Premier League Preview: Chelsea vs. Manchester United

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  • United have only won six of their last 23 games vs. Chelsea
  • Chelsea has scored 100 goals in 47 games in all comps this season
  • United have 29 points in 2015, only Arsenal has won more

Chelsea host Manchester United on Saturday at Stamford Bridge (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra) with the Red Devils red-hot as they face the Premier League leaders.

Louis van Gaal’s boys have won six on the trot but he has a major injury crisis with Michael Carrick, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind and Phil Jones all unavailable. Can they find a way to get around those injuries?

[ RELATED: How will they lineup? ]

Chelsea is without top scorer Diego Costa but Jose Mourinho is a relaxed man and the Blues haven’t lost at home in the PL all season, the only team with an unbeaten record in their own house.

[ VIDEO: Top 5 memorable games ]

All eyes will be on Loic Remy for the home side as the Frenchman is struggling to recover from injury to step in for Costa, but Didier Drogba is also waiting in the wings. These two giants of English soccer have churned out some memorable matches in years gone by. Let’s hope Saturday is another cracking game as United aim to move up to second with a win and keep their slim chances of winning the league this season alive.

What they’re saying

Van Gaal on United’s injury issues: “Carrick is injured, he cannot play,” van Gaal told MUTV. “But not only Michael Carrick – Daley Blind, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo cannot play. It cannot be worse because it’s two players in the left central defensive positions, and Jonny Evans is still suspended. Daley Blind and Michael Carrick play in the holding position in midfield, so I have to change my line-up a lot against Chelsea.”

Mourinho on United having plenty of depth to deal with injuries: “I disagree because their squad is amazing, in numbers, players, experience, solutions. Their squad is amazing. Every week I have on the big screen in my office not the team I’m going to play against, but the squad and all the options. This week, when I arrived in the room, for the first time in the week, I realized what they have. It’s amazing.”

Prediction

This is very close to call. Chelsea haven’t lost at home all season. United are on a six-game winning streak but are missing key defensive players. Mourinho vs. LVG. Rooney vs. Hazard. So many great storylines but I am going for red-hot United to grab a massive win and let Chelsea know they are back in business and will push them all the way for the PL crown next season. 2-1 to United.

Goalkeeper goal seals knockout stage spot in UEFA Youth League

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Club Brugge goalkeeper Senne Lammens may just be 17 years old, but he just lived every goalkeeper’s dream: to score a dramatic equalizer in the dying seconds of a game to send the club through to a European competition’s knockout stage.

The young goalkeeper came forward on a corner in the 94th minute of a game against Real Madrid in the UEFA Youth League Wednesday morning in Belgium. With the visitors leading 2-1 and added time just about expired, Brugge needed to score an equalizer to secure passage to the knockout stage, lest they be left at the mercy of Galatasaray’s match against PSG.

Lammens delivered. The corner swung in to the top of the six-yard box and the youngster was on hand to head home a pinpoint effort inside the far post.

The header was quite literally the last act of the game, with stoppage time already creeping more than 60 seconds past the minimum three added minutes.

Lammens has shuttled back and forth between the youth squad and the senior squad this season serving occasionally as an emergency third goalkeeper behind Simon Mignolet and Ethan Horvath. Mostly, though, he’s been with the youth squad appearing in five of their six UEFA Youth League games, with three wins and a draw.

Report: Arsenal not interested in Ancelotti “profile”

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According to The Athletic reporter David Ornstein, Arsenal is not interested in a manager of Carlo Ancelotti’s “profile.”

The Italian was recently let go by Napoli after a disappointing first half of the season despite qualifying for the Champions League knockout stage.

Ancelotti has won a Premier League title, three Champions League titles, and a Scudetto during his career but apparently a manager with his resume does not interest the Gunners, who may be looking for a more youthful boss with a longer-term strategy and potentially stronger club or domestic ties.

