Although Chelsea’s recent run of seven games without a win over Manchester United in the Premier League might cause some trepidation ahead of Sunday’s clash, there are several reasons to feel confident.
Firstly is the different feeling of both clubs right now. Chelsea feel a strong collective unit currently under Thomas Tuchel, playing some of their best football in years.
Whilst Manchester United sit 12 points behind Tuchel’s rampant Blues, struggling for form and confidence waiting for Ralf Rangnick’s arrival to kickstart their campaign.
And one area that has remained a source of goals for Chelsea could continue to expose a Man United weakness.
It was back in October when Thomas Tuchel credited one of his unsung heroes in coach Anthony Barry for the number of goals coming from set-pieces so far.
“It’s a good sign when Andreas [Christensen] starts to score – I think our set-piece coach, Anthony Barry, can be very, very proud. It’s important to score in situations like this and have lots of people to score,” Tuchel said.
Those quotes came in the matchday programme of the Carabao Cup clash against Southampton, a week after Christensen had netted his first Chelsea goal against Malmo in the Champions League win.
On that night in the League Cup, Kai Havertz would head in a Hakim Ziyech corner, adding another goal to the tally racking up.
Since then Chelsea have added two more, one in each of the previous two games. Both from corners, and both opening the scoring.
Antonio Rudiger heading in away at Leicester and Trevoh Chalobah rifling in a loose ball at home to Juventus.
That tally of goals from set-pieces has increased to 12 before the arrival of Manchester United who appointed a specific set-piece coach in Eric Ramsay over the summer, but United have still appeared fragile when asked to defend corners.
Conceding three goals from set-pieces in the league so far with only four teams conceding more.
Interim coach Michael Carrick will also travel to London without some key defensive options.
Captain Harry Maguire is suspended after receiving a second yellow card away to Watford last weekend, summer signing Raphael Varane is still out with a hamstring injury picked up earlier this month. Whilst left-back Luke Shaw is a doubt with concussion.
With 16 goals coming from Chelsea’s defenders so far this term, six coming from set-pieces, Tuchel will aim to use his unique attacking strength to greatly exploit one of United’s glaring weaknesses.
Also in a game that is expected to be cagey, with Carrick potentially setting United up in a low-block aiming to frustrate the Premier League leaders, corners may turn out to be a defining factor in deciding the result.
Follow our CareFreeChelsea writer Daniel Childs on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section. If you enjoyed reading this then give my other articles a read below.
Source by Football London