Could the race for the top four positions in the Premier League this season take a decisive turn this weekend? In what is a full weekend of action in the Premier League there are a number of fixtures taking place that could well have a significant influence on the race for a Champions League qualification spot for next season.
Leaders Manchester City face fourth-placed West Ham in the opening game of the weekend hoping to at least retain their ten-point lead at the top of the table. Leicester City, who are third in the table, face Arsenal on Sunday, while other teams in contention, Tottenham, Liverpool, Everton and Aston Villa face games against Burnley, Sheffield United, Southampton and Leeds United respectively.
However, it is the big game on Sunday between fifth placed Chelsea and second-placed Manchester United that will have caught the eye of most fans. A win for either side here could leave that race for fourth spot looking very different at the end of the game on Sunday afternoon.
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Let’s now quickly check through the full list of games in the Premier League this weekend before we preview the Chelsea V Manchester United clash in a bit more detail.
Premier League Fixtures – Matchday 26
Saturday 27th February
- Manchester City v West Ham (12.30)
- West Brom v Brighton (3.00)
- Leeds v Aston Villa (5.30)
- Newcastle v Wolves (8.00)
Sunday 28th February
- Crystal Palace v Fulham (12.00)
- Leicester City v Arsenal (12.00)
- Tottenham v Burnley (2.00)
- Chelsea v Manchester United (4.30)
- Sheffield United v Liverpool (7.15)
Monday 1st March
- Everton v Southampton (8.00)
Big Game Preview – Chelsea v Manchester United
Sunday’s big game comes from Stamford Bridge where Chelsea, who are undefeated under new manager Thomas Tuchel, take on a Manchester United side who are undefeated away from home this season in the Premier League.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men have drawn three of their last five EPL games and now lie ten points behind Manchester City in second place in the table and they are level on points with Leicester City. Chelsea are six points further back than United, although they have won four of their last five Premier League ties.
United are the Premier League’s top goalscorers with 53 goals in their 25 games so far this season, although they have conceded 32 goals. Chelsea have conceded just 25 goals, the second best record in the Premier League, but their attack has not been as prolific as others netting 41 goals in their 25 games.
History Between The Two Teams
Records show that the team’s first met in December 1905 and the result of the first game between the two was a 0-0 draw. Since then, they have met a total of 188 times, Manchester United winning the most with 81 wins in that time, compared to 55 for Chelsea with 51 games finishing as a draw.
Most recently, it has been Manchester United that have had the better of things in this fixture. Indeed, Chelsea have had just one Premier League win over Manchester United since November 2016, their two other wins over the Red Devils in that time both coming in the FA Cup.
In that same period, Manchester United have won six games between the teams with the further three games drawn, including the last game between the sides which finished in a 0-0 draw when the two teams met at Old Trafford back in October.
Team News And Form
Chelsea have the added benefit of coming into this game having had 48-hours more rest from their Champions League win over Atletico Madrid in midweek. That superb 1-0 win over the Spanish side will have been a huge confidence boost for the Londoners ahead of this game.
New manager Tuchel has worked wonders with the Chelsea defence who have now conceded just two goals in the eight games he has been in charge. In comparison, Frank Lampard’s Chelsea had conceded 16 goals at the same point.
Chelsea should be at pretty much full strength for this game but with Tuchel still trying to get the offensive balance of his team right, it remains to be seen how his attacking players line up for the game.
- Chelsea Predicted Line Up – 5-3-2 – Mendy, James, Alonso, Rudiger, Christensen, Azpilicueta, Kovacic, Jorginho, Mount, Werner, Giroud.
Manchester United play the second leg of their Europa League tie tonight against Real Sociedad but after winning the away leg 4-0, this does give Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a chance to rest a few players in that game ready for their test away to Chelsea.
As such, I think United will name a weaker team tonight and have refreshed players ready for the Chelsea game on Sunday with the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Fred possibly rested for the midweek game.
United won’t deviate from the 4-2-3-1 formation that has served them well this season.
- Man Utd Predicted Line Up – 4-2-3-1 – De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Shaw, Maguire, Lindelof, Fred, Matic, Fernandes, Rashford, James, Martial
Chelsea v Man Utd Tips And Predictions
There is no doubt that this is a pivotal game for both teams. Defeat for United means that they will likely fall 13 points behind Manchester City and could drop down to third in the table allowing Chelsea to close in on them.
On the other hand, defeat for Chelsea would mean the likes of Liverpool, Everton, Aston Villa and Tottenham would all be able to close the gap on the Londoners and the top five spots.
Chelsea have looked so much better organised under Thomas Tuchel of late but they face a United side that is so hard to beat away from home given how they hit teams on the counter-attack.
This should be a cracking game and I think a draw is the best option here at 12/5 with bet365 and if you wanted a correct score option, I think a 1-1 draw at 6/1 is the most likely result.