Being a United fan is finally fun again. After seeming to turn a clear corner against Spurs, we dominated Liverpool at Anfield, and proved we really do have our swagger back against City on Sunday.
Chelsea will no doubt be a major test; it’s set to be an intriguing tactical battle between Van Gaal and his former colleague Mourinho, but after only finishing with a point against them at Old Trafford, getting anything more at the Bridge seems unlikely. However, we were at a far earlier stage in the revoLOUISion (see what I did there?) at that point, so who knows how this one will pan out. One thing’s certain though – if Van Gaal did mastermind a win against Chelsea this weekend, the media’s spectacular u-turn in its assessment of our manager will be complete, and talk of a ‘title race’ might actually start threatening to make sense again.
In this preview, we’ve taken a closer look at both teams’ form and some of the key head-to-head stats.
Man Utd & Chelsea form Heading into this Encounter
United have won 6 games in a row in the league, second only to Arsenal, who have notched up a highly impressive 8-win streak. Chelsea are also in decent form, having picked up maximum points in all of their last 3 games, but they also have 2 draws to their name from their last 6 games, having finished 1-1 against both Burnley and Southampton at home. If those teams can hold Chelsea to a draw, surely United, in their current mood, should be aiming for even more. And bear in mind Chelsea very nearly finished with just a point against QPR at the weekend too – having said that, they’re undefeated in 11 games (the longest streak in the league right now), so beating them would be a huge result.
If you’re wondering what the bookies think, you can find Premier League betting odds on William Hill. At the time of writing, Chelsea are 10/11 to win, whilst United are an increasingly tempting 3/1.
Team Stats Comparison
United have averaged 60.3% possession this season (just behind Man City, on 60.7%), whilst Chelsea have been less selfish with the ball, registering 56.4% possession over the course of their 31 games.
Chelsea have created 80 more chances than United this season, and have been slightly more accurate with their shots. The two teams are exactly level, however, in terms of both average pass length and, quirkily, yellow cards.
United’s passing (84.9%) has been more accurate than Chelsea’s (83.1%), with Carrick (90%) playing a massive part in that.
According to WhoScored.com’s performance ratings, Chelsea score 7.09 whilst United score 7.03, but it’s Arsenal who are firmly in the lead with 7.17.
Player Stats Comparison
Chelsea have two players in the top goalscorers table – Costa leads the chart with 19 goals (30% of the team’s total tally), whilst Hazard has chipped in with 12. Rooney is United’s only player on the list, also with 12 goals to his name (20% of United’s total return of 59 goals).
In terms of assists, Fabregas is comfortably the most creative player in the league with 16 assists to his name, trailed by Angel Di Maria with 10, although it’s worth noting Fabregas has had significantly more game time than his United counterpart.
When Did Man Utd Last Win at Stamford Bridge?
United last beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on 28th October 2012, in the season that ended with United winning their 20th English league title. In a close and highly eventful game, United took the lead through an own goal from Luiz, before Van Persie made it 0-2. Mata, then playing in blue, pulled it back to 1-2 just before half time, with Ramires levelling the score early in the second half. The winner came from Javier Hernandez in the 75th minute, with the Mexican scoring from an offside position, leaving manager Di Matteo and the Chelsea fans fuming. Chelsea had 2 men sent off during the match – Ivanovic with a straight red for a foul on Young, and Torres with a second yellow for diving. Our players celebrated the winner in front of Chelsea’s fans, and were met with a volley of missiles and abuse from the crowds. 9 of the squad from the day are either no longer with the club or currently out on loan.