Can Erik ten Hag’s Red Devils bounce back from Saturday’s demoralising defeat on Tyneside? We look ahead to Wednesday’s Premier League clash at Old Trafford with our Manchester United vs Chelsea prediction and preview.
Manchester United vs Chelsea: The Quick Hits
- Manchester United are narrow favourites for a home win against Chelsea, winning 41.2% of the supercomputer’s pre-match simulations. The Blues’ chances are rated at 29.8%.
- Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino has won four of his last seven Premier League games against Man Utd, having failed to win any of his first six.
- Man Utd forward Marcus Rashford scored 20 home goals in all competitions last season, a tally only bettered by Erling Haaland (35) among Premier League players. In 2023-24, the England forward has failed to net in 10 outings at Old Trafford.
The midweek Premier League fixture list is headlined by a meeting of two underperforming giants as Manchester United welcome Chelsea to Old Trafford. These rivals shared titles aplenty in the not-so-distant past, but on Wednesday, a win to boost their ailing UEFA Champions League qualification hopes is the name of the game.
It was United’s turn to claim the title of crisis club last weekend as they suffered a dismal 1-0 defeat at Newcastle United, with Anthony Gordon’s tap-in just reward for the depleted Magpies as they laid siege to the Red Devils’ goal. That strike ended United’s run of 334 minutes without conceding in the Premier League, dealing them their first league loss since October’s 3-0 derby defeat to Manchester City.
Coming after last week’s tumultuous Champions League draw with Galatasaray, that result piled the pressure back onto Erik ten Hag, with United having failed to win an away league game against a team starting the day in the top eight since October 2021, when they beat Tottenham Hotspur under Ole Gunnar Solskjær.
Fortunately for Man Utd, Chelsea start Matchday 15 down in 10th, though the venue may not make a difference with United having lost three of their last five Premier League games at Old Trafford (two wins), having previously won eight in a row.
One player who has found home comforts lacking is Marcus Rashford. Having scored 20 goals in 30 home outings across all competitions last season, a tally only bettered by Erling Haaland (35 goals) among Premier League players, he has failed to net in 10 appearances at Old Trafford in 2023-24. Rashford has only scored once from 3.9 non-penalty expected goals (xG) in the Premier League this term, recording just nine shots on target in 13 outings.
United will again be without Christian Eriksen, Casemiro, Tyrell Malacia and Lisandro Martínez on Wednesday, but former Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount could return to their lineup after being sidelined by a calf issue recently. André Onana has – so far – kept his place, despite making several high-profile errors. Amad Diallo remains sidelined.
Across the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons – Mount’s peak at Chelsea – he ranked fifth in the Premier League for chances created (145), behind only Kevin De Bruyne, Bruno Fernandes, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Son Heung-min. The English midfielder has failed to find form at Old Trafford, though, not registering a goal involvement in eight league appearances and only creating three open-play chances. For context, Jonny Evans has created the same number in just 48 more minutes this campaign.
Mount’s former club Chelsea have endured an up-and-down campaign, following an incredible 4-4 draw at home to Man City with a 4-1 defeat at Newcastle last month, but they responded by beating Brighton and Hove Albion 3-2 on Sunday.
Conor Gallagher’s red card threatened Chelsea’s position after a flying start at Stamford Bridge, with Facundo Bounanotte hitting back after Enzo Fernández and Levi Colwill headers put the Blues 2-0 up. However, Fernández got a second from the penalty spot after James Milner fouled Mykhailo Mudryk to give them breathing space, making João Pedro’s late effort redundant.
Gallagher will be banned on Wednesday following his dismissal, which was the 31st of this Premier League campaign, surpassing the 30 reds shown in all 380 games in 2022-23. An average of 0.22 red cards per game were shown across the first 14 matchdays, the highest rate ever witnessed in the competition.
Chelsea approach Wednesday’s match five points behind United in the standings – and 10 off the top four – after an inconsistent start to Pochettino’s tenure, though they have three wins in their last four away league games (L1), more than in their previous 16 (W2, D5, L9).
