Manchester United v Chelsea Betting Tips, H2H Stats & Rivalry

Next Match: Sunday 11 August 2019

Manchester United v Chelsea

Manchester United and Chelsea have been two of the most successful English Clubs of the modern era. In the last twenty years alone, these two sides have shared 14 Premier League titles, 3 Champions Leagues, 9 F.A. Cups and 8 League Cups.

As a result, there have been many a season recently that have seen Manchester United and Chelsea go toe to toe for major silverware, including numerous finals.

When you add characters such as Sir Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho, Rio Ferdinand and John Terry into the mix, there tends to be plenty to keep the back pages busy when these two square up.

Next Match: Old Trafford, Premier League, 11th August 2019

Manchester United v Chelsea Betting Tips
Pitchside View of Manchester United's Old Trafford Football Stadium
Old Trafford by Abhijit Tembhekar, flickr

Manchester United and Chelsea have been two of the most successful clubs during the Premier League era. They have also been involved in many memorable scraps over the years, but things have been pretty even between the two in recent times. The next competitive Man Utd v Chelsea fixture is on the opening weekend of the 2019-20 Premier League season.

Last season, both league games have ended in draws. Back in October, the pair played out a four-goal thriller at Stamford Bridge. Two Anthony Martial goals more than cancelled out Antonio Rudiger’s opener. Ross Barkley’s injury-time strike earned Chelsea a point and sparked some unsavoury scenes in the dugout. You can see our full match report for the return fixture below.

Last Match: Old Trafford, Premier League, 28th April 2019

Manchester United 1 – 1 Chelsea
Old Trafford Football Stadium

In an even game at Old Trafford, both teams scored a goal each to draw 1-1. Former Chelsea man Juan Mata gave United an 11th minute lead, with Marcos Alonso levelling for the Blues two minutes before the break. Both sides pushed for a winner in the second period, but the draw was probably a fair result in what was by and large a game of two halves.

Man Utd needed all three points to realistically keep their top four dreams alive. However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s boys did not do enough to win it. As for the Chelsea, the point was not a bad result in their quest for a UEFA Champions League place. The Londoners are also still in the UEFA Europa League, where they play Eintracht Frankfurt in the last four.

United have certainly improved under Solskjaer, but they have ended their season in poor form. Still, the Red Devils have two winnable games left, and they must be targeting six points. Chelsea, meanwhile, are currently priced at just 4/11 to finish in the top four and they are two points clear of Arsenal and three ahead of United with a better goal difference than both.

United Failed to Build on Excellent Start

Man Utd were very quick out of the blocks in this one, with Mata opening the scoring on 11 minutes after good work by Romelu Lukaku and Luke Shaw. Unfortunately for Solskjaer’s men, they failed to build on their lead, dropping two valuable points in the end.

Before Chelsea’s leveller, United had been in control of the game, but David De Gea made another error, which cost them dearly in the end. It was a competitive matchup at Old Trafford, although Man Utd will be extremely disappointed not to have won it. They were well on top in the first period before De Gea’s blunder on the stroke of half time let the visitors back into things.

Solid Performance by the Blues

Maurizio Sarri has been heavily criticised during his first season at Stamford Bridge. However, Chelsea were decent at Old Trafford, especially after going a goal down early on. They rode their luck a little in the first half but overall deserved the valuable draw.

The Blues struggled in the first period, with United’s Lukaku dropping deep to cause problems for the Chelsea defence. However, the visitors grew into the game, even having chances to win it at the death. They were the better side in the second half and looked far more likely to nick a winner.

Red Devils in Poor Form

After drawing with Chelsea, Man Utd have now won just two of their last 10 league and cup matches. The Red Devils are out of all cup competitions, and they are now priced at 10/1 to finish in the Champions League spots. United are likely to be playing Europa League football next term and that is not what they wanted. It won’t give the fans much to cheer, whilst it will also hinder their summer recruitment and potentially hurt their league chances next term too.

Ole had an incredible start to his managerial career at Old Trafford, winning his first eight games in a row. However, the bubble has certainly burst since then. The club face a huge summer in terms of transfer dealings, as they have been well off the pace this season. They appear to need a total squad overhaul and we can expect a lot of transfers both in and out of the club in the summer.

Two Cracks at the Champions League for Chelsea

With Chelsea in a strong position to finish in the top four of the Premier League, the Blues could qualify for next term’s Champions League via the league route. Failing that, winning the Europa League will take them back into Europe’s elite club competition.

Chelsea still have an awful lot to play for this season, and the next month could decide Sarri’s future at the Bridge. The Blues boss will be under serious pressure if the club are not playing Champions League football next season, but Chelsea will fancy their chances, whilst the Europa League would be very welcome icing on the cake too.

