An epic Premier League clash occurs at the Theatre of Dreams with Chelsea travelling to Manchester United for a compelling Premier League clash.
Both clubs were underwhelming earlier in the season but have begun to find their feet in recent weeks.
United were 4-1 winners the last time Chelsea travelled to Old Trafford in the penultimate game of the 2022/23 Premier League season. That was a victory that secured qualification for this season's Champions League with a game to spare.
However, Chelsea was undefeated in the previous six matches, with five consecutive draws and a win. The Blues will be keen to impress the Red Devils, given their terrible record against their fellow “Big Six” sides since last season.
Manchester United’s revival kickstarted by the 2023 League Cup triumph under Erik ten Hag, has seen a few bumps in the road in his second season in charge. Fitness issues and suspensions have hampered the Red Devils’ hopes as they have struggled to win games throughout the season.
Home wins against Wolves and Nottingham Forest, alongside away losses at Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, ensured a wobbly mood after their first four league games. Hence, a 3-1 loss to Brighton & Hove Albion opened a can of worms as United’s form spiralled with defeats to Bayern Munich, Crystal Palace and Galatasaray over the next five games.
With six losses from their first ten games of the season, this was now a record low, but Scott McTominay’s sensational brace saved United from the jaws of another home defeat in added time against Brentford. That moment lit a fire in the belly of the players as they built on that momentum with Diogo Dalot netting a stunning winner at Sheffield United.
More heroic performances came from Harry Maguire and Andre Onana, who scored the winner and saved a last-minute penalty, respectively, in the crucial Champions League victory over FC Copenhagen. Indeed, the Red Devils have finally sprayed several good performances together, and they must keep the momentum to get their campaign up and running as they vie for European places.
While Man United are in eighth place with 15 points from their first nine matches, Chelsea are two places lower with 12 points after a tumultuous start of their own.
Aiming to fight back from a disastrous campaign last time, the Blues have overseen massive changes across all club levels over the last 18 months. Therefore, Mauricio Pochettino has been placed in charge of a young but talented squad with the challenge of moulding them into one of the best teams in Europe.
This new era under the Argentine manager was off to an exciting start in a 1-1 draw with Liverpool, but things soon turned sour with a 3-1 defeat to West Ham, and the shock reverse at home to Nottingham Forest sandwiched a 3-0 loss of Luton Town.
Things got slightly worse before they got better, as Chelsea also failed to score against Bournemouth and Aston Villa. Then came back-to-back victories at Fulham and Burnley before a derby clash with Arsenal saw them lead 2-0 until the 77th minute when the Gunners fought back and earned a point.
They are more confident and play with a swagger that warrants their brilliant performances. Now, Pochettino must get them to beat the other teams they should be competing against at the top end of the table.
The visit to Manchester is among a tough run of fixtures, and there should be a more unambiguous indication of their credentials when they take on the Red Devils.
This match takes place on Wednesday, 6 December, with the action kicking off at 20:15 PM UK time. The game is scheduled to be broadcast on Amazon Prime Video Sport, and millions are sure to tune in worldwide.
Match tickets are available for sale on each club’s site, but Old Trafford can expect to be filled to capacity regardless of the home side’s form. It is never a dull affair when these two clubs meet, and supporters of both sides should be able to get fair chances into the stadium.
Given that Manchester United vs Chelsea tickets will quickly be sold out via official sources, match-going fans may be lucky to find their tickets on a ticket resale site.
Ten Hag’s men have been miserable with fitness issues this season, with a casualty list that includes the likes of Tyrell Malacia, Amad Diallo, Luke Shaw, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Kobbie Mainoo and Lisandro Martinez.
Although Mainoo and Diallo are close to returning, United have recently welcomed Raphael Varane and Sergio Reguilon into the fold. Elsewhere, Jadon Sancho remains ostracised from the first team after falling out with the manager as he looks set to leave the club.
Chelsea have also had a tough run of injuries with Wesley Fofana, Christopher Nkunku, Romeo Lavia, Marcus Bettinelli, Ben Chilwell, Trevoh Chalobah, and Carney Chukwuemeka all out injured.
They have also seen Armando Broja, Reece James, and Benoit Badiashile return to the playing squad after their long-term injuries.
More options in the Red Devils squad allow them to rotate game-by-game, but Ten Hag will rely on his trusted lieutenants should fitness persist.
In the heart of midfield, Casemiro should be paired alongside Sofyan Amrabat, as Mason Mount might have to be content with a cameo appearance against his former club.
Manchester United: Onana; Dalot, Varane, Maguire, Reguilon; Casemiro, Amrabat; Antony, Fernandes, Rashford; Hojlund
Cole Palmer has had a brilliant start to his Chelsea career as he has become a key attacking cog for Pochettino’s side.
James will look to step up his fitness and get a start at right full-back, with Chelsea having missed their influential captain’s presence.
Chelsea: Sanchez; James, Silva, Colwill, Cucurella; Fernandez, Caicedo; Palmer, Gallagher, Sterling; Jackson
Bearing in mind the inconsistencies of both teams this term, as well as the many draws in recent encounters, United and Chelsea could both be happy with a shared point once again.
The intense affair of this game promises to be rather interesting. The unpredictable nature of both sides means ensures defensive mistakes could abound, making for an open contest throughout.
Man United 2-2 Chelsea