Can Tuchel Break the Domination of the Red Devils?

Chelsea vs Manchester United has always been a hot and prestigious match since the Premier League era. During this period, Roman Abramovich’s ambitious project saw the Blues dominate the domestic league. Apart from United who won 13 trophies, Chelsea is the team with the most league trophies (five titles) in the Premier League era.

However, the story is a little different in the last three years. In the league, Chelsea have not won over the Red Devils since 2018. Of the six matches, the London club has drawn three and lost three of Manchester Red.

In the FA Cup, Chelsea fared better by picking up two wins in the last three years, including winning 1-3 in the FA Cup semifinals, in July 2020. If you count the matches of all competitions, the Blues meeting record is quite alarming: two wins, three draws and five defeats in the last 10 meetings against United.

The public of Stamford Bridge certainly hopes that his team will immediately end the bad record of the Manchester team. Moreover, Chelsea need three points to face tough competition in the European zone. Currently, Mason Mount and friends are still in fifth place with 43 points, two points adrift of West Ham in the top four.

Meanwhile, Manchester United have a better streak so far. The Red Devils are in second place. They are superior on goal difference over Leicester in third place. Even though they are 10 points behind the top standings (Manchester City), United have a very open chance to finish in the Champions League zone.

On Sunday, Chelsea’s new manager, Thomas Tuchel, hopes to break a bad record and disturb the comfort of the Red Devils at the top. The former Paris Saint-Germain coach has made a number of positive results since coaching the Blues. Tammy Abraham and colleagues have not lost in their last eight matches in all competitions.

In the Premier League, Tuchel won four wins and two draws in the initial six games. These results brought the Blues into the top five. In the middle of last week, Chelsea also successfully defeated the leaders of La Liga, Atletico Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League when they visited Bucharest. Cesar Azpilicueta and friends won 0-1 and did not miss a shot on target.

A factor often highlighted regarding the success of the early Tuchel regime was the solidity of defense. From eight matches, Chelsea only conceded two goals. In fact there is only one opponent who managed to break into the Chelsea goal (Takumi Minamino), another goal was an own goal from Antonio Rudiger. Throughout the history of the Blues, only Jose Mourinho has conceded a better record than the first eight games conceded, conceding just once.

The presence of Tuchel provided many opportunities for players who had been marginalized in the Lampard era. Among them are Antonio Rudiger, Andres Christensen, Marcos Alonso, and Cesar Azpilicueta. These four players play an important role in Chelsea’s solid defense which usually stays with five defenders.

Ahead of entertaining the Red Devils, this German coach also has valuable experience in the 2020/21 Champions League. In the group phase, while still managing PSG, Tuchel faced Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s foster children. They lost at the Parc des Princes before winning 1-3 at Old Trafford and locking qualification to the knockout stages.

“It helps if you know their styles, strengths and weaknesses. We have an excellent knowledge of their play style and the spaces they want to attack, as well as their strengths individually and as a group. It helps to prepare, “Tuchel said at a pre-match press conference.

The Danger of the Wingers

Reviewing Tuchel’s initial eight matches, the Blues public can be optimistic that his team can beat Manchester United. However, Bruno Fernandes and co are a dangerous team that will put a tough test on the Chelsea defense. In the 2020/21 Premier League, they are the most fertile team until Week 25 with 53 goals.

The Red Devils are also armed with a slick away record ahead of their visit to Stamford Bridge. United have never lost in their last 19 away games in the Premier League. Of the 19 matches, Solskjaer’s men won 13 victories, including a 0-2 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, February 2020.

To extend this record, Solskjaer is predicted to return to relying on the left wing at Stamford Bridge. In addition to Bruno Fernandes’ excellent performance behind the striker, the combination of Luke Shaw and Marcus Rashford was able to spread threats.

Luke Shaw rose to become a dangerous full-back in the second half of 2020/21. Since the beginning of February, the former Southampton player has provided four assists. Previously, from the start of the season until January 2021, Shaw only contributed one assist for United.

Cesar Azpilicueta and friends must watch out for Shaw’s cross ability. Of the full-backs who have diligently sent crosses in the Premier League this season (at least 15 passes), Shaw has recorded accurate second best passes. The record of 29% of successful crosses is only surpassed by Brighton right-back, Joel Veltman.

In the attacking post on the wing, Marcus Rashford’s movement also had the potential to give the Blues problems. This 23-year-old youth scored one goal and an assist when he silenced Newcastle United last week. Rashford himself has scored five goals and two assists against Chelsea throughout his career.

The combination of Shaw and Rashford will be a tough test for the right side of Chelsea’s defense. The wing-back post with the chance to be filled by Reece James or Callum Hudson-Odoi, as well as Cesar Azpilicueta at the right center-back post, must be prepared for United’s wing attacks.


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