The blockbuster clash of the weekend to wrap up November pits two teams coming from two very different places.
League leaders Chelsea demolished Juventus 4-0 midweek, continuing their mighty impressive start to the season. Thomas Tuchel has worked wonders with the side, who have conceded only four goals in the Premier League so far.
50 games in charge for TT! 👏 pic.twitter.com/tnqS8pF9Wp
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) November 24, 2021
Along with their defence, the attack has shown increasing levels of threat given how well they have coped in the absence of Romelu Lukaku. A variety of players have stepped up to the plate including a whole host of graduates from Cobham. Trevoh Chalobah, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ruben Loftus-Cheek are firmly part of the matchday squad nowadays.
We keep moving. ✊ pic.twitter.com/0OcLge1Qaw
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) November 25, 2021
The Blues are looking a mighty impressive side and the fact that they have scored 12 times in their past five games across all competitions does not bode well for their leaky opponents.
The hope and expectations surrounding Manchester United have quickly turned into crisis and confusion. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has left after a series of disastrous results with Michael Carrick overseeing the win against Villarreal that sealed their progression into the knockouts of the Champions League.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) November 25, 2021
The board is actively in search of an interim manager, with a whole host of candidates proposed, but it does look like Ralf Rangnick is set to takeover. Work permit issues will not be solved before this clash but it will be a tough test nonethless. The clean sheet on Tuesday was the first the Red Devils had kept since the end of August in all competitions. It remains to be seen how well they cope against the multi-pronged dangers posed by Chelsea.
Ben Chilwell has picked up an injury related to his ACL which will sideline him for quite some time. N’Golo Kante should be back in time along with Lukaku who will be leading the line.
🚨 Ben Chilwell will be out for at least the rest of 2021 with ACL damage. A decision hasn’t been made on whether he can return this season.
Get well soon, Ben Chilwell. Chelsea will miss you hugely. pic.twitter.com/ooqzfFFeEo
— LDN (@LDNFootbalI) November 24, 2021
CHELSEA PROBABLE LINE-UP: Mendy; Rudiger, Silva, Christensen; James, Kante, Jorginho, Alonso; Mount, Hudson-Odoi; Lukaku
Luke Shaw was rested midweek as a precaution after suffering a concussion last weekend. Harry Maguire is suspended after his sending off against Watford.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) November 25, 2021
MANCHESTER UNITED PROBABLE LINE-UP: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Lindelof, Shaw; Fred, McTominay; Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford; Ronaldo
The explosion of attacking full-backs has hit a new peak this season, and Chelsea have one of the very best. Reece James has been hitting all the right spots, whether it be finding the back of the net or his teammates. The 21-year-old already has five goals and five assists across all competitions, having five goal contributions in his past four matches.
5 – Reece James (5 goals, 5 assists) is one of only two players to both score 5+ goals and assist 5+ goals in all competitions for Premier League clubs this season, along with Mo Salah (16 goals, 7 assists). Hot. pic.twitter.com/Vk1iVJlxza
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 23, 2021
James has transformed into an absolute marauding force down the right, able to carry the ball over long distances quickly along with finishing accurately. Given Chelsea’s three-man defence, Tuchel has handed him the license to push forward at every opportunity. Against him will be Shaw who has not been having a great time at all, being caught out regularly along with making some costly mistakes.
Thomas Tuchel on Reece James. pic.twitter.com/37iR7G9ZOo
— Frank Khalid (@FrankKhalidUK) November 18, 2021
With Maguire absent, it will most likely be Victor Lindelof alongside Shaw who was run ragged by Watford last week.
Having ended his dry spell in front of goal in spectacular fashion, Jadon Sancho will be looking to kick on now. With Mason Greenwood still recovering from covid-19, Sancho is primed to start on the right wing once again. He has shown that he can impact the game from that position as opposed to playing from the left.
— Jadon Sancho (@Sanchooo10) November 23, 2021
Even against Watford, it was his cross that was knocked down by Cristiano Ronaldo for Donny Van de Beek’s goal. Given that he is naturally right-footed, it makes sense for him to attack quickly and break at pace. Another blessing for Sancho could be the fact that Chilwell’s absence enables the Red Devil to exploit Marcos Alonso’s forward play more often.
United are currently 12 points behind Chelsea in 7th-place and with their imperious recent form, few will be daring to believe in an upset. FootTheBall predicts a 2-0 win for the Blues on home soil.