Head to Head Stats

Date League / Cup Stadium Result
28th April 2019 Premier League Old Trafford Manchester United 1 – 1 Chelsea
18th February 2019 FA Cup Stamford Bridge Chelsea 0 – 2 Manchester United
20th October 2018 Premier League Stamford Bridge Chelsea 2 – 2 Manchester United
19th May 2018 FA Cup Wembley Stadium Chelsea 1 – 0 Manchester United
25th February 2018 Premier League Old Trafford Manchester United 1 – 0 Chelsea
5th November 2017 Premier League Stamford Bridge Chelsea 1 – 0 Manchester United
16th April 2017 Premier League Old Trafford Manchester United 2 – 0 Chelsea

Following the final clash of the 2018-2019 season between these rivals, the duo have now played five times in just over a year. United have the edge with two wins to one, with two games drawn, although Chelsea’s win did, of course, come in the 2018 FA Cup final.

The rivalry between these two has historic elements but it really ramped up during Jose Mourinho’s successful stints as Chelsea boss. His relationship with former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson was fractious at times, especially in the early years, but developed into one of mutual respect and even friendship.

UNITED HAVE THE EDGE OVERALL

When Jose was appointed as United boss the rivalry took a new twist, with a real bitterness growing between the two clubs. Looking at the head to head from a more long term perspective shows that Man United have a clear advantage over Chelsea. The pair have met more than 180 times, with United winning just over 42% of the fixtures, compared to the Blues who have triumphed just under 30% of the time with the rest being draws.

The first two meetings between the teams from opposite ends of the country took place in 1905 and 1906. This brace of dour Second Division draws gave us no clue of what rivalry lay ahead and the huge games the pair would contest.

DOMINANCE COMES AND GOES

In some regards the fact that United have the superior head to head dates back to the earlier days of this fixture. Of the first 12 games, between 1905 and 1913, the Red Devils won seven and lost just one. The 1950s and early 1960s were also remarkably kind to the Manchester club. Chelsea and Man United played 35 times from the start of the 50s until November 1966 and whilst the Blues won just nine times, their rivals claimed a huge 22 wins, including six in a row in the mid-1950s.

From this period on things were relatively even between the two, although Chelsea enjoyed a fine run of results against United starting just before Mourinho was appointed boss in 2004. From the 30th November 2003 the Pensioners lost just one game in 11, winning six of those. Typical of Mourinho, many of those clashes were low scoring affairs, with eight of the 11 going under 2.5 goals.

Perhaps unsurprisingly Chelsea’s best run against United came more or less exactly after Fergie retired from the Old Trafford hot seat. The west Londoners enjoyed their best unbeaten run against United from 31st October 2012 until 16th April 2017. Of the 12 games where United went without a single win, Chelsea won seven.

WHO WILL HAVE THE UPPER HAND NOW?

Since United beat Chelsea in a Premier League game in April 2017 things have been quite even. United have three wins, Chelsea two and there have been two draws. Who can dominate in the years to come and can the London outfit close the overall gap in the head to head?

Map of Manchester United & Chelsea Stadiums

Map of Manchester United & Chelsea Stadiums

About the Manchester United & Chelsea Rivalry

Red and Blue Boxing Gloves Clashing

Manchester United and Chelsea don’t have much of a typical reason to be considered rivals, given that the two clubs are based about one hundred and sixty-three miles from each other, as the crow flies. There’s not the geographical need for animosity in the same way as there is between Manchester United and Manchester City or Chelsea and Arsenal, then. Admittedly, plenty of football fans like to joke that most United fans are from London, but that’s more about winding United fans up than it is any sort of reality and is certainly not a basis for any kind of serious rivalry.

Of course, it’s not just geography that can be a reason for two teams to have a bitter dislike of each other. In Glasgow, the physical proximity of Rangers and Celtic is almost secondary to political, religious and social differences in the two Old Firm sides. Liverpool and Manchester City aren’t keen on each other because the two sides have stopped the other from winning trophies in the modern era. That latter reason is also a big part of what has created a rivalry between Manchester United and Chelsea, given that the two teams have been competing for the top honours in the latter stage of the Premier League era. Is that the only reason why there’s a perceived rivalry between the two, or is there more to it? Let’s find out.

Both Teams Have Enjoyed Huge Success

Football with Premier League Trophy Shadow

The main reason for there to be any sort of rivalry between Chelsea and Manchester United is that both teams have enjoyed success on the pitch. Whilst Manchester United’s success is clearly fair superior to Chelsea’s, given that they’re one of the most successful clubs in the country, it’s the fact that they’ve both lifted trophies in the modern era that sets them apart from most other sides and puts them at loggerheads with each other. After all, between when the Premier League launched in 1992 and 2018, just six different clubs saw the title end up in their trophy cabinet, with Manchester United and Chelsea being two of them.

