A bruised Manchester United side host an iffy Chelsea outfit, both looking for points to prop up their positions.
The Red Devils are having a calamitous season that is going off the rails. Back-to-back defeats against Liverpool have all but ended hopes of Champions League qualification. They are six points behind the Gunners, having played a game more. There are very few things for the fans to enjoy in the remaining matches.
Your guide to the next seven days at United 🗓👇#MUFC
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 25, 2022
The only silver lining has been the appointment of Erik ten Hag as first-team manager. Ralf Rangnick has done a middling job but the players are woefully out of form. Therefore, they are now in a battle for Europa League qualification. Cristiano Ronaldo’s form will have a lot to do with where they finally finish. Moreover, the shaky backline has to start pulling its weight if they are to avoid further embarrassment.
The Blues are in a weird place. They have all but cemented the third spot after a hard-fought win against West Ham at the weekend. However, the issue of ownership is still in limbo. Therefore, they had to lose out on resigning key players with Antonio Rudiger the latest to leave. Thomas Tuchel has been battling hard to keep the momentum going in this backdrop of uncertainty.
Onto Manchester! 👊 pic.twitter.com/RoorrMjabu
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 25, 2022
Chelsea are through to the FA Cup final in what has been another dream run in a knockout competition. They start as favourites against Manchester United and a bevvy of scorers certainly justify that. Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Christian Pulisic, Mason Mount et al can all supply goals when necessary. The defence has looked shaky in the past few matches but can come good this time.
Luke Shaw and Paul Pogba are out for the season. Fred’s return will be assessed closer to match day.
PROBABLE LINE-UP: De Gea; Dalot, Maguire, Varane, Telles,; McTominay, Matic; Elanga, Fernandes, Sancho; Ronaldo
Antonio Rudiger and Reece James have slight niggles that saw them miss out last time. Mateo Kovacic is recovering but will not be fit in time.
PROBABLE LINE-UP: Mendy; Chalobah, Silva, Sarr; Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kante, Alonso; Mount; Werner, Havertz
Only one man is sustaining United’s charge for Europe. Cristiano Ronaldo netted a hat-trick against Norwich, including the first free-kick in many years. Those three goals took him to 21 for the season, and he scored his 100th league goal against Arsenal. Ronaldo’s expert movement inside the box and ability from anywhere makes him a lethal proposition.
Chelsea’s backline is not what it used to be. The absence of Antonio Rudiger will be felt. Neither Trevoh Chalobah nor Malang Sarr is expertly reliable in stopping the great forward. He can get past them, beat them in the air and fire from distances. If the good supply comes, Ronaldo will be scoring.
💯 @PremierLeague goals for @Cristiano!#MUFC | #ARSMUN pic.twitter.com/MnzqSjtmSd
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 23, 2022
It is tough to guess who performs for Chelsea on any given day. Mason Mount is a solid bet in most matches. The attacking playmaker has 10 goals and nine assists in the Premier League. Mount’s expert crossing ability and deadly passing can unlock the best of defences. United are nowhere close to that level. Mount is adept at manipulating the spaces alongside Chelsea’s runners.
Mason Mount has statistically outperformed Frank Lampard in his first 💯 Premier League games for Chelsea 👏🔵🏴 pic.twitter.com/qiZMaXNbXA
— LiveScore (@livescore) April 24, 2022
He can drift all over the front line and drive with the ball at speed. Timo Werner and Kai Havertz become even more dangerous with Mount providing the service. Moreover, Tuchel wants to funnel the attacks through him. Nemanja Matic is not fast while Scott McTominay is having a rough season. The low morale of the United players will provide Mount with opportunities.
The form book favours the away side. Chelsea have the facilities to beat Manchester United any day of the week. FootTheBall predicts a 2-0 win for the Blues.