Chelsea v Manchester United: Soccer Saturday pundits Charlie Nicholas and Phil Thompson predictions for Monday Night Football

Our Soccer Saturday pundits have their say on Chelsea v Man Utd

Soccer Saturday pundits Charlie Nicholas and Phil Thompson have their say on Monday's big game between Chelsea and Man Utd.

Chelsea v Man Utd

Charlie Nicholas

It is another intriguing match on the cards. This battle for the top four is fascinating,and the question is can Chelsea make it?

They are an awkward side at home and have had a few bad results there. Tammy Abraham had a few niggles before the winter break, while Mason Mount was left out for the Arsenal match, and these things can start to take a strain. Willian has been class but went cold for a few games, so it may have been a little turnover for them during the break so they can get back to the basics.

Manchester United will have got some of their players fit. They have been excellent when they went to Manchester City twice, but are showing no consistency. This is why people are still backing, and hoping for Mauricio Pochettino to come in. I do think Chelsea will have enough, but they will need to focus on getting their style right and doing the basics effectively.

I think Man Utd have to play on the counter-attack. Injuries to Marcus Rashford have limited their choice, but they are better when Juan Mata is in the side. He is creative and comfortable on the ball - he makes things happen. He is not quick but he makes the passes for Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard.

Fred has not been bad, but Fred and Nemanja Matic do not pass the ball well anymore and give it away easily, sometimes when they attempt to force things - but Fred has improved massively. At the back, they are still unpredictable. Aaron Wan-Bissaka is excellent for the future but he has to learn the tough way how to defend.

Luke Shaw came back in when I thought Brandon Williams could have stayed in. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would like his side to be better with the ball. Paul Pogba may be close to coming back; he is creative and could, probably should, be the spark.

But Chelsea’s midfield pass the ball, keep the ball and move it much quicker, so this is where they will edge it I feel.

If Odion Ighalo can emulate his form from when he was playing alongside Troy Deeney, it will be very impressive. He would almost have never been a Man Utd signing, but how times have changed. He has not been playing at this level for a period of time, but will Solskjaer throw him in at the deep end? They may have to.

Will Martial fancy it, or will they push him slightly left where he can get more of the ball? He looks as though he wants to be a number nine. It will take Ighalo time and I would play him in the home games, so he can build himself up.

It is a hard call as we have not seen him at this level for a while, but we could turn around and say that this was a clever move, especially with three or four teams turning down the offer to sign him. What an opportunity for him, but I think he will probably be on the bench.

Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Manchester United (Sky Bet odds: 15/2)

Dale Tempest: Back Bruno

Dale Tempest is backing Bruno Fernandes to shine during Chelsea v Man Utd

Our football insight man is going for Bruno Fernandes shots in Chelsea v Man Utd.

Phil Thompson

It is a massive one in terms of top four aspirations. Man Utd will still believe. The injuries that United have had, particularly for Marcus Rashford being so young. For him to be so young and be the go-to man for United says a lot.

It will be intriguing to see how Bruno Fernandes settles in. When you have four or five shots on target, it says something about you. He looks promising. You do not want to let him get on the ball from a Chelsea perspective.

Chelsea, with the home advantage, are favourites, and I do think they will have too much for them. I think Chelsea’s forward line will cause too many problems for the United defence. Looking at Anthony Martial, you would have Tammy Abraham all day long on a consistent basis. I would be surprised if he does not get two or more in this one.

I think Man Utd will play on the counter-attack without doubt. Until Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has more recruitment, they will struggle. Ed Woodward saying he wants to make a statement in the summer, which is fair enough. Until then, this is the way ahead for them in the big games. Going away from home against these sides, Man Utd will shape up to sit back and consolidate and hit on the break, with the pace of Martial and Daniel James.

I think Odion Ighalo may get a couple of substitute appearances. He has to, because it was an unexpected signing. For me, the signing of Ighalo sent out the message that they are just trying to get numbers in.

They backtracked in their ambitions, and overall they could have left it and looked towards the summer, rather than signing someone who eventually left a Watford side after a promising season, followed by a move to China. He may come off the bench but I do not think he will start in this one.

Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Manchester United (Sky Bet odds: 15/2)

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