Manchester United and Chelsea are set to clash at Stamford Bridge on Monday, February 17, in the final match of Round 26 of the English Premier League. It will be an exciting match for all football fans and a crucial fixture for two English football titans to win in a bid to finish top-four by the end of the season and secure themselves a UEFA Champions League ticket.
Entering the match, the hosts are priced at much shorter EPL betting odds compared to the Red Devils, who have yet to find their stride this season, however, Man Utd have already bested Chelsea at this venue back in October in the 1/8 finals of EFL Cup, which should give them the needed confidence to push for a win.
Manchester United had a rather slow season so far, with no notable results to their name. The Red Devils will enter the Monday’s bout sitting at eighth place in the league with a 9-8-8 record to their name and 1-1-3 in their last five league fixtures.
Solskjaer’s men started the year with a crushing defeat against Arsenal (0-2), to which they added a commanding 4-0 win over Norwich. Unfortunately, they failed to keep up the pace as they dropped their next two against Liverpool (0-2) and Burnley (0-2). In round 25 of EPL, Man Utd produced a stalemate against Wolverhampton (0-0), which was a rather underwhelming result, to say the least. While Wolves are by no means an easy team to defeat, Man Utd’s ambition for this season are high and it’s hard to expect them to achieve their goals with unnecessary draws like that.
In the said match, Man Utd were the stronger side. They had 64% ball possession, 16 goal attempts and five shots on goal, while Wolves produced 15 goal attempts and four shots on goal with 36% ball possession. Looking solely at those stats, it’s clear that Man Utd are struggling to perform in the defensive end, where they tend to play way too loose, which allows their opponents to shoot the ball freely.
Chelsea on the other side are entering week 26 of EPL sitting at fourth place in the league. In the 25 games played, the Blues accumulated a 12-5-8 record, which is a solid outcome given that they are four points clear of sixth-placed Tottenham and eight points short of reaching the top three.
Since the start of 2020, Chelsea produced a mixed bag of results, which include a draw against Brighton (1-1), win against Burnley (3-0), loss to Newcastle (0-1) and most recently two stalemates against Arsenal (2-2) and Leicester (2-2). Looking back at Chelsea’s draw against Leicester, it was the Foxes who proved to be the more dangerous side, as they managed to produce double the goal attempts (14) compared to Chelsea (7). Other than that the match was fairly close. Rudiger scored twice for Chelsea, while Mount produced two assists in that match. On the other side, Barnes and Chilwell both contributed one goal apiece for Leicester, while Tielemans added two assists to his record.
Comparing Chelsea and Man Utd, neither side managed to show up in their recent league matches, yet it’s easy to understand why Chelsea are the favourites to claim the spoils here. United’s losses to Liverpool and Burnley as well as their stalemate against Wolves indicate the Red Devils have some serious issues in the back. So far this season, United conceded 29 goals, while four came from their last two fixtures. Perhaps more worrying is that Solskjaer’s men failed to score in four out of their last five league fixtures.
While we talk about leaky defence, Chelsea have conceded 34 goals so far this season – six in their last five. On the other side of the pitch, however, Chelsea have scored 43 and managed to find the net eight times in their last five, including two goals against Arsenal and Leicester.
In terms of head-to-head results, Chelsea failed to defeat Man Utd in their last five meetings, three of which ended in Utd’s favour, while two ended in a stalemate. At home, Chelsea are 2-1-2 against Manchester United across the last two years, while both of their meetings in 2019 ended in United’s favour (2-1 and 2-0).
Despite United’s stronger head-to-head record, however, they have failed to impress this season, which leads us to believe the balance of power has tipped into the other direction. Chelsea have been performing slightly better throughout 2019/20 EPL season and have seen much more success in their most recent league fixtures. What’s more United are 3-3-6 in their away games, while Chelsea hold onto 5-3-4 record at home.
All in all, we can expect an exciting and close clash, where we just might see plenty of goals, given that neither side showed any defensive stability in their recent bouts, while both have a potent attack. While Chelsea are the clear favourites, we would not write off Man United just yet. They can have their moments of greatness, seeing how they bested Manchester City in December (2-1) and did so against in the EFL semi-finals (1-0) earlier in January. If they can find a way to improve their defence and find some stability in the attack, United just might pull out of this match with a win and while it may be a longshot, Solskjaer’s men proved numerous times before they match up nicely with Chelsea and we expect them to do the same comes Monday.