Revealed: The Likely date that the Premier League will return on

The Coronavirus has turned the world upside down with many lockdowns all over the world as people are hit the hardest, and are not quite sure what the immediate future holds. For football fans the lockdown has seemed strange, we aren’t used to have no football. Even when the season ends, pre-season friendlies and tournaments or major summer competitions take the place. Literally we have football 365 days a year.

Obviously lives and the safety of people matter more than sport, but there will always be the burning question for sports fans and football ones, when will it all return?

Whilst we can’t 100% tell the future we can certainly look at countries that were hit with the virus before England and take from this an example. The virus started in Wuhan, China and it isn’t important when the first cases were recorded which is believed to have been as early as December, but when the area went into lockdown. The lockdown happened on January 23rd and naturally everything was cancelled and the lockdown went on for 2 months.

In England the lockdown happened roughly two months after Wuhan with the natural delay. The UK government said that they believe the lockdown should be applied for at least two months last week,and that would be in line with Wuhan who are just about getting back to having a normal way of life.

If we take into account the 2 months that would mean that the lockdown in England should be lifted around May 25th. There will have to be an easing period, but we could expect traffic flowing again and people returning to work within 10 days to 2 weeks of the lockdown being lifted. As for football the country’s far and away biggest sport we can expect at least another week on top of the lockdown being lifted.

With that being said the Premier League could well return to action on June 13th which is a Saturday. Of course there would still need to be caution and we could expect at least the first three games to be played behind closed doors. In that time Liverpool could well win the league, and the sad reality is that they could do so with no fans.

As for finishing the season, there was two months left, but with some games being played in midweek it would be possible, one would think, to have the season finished by the beginning of August. The next season would then only have to be delayed by a month and could start in mid September, possibly after the first round of Champions Leagues are played.

Of course many talks will have to take place, namely for players’ contracts so many are on course to expire on June 30th, and that would all have to be agreed. Getting players back out on the pitch too will be needed but one would expect that the virus will not be a threat by then.

It’s an interesting idea, but with thought having the league returning in mid June could well happen, just looking at how the world has been dealing with the virus.

Let’s hope the virus can be vanquished quickly and we can return to normality and start watching our favourite sports once more.

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Liverpool finally lose in what has been a tough week for the European champions

It took 44 league games but Liverpool have finally been beaten in the Premier League. Not many people would have predicted that it would be Watford who were in 19th place that would inflict Liverpool’s first defeat since January 2019.

It has been a miserable few days for Liverpool who not only lost in the league but were then knocked out of the FA Cup last night against Chelsea going down 2-0. So they have let in 5 goals in two matches and manager Jurgen Klopp will be concerned. Next up they will play Bournemouth at home and if they were to drop points in that game Klopp will need to be afraid. After that they have a mammoth task of trying to overcome Atletico Madrid in the 2nd leg of their Champions League game. The Spanish side hold a 1-0 lead, though that 2nd leg is at Anfield and every follower of football knows that Anfield is quite a daunting place for any side on a European night.

Liverpool of course have been fantastic this season, and have been actually for the past two years now. But no one can deny the fact that this has been a bad period for the club. One such person who did seem to be in denial was Klopp, coming out with words like ”not really” in suggestion that the clubs form had slipped. Was he hurting inside really? Only time and a biography will answer that one. But the whole of the team must have been devastated at finally losing a game. The objective of winning the league is more or less done, being 22 points in the lead. At best the gap could be cut with a loss of form, but Liverpool could still easily win the league and do it by 10 points clear in the end anyway.

The objective was too remain undefeated for the season. No one was publicly saying it but of course it was. Liverpool would have become only the 3rd team in the history of the top tier in England to have done it, and they were so close too. In defeat to Watford they also lost out on beating the all time English record for most wins in a row. With 18 they needed one more, but alas that went too.

If Liverpool do go out of the Champions League- as champions it would be a blow, but let’s be honest this season was all about winning the league title for the first time since 1990, and that objective is streets ahead and well on target. But what one senses with the club now is what has happened to super giants like PSG and Bayern in the last few seasons who have gone unbeaten for six months, only to lose 1 game and have the season unravel to a damp squib by the end of it.

The fact that it has been so long since Liverpool won the league title will be their saving grace this year though, it really is all that matters to the club, city and fans.

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Top European clubs to have most players at Euro 2020

This will be a unique European tournament. For Euro 2020, there is no single host country, but 12 different cities around the continent playing host to matches.

