Thursday night sees a team slowly going in the right direction host a team that are free-falling the other way. Can Erik ten Hag’s side secure the point they need for Champions League football next season? Find out in our Manchester United vs Chelsea prediction and preview.
Manchester United vs Chelsea: Quick Stats
- Manchester United the Opta favourites (40.5%) to win on Thursday night.
- A point is enough for Manchester United to clinch Champions League football next season – the likelihood of them securing that in this game is 69.5%.
- Chelsea have already secured their worst ever Premier League points total and defeat in this game will be their 16th in the season – a Premier League all-time high for a 38-game campaign.
Casemiro’s spectacular scissor kick in Manchester United’s 1-0 win at Bournemouth put his side just one point away from securing UEFA Champions League football for 2023-24. After a sixth-place finish last season and a subsequent UEFA Europa League journey that flamed out in Seville, a return to Europe’s premier competition would represent a job well done for Erik ten Hag.
It would take a spectacular collapse for United to miss out on the top four – namely back-to-back home defeats – and presuming that doesn’t happen then Ten Hag would become just the third Dutch manager to finish in the top four of the Premier League, with the other two also doing so in their debut campaigns (Guus Hiddink 2008-09, Louis van Gaal 2014-15).
This season has been one of progress at Old Trafford. If the Red Devils pick up at least two points in their last two games, they’ll register their highest points tally since 2017-18 (77 in José Mourinho’s second season in charge) and the EFL Cup win against Newcastle United in February was their first major trophy in six seasons.
Given Man Utd’s exceptional league home record – they’ve lost just one of their last 26 home Premier League games (W18 D7) and are unbeaten in their last 16 at Old Trafford – you’d expect them to get the job done on Thursday. Especially given they host Chelsea, who just want their miserable season to end.
Frank Lampard’s side are winless in their last 10 Premier League games against United (D7 L3) and could go 11 games without a win against them for the first time in their history.
Regardless of what happens here, Chelsea have already registered their worst ever Premier League points tally. Even if they win their final two games of the season, they’ll end the 2022-23 campaign with 49 points, one fewer than in 1995-96 and 2015-16.
Chelsea have had problems beating most sides this season, but they’ve had particular issues about beating the better sides in the division. Since the start of last season, Chelsea have won none of their 15 Premier League games against teams starting the day above them in the table (D4 L11), losing each of their last four.
Chelsea have already lost nine Premier League away games this season, and should they lose here – as the supercomputer predicts – they’ll hit double figures for away defeats for the first time in a single season since 1997-98 (11).
Chelsea 1-1 Manchester United: 22 October 2022 (Premier League)
The previous meeting between these two sides predictably ended all square. In fact, each of the last five Premier League meetings between Man Utd and Chelsea have been draws.
United made all the early running, with Luke Shaw fizzing an angled shot just wide of the post in the opening 10 minutes. United started very brightly and took six of the game’s first seven shots, with both Marcus Rashford and Antony closest to breaking the deadlock before half-time.
The second half whizzed by with little interest, but just as it looked like the game was going to peter out into another draw, Scott McTominay was adjudged to have hauled down Armando Broja in the box from a corner. Jorginho stepped up, and with a hop, skip and a jump, had Chelsea 1-0 up with just four minutes left of normal time and the Blues were on course to win their first game against United in nine league attempts.
That was until Casemiro rose highest from a Shaw cross to power an exceptional header across goal and past Kepa Arrizabalaga’s forlorn dive. It was the Brazilian’s first Premier League goal and was United’s latest equaliser in the league since April 2017 against Everton (93:41).
Previous Meeting Lineups:
Chelsea: Kepa, Thiago Silva, César Azpilicueta, Marc Cucurella, Trevor Chalobah, Ben Chilwell, Jorginho, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Mason Mount, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Raheem Sterling
Manchester United: David De Gea, Raphaël Varane, Luke Shaw, Diogo Dalot, Lisandro Martínez, Christian Eriksen, Casemiro, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Antony
Manchester United have responded to back-to-back 1-0 defeats to Brighton and West Ham – which opened the door briefly for Liverpool to entertain hopes of a Champions League spot – with wins at home to Wolves and away to Bournemouth. Granted, those two teams basically had nothing to play for after securing Premier League status, but United still had jobs to do. They won both games to nil and have kept a clean sheet in each of their last six Premier League home games. They last went longer without conceding at Old Trafford in the league in March 2010 (seven games). In all competitions, the Red Devils have recorded 16 shutouts at home in 2022-23, last keeping more in 2015-16 (17).
Frank Lampard picked up his first win in his second spell as Chelsea manager against Bournemouth earlier this month, but Chelsea followed that up with a draw at home to Nottingham Forest before a 1-0 defeat away at Manchester City.
That solitary win is their only victory in their last 12 competitive matches and came after a run of six consecutive defeats. Chelsea’s recent form is as bad as their season form and the Blues are now just limping towards the end of a torrid campaign.
Manchester United: Anthony Martial
After another injury-plagued season, Anthony Martial has slowly worked his way back into Ten Hag’s squad as United’s campaign reaches its conclusion. Rashford has missed the last two games through a combination of injury and illness, though Ten Hag suggested he may return for this one. Despite that, Martial’s form could see him handed a third consecutive start.
Ten Hag would likely be happy to keep the Frenchman in. Martial enjoys playing against Chelsea – having been involved in five goals in his last four starts against the Blues (four goals, one assist).
Chelsea: Enzo Fernández
Argentine metronome under Argentine manager? It makes a lot of sense.
Pochettino loves his players to be able to progress play vertically and in Enzo Fernández he will have the perfect playmaker assuming the former Tottenham boss indeed arrives ahead of next season. Enzo’s 5.6 progressive passes per 90 is the fifth best of any Premier League player this season, while his 79.4 passes per game is the highest of any midfielder.
He is extremely active defensively, too, ranking in the 88th percentile for tackles (2.96 per 90) and in the 92nd for blocks (1.77 per 90) when comparing him to midfielders across Europe’s top five leagues.
Fernandez is always looking forward and could be the bedrock of this Chelsea midfield for the next decade.
Manchester United vs Chelsea Prediction
Opta’s supercomputer believes this one could be closer than most would anticipate. Whether it’s the nerves of the hosts about finding that final point or the determination to stay up that surely will have to come from the Foxes before it’s too late, this might be a somewhat even contest.
Newcastle are still favourites to win their final home game of the season, with a 42% chance of success, but Leicester are considered to have a 30.3% chance of earning what would be a massive three points.
The draw comes in at a 27.7% possibility, which would be a better point for Newcastle than Leicester, but whatever happens on Monday, Smith’s side will still have an opportunity to stay up on the final day of the season. Our season simulator gives them a 13.9% chance of saving themselves, while the Magpies have just a 0.8% chance of somehow messing up Champions League qualification from here.