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Chelsea logo
Premier League | Gameweek 31
Apr 4, 2024 at 8.15pm UK
Stamford Bridge
Manchester United logo

Chelsea
4 - 3
Man Utd

Gallagher (4'), Palmer (19' pen., 90+10' pen., 90+11')
Gusto (32'), Fernandez (35'), Caicedo (90+12')
FT(HT: 2-2)
Garnacho (34', 67'), Fernandes (39')
Maguire (90+13')

Preview: Chelsea vs. Manchester United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Premier League clash between Chelsea and Manchester United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Two faltering Premier League giants under immense pressure and at risk of failing to achieve their respective European targets will lock horns on Thursday night, as Chelsea play host to Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.

The West Londoners will be seeking revenge against the Red Devils after they lost 2-1 in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford in December.


Match preview

Chelsea's Cole Palmer celebrates scoring against Burnley on March 30, 2024© Reuters

Chelsea were dealt a fresh blow in their quest to secure European football for next season after they were pegged back twice to draw 2-2 at home to the 10 men of relegation-threatened Burnley last weekend.

After Cole Palmer had his first-half opener - scored just moments after Lorenz Assignon was sent off for Burnley - cancelled out just two minutes after the interval by Josh Cullen, the Chelsea star netted a second to put the Blues back in front on the 78-minute mark. However, Dara O'Shea had the last laugh for the Clarets as he headed home Cullen's corner just three minutes later to rescue a valuable point for the visitors at Stamford Bridge.

Mauricio Pochettino admitted that his Chelsea side lacked 'heart and head' and were "missing something" in what he deemed a "must-win" match against Burnley. With just 11 victories on the board from 28 Premier League fixtures, the Blues are languishing in 11th place and sit four points behind the top seven, while they are eight points adrift of Thursday's opponents Man United in sixth.

Defensive frailties have been a key contributor to Chelsea's inconsistent campaign, with the Blues conceding exactly two goals across their last five games, while they have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last 11 matches across all competitions, shipping 22 goals in the process.

A run of five wins in seven Premier League home games bodes well for Chelsea heading into Thursday's contest, but their recent record against Man United leaves little to be desired, as they have failed to win any of their last 12 league meetings – not since November 2017 when Alvaro Morata secured a 1-0 home win have the Blues celebrated top-flight success over the Red Devils.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag applauds fans after the match on February 24, 2024© Reuters

Man United were unable to follow up their euphoric seven-goal FA Cup quarter-final triumph over Liverpool before the international break with another victory, as they were forced to play out a 1-1 draw with Brentford in the Premier League last weekend.

The contest was goalless until substitute Mason Mount scored what seemed to be the winner for the Red Devils in the 96th minute. However, Brentford's persistence in the final third – registering a staggering 31 shots on Man United's goal – eventually told, as Kristoffer Ajer netted a dramatic 99th-minute equaliser.

Erik ten Hag was critical of his side's performance and admitted that they "didn't deserve to win", with the Red Devils' latest setback leaving them eight points adrift of fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur and in serious danger of missing out on a Champions League spot for next season.

Back-to-back league fixtures against Chelsea and leaders Liverpool are up next for Man United, who travel to the capital on Thursday having won only one of their last nine top-flight away games against London-based opposition, losing four of their last six during this run.

However, the Red Devils are unbeaten in their last five league visits to Stamford Bridge and are vying to win three consecutive matches against the Blues for the first time since September 1965. Victory on Thursday would also see Ten Hag's men complete their first league double over Chelsea since the 2019-20 campaign.

Chelsea Premier League form:


Chelsea form (all competitions):


Manchester United Premier League form:


Manchester United form (all competitions):



Team News

Manchester United's Lisandro Martinez in action on August 14, 2023© Reuters

Chelsea will be without Wesley Fofana (knee), Romeo Lavia (thigh), Christopher Nkunku, Reece James, Lesley Ugochukwu (all hamstring), Levi Colwill (toe) and Carney Chukwuemeka (knock) due to injury, while Ben Chilwell (knee) is not expected to be involved as he is yet to return to training.

However, Pochettino has revealed that Robert Sanchez, Trevoh Chalobah and Malo Gusto – the later picked up a hamstring injury in the closing stages of the draw with Burnley – have all taken part in training and could feature in some capacity on Thursday.

Axel Disasi could be tasked with filling in a right-back if Gusto is not deemed fit to start, and that would require Thiago Silva to return to the first XI to partner Benoit Badiashile at centre-back, while Marc Cucurella is set to continue at left-back in the expected absence of Chilwell.

Palmer scored one of his 13 Premier League goals in the reverse fixture against Man United, and the former Manchester City youngster is expected to continue on the right flank, while Raheem Sterling and Noni Madueke will battle with Mykhaylo Mudryk for start in the final third.

As for Man United, Victor Lindelof and Lisandro Martinez have been ruled out for "at least a month" with respective hamstring and calf injuries, and they join Luke Shaw (muscle), Anthony Martial (groin) and Tyrell Malacia (knee) in the treatment room, while Altay Bayindir (muscle) is doubtful.

However, Raphael Varane and Jonny Evans are both in contention to feature on Thursday after shaking off minor issues to take part in training this week – one of those is set to partner Harry Maguire in central defence.

Casemiro and ex-Chelsea man Mount are both in contention to start in midfield, although Ten Hag may be tempted to stick with Scott McTominay alongside Kobbie Mainoo – the Scotsman scored twice in the reverse fixture against Chelsea.

Amad Diallo is available to return from suspension, but neither he or Antony are expected to displace Alejandro Garnacho or Marcus Rashford on the flanks.


Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Petrovic; Disasi, Silva, Badiashile, Cucurella; Caicedo, Fernandez; Palmer, Gallagher, Sterling; Jackson

Manchester United possible starting lineup:
Onana; Dalot, Varane, Maguire, Wan-Bissaka; Mainoo, McTominay; Garnacho, Fernandes, Rashford; Hojlund



SM words green background

We say: Chelsea 2-2 Manchester United

Although Man United may boast the psychological edge considering their recent record against Chelsea, there is little to separate these two under-performing and defensively vulnerable teams heading into Thursday's showdown.

Neither side can afford to drop too many more points heading down the home straight, but considering five of the last seven top-flight meetings between the two clubs have ended all square, the points could be shared once again in a closely-fought contest this time around.



For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.




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Game History

How you voted: Chelsea vs Man Utd

Chelsea
31.8%
Draw
33.0%
Manchester United
35.2%
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Manchester United's Raphael Varane in action with Brentford's Ivan Toney on March 30, 2024
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