Europe’s top clubs are naturally well represented at the Euros. This year’s tournament should be no exception, but which clubs are set to have the most international players involved at the finals?

Assuming all are fit and well to take part in Euro 2020, the following are our predictions:

Chelsea

English Premier League outfit Chelsea could lead the way at the Euro finals with the most representation at the tournament. A case can be made for 14 players from the Blues being involved.

Spain goalkeeper Kepa, France trio Olivier Giroud, N’Golo Kante and Kurt Zouma, Denmark and Germany defenders Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger, Italy midfielder Jorginho, Croatia counterpart Mateo Kovacic, Belgium striker Michy Batshuayi, and as many as five England players, could all be at Euro 2020.

The likely inclusion of so many players from Stamford Bridge in national teams’ Euros squads is largely down to the nurturing of young talent done in West London since Chelsea legend Frank Lampard came in as manager last summer.

Bayern Munich

Bundesliga big boys Bayern Munich are always well-represented at major tournaments like the Euros and World Cup. Euro 2020 should be no exception with 13 predicted first team players set for summer duty.

Naturally, many of those are German. Manuel Neuer, Niklas Sule, Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka and Serge Gnabry are all in Die Mannschaft’s setup.

There are four France internationals at Bayern: Benjamin Pavard, Lucas Hernandez, Corentin Tolisso and Kingsley Coman. As World Cup holders, Les Bleus are among the favourites at 6/1 in the international football betting on Euro 2020 with bet365.

Completing the likely Euros involvement from Munich are Spain midfielder Thiago Alcantara, Poland frontman Robert Lewandowski, Croatia winger Ivan Perisic and Austria’s versatile David Alaba.

Real Madrid

Another of Europe’s top clubs, Real Madrid, look sure to have around a dozen of their players involved at Euro 2020. Spain makes up the biggest proportion of those with four: defensive duo Dani Carvajal and Sergio Ramos, midfielder Isco and winger Marco Asensio.

France duo Ferland Mendy and Raphael Varane join Belgium duo Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard, who faces a race to be fit after a fractured ankle, as locks for inclusion.

Germany playmaker Toni Kroos, Wales star Gareth Bale and Croatia’s Luka Modric could be joined by Luka Jovic if Serbia reach the tournament finals.

Barcelona

El Clasico rivals Barcelona are another rich source of international footballers. Potentially on their way to Euro 2020 from Camp Nou are Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto for Spain.

France trio Antoine Griezmann, Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti, recent out of transfer window arrival Martin Braithwaite of Denmark and Portugal full-back Nelson Semedo are others set to go to the Euros.

The Catalonia based contingent is completed by Germany goalie Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic and Netherlands counterpart Frenkie de Jong. That makes 11 Barcelona players on course for Euro 2020.

Antonio Rudiger left frustrated at a lack of evidence after he says he was racially abused

Chelsea player Antonio Rudiger has reacted after the FA have come back and said that they couldn’t charge anyone in the game with Tottenham as there was no evidence to suggest that Antonio Rudiger was racially abused when the clubs played each other at Tottenham’s new ground a few weeks ago.

Rudiger had said that he had heard monkey chants aimed at him and a full investigation was then launched. In other incidents within the grounds there were 6 arrests but none were directly linked to Rudiger’s claim.

Tottenham have said that they have video equipment which can follow every fans face and even lip reading techniques and there has simply been no evidence to suggest that Rudiger suffered racist abuse. Of course this doesn’t mean that he didn’t.

It’s been a very difficult season in the Premier League for racist chanting and abuse and it does look like it is on the rise sadly once more. Although clubs zero tolerance policy of handing out life time bans for fans, is a fantastic measure and really is the way to go, one would hope that other leagues would follow suit.

Rudiger was understandably feeling down at the FA’s findings and he had this to say. “I’ll always raise my voice but in relation to this, I’m alone. Racism has won. The offenders can always come back to the stadium, which shows these people have won. It’s a disaster.”

Rudiger added: ”I became a father last Thursday and you start thinking society hasn’t come far enough in fighting racism, so my kids will probably suffer as well. If nothing changes, if kids don’t get good education and parenting, we’ll lose.”

Chelsea football club added their thoughts to the situation also via a club statement. ‘As Tottenham’s statement makes clear, a lack of evidence does not mean an incident did not take place. It is vitally important we continue to encourage all players, whatever shirt they wear, to report racist abuse without fear of doubt or reprisal.’

