Chelsea vs Manchester United: Key battles

Chelsea play host to Manchester United on Saturday evening.

The clash is expected to be a tight affair, with both sides vying for a spot in the top-four.

Manchester United are just one point behind Chelsea in the league, so a win at Stamford Bridge would move them up to 4th.

United also have a pretty solid record against the west Londoners. The last four meetings between the two English giants have ended as draws, with neither side able to score more than one goal in any clash.

Chelsea have also not beaten Manchester United since July of 2020 in the FA Cup, with their last league win over the Red Devils all the way back in November of 2017.

Ahead of the game, 101GreatGoals have picked out some key battles to look out for on Saturday.

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Raheem Sterling vs Diogo Dalot

The first comes down Manchester United’s right-hand side.

Diogo Dalot is now United’s no.1 right-back and has been in decent form so far this season.

However, the Portuguese can sometimes be defensively poor. Dalot often pushes high up the pitch to help out in attack.

But this can lead to Manchester United being pretty exposed at the back. We saw this especially on the opening weekend vs Brighton, with both of the Seagulls’ goals coming down Dalot’s side when he was pushed too far forward. And as Raheem Sterling has a lot of pace, Dalot must make sure not to leave too big a gap in behind for Sterling to run into.

Mateo Kovacic vs Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes has been inconsistent over the last year, but United will take solace in the fact the Portuguese was back to his best in midweek vs Tottenham.

Fernandes had a 93 per cent passing accuracy and completed nine key passes vs the Lilywhites.

As a result, Chelsea will need to be sure they neutralise his threat on Saturday. And with N’Golo Kante sidelined, that task will likely fall to Mateo Kovacic, who is Chelsea’s only real defensive midfield option at present.

Antony vs Ben Chilwell

After struggling defensively vs Aston Villa, Marc Cucurella will likely be dropped vs United, especially as he started in midweek vs Brentford.

So, the task of keeping Antony quiet will fall to Ben Chilwell. The Brazilian has had an excellent start to his United career, netting three in five league games.

Antony is very quick and is more than capable of taking defenders on, something Chilwell must try and stop on Saturday.

Christian Eriksen vs Mason Mount

Eriksen returned from injury in midweek, coming off the bench vs Tottenham.

As a result, it is safe to assume he will replace Fred in the XI on Saturday vs Chelsea.

The Dane is excellent on the ball and Mason Mount must try and stay tight to him in order to prevent those long balls from deep that start counter attacks.

On the other hand, Eriksen has shown this season that he struggles to deal with a high press. So, if Mount can press him well, there is a decent chance Chelsea will win the ball in a good spot for some chances of their own.

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Josh Barker

Josh Barker

Middlesbrough fan from the North East of England. @JoshBarker979 on Twitter.

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