We begin the final third of the 2019-20 Premier League season with Chelsea sitting in fourth, with a two-point lead over Sheffield United, who have played one match more. But our lead could be down to just 1 point by the time kick-off comes around, as Tottenham Hotspur take on Aston Villa on Sunday.
In fact, there’s a whole glut of teams now forming up behind and (almost around) Chelsea, all vying for the final Champions League spot (or final two spots, if Manchester City remain banned). Just six points separate fourth (Chelsea) from ninth (Manchester United).
Basically, it’s a must win, just as most of the 13 matches remaining are likely to be between now and the end of the season.
Date / Time: Monday, February 17, 2020, 20.00 GMT; 3pm EST; 1:30am IST (next day)
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Anthony Taylor — back for the fourth time this season, Taylor was also in charge of the reverse fixtures, as well as our away wins over Watford and Spurs
Forecast: A cold, calm night
On TV: Sky Sports Main Event (UK); NBCSN, Universo (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); SuperSport 3, Canal+ Sport 2 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: Sky Go (UK); NBC Sports Live, Universo Now (USA); Hotstar (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Chelsea team news: The winter break did not reduce our injury list, but it did hopefully rejuvenate those who had fallen out of form during the long slog of the winter schedule — not that it gets any easier with the games coming up between now and mid-March.
Christian Pulisic (groin) and Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Achilles) continue to work back to full fitness, and hopefully will be ready to play for the first-team soon. Tammy Abraham (ankle) is still nursing his injury as well, but he’ll probably be okay to play.
Chelsea are none-for-two against United this season, losing very harshly, 4-0, on opening day at Old Trafford, then losing at the Bridge as well, this time in the League Cup. Third time the charm?
Manchester United team news: United made two big moves in January, signing Bruno Fernandes for a ton of money from Sporting Lisbon and then adding former Watford striker Odion Ighalo, who had been playing in the Chinese Super League since 2017, in a bit of deadline day panic. Ighalo’s expected to be in the squad, though he may not be ready to start.
Former Chelsea man Nemanja Matić will also be available after serving a one-match ban for a red card he received in the League Cup semifinal second leg. Other big names will continue to miss out however, including Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba, while Scott Mctominay, Axel Tuanzebe, and Timothy Fosu-Mensah are also unavailable.
United have just 1 point from their last three Premier League games, which is an even worse form than Chelsea’s!
View from the enemy: The Busby Babe
Previously: Michy scored a ridiculous goal, but Chelsea were disappointingly powerless the last time United came to Stamford Bridge.