This is an incredibly controversial moment within the league because it is very probable that Rudiger heard something, and yet with all of the technology that the clubs have at their disposal they were not able to find the evidence to get the section of fans.

Rudiger though shouldn’t feel too down about what has happened. If it has, then it is disgusting and no one can make any excuses about that. But he is fortunate to play in a league that does take racism seriously and for that the Premier League despite its faults is heading in the right direction.

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The four Premier League players to have in your Fantasy team for the rest of the season

With just three months of football remaining, every single Fantasy Premier League manager will be reviewing their teams and be aiming to make the most out of the outstanding features they have, whether that’s the wildcard option, the bench boost, the free hit or even the triple captain selection.

Unsurprisingly, the Premier League has been really unpredictable this season, as majority of the teams in the league and a lot of the well-known players from the top-six sides have been inconsistent. However, with 11 league fixtures left and the European Championship to take place this summer, a large number of individuals will be working their socks off to reach this grand stage.

Not only that, given the return of the prestigious Champions League as well as the Europa League football, all Fantasy Premier League managers will be doubting any important decision they make and they will not be totally sure of what results to expect or predict in the upcoming fixtures.

With no further ado, here are the four perfect Premier League players to have in your team…

Goalkeeper – Alisson

Having the best defensive record in the league, conceding 15 goals in 26 league games, there’s no doubts at all that Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are miles ahead of the rest of the teams in the country and are potentially on their way to ending the season undefeated. On that note, having Alisson Becker in your team is a no brainer, who is on 10 clean sheets along with Nick Pope, despite playing nine games fewer than the Burnley shot stopper due to the calf injury he picked up back in August.

The 27-year-old Brazilian international is now being recognised as the best goalkeeper in the league and one of the best in Europe, as he continues to put in the hard work between the goalposts along with helping the side through his ability to play as a ball-playing individual. With Liverpool’s fixtures looking straightforward, barring the games away to Arsenal and Manchester City, there should be no huge problems in seeing Alisson to carry on achieving the consistent clean sheets, who is only valued at £6.2m.

Defender – John Lundstram

A lot of FPL managers would have found out by now about the advantage and benefits of having John Lundstram in their team, someone who is a central-midfielder but is actually seen as a defender on the Fantasy Football app and website. The main positives are when Sheffield United keep a clean sheet or when Lundstram himself bags a goal, as he is able to go onto gaining a few extra bonus points, which is why he has accomplished over 100 points and is expected to gain more and more.

Although he has been benched by Chris Wilder over the last couple of weeks for the Blades’ record signing in Sander Berge, he is expected to be brought back into the line-up soon rather than later, as the side are continuing to push for a spot in next season’s Europa League and will want to finish the campaign on a high note. With the side having the second best defensive record in the league, along with Lundstram being the club’s third best player in terms of direct goal contributions, it would surely be an easy and simple decision of bringing him into your backline for a figure of just £5.0m.

Midfielder – James Maddison

For sure, his form over the last two months has not been brilliant, but with the likes of Norwich, Aston Villa and Watford coming up for Leicester City, it would be more than ideal to keep or bring James Maddison into your fantasy football team. The English playmaker has managed to produce 68 key passes so far this season, with only three other players in the league outdoing him in this area.

With the Euros coming up this summer, Maddison will hope that his performances throughout the season as well as what he produces in the final few months will be enough to persuade Gareth Southgate to select him in the squad, as he will have a number of players to choose from due to the rise of Jack Grealish, Jadon Sancho, Callum Hudson-Odoi and many other individuals. Back onto Maddison, for a value of £7.4m, he is bound to come in with the goals and assists for the Foxes, as they actually have an easy run of games before they face Spurs and Man Utd towards the end of the campaign.

Striker – Tammy Abraham

In his first full season as a regular starter for Chelsea, Tammy Abraham has shown up with the much needed goods, as he has notched 13 goals and three assists in 25 league appearances. Given the ongoing injury he has had from the start of this year, he has not been able to perform the same way as he was once doing and it has prevented him from playing at his best, but with the recent winter break and some further time off, he is now fully back at 100% and is ready to score the crucial goals once again.

