By Neil Leverett

  • With just three games remaining of the 2018/19 campaign, Manchester United entertain Chelsea in game of the week
  • Clash sees vital match in top four battle, with the Red Devils desperate to make an impression after seven losses in nine games
  • Leicester City and Arsenal face off at the King Power Stadium, with the Gunners also looking to hold onto the top four
PREMIER LEAGUE, UK – With just three games remaining of the season, Manchester United and Chelsea meet at Old Trafford in Gameweek 36’s game of the week.


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Game of the Week: Manchester United vs Chelsea (Sunday, 16:30)

As two of the oldest Premier League rivals meet at Old Trafford this week, the battle is not for league honour themselves, but to simply finish in the top four and compete in European football’s top table. Both side’s tale of the tape this season has been of the roller-coaster nature, with managerial departures apiece, hugely inconsistent form and rumours abounding of many an unsettled player within their respective ranks.
For the hosts, the Ole Gunner Solskjaer honeymoon period is well and truly a thing of the past, indeed since signing on as the Red Devils’ permanent manager, United’s fortunes have dwindled rapidly, with seven losses in their last nine games across the board. The United flux that was injected after the departure of Jose Mourinho has dissipated, leaving man a fan and indeed former player increasingly vocal of their club’s shortcomings that have been greatly exposed in recent weeks.
The need for a response is vital for the hosts here, but as Roy Keane was all too happy to point out on television in midweek, United’s players appear to have downed tools already and are showing little fight for the club. One of said player is Paul Pogba, who after returning to his very best during the opening games of the Solskjaer reign has now again assumed the role of a player whose eyes have seemingly moved away from a future in Manchester – which raises questions over the United boss’ ability to motivate and manage his players, despite legendary club status.
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Chelsea have endured a similarly turbulent season, but with a Europa League semi final against Eintracht Frankfurt to come later next week, the Blues term could still end with silverware under Maurizio Sarri. Such has been their inconsistent season, their last three games however read, win, loss and last Monday night’s 2-2 draw against a battling Burnley at Stamford Bridge.

With Thursday night in mind against the German side, there could be a deal of rotation here but such is the nature of this rivalry that is perhaps unlikely. Whatever the case, with Chelsea sitting in fourth anything less than a win could jeopardise a top four finish. Likewise, this is surely the last chance for United to remain in that picture, with the hosts three points behind Sunday’s opponents.

United are desperate need of a performance to appease their again-wavering fans, but Chelsea are a side unlikely to provide much comfort. As it is with the Blues European date in less than a week’s time and with the men in red showing little sign of cutting short their current rut in form – as witnessed against the their City neighbours – a score draw is likely on the cards.

Prediction: Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea


One to Watch: Leicester City vs Arsenal (Sunday, 12:00)

Our one to watch this weekend takes us to the east Midlands, as the Foxes hosts an Arsenal side arriving on the back of successive league defeats, which have taken the gloss off what has been a very good first season for Unai Emery in the Gunners dugout. Brendan Rodgers early weeks in charge of Leicester have been mixed but what is not in doubt is the impact his arrival has had on Jamie Vardy.

In the time since the former Liverpool boss has been at the King Power, Vardy has netted eight league goals in as many games, and looks as hungry as ever under the northern Irishman. There is still a dose of the transitional however at the club, with defence still a rather thorny issue.

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Cue the arrival of Arsenal, who continue to show little sign of any defensive consistency especially on the road. After conceding three at home to Crystal Palace in Gameweek 35, a trip to Molineux against a Wolves side who many – falsely – accused of being on the beach, saw Emery’s men fall to a decisive 3-1 loss, which has plunged the visitors top four hopes into real doubt.

Like Chelsea however, the Gunners may now be more concerned with the visit of Valencia next week, knowing they are potentially 180 minutes from a first major European final since their UEFA Champions League loss to Barcelona in 2006. Not only that, but lifting the trophy would indeed guarantee a return to the Champions League regardless of league position come May 12.

As documented, both sides continue to suffer malaise in defence which should result is a cracking spectacle for the neutral. In six of the last eight meetings between these two sides at least three goals have been scored and this should be no different. Arsenal’s away day problems are no secret in the Premier League, but if they retain much of the possession as they should do here they should still create a plethora of problems for the Foxes. Goals will surely be the order of the day, but neither side may do enough for the win.

Prediction: Leicester City 2-2 Arsenal

Premier League Game of the Week sees Manchester United host Chelsea at Old Trafford

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