Manchester United and Chelsea clash in a highly-anticipated Premier League game on Sunday, with the winners set to take a step closer to securing Champions League for the next season.
United have been on a very poor run of form of late, and the initial rejuvenation that greeted Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's appointment has all but faded by now. For the Old Trafford faithful, this season was supposed to be a season of progress after finishing second in the table last year under Jose Mourinho, but this season went off rails in the first few months itself when reports of rifts between Mourinho and his players began doing the rounds. Solskjaer's appointment brought about United's renewal, with a team looking destined to finish outside the top four clawing their way back into the competition, but seven defeats in their last nine games mean that United now have no margin for error.
For Maurizio Sarri, however, the fate of his team lies in their hands. If they manage to win the last three games starting with United on Sunday, Chelsea are guaranteed a top-four finish, but with Arsenal breathing down their necks, a loss would not only dent their chances of finishing in the top four but it would most likely give United the upper hand.
Manchester United finishing in the top four is their only means to attract top talent during the summer, and unless they can finish the season on a real high, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer's men could face another season playing in Europe's second-tier club competition -- the Europa League.
David de Gea, one of United's stalwarts during a patchy last few seasons, has struggled in games this season, but Solskjaer expressed confidence in his keeper's ability to overcome the dip in form, according to BBC.
"I trust David. He's, for me, been the best player United have had for the last six, seven years."In the pre-match conference, Chelsea boss Sarri seemed to suggest that his team will take a draw at Old Trafford, although he reminded that his team will look to win the game.
"He's been absolutely outstanding. Going through tough patches is just part of a footballer's career. David will be fine, no worries."
"It's a very important match. We will try to win of course, but we need not to lose. We have to play against opponents with a very high level of motivation after the Manchester derby. They have a chance of the top four. Of course they need to win all the last three matches. But we need to gain points too. We need to fight and try in every way."Manchester United vs. Chelsea kicks off at Old Trafford at 4:30 p.m. BST (11:30 a.m. ET and 9:00 p.m. IST). In the United Kingdom, the match will be the Sky Sports Main Event, with the live streaming option available on Sky Go. Fans in the United States can catch the game live on NBCSN, with the live streaming available on NBC Sports Extra app. For fans in the Indian subcontinent, Manchester United vs. Chelsea will be telecast on Star Sports Select HD2, with the live streaming option being available on Hotstar.
These are all subscription-based services to catch the game online. Other options include catching the game on FuboTV, a streaming channel which provides a free trial for seven days. FirstRow also provides options to watch the Manchester United vs. Chelsea game, but the quality of the links cannot be verified.