This website requires JavaScript.
Placeholder image

Chelsea vs. Manchester United, Premier League: Preview, team news, how to watch

Football is a game that loves to defy analytics — probably because statistical football analysis is still just in its infancy — and we don’t have to look much farther as evidence of that than tonight’s matchup between Chelsea and Manchester United.
Mauricio Pochettino was made to look a bit of a fool by the weekend’s 2-2 draw against ten-ma Burnley, which followed a bold declaration that based on stats, we “should be in fourth” rather than twelfth. Certainly, some of our attacking metrics, such as “big chances” (2nd) or xG (5th) or shot quality (2nd) would seem to support that claim. Other metrics, related to things like chance conversion or shot volume would not. We have the third worst delta in the league between goals (48) and expected goals (54.3), we are just tenth in total shots taken, eleventh in goals per shot taken, and twelfth in goals per shot-on-target. Just imagine how bad it would be if we didn’t lead the league in penalties!
Unsurprisingly, our defensive metrics are not nearly as impressive, though we are among the best in restricting quality chances (fifth best in npxG/shot allowed) yet have the seventh worst delta between expected goals (41.9) and actual goals given up (46).
Of course, at the end of the day, you get no trophies or points for any of that. Which is how you can have a team like Manchester United come in eight (8) points better off than us (with an extra game played), despite doing about the same, if not much worse, in most of these metrics. Though one number does stand out: they have conceded nearly 12 fewer goals than xG would indicate, by far the best in the league.
Neither team had any business gaining just a point over the weekend. United were thoroughly outplayed by Brentford, yet almost nicked all three points. Meanwhile, Chelsea had more shots than we had in any Premier League game in over ten years, yet somehow managed just a point against the worst team in the league playing with just ten players.
Ah, football.
Date / Time: Thursday, April 4, 2024, 20.15 BST; 3:15pm EDT; 12:45am IST (next day) Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6 Referee: Jarred Gillett (on pitch); David Coote (VAR) Forecast: Breezy, rainy
On TV: TNT Sports 1 (UK); USA, Universo (USA); none? (India); SuperSport MaXimo 2, Canal+ Sport 4 (NGA); elsewhere Streaming: discovery+ (UK); NBC Sports Live, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA); Hotstar (India); DStv Now (NGA) Chelsea team news: We may not lead the league in points, but we surely lead it in injuries, and have been from just about day one. And we just. won’t. let. go. as the situation simply refuses to improve, even if Malo Gusto can in fact play today after appearing to strain his hamstring on Saturday. Trevoh Chalobah could also return after missing out last time and both Carney Chukwuemeka and Robert Sánchez were back in full training this week.
But we must have balance in the injury-force, which means that Ben Chilwell is once again unavailable after getting fluid drained from his knee while also dealing with an illness. Still not as bad as the rumblings of Christopher Nkunku potentially missing the rest of the season. And of course the likes of Reece James, Wesley Fofana, Levi Colwill, Roméo Lavia, and Lesley Ugochukwu remain out.
The draw against Burnley was not a good result, but it did continue are recent good home record. It is now just one defeat in our last fifteen at the Bridge in all competitions. Manchester United team news: United have led a charmed life, yet sit just sixth in the league. That has put manager Erik ten Hag under at least as much pressure as Pochettino, if not more — they both need this win quite badly.
Ten Hag also has some injuries to deal with, most notably the fresh ones to center backs Lisandro Martínez and Victor Lindelöf. And they will also be cautious with Mason Mount, who scored his first goal for the club over the weekend as he made his Premier League return after an over four-month absence. Amad Diallo is suspended while Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw, and Tyrell Malacia are out — though Raphaël Varane, Harry Maguire, and Jonny Evans are expected to be fit and available.
View from the enemy: The Busby Babe
Previously: Our recent record against United is rather atrocious, having lost the last two and failed to win the last seven (7!), all in the league. We allowed Scott McTominay to score twice in our 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford back in December. But Nico Jackson has dyed half his hair blue, so we’re definitely winning today!

lire la suite