Of the two clubs, Manchester United were the more successful even before the start of the Premier League era, having won the First Division title seven times in comparison to Chelsea’s once. Add to that seven FA Cups versus one and one each of the League Cup and European Cup versus Chelsea’s one League Cup and no European Cup and you can see why the Red Devils never really considered the Blues to be on their radar for most of the two clubs’ existences. All of that changed, however, with the 2003 arrival of Roman Abramovich and the finances that he brought with him.

The Russian billionaire bought Chelsea from Ken Bates for £140 million, immediately setting about spending more than £100 million on players in order to challenge the established order at the top of the Premier League. Given that Manchester United were very much at the top of that order, it’s no surprise that a rivalry began not long after. Claudio Ranieri failed to deliver silverware to Stamford Bridge during the first year of the new Abramovich era, resulting in the Italian being shown the exit door and Portuguese manager José Mourinho arriving in his place. Having just won the Champions League with Porto, his stock was high and he invested even more money in strengthening his squad and taking the fight to Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United.

Ferguson Needed A Rival

Sir Alex Ferguson at Champions League Press Conference

Sir Alex Ferguson by melis, bigstockphoto.com

When Alex Ferguson was appointed as Manchester United manager in 1986, he vowed that he would make it his mission to knock Liverpool ‘off their f******* perch’. He struggled to establish himself in the early years at Old Trafford, with many believing that he was likely to get the sack if the Red Devils lost in the FA Cup final replay against Crystal Palace in 1990. Instead, United won the replay 1-0 and Ferguson was given a stay of execution. It would turn out to be an inspired decision, with Ferguson going on to become one of the most successful managers ever, including leading the club to its first top-flight title since 1967 when they won the Premier League in 1993.

His desire to lead Manchester United to more success than Liverpool enjoyed proved to be the catalyst for Ferguson’s success, but it was a series of rivals from various other Premier League clubs that kept him going through his twenty-seven years of management. The first such rival was one that had been the driving force behind so much of Liverpool’s success in the 1980s, Kenny Dalglish. Having left the Merseyside club in the wake of the Hillsborough Disaster, Dalglish returned to management with Blackburn Rovers and was backed by the millions of the club’s steel baron owner Jack Walker.

The presence of his fellow Scot at Blackburn Rovers spurred Ferguson on and, having spent millions redressing the weaknesses in his squad, United won their first title in twenty-six years in 1993. They defended the title in 1994 but missed out the following year when Dalglish got the better of him and took the Premier League to Ewood Park. The success of the North Lancashire club was short-lived, but another manager was about the arrive on the scene to keep Ferguson’s competitive fire burning. Arsenal announced the unheralded arrival of Arsene Wenger as the club’s manager in 1996 at a time when the Red Devils were virtually untouchable at the top of the league.

Titles in 1996 and 1997 meant that Ferguson’s side had won four out of the first five Premier Leagues, making it all the more impressive that Arsenal were able to beat them to the punch in 1998, just two years after the Frenchman had been appointed. United responded by winning the next three league titles, only for the Gunners to win the Premier League in 2002. United won it in 2003 and then Arsenal made through the 2003-2004 campaign without losing a single game. Never had it been more apparent that Alex Ferguson was a manager who thrived when under pressure and responded well to a threat from an outside party. Just as well, because Chelsea were about to appoint someone who specialised in getting under people’s skin.

The Arrival of José Mourinho

José Mourinho arrived at Stamford Bridge as the king of Europe, having guided his Porto side to a 3-0 victory over Monaco in the Champions League final in 2004. He announced himself to be ‘The Special One’ and went about spending huge amounts of money in the transfer market in order to assemble a team that he thought would be able to do battle with Manchester United and Arsenal. Given that Chelsea had finished second to the Gunners in the previous season, it was no surprise that this expensively assembled team were able to win the Premier League title at the end of the 2004-2005 season, though it was still slightly surprising just how comprehensive their win was. They lifted the trophy having amassed ninety-five points, the most by a team since the formation of the new top-flight thirteen years before.

The tectonic plates of football had shifted and Alex Ferguson knew that he would have to do something special to prevent Mourinho from beginning a dynasty of his own at Stamford Bridge. They tried to keep up with them the following season, but Chelsea still ended up breaking the ninety point barrier at the same time that United racked up the same number of points as they’d managed the year before, eighty-three. Ferguson was determined to stop Mourinho from equalling his own record of three successive titles, something he became the first manage to achieve when United won back-to-back titles between 1999 and 2001. As a result, the two clubs battled it out for the season and the Manchester side was able to reclaim the title for the first time in four years with a six point margin.

