The Manchester United fans are feeling nervous in the Transfer Tavern ahead of a potentially season-defining fixture against Chelsea later today.
Jose Mourinho would have had his eyes firmly set on a title-challenge when United kicked off their season at home to West Ham United back in August, but fast-forward 6 months and it’s fair to say their dreams of lifting the title are truly dead and buried with 11 fixtures left to play. The priority now will be to ensure that The Red Devils qualify for the Champions League this season via their league-position for the first time under Mourinho.
In years gone, by the United supporters would have taken a place in the top-four for granted, but the growing strength of the English top-flight has made that task a much more difficult task in years gone by. United’s clash with Chelsea today is undoubtedly one of, if not their most important clash of the season so far, as defeat would enable The Blues to draw level on points with them with only 10 fixtures left to play.
Following their well-documented public feud, Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho will have an extra incentive to record victory today, and the latter will certainly need his top goal-scorer Romelu Lukaku (valued at £76.5 million by Transfermarkt) to be firing against his former club if United are to emerge victorious today.
Chelsea looked well-organised defensively and tactically astute against Barcelona on Tuesday evening, and it’s likely they will adopt a similar strategy against United this afternoon. With that to consider, United will have to be patient when trying to create opportunities, which is why Lukaku must be clinical when they do eventually carve open Chelsea’s defence.
Lukaku has often been criticised by supporters and pundits alike for his inconsistency in-front of goal, and with chances likely to be at a premium today, it’s absolutely vital that the Belgian international takes his opportunities when they eventually arrive.