Manchester United vs Chelsea: A Tactical Preview On How The Two Sides Must Approach This Fixture

A sudden uptick in form under new boss Ole Gunnar Solskjær did not last long for Manchester United as they are back to sixth in the Premier League standings. They have further jeopardised their ‘top four’ hopes following a home defeat against Manchester City. The Red Devils were also in shambles last weekend having suffered a 4-0 hammering by Everton and are set to host Chelsea now in a must-win tie at Old Trafford.

Chelsea, meanwhile, are also in some discomfort following a downfall despite enjoying a blistering start to their season. Sarri’s men are only a couple of points clear of their Sunday counterparts and might lose the advantage if they fail to secure a favourable outcome. Their form on the road is alarming, and Maurizio Sarri must motivate his men to turn things around having failed to win over United in the two previous meetings.

Both the teams are in desperate need of a result, and the game is going to be a battle of nerves between Solskjær and Sarri – two under-pressure managers who are hailed for their attacking brand of football.

Manchester United – Tactical Analysis And How They Should Approach The Game 

Manchester United had a positive start against the Citizens but lost the plot after the break as they conceded twice in quick succession. David De Gea has been disappointing of late and must meet his usual standards despite having a vulnerable backline in front of him. Ashley Young received severe criticism for his defensive frailty, but the veteran Englishman would silence them all if he manages to keep Eden Hazard under control down the flank.

Although Paul Pogba is a renowned name in world football, the gaffer must not start him in these remaining fixtures due to a lack of dedication and commitment. Nemanja Matic, though a shadow of his earlier self, should be preferred over Fred in the middle of the park against his former employers. The Serbian would look to break down Chelsea’s moves while operating from a deep-lying role allowing the likes of Andreas Pereira and Ander Herrera to stride forward and work in the advanced areas of the pitch.

A 4-3-3 should be preferred by the Norwegian, and the manager should bring back Anthony Martial in the starting XI. The Frenchman has been below par but still holds the creative spark required to make an impact in the attacking third.

Chelsea – Tactical Analysis And How They Should Approach The Game

Sarri, meanwhile, has often lined up Eden Hazard as a ‘number 9’ against the league heavyweights. This should be changed though due to the Belgian’s ability to utilise the space, dribble past the defenders and cause menace inside the box while operating from the wide areas. Gonzalo Higuain is yet to settle in the new surroundings but deserves a start against the Red Devils to convert those chances created from the flanks.

Youngster Ruben Loftus-Cheek is trying his level best to grab the opportunities, but the manager should rely on his experienced individuals like Mateo Kovacic or Ross Barkley for this decisive encounter. Both the Blues as well as United would look to take control of the midfield game, and the charismatic Italian must guide his men to cut the hosts’ supply line from the centre of the pitch. Chelsea should try to drag the opponents closer to their box and then build-up their swift counter-attacks using the space created in the holes.

A tactical battle is awaiting in the Theatre of Dreams and the side more confident, brave and determined for a victory should claim a result on Sunday afternoon.

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Pratyay Maitra

A sports enthusiast in his mid-twenties who reads, breathes, as well as dreams (mostly) about football and attempts to share his views with the fanatics by jotting it down. Prefers to learn through extensive interaction, communication and exploration. So don't be in a quandary and SHOOT.

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