Chelsea Welcome Manchester United To London Tonight: 3 Positional Battles The Blues Must Win

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01: Frank Lampard, Manager of Chelsea looks on prior to the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Chelsea FC at American Express Community Stadium on January 01, 2020 in Brighton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

As the Premier League exits it’s first ever winter break, the race for the European places is starting to get heated up. Thirteenth place Southampton are just ten points off Chelsea in fourth, meaning that the race for the final champions league spot could get intense in the coming months (I am operating under the impression that Man City could very well get a stay on the Champions League ban before it comes into effect).

As the Premier League now returns to its regular routine, Frank Lampard’s Chelsea are set to face off against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge, in a game that could end up deciding what path the Blues’ season eventually ends up taking. While a win for Chelsea would place them in a comfortable position going into their match against closest rivals Tottenham further along the line, a Manchester United victory could put Lampard’s team in a very delicate situation.

What Went Wrong For Chelsea In The Earlier Fixtures Against Manchester United This Term?

The two European giants met first on the opening day of the season when the Red Devils barraged their way to a spectacular 4-0 drubbing at Old Trafford. The Blues’ back-line was completely found out on the counter on the night and saying that it came as a learning experience to Frank Lampard would be an understatement. The club then met once again in the league cup, where an impossible Marcus Rashford free-kick was the difference between the sides.

Here Are Three Positional Battles Lampard Must Win Against Manchester United to finally get a victory:

HULL, ENGLAND – JANUARY 25: Frank Lampard, Manager of Chelsea looks on during the FA Cup Fourth Round match between Hull City and Chelsea at KCOM Stadium on January 25, 2020 in Hull, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Right-Back

Prodigious young Englishman Reece James has been the talk around Stamford Bridge in recent weeks, owing largely to the sheer quality that he’s been adding to the final third. The youngster’s deliveries into the box from wide have been an item of beauty, and he’ll have to be at his best if the Blues have any hopes of putting one over one of their fiercest rival from the Premier League era.

Central Midfield

It wouldn’t be overstating things to say that a majority of Premier League fixtures are actually decided in midfield, and this encounter between the two English giants will be no different. Whether Chelsea can bring the likes of Jorginho and N’Golo Kante into the final third at regular intervals could decide the trend of the fixture. At the same time, the presence of Mason Mount in the advanced role could be used to reveal further crevices in the United back-line as well.

Striker

Tammy Abraham had been in considerable goalscoring form before he picked up a few unfortunate injuries over the last couple of months. Although he’s since returned to the side, the Englishman just hasn’t looked like his same clinical self in recent weeks, and will surely have a huge part to play against United tonight. The Chelsea manager is likely to deploy Abraham as the lone striker for this fixture despite the injury concern, meaning that he will have to operate up against his national team compatriot – Harry Maguire.

Nikhil has been an avid Chelsea fan for as long as the concept of time has existed and rumours say that he even bleeds blue. Having lived in the UK for 3 years, Nikhil is said to have an excellent understanding of the atmosphere surrounding the English game. His role model is the greatest manager of all time - Jose Mourinho.