Manchester United v Chelsea has been one of the biggest fixtures in the Premier League since it’s inception, and both sides are set to clash again at Old Trafford on Saturday.
United and Chelsea finished in third and fourth place respectively in the last campaign, but neither Ole Gunnar Solskjaer nor Frank Lampard will be comfortable with how they have started the new campaign.
After their humbling 6-1 defeat to Tottenham before the international break, the home side seems to have figured things out following recent wins against Newcastle (4-1) and PSG (2-1) in the Champions League their last time out.
As for the visiting side, Chelsea spent big in the summer but the defence has yet to convince – though a goalless draw against Sevilla in their Champions League group opener seems like a step in the right direction.
United will be without Eric Bailly who is set to be out for three to four weeks due to a muscle injury according to Solskjaer.
Anthony Martial who was sent off against Tottenham will also be serving the second of his three-match suspension.
19-year-old Mason Greenwood (featured on the FIFA 21 wonderkids list), who recorded 19 goals and 5 assists for the Red Devils last season, will also be looking forward to returning to the starting lineup after missing back-to-back victories over Newcastle and PSG due to a minor injury.
Meanwhile, it remains unclear whether captain Harry Maguire, Jesse Lingard and new signing Edinson Cavani will be available to feature in the tie against Chelsea. However, the United boss should provide an update in his pre-match press briefing on Friday morning.
For Chelsea, there are no fresh injury concerns with Hakim Ziyech now recovered from the injury which delayed the start of his Chelsea career, and Frank Lampard is confident that Thiago Silva will return to the fray after being sidelined with a knock he suffered against Sevilla on Tuesday night.
But Billy Gilmour remains the only player out and is expected to return to action in November.
After Lampard confirmed him as club first-choice goalkeeper going forward, new boy Edouard Mendy will be expected to start in goal for the Blues. The former Rennes No.1 has kept two clean sheets in his first three games for Chelsea and will hope to keep his impressive form against the Red Devils.
Players to watch
With the addition of Mendy, Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell during the summer to strengthen the backline, and the attacking quality complemented with Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz, it is not out of place to say Havertz has arguably adapted to English football faster than any of the Blues’ other foreign recruits.
The former Bayern Leverkusen midfielder, who already has a Chelsea hat-trick to his name and picked up his first Premier League goal during Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Southampton, could cause United problems if left to his own devices at the weekend.
On the other end, Portuguese playmaker Bruno Fernandes who was the driving force behind United’s run to a third-place Premier League finish last season has continued to prove himself valuable for the club and could be a threat for Chelsea if given the opportunity.
Both sides have had 56 outings between them and Chelsea edge it with 18 wins to United’s 17 along with 21 draws.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his boys will be hoping to repeat their Premier League double over Chelsea as they did last term although the Blues won their latest encounter when they downed United 3-1 at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-finals in July.
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