With Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag’s back against the wall, any decision that comes from Chelsea’s Premier League rivals could have implications of their season ahead

There are many, many ways Chelsea and Manchester United have been connected over the past 25 years. The 2008 Champions League final, the 2005/06 title race being sealed at Stamford Bridge with a dominant 3-0 win, Jose Mourinho’s dramatic exits from both clubs.

After both clubs enjoyed periods of dominance over English football, they’re now both in a rebuilding phase – projects that are seeing varied results over the past 18 months. On one hand, you have last season where Chelsea sacked two managers, bought in two more temporaries to try and solve the situation, spent over a billion pounds in transfers and still ended up with a 12th-place finish – the second-worst for the club in Premier League history.

On the other, you have United where despite constant calls and protests for the Glazer family to be ushered out of the club, despite scapegoats like Harry Maguire being lambasted for performances outside of his control, they still ended the season with a Carabao Cup and a runners-up medal in the F.A Cup, not to mention Champions League football – all in their first season under Erik ten Hag.

But over the summer, the pair seem to have swapped parts in a dramatic shift. Yes, Chelsea aren’t yet vying for a top four finish but the groundworks are being laid by manager Mauricio Pochettino in his combined efforts with Todd Boehly. Over at Old Trafford, something is going horribly, horribly wrong.

The 3-0 defeat to Newcastle United in midweek would’ve come as no surprise to anyone given the state of the dressing room Ten Hag is currently presiding over. Magpies boss Eddie Howe admitted that he made attacking substitutions at 3-0 because he wanted those on the bench to get a run around; to use it as a training session.

Mounting losses to Bayern Munich and Galatasaray on the European stage has seen them laughed out of ‘The Theatre of Dreams’ and it’s all leading up to a possible winter of discontent. With five of their next six matches are away from home, and a dire record of 10 wins in 23 domestically under Ten Hag, to say things are looking troubling would be an understatement.

With all of that has come the rumours of the Dutchman’s imminent sacking. With reports about the dressing room not trusting the manager, to Ten Hag’s own ‘responsibility’ claims he continues to peddle in press conferences and pitchside interviews after losses, it’s strange to see a manager so widely praised after the turnaround last season now being apparently hung out to dry.

Ten Hag hasn’t looked like a manager whose job is at risk over the past few weeks but with the losses begin to stack, there’s whispers that the board at United could pull the trigger. If that does happen, football.london has three ways the change in the dugout at Old Trafford could affect the Blues.

No Jadon Sancho move

One of the biggest situations still festering in United’s dressing room is the Jadon Sancho debacle. The Blues have been linked with the England international from even before he arrived at United, but given his recent exile from the first team, he’s a target they could go after in the January transfer window.

After the star was left out of the squad against Arsenal for his ‘poor performances in training’, he blasted Ten Hag on social media, claiming the truth was not being told. Since then, Sancho has failed to play a single minute for the senior team, and has effectively been ousted by Ten Hag.

It’s believed the 23-year-old is refusing to apologise for his conduct even after his teammates reportedly pleaded with him in the dressing room. However, if the managerial situation was to change, it could prove a new avenue for the star to reignite his career at Old Trafford without the bad blood between him and Ten Hag to step in the way, and would therefore mean the Blues would be an unlikely destination for the star in the winter.

New manager bounce

Whether it’s a placebo effect, a myth, fact or fiction, the conversations about a ‘new manager bounce’ will almost certainly never cease. Even if it proves to be a short one, with the Blues coming up against United on December 6, the fixture could fall right when the United board either bring someone experienced in or make the move first.

If Ten Hag was to be sacked within the next week or so, it leaves about a month or so (including an international break) for the higher-ups to find a replacement. It’d potentially mean another tough fixture added to Chelsea’s brutal run they’re currently in the midst of, with the likes of Brighton, Manchester City and Newcastle twice all within a month.

More top four difficulty

United’s current trend will see them continue to drop down the table – much to Chelsea’s advantage. So far this season, the Blues should be in fifth if we go off the ‘Expected Points’ (xP) table – six places higher than their current position, with Pochettino’s football clearly having an effect on the side having beaten nine of their 10 opponents for xG this term.

However, it’s the opposite for United. The table shows how fortunate Ten Hag’s men have been to currently sit in eighth as they fall to 11th in the xP table, having lost six of their 10 matches on xG. A different manager could instantly turn that fortune around – different systems will no doubt lead to different results which for a club in their position is a definite positive as it stands.

It’d mean another club vying for the limited places in the Champions League next season, with the Blues hoping to see as little competition on their way up the Premier League table towards the qualification spots.

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *