After a convincing win at home against Spurs, Manchester United will attempt to leapfrog Chelsea and claim the fourth place in the table when they travel to Stamford Bridge for a Saturday evening Premier League kick-off.
Chelsea can’t draw inspiration from their last match’s performance, unlike their guests. In a goalless affair, the Blues had to share the spoils with Brentford at the Gtech Community Stadium on Wednesday night.
Kepa Arrizabalaga continued his redemption arc under Graham Potter with a string of saves against Brentford.
The Andalusian keeper was ridiculed for his hefty pricetag and his early-day struggles. But he has turned around the narrative with regular top-notch performances.
After saving the day against Aston Villa, Kepa made sure his team did not drop all points in midweek. Édouard Mendy might find it difficult to reclaim his spot as Chelsea’s number one goalkeeper.
Potter will be happy with the defensive resilience his team has shown at the Gtech Community Park. But he will be asking his forwards for a more clinical display against a Manchester United side that have found defensive solidity with their new centre-back pairing Raphaël Varane and Lisandro Martínez.
Securing a point against the Red Devils will be enough for Chelsea to keep hold of their fourth spot.
But a defeat will displace them from the Champions League places and push them down to the fifth position. But Chelsea have plenty of reasons to feel optimistic ahead of their Saturday challenge.
Since Graham Potter came in as the new Chelsea manager, the West Londoners have conceded only twice in all competitions. Opponents failed to score against then in the last five ocassions. On top of that, they are still undefeated this season at home.
However, Manchester United have shown that they have the capability to defeat the best teams in the division.
They got the better of Liverpool, Arsenal, and Tottenham at home. That said their only visit to a big six arena so far ended in a 6-3 defeat.
Erik Ten Hag’s side will enter the fray on the back of their emphatic win against top-four contenders Tottenham.
The Lillywhites managed to keep the score level at the interval, thanks to a brilliant first-half display from Hugo Lloris.
The hosts broke the deadlock through Fred in the 47th minute before Bruno Fernandes added a second.It was undoubdtedly the best performance Manchester United have had under Ten Hag. So, they will be keen on building on that when they travel to the English capital.
Thiago Silva and Hakim Ziyech could not make it to the starting XI against Brentford. But, they were fit enough to make the bench. Potter might bring in one of them or both to the first XI against Manchester United.
However, Reece James, Wesley Fofana, and N’Golo Kante will not be available anytime soon.
Conor Gallagher could clock only 15 minutes against Brentford before he had to come off feeling sick. The Chelsea medical team will assess him ahead of the match to make a final decision.
Erik ten Hag has announced that Cristiano Ronaldo will not be a part of the squad for the Chelsea trip. The 37-year-old made a scene when he went down the tunnel before the final whistle went off against Tottenham on Wednesday night.
But the Portugal captain will not be the only absentee in the team.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire, Anthony Martial, Brandon Williams, Axel Tuanzebe, and Donny van de Beek all remain out of the picture with their respective injury setbacks.
It seems unlikely that we will see goals galore when these two teams meet, given their recent defensive records. So, we will predict this tie to end in a goalless draw.