Chelsea vs Manchester United: Preview, Live Stream & TV Channel info, Teams News and Predictions
It’s not very often one witnesses such a massive build-up to a non-derby fixture involving teams currently positioned fifth and thirteenth in the Premier League table. However, the rich history of the Chelsea-Manchester United rivalry down the years have ensured that even this one promises massive fan-following and on-pitch emotions.
Yes, Louis van Gaal takes Manchester United to Stamford Bridge tonight, hoping to take advantage of Chelsea’s suspect defending and maintain the goal-scoring form his side have garnered over the past two fixtures.
While Chelsea seek to get out of the rut of mid-table, Manchester United are looking to get their own Champions League hopes back on track following a disastrous December. With form on their side, can van Gaal churn out a crucial morale-boosting victory at a venue where they have won just once since 2002?
Kickoff and Live Telecast
Channel: Star Sports 4, Star Sports 4 HD
Live Stream: www.starsports.com
Kick-Off: Sunday, 7 February 2016 – 21:30 IST (16:00 BST)
Venue: Stamford Bridge, London
Chelsea are set to recall Eden Hazard back to the starting line-up after appearing on the bench in the goalless draw against Watford. Pedro is doubtful with a groin injury while strikers Radamel Falcao and Loic Remy remain sidelined. January signings Alexandre Pato and Matt Miazga lack match-fitness.
Manchester United have no fresh injury concerns, although Antonio Valencia, Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo, Ashley Young, Phil Jones and Bastian Schweinsteiger all remain absent from the squad through injury.
After a horror first half of the season under Jose Mourinho, Chelsea are slowly beginning to get their season back on track under interim boss Guus Hiddink. An 8 league game unbeaten run has seen them steadily climb up the table and are safely away from the relegation zone.
Though their top 4 hopes are all but extinguished, an FA Cup tie against Manchester City and a Champions League Last-16 clash with Paris St. Germain means that there is still a lot left in Chelsea’s season.
One man who has benefitted from the change in boss has been Diego Costa, who has netted 5 times since Mourinho’s sacking. Oscar and Cesc Fabregas’ return to form in midfield has also been a huge positive for the Blues. Their passing and chance creation has improved reasonably, and Hiddink will hope that the duo click against a revived Manchester United on Sunday.
Defensively, however, Chelsea still face few issues. They have been suspect all season, especially at Stamford Bridge, where they have conceded 7 times in the last 3 outings. Hiddink knows that that is the area he must focus on if Chelsea are to get back the winning mentality – they have drawn 5 out of their last 8 games – that saw them demolish opponents with relative ease last season.
Kurt Zouma is still a work in progress, Gary Cahill is striving to return to form and Matt Miazga needs time to adapt to the physical and mental demands of English football. Will outgoing captain John Terry be able to inspire his side to a defensive masterclass to shut out a recently dangerous looking Manchester United attacking outfit?
Last 5 games (All Competitions): D-W-W-D-D (Most Recent: Watford 0-0 Chelsea)
Manchester United seem to have responded perfectly to their embarrassing 0-1 defeat at home to Southampton a couple of weeks ago. A comfortable FA Cup victory over Derby County was followed by a comprehensive 3-0 thrashing of Stoke City in a performance which suggested that there was some light at the end of the tunnel for Louis van Gaal, after all.
Wayne Rooney’s goalscoring form in 2016, coupled with Anthony Martial’s sizzling form on the left-wing means that Manchester United have looked a more potent attacking side over the past few weeks. Meaningless possession-based football in December has been transformed into a run of good results and purposeful chance creation in the final third.
Michael Carrick’s return to the side in the victory against Stoke showed what United missed in midfield with his accurate passing and ability to play that decisive long-ball to the forwards. 19-year old fullback Cameron Borthwick-Jackson’s development under Van Gaal is reaping dividends – his quality crossing and desire to run back to help his centre-halves out showing that he is a future prospect for Manchester United.
If they can get their team dynamics right against a still unconvincing looking Chelsea defence, there is no doubt that they can come out of Stamford Bridge with a positive result and get their top-4 hopes back on track.
Last 5 games(All Competitions): W-W-L-W-D(Most Recent: Manchester United 3-0 Stoke City)
Predicted Starting Line-Ups
- Manchester United have beaten Chelsea at Stamford Bridge just once since 2002 – a 3-2 victory in October 2012. Incidentally, this was the last time Manchester United have beaten Chelsea in any competition, failing to win any of the subsequent 9 meetings.
- There have been 4 sending-offs in the last five meetings at Stamford Bridge (Nemanja Vidic twice, Fernando Torres and Branislav Ivanovic)
- A victory would give Chelsea their 50th victory over Manchester United (all competitions).
- Chelsea have been unbeaten in 10 games across all competitions since Guus Hiddink took over as manager (W5, D5)
- They are yet to register back-to-back victories this season. The Blues’ only league victories at home this season have come against neighbours Arsenal and sides currently in the relegation zone. They have not kept a clean sheet there since beating Norwich 1-0 on November 21.
- The Red Devils have been unbeaten away from Old Trafford since a 2-0 defeat at Stoke City on Boxing Day.
- Wayne Rooney has scored 7 goals in as many games since the turn of the year (All Competitions). He has now been involved in 8 of his side's last 10 goals (5 goals, 3 assists)
- Juan Mata has gone 12 Premier League games without registering a goal or assist - his longest barren spell since arriving at the Premier League.
Branislav Ivanovic vs Anthony Martial
Anthony Martial’s performances against Derby County and Stoke City have raised alarm bells for all opposition right-backs. Branislav Ivanovic is next in the firing line. Not the quickest of full-backs, the Serbian is going to have a tough 90 minutes countering the 20-year old’s mazy approaches into the bye-line.
As a result, Ivanovic will mostly be confined to his defensive zone, meaning that Chelsea’s chance creations from crosses are expected to come from the left. Can the Serbian use his experience to make those decisive tackles and interceptions to keep the fleet-footed Frenchman at bay?
Though Chelsea seem to have somewhat repaired their damage they created themselves in the first half of the season, their defending still looks vulnerable. Their lack of co-ordination and indecision in man-marking are areas Manchester United are likely to take advantage of and record a first victory in 10 league and cup meetings against the Blues.
Predicted score: Chelsea 1-2 Manchester United