Though Mourinho departed Chelsea after a poor start to the 2007-2008 season, the London club had been established as the side most likely to challenge Manchester United’s superiority at the top of the table. Indeed, Ferguson won another three successive titles between 2007 and 2009, only to miss out on a fourth thanks to the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti as manager at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea beat United to the title in 2010 by a single point, proving the fact that they were indeed the Manchester club’s chief rivals. That was until Manchester City finally began to see the benefit of the oil money provided to them by the 2008 takeover of the club by Sheikh Mansour, though Chelsea would go on to win the title again under Mourinho in 2015, two years after the retirement of Ferguson.

Peter Kenyon, Jon Obi Mikel and the Champions League Final

Jon Obi Mikel Playing for Chelsea
Warren Fish, Wikimedia Commons

Whilst on-the-pitch matters will always be the main reason for any serious sort of rivalry as far as supporters are concerned, there was some boardroom wrangling that would cause a disagreement between the two clubs at a higher level. Peter Kenyon was a lifelong Manchester United fan and so was in dreamland when he was appointed as the club’s Deputy Chief Executive in 1997. He became the Chief Executive when Martin Edwards departed three years later, persuading Alex Ferguson to change his mind about retiring in 2002. After the arrival of Roman Abramovich in 2003, however, Kenyon switched loyalties and moved to Stamford Bridge to take over as Chief Executive there.

When Kenyon arrived at Chelsea he made clear that his loyalties now lay in London, declaring that the club would be ‘the biggest in the world by 2016’. Though that never quite happened, it certainly riled up his former employers. If that hadn’t annoyed Alex Ferguson and the Manchester United hierarchy enough, worse was to come in 2005 when Jon Obi Mikel changed his mind about signing for the Red Devils. Despite putting his signature on the paperwork to head to Old Trafford and being seen at a press conference with a United shirt with his name and number on the back, Mikel backed out of the deal and signed for Chelsea instead. Ferguson cried corruption, United tried to explore the possibility of legal proceedings but the Nigerian ended up in the blue of Chelsea rather than the red of Manchester United.

So it was that when the two teams faced each other in the final of the Champions League in 2008 Jon Obi Mikel was sat with the Chelsea team and not Alex Ferguson’s side. In the end he was an unused substitute, despite the game going all the way to extra-time and penalties. Perhaps Avram Grant would have played him if he was given his time again, seeing as United went on to beat Chelsea on penalties in the final at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium. Regardless, it was another chapter in the ever-developing rivalry between two of the most successful sides in the Premier League era; a rivalry that was about to be given a fresh and unexpected twist.

Ferdinand v Terry

John Terry and Rio Ferdinand were considered to be two of the best English centre-backs playing football in the 2000s. The former was the captain of Chelsea, whilst the latter held the same position for Manchester United. The two were also the centre-back pairing for England in major international tournaments, which continued to be the case until accusations emerged that Terry had racially abused a Queens Park Rangers player during a Premier League match. The thing that added spice to proceedings was the player that Terry was alleged to have abused: Rio Ferdinand’s brother Anton.

Video footage captured John Terry referring to Anton Ferdinand in a derogatory manor, resulting in the Chelsea captain being placed under police investigation. In December of 2011 the Crown Prosecution Service charged him with using racist language, though he was acquitted of the charge in July of 2012. He was later banned for four games and fined £220,000 by the Football Association, having also retired from international football after declaring that his position was ‘untenable’. It made sense that he would feel that he wouldn’t be able to play for the national side again, given that irreparable damage was done to his relationship with his England centre-back partner Rio Ferdinand.

Other Incidents

Red Card Being Shown in Football Stadium

There are numerous other incidents that have occurred over the years to lead Chelsea and Manchester United to have a mutual dislike of each other, such as when Mark Clattenburg refereed a match between the two clubs in October of 2012. Chelsea’s players complained that the referee had used inappropriate language towards their players including racial slurs aimed at Jon Obi Mikel. The match, which was being played at Stamford Bridge, saw both Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres sent off, with United winning the game 3-2 thanks to an offside goal. Chelsea were further infuriated when the Football Association found that Clattenburg had done nothing wrong during the game.

Another, rather more childish, altercation occurred in 2008 when Manchester United lost 2-1 to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and went out for their warm-down after the match. Football Association rules stated that players shouldn’t use the penalty areas for any warm-down exercises, which Manchester United’s players ignored. They were told in rather brusque terms by Chelsea’s groundsman Sam Bethell that they shouldn’t be doing it and it resulted in a heated exchange between the parties. This culminated in Patrice Evra, the Manchester United defender, pushed the groundsman in the chest and hit him on the side of the head before running back to confront him again after the incident had calmed down.

Though they’re both only small incidents, it goes to show the level of animosity that has grown between the two sides in the years since the Abramovich takeover of Chelsea and the increasing success of the Londoners in relation to the Manchester-based club. It is very much a modern rivalry, given that they two sides rarely played in matches of any note against each other prior to the Russian billionaire's arrival in England.