It’s going on a decade now that we’ve won a Premier League game at Old Trafford, though some might say this is a great opportunity to end that streak.
Manchester United are in a bit of a crisis, especially in Europe, but far more cohesive Chelsea teams than the current edition have managed to lose to far worse United teams than their current edition during that run, so I wouldn’t put too much stock into that narrative. Mauricio Pochettino certainly isn’t, despite repeatedly being asked to comment on tonight’s opponents and their (possibly) embattled head coach, Erik ten Hag. (Did the journalists and outlets banned from United press conferences just migrate to the Chelsea one instead?)
Of course, Chelsea are never far from a crisis either, and while we’ve just about managed to adjust (short-term) expectations for this project of ours, the trust in the process itself remains fairly tenuous. Some trust was rebuilt over the weekend after cratering the weekend before, so now it’s a question of starting to build on that momentum once again.
Date / Time: Wednesday, December 6, 20.15 GMT; 3:15pm EST; 1:45am IST (next day)
Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester
Referee: Chris Kavanagh (on pitch); David Coote (VAR)
Forecast: rain incoming
On TV: none (UK); none (USA); Star Sports 3 (India); SuperSport Premier League, Canal+ Sport 4 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: Amazon Prime Video (UK); Peacock (USA); Hotstar (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Manchester United team news: Sheffield United sacked manager Paul Heckingbottom today, which has made Ten Hag the odds-on favorite for getting the boot next (Pochettino is fifth). Results certainly haven’t been up to snuff, especially in Europe. United are five points better off than us in 7th, but have lost more games than any team in the top half of the table (including us); and they’re about to crash out of Europe, not even stopping by the Europa League. The usual stories of palpable discord behind the scenes have been growing louder as well.
That said, they have lost just twice in their last seven league games: to Manchester City and, over the weekend, Newcastle United. But they have struggled more so at home — similar to Chelsea — losing three of their last five and only beating Luton Town and Brentford. And they’re the only team with a negative goal difference in the top eleven ... including a negative goal difference at home!
So perhaps we can take advantage. The first goal in this game might be quite important (even if we’ve done alright of late in fighting back from deficits).
Casemiro, Lisandro Martínez, Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen, Jadon Sancho, Amad Traoré, and club employee Jonny Evans are all out long term. Former Mr Chelsea, Mason Mount is likely also out, currently dealing with a calf injury.
View from the enemy: The Busby Babe
Chelsea team news: Injuries are back on the menu at Chelsea as well, with Noni Madueke and Lesley Ugochukwu added to the list, and the likes of Malo Gusto, Christopher Nkunku and Roméo Lavia still on the list. Ben Chilwell, Wesley Fofana, Carney Chukwuemeka, and Trevoh Chalobah remain out.
In better news, both Reece James and Marc Cucurella return from suspension, though Conor Gallagher will now miss out after his second yellow and resulting red card on Sunday. Chelsea lead the league by a wide margin in yellow cards (51: four more than Wolves who have played a game more, and almost twice as many as United’s 28).
Previously: As mentioned at the top, Chelsea haven’t won a league game at Old Trafford since 2013. We did win an FA Cup semifinal in 2020 however and would draw the next five before losing 4-1 last season. But here’s an endorphin shot of nostalgia from Chelsea’s official YouTube channel, the 3-0 win at Old Trafford back in December 2001: Melchiot, JFH, and Eidur with the goals.