ALL eyes will be on the match at Stamford Bridge between Chelsea and Manchester United. With the title race done and dusted, the race for the top four is still very much alive and could still be decided under thrilling circumstances.
The outcome of this match will be decisive for both clubs in their pursuit of a top-four spot and with it, a ticket to the Champions League next season.
The Blues have occupied fourth spot since October so the chasing pack that includes high-flying Sheffield United, Wolves and Tottenham will be hoping for either team or both to drop points.
The pressure to preserve the fourth spot intensifies for Chelsea after only managing to collect one win from their last five league matches. Some might say they are digging their own grave.
Things are not getting any easier for Chelsea as they now have three huge matches on the trot against Man Utd, Tottenham and Bayern Munich that would go a long way in defining their season.
Despite having their transfer ban overturned, Frank Lampard’s side did not make any signings that could have boosted the squad.
It is obvious that Chelsea have struggled to break down opponents over the past few matches. They will be kicking themselves if they miss out on Champions League football next season.
In the last match against Leicester before the winter break, Frank Lampard made a huge statement by dropping first choice goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, who is also the most expensive goalkeeper in the world.
This raises questions on whether this will be a permanent change to the side which should be sorted out immediately. The last thing that the fans want is inner conflict within the squad which could affect the team moving forward.
For the past five matches, Lampard has opted for Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger as the favoured centre-back partnership. Defensively, the Blues have not been great at all and they seem to be conceding goals from all over but maybe by trusting the same defensive partnership, this can change.
One reason Man Utd fans can be optimistic about Monday’s clash is the Blues patchy home record. Lampard’s side have not made Stamford Bridge a fortress this season, having only won five, drawing three and losing four out of 12 home games.
The Red Devils’ recent results have not been bad and their latest signing Bruno Fernandes should be Chelsea’s primary concern. With so much at stake, I do not expect either of these teams to play it safe and settle for a draw.
Man Utd have beaten Chelsea twice this season 4-0 in the league and 2-1 in the Carabao Cup, but I believe Chelsea will step up and take all three points this time around. It is really hard to predict the outcome of this match because of both teams’ lack of consistency but I will go for a 2-1 win in Chelsea’s favour.