It’s not easy to choose the ideal striker in your fantasy football team, but for a team that’s quite attacking-minded as Chelsea are and with Abraham always starting ahead of the likes of Michy Batshuayi and Olivier Giroud, he will always seem like the most suitable option as he aims to end the season on 20 league goals and over. Chelsea’s remaining fixtures from now till the end of the season does not seem difficult at all, barring Liverpool and Man City, the rest look like straightforward victories if they can be dominant and ruthless on both sides of the pitch.

6 classic Chelsea vs Tottenham games from the Premier League era

Chelsea 2-2 Tottenham (May 2016)

Although they were not involved, this was one of the most famous games in Leicester City’s history. Tottenham’s failure to win at Stamford Bridge handed the Premier League title to Claudio Ranieri’s men, many of whom were gathered at Jamie Vardy’s house to watch the action unfold.

Spurs stormed into a 2-0 lead but then lost their heads to an extent in the second half, with nine of their players ending the night in the referee’s notebook. A superb Eden Hazard strike ended their title dreams late on.

Tottenham 5-3 Chelsea (January 2015)

A Harry Kane-inspired Tottenham gave Chelsea their toughest game of the season on New Year’s Day 2015. Kane scored twice to take his tally for the season to 17, with Danny Rose, Andros Townsend and Nacer Chadli also getting on the scoresheet for Mauricio Pochettino’s charges.

Chelsea had been an entertaining attacking force in the first half of the campaign, but this defeat persuaded Jose Mourinho to shut up shop for the run-in.

Tottenham 2-0 Chelsea (January 2017)

Chelsea had won 13 games in a row prior to their visit to White Hart Lane on New Year’s Day, only for Spurs to stop them in their tracks. Dele Alli scored twice, both of them headers, to give the hosts victory.

Spurs were arguably the best team in the country for a while after this game, but the eventual runners-up finished seven points behind Antonio Conte’s champions – the same margin that separated them after this encounter.

Chelsea 4-3 Tottenham (February 1994)

A seven-goal thriller in the 1994/94 season ended in Chelsea’s favour, although both teams endured underwhelming campaigns. Spurs led 2-0 inside the first quarter thanks to goals from Steve Sedgley and Jason Dozzell, but it was Chelsea who led 3-2 at half-time through Mal Donaghy, Mark Stein and John Spencer.

Andy Gray restored parity for Tottenham in the second half, but Stein was the hero after holding his nerve from the penalty spot in the 89th minute.

Tottenham 4-4 Chelsea (March 2008)

A pulsating clash in north London ended with the capital clubs each earning a share of the spoils. Chelsea led 2-1 at half-time after goals from Didier Drogba and Michael Essien either side of Jonathan Woodgate’s effort, and then extended their advantage further when Joe Cole found the net early in the second half.

Tottenham fought back, though, with Dimitar Berbatov and Tom Huddlestone drawing them level. Cole then grabbed his second of the day to put Chelsea ahead once more, only for Robbie Keane to grab a dramatic equaliser in the 88th minute.

Tottenham 2-3 Chelsea (September 2001)

Chelsea left it late before sinking Spurs in this 2001 encounter, with Marcel Desailly’s header earning them maximum points at the death. Tottenham thought they had salvaged a draw through Teddy Sheringham, but Chelsea refused to give in and found the time to strike for the third time that afternoon.

Claudio Ranieri’s side would go on to finish sixth, three places higher than a Tottenham team managed by Glenn Hoddle, who beat the Blues in a two-legged League Cup semi-final in January.

Premier League Predictions: Week 27

Whilst Liverpool will win the league this season all of the attention has turned to European places. Any of five different teams could finish 4th and there are some mouth watering games coming up at the weekend, including Chelsea v Tottenham. Below are our predictions for the games this weekend.

Chelsea v Tottenham

Chelsea lost to Manchester United in their last game here and have been defeated at home 5 times. They did beat Tottenham in the reverse fixture and Tottenham do have an injury crisis. This could be a low scoring game where we expect Jose Mourinho on his emotional return to Stamford Bridge to come out as a winner. Tottenham to beat Chelsea

Burnley v Bournemouth

Burnley have gone unbeaten for the last 4 games and are in very good form. Bournemouth are in 16th and a loss here could spell disaster. The club have lost their last 4 games in a row away from home, and we think they could halt that run. Draw

Crystal Palace v Newcastle

Palace have no wins this year and have lost their last 3 games in a row. Newcastle did lose 4-0 to Arsenal last weekend but actually played some good football. Allan Saint-Maximin looked very quick and this will be a hard game for the home side as the Magpies look to push on. Newcastle to beat Crystal Palace

