Manchester United have not scored an English Premier League goal since January 11, covering 294 minutes of play, including their nil-nil draw against Wolves two weeks ago. But the struggling 20-time top-flight champions will need to score, in all likelihood, multiple goals against Chelsea FC on Monday if they plan on salvaging something of what is looking increasingly like a lost 2019-2020 season.
Chelsea have tallied 43 goals so far this season, good enough for fourth in the Premier League and tied with Tottenham Hotspur, who are suddenly banging on the door of the top four after a dramatic, stoppage time win over Aston Villa on Sunday. It was Spurs' third consecutive league victory. Tottenham sit only one point behind Chelsea on the table heading into the Monday night game.
Of course, the dramatic news out of UEFA headquarters on Friday has drastically changed the stakes for both Chelsea and Spurs, according to The Evening Standard. The European governing body handed down a two-year European competition ban on Manchester City — currently the second-place side in the Premier League — for alleged violations of UEFA's financial "fair play" rules.
Manchester City is appealing the UEFA decision, which it termed "prejudicial." Unless that appeal is decided in City's favor, both the fourth-place and fifth-place teams would qualify for UEFA Champions League play. In other words, both Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur would qualify, as the situation now stands.
A preview of Monday's Chelsea FC vs. Manchester United match can be viewed in the video below, courtesy of ESPN FC.United can also put themselves in position to contest for Champions League qualification if they can pull off the upset at Stamford Bridge on Monday. A win would move them within three points of Chelsea, and only two points shy of Spurs in the fifth and — at least for now — final qualifying spot.
Manchester United have already defeated Chelsea at the Bridge once this season, eliminating the Blues from the League Cup 2-1, on October 30. In fact, United have won three times and remain unbeaten in their last five meetings with Chelsea.
Nonetheless, they enter the Monday contest as significant betting underdogs, at decimal odds of 4.25, compared to 1.87 for heavy favorites Chelsea, according to odds published by Goal, and provided by BetKing.
American star Christian Pulisic will be missing from the Chelsea squad on Monday, according to Bleacher Report. The U.S. international star has missed six games in a row since suffering a muscle injury earlier in the year.
The Chelsea FC vs. Manchester United Monday night match gets underway at 8 p.m. GMT at Stamford Bridge in London. In the U.S., kickoff is set for 3 p.m. ET, noon PT, on the NBC Sports Network.