Chelsea and Manchester United have been two of the most successful clubs in the Premier League in the new millennium, but the 2015-16 season has seen them brought to their knees and humbled repeatedly, with both of them having little to no chance of winning silverware this time around.
While Chelsea have constantly hovered over the relegation zone since having their worst start to a season in this 2015-16 campaign, Manchester United have just lost 4 consecutive games that have seen them crash out of the Champions League and fall behind Crystal Palace at the number 6 spot on the EPL table.
To put this in perspective, the two clubs combined have won 11 of the 15 Premier League titles of the new millennium, the defending champions Chelsea with 4 triumphs and the Red Devils with a whopping 7. But looking at their performance this season, both teams being sent packing by newly promoted teams and minnows, one would not think that they were the two most dominant sides in the Premier League.
Manchester United have won just 8 games this season, while Chelsea have won 5. For a long period towards the end of the year Chelsea’s top scorer was ‘own goals’ and Manchester United have made the 0-0 goalless draws a trademark of their 2015-16 campaign with a goal coming like an oasis in the middle of the desert. Oh how the mighty have fallen!
Where them goals at?
Last season during Chelsea’s domination of the league, there were comparisons between Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Cristiano Ronaldo, but while the Portugese has scored 23 goals in all competitions this season, the 24-year-old Belgian has failed to hit the back of the net even once. In fact Ronaldo’s individual tally is the same as Chelsea’s total number of goals scored in the Premier League this season, which is why they are currently languishing in the 15th position in the table.
Shockingly, even though Manchester United find themselves 9 spots higher than the Blues, they have scored one less goal than Chelsea this season and can thank sordid drawn matches and closely nicked victories for their position on the table. Anthony Martial, who was being hyped as the answer to United’s goal woes, has hardly had an impact after his first couple of weeks and Rooney has been absolutely terrible up front.
Chelsea have their own misfiring superstar in Diego Costa, who was so instrumental in their title win last season, but has been known more for his actions off the pitch than for scoring goals this time around. The two clubs can boast of the likes of Hazard, Costa, Oscar, Depay, Martial and Rooney among others, but not a single player from either Chelsea or Manchester United are among the top 14 goalscorers in the Premier League so far.
Chelsea FC started off the season as defending champions under a manager who has come to define them in the Roman Abramovich era, Portugese coach Jose Mourinho. But after the 2-1 loss to league leaders Leicester City in mid-December, the Blues decided to sack the manager who had just won them the league title last year and managed to help them qualify for the Champions League knockout stage. Although, it was officially a departure by ‘mutual consent’, there is no getting round the fact that Mourinho was dispensed with rather unceremoniously.
And guess where Mourinho wants to go next… Manchester United that’s where. The Red Devils have struggled to live up to their status as one of the most entertaining clubs in football under a pragmatic and philosophical Louis van Gaal. The Dutchman has been accused of hampering creativity, putting possession play above scoring goals and not inspiring the Manchester United team towards success. With the availability of Mourinho, even more pressure has been heaped on Van Gaal, since the Portugese has made his desire to take over the reigns at Old Trafford.
The Final Showdown
When Chelsea visit Old Trafford on the 28th of December, it will be a clash of two of the giants of English football who have been brought to their knees in what has been a lackluster season for both the Blues and Manchester United.
They will look to end the year on a winning note with a victory over their rivals, although this time around it won’t be a top of the table clash, but a game between two under performers who have failed to live up to all the hype.