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Preview: Manchester United vs. Chelsea – prediction, team news, lineups

Manchester United welcome fellow top-four hopefuls Chelsea to Old Trafford on Saturday for the headline fixture of gameweek six of the 2020-21 Premier League season.

The Red Devils go into the match off the back of a memorable Champions League triumph in Paris, while Chelsea were held to a goalless draw by Sevilla in midweek.

Match Preview

Preview: Man United vs. Chelsea - prediction, team news, lineups

What a difference a week makes. Just seven days ago Manchester United were a club in crisis, having lost their last Premier League game 6-1 at home and missed out on all of their top targets in the transfer market, resulting in some hurried deadline-day business.

Now, they welcome Chelsea to Old Trafford flying high again after returning to winning ways in the Premier League at Newcastle United last time out and upsetting the odds to beat last season’s Champions League runners-up Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday night.

It is the second victory away to PSG of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tenure, although he will be wary of a hangover of sorts – after the first 19 months ago they lost their next two games and only won three of their next 12 across all competitions.

Incidentally, that run was broken by a 4-0 thrashing of Chelsea in the corresponding fixture on the opening day of last season, and anything close to a repeat of that scoreline would go even further towards raising the gloom that had begun to surround the club.

Manchester United have now won five of their last six games across all competitions, but the main concern will be that all five of those victories have come on the road.

Preview: Man United vs. Chelsea - prediction, team news, lineups

Indeed, the victory in Paris means that they have now won 10 consecutive away games in all competitions for the first time ever, but at Old Trafford it is an entirely different story.

The 20-time champions are still searching for their first home point of the campaign, having been beaten 3-1 by Crystal Palace in their opener before that already-infamous 6-1 humiliation at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur – their joint-worst ever Premier League defeat.

Only once in their entire history have Man United lost each of their opening three home league games of a campaign, with that coming in 1930-31 as they went on to finish bottom of the table.

Indeed, you have to go back to February 1979 for the last time the Red Devils lost three consecutive league games at Old Trafford at any stage of a season, while their winless home run stretches back even further.

United have only picked up two points from the last 12 on offer on their own patch and could go five consecutive matches without a home league win for the first time since February 1990.

Preview: Man United vs. Chelsea - prediction, team news, lineups

It is just as well, then, that they welcome a Chelsea side whose away record could also do with vast improvement, particularly on the defensive side.

The Blues have shipped more away goals than any other club in the Premier League since the start of last season (42), while their away matches in total have seen more goals than any other team’s, with 87 going in.

Home and away, Chelsea are conceding an average of 1.5 goals per game under Frank Lampard in the Premier League, which is the worst rate of any of their managers to have taken charge of more than one game in the competition.

Three more arrived last weekend as the Blues twice squandered a lead to draw 3-3 with Southampton, having raced into an early two-goal advantage courtesy of Timo Werner’s first Premier League strikes.

That failure to hold on to leads could come back to bite them against Manchester United; only Arsenal have dropped more points from winning positions than the Blues so far in 2020, while no team has gained more points from losing positions than Saturday’s hosts in that period.

Preview: Man United vs. Chelsea - prediction, team news, lineups

Tuesday night’s goalless draw with Sevilla will have come as a relatively satisfactory result, then, and the fact that new goalkeeper Edouard Mendy has now kept two clean sheets in his two appearances will raise hope that their poor defensive record will improve when he is regularly in the team – and if not, Lampard always has Petr Cech to fall back on after the technical director was included in their Premier League squad.

The Sevilla stalemate also means that Chelsea have only won one of their last five games across all competitions, though, while they have only picked up maximum points once in the league since the opening day.

Chelsea’s last away outing in the Premier League saw them fall 3-0 down to West Bromwich Albion before salvaging a 3-3 draw, but they will know that Man United will not allow them a route back into the game so easily if they make another poor start.

However, the hosts do have a difficult spell coming up with this match against Chelsea being followed by meetings with RB Leipzig, Arsenal, Istanbul Basaksehir and league leaders Everton in the next two weeks.

Chelsea, by contrast, have a much kinder upcoming schedule and so can focus fully on this trip to Old Trafford without one eye drifting onto to the challenges ahead.

Manchester United Premier League form: LWLW

Manchester United form (all competitions): WWWLWW

Chelsea Premier League form: WLDWD

Chelsea form (all competitions): WDLWDD

Team News

Preview: Man United vs. Chelsea - prediction, team news, lineups

Manchester United’s win over PSG was made all the more impressive by the fact that they were missing captain Harry Maguire and his first-choice back-up Eric Bailly to injury.

Bailly will miss up to four weeks and so this game comes far too soon for him, but Solskjaer was more hopeful about the prospect of Maguire returning in time for this match.

Should the England international pass a late fitness test then Solskjaer will have a decision to make after Axel Tuanzebe put in such an accomplished display on his first game for 10 months in Paris.

Anthony Martial serves the second of his three-game ban following his red card against Spurs, which could open the door for deadline-day arrival Edinson Cavani to make his debut after being left at home for the trip to his former club PSG.

Mason Greenwood is also a doubt after being left out of the last two squads – an absence Solskjaer insists is down to injury despite speculation that he has been warned about indiscipline by club chiefs.

Jesse Lingard may be back available for the hosts, but he is unlikely to be included regardless while Paul Pogba may again have to settle for a place on the bench.

Bruno Fernandes was on the scoresheet again in midweek to make it 16 goals and 11 assists for the club, directly contributing to more goals in all competitions than any other Premier League player since making his debut.

Marcus Rashford was once again the hero in Paris for Man United, and he boasts four goals in his last three games against Chelsea too, including a brace in the corresponding fixture last season.

Chelsea now have close to a full-strength squad to choose from, with Billy Gilmour the only remaining absentee after Mendy returned ahead of schedule against Sevilla.

Lampard played down concerns over the fitness of Thiago Silva after he fell awkwardly against Sevilla, while fellow summer signing Hakim Ziyech is pushing for his first start.

Manchester United possible starting lineup:

De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Tuanzebe, Maguire, Telles; McTominay, Fred; Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford; Cavani

Chelsea possible starting lineup:

Mendy; James, Silva, Zouma, Chilwell; Jorginho, Kante; Mount, Havertz, Pulisic; Werner

Head To Head

Chelsea won the most recent showdown between these two sides – an FA Cup semi-final triumph in July – but their last three wins in this fixture have all come in that competition, stretching back to their last Premier League triumph in 2016.

Man United won both meetings by a 6-0 aggregate scoreline last season, in addition to beating the Blues in the EFL Cup, and could win three consecutive top-flight games against Chelsea for the first time since Sir Matt Busby’s team achieved the feat in September 1965.

Lampard, on the other hand, would become the first Chelsea boss ever to lose his first three games against Man United if Saturday’s showdown also ends in defeat, including a 4-0 loss in his very first match at the helm last August.

Chelsea have not won at Old Trafford since 2013 – a seven-game streak which makes for their longest run without a top-flight victory away to Man United since a 16-game spell which stretched from 1920 to 1957.

Incidentally, this is the most played fixture between two top-flight teams across all competitions since the Premier League era began, with Saturday’s meeting the 82nd time they have faced off since 1992-93.

We say: Manchester United 2-2 Chelsea

Manchester United will justifiably be full of confidence after their win over PSG in midweek, but it is impossible to ignore their home form, which has seen them lose both Premier League games at Old Trafford this season by an aggregate scoreline of 9-2.

Chelsea are by no means away-day specialists themselves, but their matches guarantee goals at the moment and, with major question marks hanging over both defences, we can see an entertaining score draw on the cards here

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