Everything you need to know ahead of Saturday’s fixture:
(1) After displaying a stupendous performance in both game control and clinical attacking against 3rd-placed Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday, Premier League action returns for Manchester United as they lock horns with 4th-placed Chelsea. It’s that time of the season when the fixtures are coming quite expeditiously and managers want their sides to be on top form expecting them to replicate on the pitch what has been instructed in the dressing room - no slips are to be afforded.
(2) United has shown creativity, passion and control over the last few matches but lacked the clinical attacking edge in most of their games this season. However, a display of precisive and instinctual finishing as they disposed of Spurs demonstrated the abundance of quality in this side and Erik Ten Hag has pointed that out to us since the start of the season.
(3) Erik Ten Hag provided an update on Anthony Martial’s recovery:
“Martial? He was on the [training] pitch, but he’s not available for tomorrow,” revealed the boss. “We have to see how it develops in the coming days.”
(4) The Man United boss provided an update on the availability of Aaron Wan-Bissaka for their upcoming fixture:
“Aaron Wan-Bissaka is back on the pitch, so that’s good news, because we need everyone,” said Erik.
“We have so may games to cover, so we need a big squad, you need that you can pick players, that you have choice. So I’m happy with that process.”
(5) About the Cristiano Ronaldo situation, Erik Ten Hag was upfront with the press after banishing the high-profile Portuguese from the travelling squad for Chelsea:\
“He remains an important part of the squad.”
“How we did. I’m the manager. I’m responsible for the culture and I have to set standards and values, and I have to control them. We are in a team and in a team we have standards and values, and we have to control it. So after Rayo Vallecano, I said it was not acceptable, but he was not the only one. That was for everyone. So when it’s the second time, that will have consequences, and that is what we did. So we miss him tomorrow and that is a miss for us and the squad. It’s a miss, but I think it’s important for the attitude for the mentality for the group, and now we have to focus on Chelsea and that is the most important [thing].”
(6) Manchester United have lost each of their last three Premier League in London - they last lost more consecutively in league football between April 1973 and January 1945 (5), so Erik Ten Hag will look to steer his team correctly and break off from the London blues.
(7) Meanwhile, Chelsea has been in a run of 7 unbeaten matches in all competitions since losing to Dinamo Zagreb 1-0. Despite a managerial change, the Blues have combined well using youth and experience in their team to knock off any disruptions in their game.
(8) Chelsea’s last match ended in a goalless draw with Brentford and that took some of the wind down their sails as their exemplary goalscoring run came to an end. Despite the shakeup, the likes of Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are expected to go out on all fours to set up a high-scoring match.
(9) Graham Potter gave an update on key man Reece James’ injury:
“Reece is in a brace for four weeks, which is the first thing, to stabilise the knee and then it’s rehab, so that will take, like we said, about eight weeks. So that’s the latest.
“You have to at least acknowledge the fact they’re human beings who want to be involved in that type of competition absolutely. The reality is that I haven’t got anything to say that will make it better for them, I think it’s worth me acknowledging that.
“It’s one of those things where you just need to focus on the things you can control, focus on your rehab, go day to day. Things get better and then you just move forward.”
(10) Chelsea are yet to lose a game at Stamford Bridge this season and Graham Potter knows that his recent ascendancy will be put under question if he comes with a negative result in a massive six-pointer clash. Erik Ten Hag will use the likes of Christian Eriksen and Casemiro to control and exhibit pressure on Chelsea from the midfield so to keep the opposition and come away with a narrow win. 3 points is all that matters.
(11) FPL assets to watch: We expect a high-scoring match between these two. For Manchester United, we would advise you to keep the likes of Antony in your team while Rashford will need some periods of game under him to pick himself up. For Chelsea, Mason Mount is an exemplary FPL asset, Reece James is out for a couple of weeks so we prefer selling him.