The final game of the opening weekend of the 2019/20 Premier League season is the pick of the bunch: Manchester United versus Chelsea.
In the not-so-distant past, this was a title decider with the winner taking it all.
Now, both clubs are on the uppers. Chelsea slunk into third place last season, capitalising on late-season collapses from Tottenham and Arsenal. Manchester United are still looking to recover from the Ferguson-era with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the latest to try and manage the ‘impossible club’.
With very different transfer windows, our Manchester United vs Chelsea predictions looks ahead to a fascinating battle of two club greats who are now unproven managers. A new season, a new optimism!
But which of these two will be left flat?
Check out the Complete 2019/20 Premier League Season Preview, Predictions And Betting Tips to see what we think the future holds for both Manchester United and Chelsea.
Manchester United vs Chelsea Predictions
Two clubs who endured very different transfer windows meet in Manchester.
A maelstrom engulfed Old Trafford, focused on Paul Pogba but drew Romelu Lukaku into the eye of the storm.
A hero’s welcome in Milan soothed his tortured soul. The striker responded to criticism of his effort by publishing confidential club data about his sprinting. The speed with which he headed to the exit answered his critics better.
Pogba stayed at Old Trafford – for the moment – as did Alexis Sanchez. A flop so far, the Chilean can thrive if given the attacking freedom he enjoyed at Arsenal. If Anthony Martial or Marcus Rashford play centrally, expect Sanchez’s problems in front of goal to continue.
If United are struggling up front, defensively, they acted decisively. The impressive Aaron Wan-Bissaka arrived from Crystal Palace while Harry Maguire became the world’s most expensive defender.
The youngster is the more exciting signing of the two. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hopes Wan-Bissaka can embrace the buccaneering spirit the Stretford End expects from full-backs. Worth the money? That’s the question only time will answer.
Maguire has broad shoulders which is just as well as he must bear the burden of being the world’s most expensive defender. That underlines the premium United pay on every deal.
Can he bring stability to a fractured United defence? The loss of Ander Herrera weakens protection from midfield while none of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling or Eric Bailly covered themselves in glory during recent seasons. Solskjaer has a big decision to make; which is the pairing that will solve his problem.
These issues make the red half of our Manchester United vs Chelsea predictions tough. The Blues are rather easier, more settled given their FIFA transfer ban.
They still lost Eden Hazard to Real Madrid but his heir apparent, Christian Pulisic, arrived in January. Losing a player of Hazard’s quality is a huge blow and places huge expectations on Pulisic.
Yet the biggest beneficiary may be Tammy Abraham. Prolific in the Championship, this is his big chance at Chelsea. It may be his best chance; Olivier Giroud, inconsistent last season, is his only obstacle to first XI football.
With Pedro, Christian Pulisic and when fit, Callum Hudson-Odoi, pulling the strings, the loss of Hazard is mitigated to the point that Frank Lampard may struggle to fit all three into his one XI.
The Chelsea faithful believed Hudson-Odoi snubbing Bayern Munich was the best business of the transfer window. Then the Blues sold David Luiz. For a fee. What havoc will he wreak on the Arsenal defence?
It leaves Chelsea short with just three experienced centre-backs. But Lampard was hired to promote youth and this is the opportunity to do just that.
Manchester United vs Chelsea Head to Head
Of the previous 183 meetings, United won 78 compared to Chelsea’s 54. It’s also the 20th meeting between the two sides with United faring slightly better (W6, D8).
Old Trafford is something of a graveyard for Chelsea’s dreams with just one win in the last ten. However, they are unbeaten in five others, pointing the way that our Manchester United vs Chelsea predictions are heading.
It isn’t a fixture which promises goals either; seven of the last ten seeing under 2.5 goals.
Manchester United Team News
Maguire, Wan-Bissaka and the other new signing Daniel James are all expected to be part of United’s matchday squad.
Pogba is being monitored for a lower back injury but is expected to be fit while Alexis’ late return from international duty means he is set for a place on the bench.
Bailly, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, and Andreas Pereira all miss out.
Chelsea Team News
Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Hudson-Odoi, and Antonio Rudiger are all long-term absentees. Willian and N’golo Kante are set to return next weekend while Marco van Ginkel and Reece James expect the worst after suffering ACL injuries.
Manchester United vs Chelsea Betting Tips
Manchester United are favourites (23/20 to win) but the genuinely tempting odds are on the draw (47/20).
How Frank Lampard sets up Chelsea is the intriguing aspect of this clash. The Blues will look to hit United on the break and may pack the midfield. Our Manchester United vs Chelsea predictions centre on a low-scoring affair.