Chelsea’s shock 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace wasn’t the beginning of a dramatic collapse in form and Antonio Conte’s men rebounded from that disappointment in emphatic fashion with wins over Manchester City and Bournemouth, much to the chagrin of their main title rivals. Indeed with just seven games left to play, it would be a shock of massive proportions were the Blues to falter at this late stage of the campaign and Conte will be desperate to manage another victory over his predecessor at Old Trafford.
Jose Mourinho has spent huge sums during his time at Old Trafford but clearly much work remains to be done given that it is unlikely that the Red Devils won’t manage to claw their way into the top four this season. Indeed United’s downfall has been in part down to their large number of draws – twelve in total – although of more concern is the fact that nine of these have been at Old Trafford.
The ‘Theatre Of Dreams’ was long a fortress which invoked fear amongst visiting teams, however this certainly hasn’t been the case this season. This has caused frustration amongst home fans and they are in no doubt about the fact that if this home form doesn’t improve, then their wait for Champions League football to return may be a lengthy one.
Of more immediate concern is this weekend’s clash with the league leaders. United have lost twice this season to the Blues, a 4-0 Premier League hammering in October being followed by a 1-0 defeat in last month’s FA Cup clash. Indeed it was October 2012 that the Red Devils last got the better of Chelsea and with all-but-one of the last five meetings at Old Trafford ending all-square, we wouldn’t be surprised to see such a result this weekend.
We also expect a low-scoring encounter. All but two of the last ten meetings between the sides have produced at most two goals, while United haven’t been involved in many high-scoring affairs this term. The Blues sit alongside United in having one of the best goals-against records in the top-flight and that means that the goals won’t be flowing at Old Trafford this weekend.