League leaders Chelsea take on struggling Manchester United this weekend at Stamford Bridge, the visitors set for their first league match since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s departure.
Here’s all you need to know ahead of that intriguing clash on Sunday.
As United begin their hunt for a potential interim or permanent appointment, Chelsea are the prime example of the possible benefits of making a managerial change midway through a season, with Thomas Tuchel having worked wonders since walking in the door at the end of January.
Since replacing Frank Lampard at the helm, the German has now overseen 35 wins in just 50 games in all competitions – keeping 31 clean sheets in that time – with his side going from strength to strength both domestically and in Europe.
On the league front, the Blues recovered from their frustrating draw with Burnley prior to the international break with a convincing and commanding victory over Leicester City on the road, the win leaving them three points clear at the summit.
That stylish display saw the club’s wing-back duo of Ben Chilwell and Reece James once again impress, the two Englishmen laying on an assist apiece and at times popping up in almost a centre-forward position, such is the attacking freedom they have been afforded under the current boss.
Reece James is an absolute joke! 🤭
Another outstanding finish from the Chelsea star! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/iUdgv2XI8A
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 23, 2021
James’ quality in the final third was again on show as Tuchel’s men condemned Juventus to their heaviest ever Champions League defeat on Tuesday night, the 21-year-old firing in superbly in the 4-0 victory, as countrymen Callum Hudson-Odoi and Trevoh Chalobah also got on the scoresheet to send Chelsea into the knockout stages.
The win was wrapped up in stoppage time by returning substitute Timo Werner, the German edging back to full fitness, while Tuchel was also boosted by the presence of Romelu Lukaku on the bench. One potential concern is that of N’Golo Kante who limped off in midweek, while Kai Havertz and Mateo Kovacic are also doubts after missing the Italian side’s visit.
One definitive absentee is that of Chilwell, however, with the former Leicester man likely to be out until the New Year after suffering suspected ACL damage on Tuesday night.
Manchester United: WDLLW
The Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reign is over at Manchester United. The club’s shambolic 4-1 defeat at the hands of Watford proving a step too far as the Norwegian was sacked on Sunday morning – just under three years since he returned to the club on an initial interim basis.
One win in seven in the league and four defeats in the last five in the top-flight sparked a seemingly inevitable end for the club legend, walking away having no doubt steadied the ship but without a major honour to his name.
Despite the recent dismal form, the club’s reluctance to sack the 48-year-old has been shown by their lack of a contingency plan, the hierarchy now scrambling to appoint a temporary boss until the end of the season before making a permanent appointment, leaving Michael Carrick in caretaker charge in the meantime.
1 – Michael Carrick is the first English manager to win his first game in charge of Manchester United (excluding second spells) since Walter Crickmer in November 1931. Red. pic.twitter.com/4EBG6rG4Hf
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 23, 2021
Amid that turbulence, the former England international oversaw a much-needed victory in the Champions League away at Villarreal on Tuesday evening, the Red Devils producing a solid, albeit unspectacular display to clinch both a 2-0 victory and clinch top spot in the group.
Although United again had David De Gea to thank for thwarting Unai Emery’s side, it was a far less chaotic display than in recent weeks, with Cristiano Ronaldo also netting for the fifth game running in the competition, while Jadon Sancho bagged his first goal for the club in style.
Carrick had opted to leave Bruno Fernandes on the bench in that clash, although the Portuguese is likely to start this weekend following his excellent substitute cameo. Captain Harry Maguire will be absent after his red card against the Hornets, while Luke Shaw is likely to return after missing the trip to Spain with concussion. Paul Pogba is out until New Year, while Raphael Varane is also sidelined.
Chelsea 0-0 Man United, 28 February 2021
The two sides’ last meeting is not one that will live long in the memory, as the rivals played out a fairly drab goalless draw at Stamford Bridge, having endured an equally as dull encounter at Old Trafford earlier in the season.
The most notable moment in an otherwise forgettable clash saw United denied a possible penalty despite Callum Hudson-Odoi appearing to handle the ball inside the area, with referee Stuart Atwell opting not to overturn the decision after consulting the pitchside monitor.
David De Gea was then called into action to deny Hakim Ziyech’s strike, while both Scott McTominay and Fred went close, albeit with neither side looking like truly breaking the dreadlock in this behind-closed-doors meeting.
That stalemate ensured a fifth 0-0 draw of the season for United against members of the so-called ‘Big Six’, while the Blues kept up their strong defensive record under new boss Tuchel.
Chelsea: Mendy; Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger; James, Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho, Alonso; Mount, Hudson-Odoi, Werner.
Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Bailly, Shaw; McTominay, Fred, Fernandes; Sancho, Rashford, Ronaldo.
Who is the referee?
What channel is Chelsea v Manchester United on?
UK and Irish readers can watch, or stream, the match on Sky Sports Premier League.
What time is kick off?
Sunday 28 November, 16:30 GMT
Chelsea – 11/20
Man United – 5/1
Draw – 3/1