This Saturday, Manchester United travel to the capital to take on Chelsea in a 5:30pm kick off. With the race for a top four position getting tight, it’s a must win for both sides, and a must watch for football fans!
Earlier in the season, Chelsea’s form was inconsistent. Thomas Tuchel, with a squad that’d be the envy of many topflight coaches, couldn’t get his side clicking.
New owners can be notorious for being impulsive and having high demands. They takeover and have their own ideas of how to operate. If you’re not onboard, then you’re thrown overboard. Tedd Boehly sacked the Champions League winner quickly into his tenure.
A Shuffle at Stamford Bridge
The American businessman’s second big decision was to find a manager who’d see his vision become a reality. Tasked with that responsibility would be the man who had made Brighton a Premier League mainstay, Graham Potter.
Straight into the deep end, his first game leading Chelsea would be his Champions League managerial debut. The game ended a 1-1 draw with Red Bull Salzburg.
Potter’s start wasn’t about to get any easier, his first league game was a London derby, and there are fewer hostile stadiums in English football than Selhurst Park.
Adding to the already tough task, Chelsea found themselves behind early on. They levelled the score through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the 38th minute and the first half finished 1-1.
Potter’s substitutions worked like spells. In the 76th minute, Conor Gallagher came on, and in the 84th minute, Christian Pulisic entered the fray. In the 90th minute, after a mazy run, Pulisic teed up Gallagher who clinically curled the ball into the net. Three points secured for Chelsea, magic!
Consistency is Key
Since that dramatic winner, Chelsea have kept clean sheets in three league outings and taken seven points from nine along the way.
Confidence in the Chelsea camp is sure to be high, but for the first time under Potter’s reign, his side failed to find the net against Brentford. Rather than cause for concern, though, Brentford’s keeper had an outstanding game.
Thanks to Potter’s mastery, Chelsea go into this game with a total of 20 points and occupy the fiercely contested 4th spot in the league.
With the home advantage, a seemingly impenetrable defence, and a varied arsenal in attack, how could Manchester United stop Chelsea’s charge?
Erik ten Hag’s side were on the end of a footballing lesson in the Manchester derby. After getting humbled 6-3, it was evident that the Red side of the city were a long way from where the Dutch tactician wanted them.
Improvement was imperative. Could it come against Newcastle? In one sense, in way of a clean sheet, it did. Such is the expectation at a huge club, not winning, or even scoring at Old Trafford against the Magpies is disappointing.
More concerning for the Red Devils though was the lack of composure in front of goal. Late on in the game, opportunities to wrap up three points were spurned. Firstly, Fred was wasteful when slicing wide from close range. Not long after, Rashford some how missed with his head and the match ended a goalless draw.
A Red Revolution?
Up next was Tottenham Hotspur, what might have been a tricky evening turned out to be United’s best performance to date.
Dominating from start to finish, Spurs’ goal was subject to 28 attempted shots. This is the most faced by any team managed by Antonio Conte in a single league game.
But for a world class performance from shot stopper, Hugo Lloris, the match could have been much worse than a 2-0 defeat for the London side.
Spirits will be lifted after such a comprehensive win along with excellent individual performances. Casemiro is starting to get a feel for a new league and looking the elite centre defensive midfielder we saw at Real Madrid. Fellow Brazilian, Antony, is a wizard on the wing, skilful, agile and an eye for goal.
Manchester United are currently 5th in the table and trail by just one point behind Chelsea. With a Champions League spot the target, it’s all to play for in this mouth-watering clash.
Chelsea have been reinvigorated under the tutelage of Graham Potter. Their European and domestic form is testament to this. They’ll be without Reece James for this game, could this be an area which United will seek to exploit?
Stamford Bridge has traditionally been a difficult place for United to visit. But this is a new Manchester United taking on Chelsea in a new era. We think there’s too much attacking quality for this to be goalless, but we do expect a cagey affair. Our prediction is that it’ll finish a 2-2 draw.
Let us know how you think it’ll go over on @JDFootball, whilst you’re there, make sure you’re following us for exclusive content.
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JD Football | November 21, 2023