Manchester United host league leaders Chelsea at Old Trafford as the business end of the season draws near. Join The Roar from 1am AEST for all the action.
United will be out for revenge at home as they take on Chelsea who were the last side in the league to beat them.
Antonio Conte’s men handed Jose Mourinho and his outfit a thorough 4-0 thrashing in October last year.
It was a miserable home-coming for the Portuguese manager, and he will be eager to inflict damage upon his old club’s title aspirations this time around.
Since their defeat to Crystal Palace, Chelsea have bounced back impressively claiming victories over Manchester City and Bournemouth.
Meanwhile, United have tasted victory in the league just once in that time, which was last week’s routine win over Sunderland.
Before that, the story of their season has shown no signs of ending early as they trudged to frustrating draws with both Everton and West Brom.
Jose Mourinho’s men are currently on a 21-game unbeaten run in the league. However, they have won just 11 of those matches.
A massive 18 points separates the two sides in the table as a result, with draws at home to the likes of Burnley significantly impacting their league position.
United sit in fifth place, four points off one of the prized top four spots, and with games in hand.
Their run-in is possibly the most difficult out of all their rivals though as the fight for Champions League qualification hots up.
Firstly, they square off against the league leaders on Sunday, while they then face a difficult away day to Burnley, before rounding it all off with matches against City, Arsenal and Tottenham. It is an undeniably huge month in the league for United.
Following their midweek draw with Anderlecht in the Europa League, Mourinho labelled his side’s attack as “sloppy”.
They will clearly have to improve in front of goal if they are to stand any chance of defeating a Chelsea team who boast the third best defensive record around.
More importantly, United will also have to address the dreadful run which they are currently on against their London rival.
They haven’t beaten them in any of their last nine league games, in a run which stretches back over four years. It is their longest ever winless sequence against any team in the league.
World-record signing Paul Pogba will be a key man for United in this quest to halt this bad run. The Frenchman has visibly struggled in Manchester this year though, so far failing to reach the heights he did at Juventus.
He has tried to dictate his team’s attacking play, but his tendency to shoot, and shoot often, has frequently been to his and his side’s detriment.
Pogba has registered 43 shots off-target this campaign, which is the worst of any player in the league this year.
In team news, Chelsea enter into the matchup with a clean bill of health. Conte will have a fully fit squad to choose from, but judging by his campaign so far, consistency is key.
Consequently, the same team which lined up against Bournemouth last week is expected to start here once again.
United, on the other hand, have a number of injuries to contend with. Juan Mata was ruled out for the rest of the season during the week, while the likes of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling remain on the sidelines.
Wayne Rooney may be fit enough to return after an ankle injury, while in rare good news David De Gea may be in line for a recall after missing the last two games.
Three of the six PFA Players’ Player of the Season nominees will be on show on at Old Trafford, as Chelsea look to keep their lead in the table intact over Tottenham.
Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante will be as vital as ever to their team’s chances, while United’s talismanic, and age-defying, Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be keen to propel his side closer towards a top four position.
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