still injured. Paul Pogba will not play either, Mason Greenwood has been COVID positive, while Luke Shaw, Edinson Cavani and Fred are still doubts with the recent injuries they have had.
Chelsea are the league leaders, with three points more than champions Manchester City and their recent form has been magnificent. They have not lost a match since consecutive losses to City and Juventus way back in late September. Two months have passed since and their results are exactly the way Thomas Tuchel would want them to be. In the ten matches that followed, the Blues won nine and drew once. Southampton, Brentford, Malmo, Norwich, Southampton, Newcastle, Leicester and Malmo again were all defeated, before the 1-1 draw against Burnley. But that little setback was easily forgotten when Chelsea won 3-0 at Leicester City’s King Power Stadium and now during the midweek they thrashed Juventus 4-0.
Manchester United, on the other hand, have finally won a match, for the first time after three and a half weeks. After the Spurs win in London, there was the 2-2 draw against Atalanta in Bergamo and then losses to Manchester City and ultimately Watford, Solskjaer’s last game in charge. United won 2-0 in Spain on Tuesday night, but they did not dazzle as some were expecting. It was not too pretty of a win, but it was a much needed win nevertheless.
Chelsea are the favourites and they will be expected to win, but we predict a tough 1-1 draw. Manchester United might surprise the Blues who have been winning matches for a while now, mostly because of the new energy Carrick could inject into this team, but also because United might enjoy playing more on the counter-attack at Stamford Bridge. That result would be a decent surprise for the Red Devils.