At 60 years old, Ancelotti has been fired from posts at Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and now Napoli over the last four years. Over those four seasons, he has just one league title, the 2016/17 Bundesliga crown he won with Bayern in runaway fashion, and has exceeded expectations in very limited capacities, instead seeing things turn sour at each job relatively quickly. This season at Napoli, the club sits seventh in the Serie A table, mired in a horrible seven-match winless run that has seen them tumble further from the Champions League places.

Ornstein’s report also touched on the timeline of a potential hire, with the club apparently still deciding on whether to see out the season with interim manager Freddie Ljungberg or make a mid-season appointment. He states that the club “want situation settled asap” but also prefer “right man over quick decision.” He does not identify who the number one target is, but suggests that if that person is available at this point in time, they will make the hire mid-season, otherwise there will be a waiting game.

Jorge Sampaoli resigns as Santos boss

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Brazilian club Santos confirmed Tuesday evening that manager Jorge Sampaoli has resigned as boss.

Sampaoli, who won the 2015 Copa America in charge of Chile but could not recreate that success with the Argentinian national team, signed on with Santos a year ago and guided them to a second-place finish in the Brazilian top flight, 16 points behind runaway champions Flamengo. His contract had another year, expiring in the winter of 2020, but with reports of offers from multiple clubs, he has stepped down.

The most widely reported destination is fellow Brazilian club Palmeiras, whom many believe Sampaoli has already entered talks with. He has also been linked with Argentinian club Racing, and his name has cropped up on occasion with the Arsenal vacancy, although that seems like a longshot. It was said in late October that Sampaoli had an offer from an unnamed La Liga club, but those rumors have cooled.

His reason for leaving Santos after just one successful season in charge is unconfirmed, but rumors are circulating that Sampaoli had incredibly ambitious transfer plans for the offseason, and when club president Jose Carlos Peres could not guarantee his support, the relationship became strained.

The 2019 season was mostly successful for Sampaoli at Santos, finishing second in the league table, but the secondary competitions were somewhat disappointing. They received a tough first-round draw in the Copa Sudamericana, falling to River Plate on away goals. They were also ousted from the Copa do Brasil in the Round of 16, falling 2-1 to an Atletico Minero side that finished 13th in the league table.

Tierney out months as Arsenal injuries pile up

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According to multiple reports, including Mark Mann-Bryans of PA Sport and Charles Watts of Goal.com, Arsenal full-back Kieran Tierney could be out up to three months after dislocating his shoulder in the 3-1 win over West Ham on Monday.

Tierney was withdrawn in the 29th minute after an awkward fall, using the bottom of his shirt as a makeshift sling. The club is still deciding on whether he will require surgery, according to Mann-Bryans, and that decision will ultimately determine the length of time he will miss. Still, even without surgery, it could leave him sidelined for a month or more.

The 22-year-old has struggled with injuries since joining the Gunners this past summer, missing the first seven games of the year with a hip injury. He has seen action in just five Premier League games thus far, and again could be sidelined for a significant spell. He could also end up missing Scotland’s critical playoff match against Israel in late March depending on his recovery timeline and fitness level.

Tierney’s injury is not the only one Arsenal is currently sweating. Granit Xhaka will miss the Europa League group stage finale against Standard Liege with a concussion, while Hector Bellerin is struggling with a hamstring problem. “Hector had a feeling in his hamstring during the warm-up [before West Ham] and we took the decision,” said interim manager Freddie Ljungberg after the win over the Hammers. “Not going to force anyone to play if they don’t feel 100%.”

Dani Ceballos is still sidelined with a hamstring injury suffered against Vitoria in October Europa League play and won’t return to training until later this month, while Rob Holding is a question mark this week after missing the West Ham game thanks to a bruised knee.

Arsenal, currently sitting ninth in the Premier League table and is scheduled to host Manchester City this coming Sunday following the trip to Belgium. They have upcoming games against Everton, Bournemouth, Chelsea, and Manchester United through the festive period.