Manchester United vs Chelsea Preview

Jose Mourinho welcomes his former employers, Chelsea, to his new home in Manchester this Sunday
Jose Mourinho welcomes his former employers, Chelsea, to his new home in Manchester this Sunday
English Premier League | Sunday 25 February | Old Trafford | 16:05

It’s that time of the season again where all heads turn to Old Trafford, with Jose Mourinho welcoming his former employers, Chelsea, to his new home in Manchester United. They’re located too far away from each other for this match to be considered a derby, however, the rivalry has grown immensely in recent years – even more so after the ‘Special One’ left the Blues to join the Red Devils. Chelsea have lost just once to United since the post-Ferguson era, and that defeat came in this fixture last season – with Mourinho claiming bragging rights for the first time since his departure.

To Win (90 mins)
Man United 11/10
Draw 9/4
Chelsea 26/10

Manchester United

Manchester United look to pull further away from their rivals as they hope to cement their second spot behind Manchester City, who have all but wrapped up the Premier League title already.

Their recent form in the league suggests that they’ll give any team a chance, but against Chelsea, Mourinho will certainly be eyeing another home win against his former side. Domestically, the Red Devils come into this tie in very inconsistent form – winning two of their last four games, while losing the other two.

Mourinho has his own philosophy which will take some getting used to by the fans, with the Portuguese tactician adopting a very cautious approach in comparison to Jurgen Klopp’s heavy-metal style and Pep Guardiola’s Tiki-taka.

Still, Mourinho gets the points he needs to compete, with his side three points above their opponents and two ahead of third-placed Liverpool. With the league title out of the question, the Red Devils are in a comfortable position to grab the next best prize, which is a spot in the top four.

One downfall in the United camp will be the uncertainty around Paul Pogba. The 24-year old Frenchman is clearly frustrated with Mourinho and perhaps playing out of position could be a key factor.

Although, if Ander Herrera partners Nemanja Matic in the double pivot in midfield, it would surely suit all parties, and, it’s worked against Chelsea before.

If Pogba is given the freedom he needs to shine, Man United have an electrifying attacking trio of him, Alexis Sanchez and Anthony Martial behind former Blues striker, Romelu Lukaku, who will have a point to prove after being accused of going missing in the big games.


Chelsea will be gunning to avoid another unwanted tag of being ‘fallen champions’ as they hope to end the season off on a high. Antonio Conte took the Premier League by storm in his opening season, winning the title with a three-man defence, something that had never been achieved before.

The Blues haven’t been their usual selves, dropping points in games that they should have won quite comfortably. Conte’s men are currently fourth on the standings, but could go second if they beat Man United and Liverpool fail to do wonders against West Ham.

It’s tough to put your finger on the Blues’ problems right now, although we could narrow it down to players not wanting to play for the manager – a similar story to what happened to Mourinho at Chelsea – or injuries to key players in their busiest of schedules.

For me, it’s a case of both. Alvaro Morata, who was banging in goals without any pressure, got injured during Chelsea’s most crucial period, while players like Ross Barkley, David Luiz and Marcos Alonso have also pulled up stiff.

Still, that should be no excuse for a team who were unrivalled in winning the league last season. In recent weeks, Conte’s men were left feeling even bluer, losing 3-0 to Bournemouth and 4-1 to Watford in consecutive games.

That seems like a long time ago now, with Chelsea beating West Brom 3-0 in the league after that and then advancing to the quarter-final of the FA Cup in a 4-0 rout over Hull City.

Morata, who headed home the winner in these sides’ previous meeting, is back from injury, while Conte also has the option to utilise Olivier Giroud, who has scored twice against the Red Devils from his time at Arsenal.

Eden Hazard has a great partnership with both strikers, so any of the two options will certainly cause Man United problems.

Probable line-ups:

Manchester United: 4-2-3-1
De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Smalling, Young; Herrera, Matic; Martial, Pogba, Sanchez; Lukaku.

Chelsea: 3-5-1-1
Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Fabregas, Alonso; Hazard; Morata.

Prediction: Manchester United (11/10)
As much as he is everyone’s least favourite manager in the league, Mourinho always gets what he wants. David De Gea has conceded just five times at home this season, much less than any other goalkeeper, while I expect the firepower of Sanchez, Martial and Lukaku to just edge it for the Red Devils.

Written by Jesse Nagel. Follow him on Twitter here!