The final match of the Premier League weekend will be the one that catches the eye for neutrals. Chelsea host Manchester United in what is one of the biggest fixtures of the season. The hosts are the league leaders and this will be another test of their credentials. Despite their poor recent form, the visitors still have a lot of quality and are capable of winning any match. The rumoured appointment of Ralf Rangnick as interim manager hasn’t been confirmed, at the time of writing. This means that Michael Carrick will lead the team for the first time in the Premier League.
It has been a mixed week for Chelsea. They have beaten Leicester City and Juventus in convincing fashion, but injuries suffered by N’Golo Kante and Ben Chilwell do raise issues for Thomas Tuchel. Without a doubt, they are two of the key players in the current system and the German coach will need to rely on his squad to step up in their absence. Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Marcos Alonso could be the two to come into the side. Both need to take the opportunity and prove why they should be playing a more prominent role at Stamford Bridge.
The result in the Champions League should give some hope to the Manchester United supporters. The performance wasn’t great, but there was a higher work rate than has been present in previous weeks. There will be big changes in the coming weeks, following the appointment of Rangnick. However, this weekend offers an opportunity for the squad to show what they can do. They have the quality to get a win at Stamford Bridge. If they manage to do that, confidence could increase within the club.
Chelsea have only conceded two goals in their last nine matches across all competitions.
Despite their recent poor form, Manchester United have won their last three away matches in London.
It has been an excellent few weeks for Reece James, as he has emerged as one of the key players at Stamford Bridge. There was risk of rotation at the beginning of the season, but it now seems very unlikely that the right-back will be left out of the team. The injury to Ben Chilwell means that Tuchel will want some continuity in his starting eleven. Manchester United have looked poor defensively in recent weeks and they will be missing their leader Harry Maguire this weekend. Chelsea will be confident that they can get among the goals on Sunday. This season, James has contributed four goals and four assists in the Premier League. He continued his good form with the opening goal during the victory against Juventus. The England international is full of confidence and he will cause a lot of problems for Manchester United.
There have been some problems caused by the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo. However, it is clear that Ronaldo is the talisman for the Manchester United squad. He showed his class again in the week, as he scored the opening goal in the victory against Villarreal. In his last seven matches for United across all competitions, the Portuguese international has scored five goals and got two assists. They are heavily reliant on his quality in the final third. It will be interesting to see how he is used by Rangnick when he does take over, as the German coach is known for being committed to playing a pressing style. This isn’t Ronaldo’s strength, but his guarantee of goals means that it is worth making adjustments to accommodate him. After some poor results in the Premier League, he will be determined to play a match-winning role this weekend.
Ben Chilwell will be missing for at least six weeks with an ACL injury. N’Golo Kante is very unlikely to be available for the weekend after being taken off injured against Juventus. Kai Havertz is a doubt, while Mateo Kovacic remains out.
Harry Maguire will be suspended after being sent off last weekend. Fred and Luke Shaw are both doubts for the weekend’s trip to Stamford Bridge. Edinson Cavani, Mason Greenwood and Raphael Varane will all be missing until the start of December.
There should be an improvement from Manchester United during the coming weeks. It will be difficult for things to get worse, as they are currently in 8th place with four wins in their last five matches. That said, they are a long way off where Chelsea currently are. United’s recent losses to Manchester City and Liverpool showed this. Despite a couple of key injuries, Chelsea should be able to win this weekend and strengthen their hold at the top of the league.
Chelsea 2-0 Manchester United