Chelsea vs Manchester United Prediction, Money Line & Picks

  • Chelsea are right back in top-four contention thanks to their recent unbeaten run
  • Manchester United’s title hopes are over but they are favorites to finish second
  • This match will be a test of Chelsea’s new-found solidity under Thomas Tuchel

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Chelsea vs Manchester United Picks and Predictions

Chelsea have not conceded many goals since Tuchel took charge, but Manchester United’s counter-attacking prowess will ask questions of their three-man backline.

Pick:

Back over 2.5 goals here

How to Watch Chelsea vs Manchester United

Chelsea vs Manchester United Information
What Chelsea vs Manchester United
Where Stamford Bridge, London, England
When Sunday, 28 February 2021, 11.30 AM EST
How to watch NBC Sports

Such is Manchester City’s exemplary form, the Premier League title race is probably over already. All eyes will therefore be on the race for the top four, which involves as many as eight teams going into this weekend. Two of the leading contenders, Chelsea and Manchester United, will go head-to-head at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Thomas Tuchel has made an excellent start to his Chelsea career. He has made the Blues harder to beat and more resilient defensively, but Manchester United will provide a test of just how solid this reconfigured team is. The outcome is difficult to call, but more than 2.5 goals look like an attractive proposition.

Tuchel Has Already Made a Noticeable Impact at Chelsea

Chelsea’s decision to sack Frank Lampard in January was never going to go down well among large sections of the fan base. Lampard is the club’s all-time leading goalscorer and, according to many supporters, its greatest ever player. He was an integral part of the most successful era in Chelsea’s history, winning three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, the Champions League, and the Europa League across a 13-year spell in west London.

His dismissal was a little harsh. It came amid Lampard’s first prolonged sticky patch since his appointment 18 months prior. But if Roman Abramovich based his decision on Chelsea’s fading top-four hopes, he has been vindicated already. Tuchel has overseen four wins and two draws in his six Premier League matches at the helm, lifting Chelsea from ninth to fifth in the space of a month. Tuesday’s 1-0 victory over Atletico Madrid in the Champions League was another fantastic result.

The most impressive element of Chelsea’s upturn is the fact it has come with a revamped style and system. Tuchel immediately switched to a 3-4-2-1 formation upon taking the reins, redeploying Callum Hudson-Odoi as a right wing-back and bringing Marcos Alonso back in from the cold to play on the left. Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic have made up his first-choice partnership in central midfield, with Timo Werner operating from the left rather than through the middle.

Tuchel deserves credit for making an immediate impact and doing things his way. Chelsea have kept six clean sheets in eight matches in all competitions under the German, and it is that solidity above all else that has lifted them up the table.

Manchester United Are at Their Strongest Away From Home

There are two schools of thought regarding Manchester United’s form in 2021. Five wins, four draws, and a defeat have seen Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side slip 10 points adrift of Manchester City in the top spot. To some that represent a missed opportunity, with United guilty of buckling under the pressure of occupying first place for a few weeks in January. To others, it is proof that United are still two or three signings away from genuinely competing for the title.

The truth, as ever, lies somewhere in the middle. But while United were undoubtedly sloppy in needlessly dropping seven points against Sheffield United, Everton, and West Bromwich Albion, the main reason their title hopes are in effect over is the relentless form of Manchester City, who are currently on a 13-match winning run.

United are favorites to finish second, and that would represent a good season for Solskjaer and co. However, it would be premature for United to celebrate qualification for the Champions League, even if they are currently six points clear of Chelsea in fifth.

Victory on Sunday would be a major boost to their top-four bid, though, and United will draw confidence from their away record this term. No team in the division has a better points-per-game record on the road in 2020/21, and no side has scored more goals. United are also the only team yet to lose on their Premier League travels, which bodes well for the weekend.


Editor’s Picks


Chelsea May Have to Risk Some of Their Solidity in Search of Points

The reason why United are so strong away from Old Trafford is down to their counter-attacking prowess. The Red Devils are at their best in phases of transition, when they can use their speed and incision to cut through opponents who have yet to reorganize into their defensive positions. To avoid coming undone by fast breaks, Chelsea will need to counter-press effectively to cut out United’s attacks at source.

That is easier said than done, and while there were promising signs against Atletico on Tuesday, United are a more dangerous proposition on the counter. As such, Chelsea might be forced to take more risks in attack than they have done in many of their games under Tuchel, when controlling the match through possession and keeping things tight at the back has been the order of the day.

Neutrals may hope for United to take the lead, as that would force Chelsea to play the ball forward more regularly. Tuchel has done a great job of making his new team more solid, but containing United’s attack will be a tough ask.

Indeed, a clean sheet could be beyond the home team on this occasion, and the upshot is that we could be treated to an entertaining match with more goals than we have seen in Chelsea’s recent outings. It is hard to pick a winner for this one, so the total goals market is the way to go.

 

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Greg Lea

Expert on Soccer

Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]