Sheffield United v Brighton

Brighton have lost 8 of their 13 away games and they face an uphill struggle to get anything from this game as the Blades look to advance on 4th place as best they can. Sheffield United to beat Brighton

Southampton v Aston Villa

The Saints have recovered well in recent months but they come into this game having lost 3 of their last 4. Aston Villa looked impressive against Tottenham and could give Southampton a real game here. Jack Grealish can run the show. Draw

Leicester v Manchester City

Leicester have been terrific this season but each time they have had to play the better teams they have failed, and we can see them losing this one. It should be very entertaining. Sergio Aguero and Jamie Vardy will both have a point to prove but a win here could see City get daylight to Leicester and move 7 points clear of them. Manchester City to beat Leicester

Manchester United v Watford

United have some key players out but Bruno Fernandes looks like he can step up in midfield. Also Anthony Martial has  a new lease of confidence as the main striker after Marcus Rashford’s injury. Watford have done quite well recently but should be no match for United here. Manchester United to beat Watford

Wolves v Norwich

Wolves will be the favourites but they are struggling to win games, with just one win in their past five. Norwich in bottom who look like they will go down, have little to lose now and are just trying to enjoy their football. They could spring a surprise. Norwich to beat Wolves

Arsenal v Everton

Arsenal had an excellent second half v Newcastle and that will inject confidence in the side. Everton haven’t looked better for a good 18 months and also unlike Arsenal didn’t have to play in the Europa League in midweek. Everton don’t do well at Arsenal but we can still see them going away here with a point. Watch out for Dani Cellabalos who could pose all sorts of problems with his pace against the away side. Draw

Liverpool v West Ham

Liverpool are 22 points ahead they will win the league but the objective is remaining unbeaten too. They should win this game with ease but may have to work very hard at it as West Ham will play very defensively and try and make life hard. There is just too much quality in this Reds side though and Mohamed Salah loves playing against West Ham who could well be relegated this season. Liverpool to beat West Ham

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Chelsea 0-2 Man Utd: The Red Devils walk away with the much needed three points as the Blues’ unconvincing home form continues

Ahead of gameweek 26, the main focus was the incoming battle between Chelsea and Manchester United, two clubs who used to go neck to neck with one another for the league title back in the early years of the 21st century, but are now challenging it out with one another for a top four position.

Going into the game, the main thoughts were purely on how both teams would react following the long winter break, as neither of the sides have entered into 2020 in winning spirits and have been failing to show consistency. A win for Frank Lampard’s men would have killed United’s chances of finishing in the top four whilst extending their gap in fourth place away from both Spurs and Sheffield United, meanwhile, the three points for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team would be a huge sigh of relief for himself and the players, who have been criticised by the English press in recent weeks.

Overall, if one was to see the actual match and compare it to the end result, you would be shocked with the amount of chances that the hosts had from the first second of the game until the final whistle, as they were unable to convert their attempts on goal into the back of net. And in the end, despite the two goals that were cancelled out in the second half, they had only completed one shot on goal in the whole game, which is not good enough for a top-four side that are playing at home.

On the other hand, United showed how clinical and effective they are in the big games, where they are able produce something out of nothing and are always posing a threat through Anthony Martial and Daniel James. Surprisingly for the visitors, both their goals had actually come from headers, which has not been the usual way of scoring for them, especially with their difficulties on set-pieces.

In the end, United picked up the much needed victory, allowing them to move up to seventh place and three points behind Chelsea, who have a tough run of fixtures that are coming up which includes facing the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and Manchester City. The result at Stamford Bridge is what the Premier League supporters would have hoped for, as the race to finish in the top four will continue till the final day of the season whilst the challenge for the league title is already over.

With no further ado, here are the three things we learnt from United’s latest league game…

Bruno Fernandes went on to complete quite a performance

Completing one assist, three key passes, 31 passes at a success rate of 79.5% and 54 touches on the ball, Bruno Fernandes had put on quite the performance in the number ten role, where he was also playing more as a false nine from time to time. With how quickly he has settled into English football, the chances of him being an expensive flop is really minimal as showed his intelligence on and off the ball as well as his immaculate positional awareness in what was his second game for United.

