Chelsea didn’t have to kick a ball on Wednesday night, but thankfully due to the results of other teams, we have the destiny of our top four hopes in our own hands once again. We just need to win our final three matches to confirm our return to Champions League football for next season, and that starts with an easy trip to Old Trafford on Sunday against Manchester United. Kick off time is at 4:30pm.
Our Form: W-W-L-W-D
We come into this fixture having picked up just a point in our last two matches, but we edge ahead of Arsenal, and Manchester United going into this weekend because they really don’t want the Champions League qualification, just like us.
Our form is unpredictable, and it’s hard to see what type of Chelsea will turn up, but I am having doubts after being reminded of our away form against the top six this season, and also last year. We have lost every single away game to the other elite teams in the Premier League this season, and our last away win against a top side was Tottenham at Wembley back in August 2017.
Our only away wins in this calendar year have been to teams currently sitting in the bottom three, and unfortunately we have had so many defeats.
Arsenal, Bournemouth, Manchester City, Everton and Liverpool have beaten us in the last three months, and how many goals did we score in those defeats? A big fat zero.
Opposition: Manchester United (L-W-L-L-L)
We are playing a side that has clearly driven off the tracks, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has fallen asleep at the wheel. When they beat us in the FA Cup back in February, they were at their peak, and were arguably the in-form team in the country – amassing similar amounts of points as Liverpool and Manchester City.
However, they have been abysmal in the last 6 weeks, losing 7 out of their last 9 matches, and they have gone back to their Jose Mourinho days, and perhaps even worse! They haven’t scored from open play in the whole of April, and have been given reality checks from Everton, Barcelona and Manchester City in recent weeks. United are there for the taking.
Head to Head
Chelsea always lived up to this big game, and particularly at the Bridge, we have a phenomenal record against them (barring this season). Even under Sir Alex Ferguson’s years, we went to Old Trafford and managed to get some credible results, and many infamous victories.
Whilst everyone else was scared, we relished the opportunity and boasted a fantastic record there. Somehow though, when United get progressively worse, we are of course the team that now struggles. We have lost in our last two visits, and haven’t won there since 2013 – when Rafa Benitez was our coach against Sir Alex Ferguson, and Juan Mata scored the winner.
The huge worry for Chelsea fans is that N’Golo Kane has a rib injury which saw him substituted against Burnley, but he may be fit in time to face Manchester United. Anthonio Rudiger is out with a knee injury, and we shouldn’t expect him to be fit again this season.
For our opponents, they have no fresh injury concerns, and can also recall the likes of Anthony Martial, Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku to the starting line-up who missed out on the Manchester Derby on Wednesday.
Chelsea’s away record gives me the jitters, but thankfully we are up against a side who is lower on confidence than ourselves.
I hope we can repeat our first half performance against Liverpool and maintain it for the full 90 minutes, and that should be enough for us to get a victory. Eden Hazard is a big game player, who can turn up and win the match by himself, like he did in the FA Cup final last season.
They don’t have any special players in my opinion, especially as Paul Pogba has gone missing for a month now. If Chelsea don’t make mistakes at the back and give sloppy goals away early, we can unsettle their crowd and team, and wait for our moment to pounce and get a goal or two to win the game.
I don’t know what to expect, but let’s get at least one big away victory this season, so I am predicting a narrow 1-0 victory for the Blues.