Manchester United v Chelsea: Premier League – live | Premier League4 min read
A reminder of just how close Manchester United are to securing Champions League football. We’ll assume Chelsea fans won’t want reminding of where their lads are in the table.
Pre-match postbag o’patter. “I find it incredible that Garnacho doesn’t start ahead of Sancho or even Antony” – Paul Howarth
“Should Lampard postpone any further Premier League dreams and follow his golden generation mate Wayne Rooney and search out a MLS manager position and work a bit at his craft before returning down the line?” – Mary Waltz (who already knows the answer)
“I hate what modern football does to me. It’s almost certainly too much to expect Chelsea and Fulham to beat United and keep Liverpool’s top-four hopes alive, but hey, as long as the chance has not been mathematically extinguished: Come on you Boehly-ball Blues!!! Lamps you Legend, Do it for Stevie G!!! Sigh. It sure is hard to maintain one’s dignity in the era of modern football” – Peter Oh
Lampard exits, and Erik ten Hag immediately takes over the mic. “You don’t get a point, you have to deserve a point … but for me that can never be an approach for a game, you have to win a game … we want to play in our style, proactive and dynamic … we are in a really good position but we have to get the job done … we have to focus on this game … we have to show a winning attitude and go for it … Chelsea have high potential, as a group of players they are outstanding … but it’s not about them, it’s about us, and we have to make it our game … it has to be high levels because they have good players … there is a really positive vibe at Carrington … a top culture … we have to set higher standards and get better.”
Frank Lampard talks to Sky. “We’re playing for pride, playing for Chelsea … opportunity for each individual … the season may be over in terms of what we can achieve and what Chelsea are used to achieving, but individually there’s a reason in the dressing room for everyone … there’s a lot of pride at stake … [the large squad size] has been challenging … it’s been a difficult balance this year and I’ve obviously come in at the back end of that … the squad size is something the club will address … there are a lot of standards and basics that have dropped down a level … the basic level before you get to tactics needs to step up again.”
As for the Mason Mount situation? “I don’t know what the solution is going to be … it’s a club and Mason issue … I don’t know where Mason is at personally … I know he’s held in high regard at the club and do what they can to make him stay … I would never talk in the modern day about what a player should do … players move on … it’s a shame we’ve got into this situation where it’s maybe happening.”
Manchester United are on a two-game winning tear-up, so if it ain’t broke, etc., and so forth, and so on. Erik ten Hag names an unchanged starting XI after the 1-0 win at Bournemouth last weekend. Marcus Rashford returns from injury and takes a spot on the bench.
Chelsea make three changes to the side that started the 1-0 defeat at Manchester City on Sunday. Carney Chukwuemeka, Mykhailo Mudryk and Noni Madueke replace Thiago Silva and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who drop to the bench, and Raheem Sterling, who misses out altogether.
Manchester United: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Lindelof, Shaw, Casemiro, Eriksen, Antony, Fernandes, Sancho, Martial.
Subs: Butland, Dalot, Maguire, Malacia, Fred, McTominay, Garnacho, Rashford, Weghorst.
Chelsea: Kepa, W Fofana, Chalobah, Azpilicueta, Fernandez, Chukwuemeka, Madueke, Hall, Gallagher, Havertz, Mudryk.
Subs: Mendy, Silva, Pulisic, Felix, Loftus-Cheek, Ziyech, Koulibaly, D Fofana, Gilchrist.
Manchester United can sense it, smell it, nearly taste and touch it. Yes, the return of Champions League football to Old Trafford, after one long season roaming the barren plains of Europa, is merely a single solitary point away. You’d expect them to get it tonight, not least because the last five meetings between these two giants have ended in a draw. There’s also the small matter of United having not lost a Premier League match at home since the opening day of the season … while Chelsea have lost seven of their last nine matches in all competitions, and Frank Lampard has tasted defeat 18 times in his last 23 managerial outings.
Chelsea have only pride left to play for. They’re already condemned to their first bottom-half finish since 1996; they’re already guaranteed to finish lower than both Brentford and Fulham for the first time in history. So they could do with a boost. Will it spur them on to surprise the upwardly mobile Red Devils? Or will Erik ten Hag’s team secure Champions League football tonight and render the final day visit of Fulham a stress-free experience? Kick off is at 8pm BST. It’s on!