Looking at the understanding and chemistry he has formed with the likes of Fred, Daniel James and even Anthony Martial, there is no doubt that he can play a pivotal role in helping the side to finish the season on a high, as he is starting to show that he is the one to link the side’s attack from midfield. Once the individuals in Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay return from injury, the team will have the perfect balance in midfield, which will allow Bruno Fernandes to play at his absolute best.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has his setup and tactics spot on again in a big game

For sure, there are many valid questions and pure hesitation about Solskjaer’s shocking record and performances when it comes against the so-called lower teams. However, the results against the top-six sides continue to stay strong and does speak for itself, as Ole has now done the double over Chelsea, which has actually not been done by a Manchester United manager in a really long time.

Within the back-five setup, it helped the team to be more compact in their own half, especially with Luke Shaw being effective as the third centre-back and the fact that Eric Bailly’s return was more than ever needed, someone who is seen as the side’s best defender. And on top of that, the effort put in by the wing-backs up and down the flank as well as from Fred through the middle was second to none, as they were able to stretch the Chelsea defence and cause them several problems.

VAR intervened on a few occasions with nearly all the correct calls

There has been a huge debate about whether the VAR system is actually useful or not, since the start of the footballing season up until now. Despite many decisions going against and for a club, it has to be seen as a fact, that nearly all the outcomes produced by this method have turned out to be correct. It may take a couple of minutes or so to review an event, which could unsettle the players and the supporters, but as long as the decisions are right, there should be no arguments at all.

Besides the outcome of the kickout from Harry Maguire on Michy Batshuayi, which could be analysed and reviewed in a number of ways, with no red card shown following the incident, the rest of the decisions made by the officials was spot on, including the moment where they had to cancel Kurt Zouma’s goal due to a foul in the build-up and Olivier Giroud’s goal because he was marginally offside. Although VAR is not a smooth and straightforward process at this moment of time, but it definitely will be soon or later, when the Football Association will go over how the method is used once the season comes to an end, and think of ideas on how to improve how it is implemented.

Chelsea vs Man Utd: The three key battles for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his men to look out for ahead of the Monday night fixture at Stamford Bridge

Ahead of gameweek 26, Manchester United shockingly sit in ninth-place and six points away from the top four positions, as they take on Frank Lampard’s Chelsea at the Stamford Bridge on Monday night. Given that there are only two league wins that separate both teams from one another, it does show the how competitive as well as how inconsistent the Premier League has been this campaign.

There are no doubts that both sides will be showing their energy and work rate on and off the ball along with the intention of securing the three points to help their side move a step forward to playing Champions League football next season. A top four finish for both teams would help them target the world class players in the summer window, in order for them to become title contenders.

Most importantly, this would be the perfect opportunity for the Red Devils to mark their stamp and also turn their away form around, having only won three games away from Old Trafford and have picked up just the 12 points out of a potential 36, whilst Chelsea’s record at home has been quite on and off with nine other teams having a better home record than them.

It’s time to look at the three key battles that can decide the outcome of this fixture…

Daniel James vs Cesar Azpilicueta

With Marcus Rashford on the sidelines for a couple of months along with Anthony Martial being really off form for the last month or so, the main attention and focus on the go-to-man will look to be Daniel James, who is always a handful with his incredible burst of pace and movement in the final third of the pitch. He may lack the final quality when needed the most, but there is a huge certainty that he will be the dangerman out on the flanks and mainly when he cuts through into the middle.

James will be in for a skin-tight and a difficult clash with Cesar Azpilicueta, who is now being utilised as a left-back due to the rise of youngster Reece James in the right-back position. The Spaniard is known to be one of the most complete defenders within the league, having played as a centre back, left back and right back throughout the last couple of years. Given his experience and exceptional positioning defensively, it would be no surprise to see him keeping Daniel James in his back pocket.

Tammy Abraham vs Harry Maguire

Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham is having quite the season and especially in his first full campaign as a regular starter, as he has played on loan for the likes of Aston Villa, Swansea City and Bristol City in recent years, in order for him to gain the intelligence and understanding before he plays in the top flight of English football. And now he is on double figures in league goals, notching 13 in 24 league appearances, with only six players in the Premier League that have more goals than the 22-year-old.

Abraham has the capability to play as a target man and also as a poacher, when you consider his aerial ability as well as how he is in the right place at the right time, and he will be up against none other than Harry Maguire, who is starting to be seen as Manchester United’s best centre-back. Despite his poor performances and lack of consistency towards the end of last year, he has than more than enough to turn his form around, as the side have conceded only six goals in 10 games in all competition.

