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Manchester United vs Chelsea: 3 things to watch out for in crucial tie

by Alex Browne

After a chaotic draw in Istanbul and an insipid performance versus Newcastle, Manchester United will need to drastically improve before taking on Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea at Old Trafford this Wednesday 6th December.

The match will be the first game at Old Trafford during the festive month, so United fans will be hoping for a performance to get them in the mood to spread some Christmas cheer.

Last season’s fixture in late May was a cracker for the Red Devils as they vanquished The Blues 4-1 to seal their qualification for the Champions League.

However, despite sitting tenth in the Premier League table, the west London club have shown signs of improvement in big games. A credible 1-1 draw versus Liverpool on opening day has been followed up by a pulsating 3-3 draw with Manchester City and a chaotic 4-1 win away to Tottenham Hotspur.

So, in what promises to be a great tie, here are three things to look out for.

Maintaining a rich vein of form against Chelsea

As of late, the Red Devils have had a great deal of success against the West London outfit at Old Trafford in the Premier League. In fact, you have to go back a decade to the last time Chelsea won a game at the Theatre of Dreams.

After winning the title, Manchester United lost 1-0 to Chelsea in a dead-rubber game. Since that point, it has been a series of draws and victories for the Red Devils. Surprisingly, Chelsea have only won two out of the last 15 matches home and away in all competitions versus United, dating back to 2018. In that time there have been seven draws and six Manchester United victories, including the 4-1 win back in May and a 4-0 win at the start of the 2019/2020 season.

The 20 time English champions will be hoping their recent fortune against the Stamford Bridge does not end tomorrow night.

A chance for Kobbie Mainoo to shine once more

One of the most exciting aspects of the season so far has been the promising debut of Mainoo versus Everton a couple of weekends ago.

The 18 year old put in an awe-inspiring performance that left pundits, such as Ian Wright, gushing over his display. The BBC pundit claimed you just had to think “wow” when watching the player.

Rio Ferdinand also stated that the United academy product was a “star” and put in the exact type of performance that the Red Devils needed.

It will be fascinating to see if Mainoo can influence the game against such an accomplished, expensive Chelsea engine room, containing the likes of Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo. However, one player he won’t be facing is Conor Gallagher, as The Peoples Person has reported that he is suspended for the match due to a red card in his previous game.

Poch vs Ten Hag

These two managers have history for a couple of reasons and this is the first time that they have faced each other in the Premier League.

The first time the two managers competed against one another was back in 2019 when Ten Hag’s Ajax faced off against Pochettino’s Tottenham side. Despite winning the first leg in London 1-0, the Dutch side threw away a 3 goal aggregate lead to lose 3-2 on the night and go out on away goals in the Dutch capital. Spurs would go on to lose the final 2-0 to Liverpool.

However, Ten Hag got his own back when he beat the Argentinian to the vacant United manager role in April 2022. The Peoples Person reported back in 2022 that Ten Hag was seen to suit the club’s structure over the former Spurs coach.

It will be enthralling to see which manager will take home the bragging rights this time.

In conclusion, the match promises to be must-watch affair as neither team are trustworthy defensively and both have to start claiming three points more regularly to match the ambitions of their fans and try to scale the dizzying heights of the English Premier League.

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