Pochettino has a good recent record against United, winning four of his last seven Premier League matches against them (L3) after failing to win any of his first six (D3, L3). He has only overseen one victory in seven trips to Old Trafford in the competition (D1, L5), though that came on his last such visit as Tottenham triumphed 3-0 in August 2018.
His selection issues are easing somewhat, with full-backs Reece James and Marc Cucurella available on Wednesday after serving one-match bans. Roméo Lavia and Christopher Nkunku were close to making the squad against Brighton, and Pochettino would love to have the duo in contention here. Ben Chilwell and Wesley Fofana are long-term absentees, while Malo Gusto will likely miss out again.
In attack, Chelsea will hope former City star Raheem Sterling makes an impact on his return to Manchester. He has scored (two) or assisted (one) on his last three Premier League road trips, last doing so in four straight between July and October 2020. However, he has never scored in 24 career games against United, the most he has faced any club without netting.
Manchester United vs Chelsea Head-to-Head
United will be encouraged by their recent record against Chelsea, having gone unbeaten in their last 11 Premier League meetings (W4, 7D) since José Mourinho’s Red Devils suffered a 1-0 away loss in November 2017.
Indeed, Chelsea have not won at Old Trafford in the Premier League since a 1-0 success in May 2013. At that point, they had won more away games against United than any other club in Premier League history (six), but since then, they have managed six draws and four defeats in 10 visits.
This fixture has seen more draws than any other in the Premier League era, with 26 contests between these teams finishing level.
Nineteen of those were score draws, a joint-high figure alongside Arsenal versus Tottenham, while 14 finished 1-1, the most common scoreline between any two teams in Premier League history.
Chelsea have had more joy when the teams have met in midweek, though, only losing one of their last eight Premier League games against United on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday (W2, D5).
That defeat did come in this exact fixture last season, however, as United thrashed Frank Lampard’s Blues 4-1 in May, confirming Champions League qualification with goals from Casemiro, Anthony Martial, Fernandes and Rashford.
Chelsea have a miserable record in midweek fixtures lately, only winning one of their last 10 Premier League games to be played on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday (D3, L6) and losing five of their last six since a 2-0 win over Bournemouth last December.
Much has been made of United’s poor record on their travels against elite opposition, but Chelsea have endured similar struggles.
They are winless in their last seven away Premier League games against teams who finished in the top four in the previous season (D3, L4), being thrashed 4-1 by Newcastle in their last such match.
Opta Power Rankings
The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.
Ahead of kick-off, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides
Manchester United vs Chelsea Player Ratings
Before kick-off in this match, here are the top five performing players from both teams in the 2023-24 Premier League according to the Opta Player Ratings:
André Onana: 77.4 (out of 100)
Diogo Dalot: 76.7
Hannibal Mejbri: 66.0
Victor Lindelöf: 65.7
Raphaël Varane: 65.1
Thiago Silva: 75.7 (out of 100)
Raheem Sterling: 70.4
Enzo Fernández: 69.8
Conor Gallagher: 69.3
Nicolas Jackson: 67.8
These Opta Player Ratings also power our set of brand-new, free-to-play gaming experiences, which you can play on Opta Analyst all season long.
Manchester United vs Chelsea Prediction
United have already lost five times at Old Trafford across all competitions this season, but the Opta supercomputer makes them slight favourites for victory on Wednesday.
Of 10,000 simulations conducted by the model ahead of kick-off, United won 41.2% of them. That is, however, the second-lowest win percentage given to any Matchday 15 favourite, behind only Brighton (38.9%) versus Brentford. Chelsea won 29.8%, with 29% finishing level.
In our overall season predictions, neither team is given much hope of a top-four finish, with United only achieving that feat in 5% of simulations and Chelsea doing so in just 0.4%.
While seventh (19.3%) is United’s most common final position in our projections, Chelsea finish 10th in a league-high 20.4% of scenarios, sandwiched either side by West Ham and Brentford.
Sheffield United, Luton Town and Burnley remain favourites to go down.