Bruno Fernandes vs Jorginho

When you see the lack of options that Solskjaer has within midfield, remembering that Paul Pogba is still a few weeks away from returning and Scott McTominay has just returned to regular training, It will mean that Bruno Fernandes will have to guide the team and show in a big match that he is the real deal. After a bright display against Wolves at home, there should not be many worries for the Red Devils of if he will be a flop or can he handle the intensity and physicality of English football.

On the other hand, for Chelsea, Jorginho will be the individual to keep an eye out for, someone who dictates the play deep in his own half and is able to pull out the much needed passes to the his teammates on the flanks and through the middle. The Italian deep-lying playmaker has been proving his critics and the English media wrong since moving from Serie A to the Premier League, as he has shown the class and composure in playing as the deepest player in the midfield trio, which is not a straightforward job for a player like him who lacks the required physicality and acceleration or pace.

6 classic Chelsea vs Manchester United games from the Premier League era

Chelsea 4-0 Manchester United (October 2016)

Jose Mourinho’s return to Stamford Bridge did not go well. Ten months on from his acrimonious sacking as Chelsea boss, Mourinho took his United side to west London and was on the wrong end of a one-sided thrashing – much to the delight of the home support, who taunted the manager they had once adored.

This was a third consecutive victory for Antonio Conte’s men, who were finding their stride having recently converted to a 3-4-2-1 formation. Pedro Rodriguez opened the scoring after 30 seconds, with Gary Cahill, Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante also getting in on the act.

Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United (August 2004)

Mourinho was in the opposite dugout 12 years earlier, leading Chelsea out for his first competitive game as the club’s manager. The newly-rich Blues had spent heavily in the summer transfer market, with new signings Petr Cech, Paulo Ferreira and Didier Drogba included in Mourinho’s first Premier League XI.

Manchester United, who were forced to play Roy Keane at centre-back because of injuries, had the lion’s share of possession but were deservedly beaten by their hosts, for whom Eidur Gudjohnsen notched the winning goal.

Manchester United 3-0 Chelsea (April 1993)

Manchester United were bottom of the table after two games in the division’s inaugural season. They quickly climbed higher up the standings but were still down in third following a 0-0 draw with Arsenal, which makes their achievement of ultimately winning the league by 10 points rather impressive.

Alex Ferguson’s won each of their last seven games to storm to the summit, including a comfortable 3-0 defeat of mid-table Chelsea in April. Mark Hughes and Eric Cantona were both on the scoresheet, as was Steve Clarke, albeit at the wrong end of the field.

Chelsea 2-3 Manchester United (December 1994)

A five-goal thriller at Stamford Bridge ultimately ended in Manchester United’s favour, although it was a closer-run thing than Alex Ferguson would have hoped after goals from Mark Hughes and Eric Cantona had given them a 2-0 lead early in the second half.

Chelsea fought back admirably, though, with Eddie Newton drawing them level in the 77th minute after John Spencer had equalised from the penalty spot. Parity did not last long, however, with Brian McClair finding the net just seconds after Newton had done so at the other end.

Chelsea 5-0 Manchester United (October 1999)

In Premier League terms, the 1999/00 season was arguably Alex Ferguson’s best as Manchester United manager. The Red Devils won the title by a huge margin of 18 points, amassing 91 in total and scoring 97 goals.

Curiously, though, their three defeats that campaign were all comprehensive, none more so than a 5-0 demolition by a Chelsea side who were flying high under Gianluca Vialli in November. This was United’s first loss in 29 Premier League matches, as Gus Poyet (two), Chris Sutton, Jody Morris and a Henning Berg own goal gave the Londoners a famous win.

Manchester United 3-3 Chelsea (September 2000)

This was Claudio Ranieri’s second Premier League game as Chelsea manager following the dismissal of Vialli in mid-September. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink gave the visitors to Old Trafford the lead in the eighth minute and Tore Andre Flo struck on the stroke of half-time, but United were into the interval with a 3-2 advantage thanks to Paul Scholes, Teddy Sheringham and David Beckham.

Chelsea battled back after the break, though, with Flo grabbing his second and the Blues’ third in the 70th minute. It was Ranieri’s first point as Chelsea boss, and one of the 80 United accumulated as they went on to win another Premier League title.