All eyes will be on Old Trafford when a visibly struggling Louis Van Gaal and Manchester United take on Guus Hiddink’s Chelsea on Monday evening in what could be a win or bust game for the 64-year old. The Red Devils endured another disappointing result at the Britannia Stadium, losing 2-0, which is also their fourth defeat in a row in all competitions, their worst record since the late 50’s. After a press conference before the match that caused a bit of an uproar in some sections of the media, Van Gaal’s players failed to live up to all the expectations of the fans and the manager himself, surrendering meekly to a Stoke City side who not only won the game, but also did it fair and square, with a bit of class, that you’d probably expect from the visitors. That defeat has seen them slide down further in the league table and it increasingly looks like nothing but a win on Monday can save the manager from getting the boot.
For Chelsea, the managerial change has certainly worked. Or shall we say, broke the shackles that held them back all this while? They will make the trip North on the back of a creditable 2-2 draw at home against a buoyant Watford outfit, thanks to Diego Costa’s timely return to goal-scoring form. Hiddink will take charge of his first away game in his second spell at Chelsea against an old foe in Louis Van Gaal, which should add more gravy to an already high-profile encounter. They still find themselves in an unfamiliar territory on the league table, in 15th position with just 19 points on board, 10 adrift of Monday’s opponents. Their form on road has been abysmal this campaign having picked up just two points in the last six games, meaning they will have to do well to turn it around, even if it’s against a Manchester United that is under serious pressure at this point in time.
Manchester United have no fresh injury concerns for the visit of Chelsea. Full-back Darmian is expected to be back in contention after recovering from a hamstring issue.
Radamel Falcao is the only notable absentee for Gus Hiddink while the rest of the squad are fit enough to make the trip to Old Trafford.
- The last three fixtures between these two sides at Old Trafford in the Premier League have produced just three goals in total.
- Chelsea have inflicted more defeats over Manchester United in the Premier League than any other club (16).
- The Red Devils have kept six clean sheets and conceded just three goals in their eight Premier League home games in 2015-16.
- There have been five red cards in the last six Premier League meetings between these two sides – three to Chelsea, two to Man Utd.
Key Men Comparison
Ander Herrera (Manchester United) v Oscar (Chelsea)
It’s strange that a player of Ander Herrera’s ability has only managed to play three full games this season, when, the side has been accused of being pedestrian and at times timid in front of goal. The Spaniard has scored 2 goals with 4 shots on target and is generally creative in front of goal, in the final third, tries to work the keeper which the other midfielders and even the forwards have been failing to do. His presence on Monday in midfield is essential for United to threaten a Chelsea unit that is not as convincing at the back as they were last season.
The Brazilian midfielder has been touch and go this season but his quality in dead ball situations and the flair that comes with being a Brazilian is undeniable. He has scored 2 goals in 12 appearances for Chelsea and created 9 clear cut chances but his work rate under former manager Jose Mourinho was under appreciated. His partnership with Willian and Hazard or Pedro on either side will prove effective against Manchester United, provided they all click on Monday.
This game has got a score draw written all over. Whether it would be enough to keep Louis Van Gaal at the helm in 2016 is for another day though.
Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea.