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Chelsea vs Man United: 3 key battles that will decide Premier League showdown

PREMIER LEAGUE By Mirror | February 28th 2021
Manchester United's Aaron Wan-Bissaka in action with Chelsea's Ben Chilwell [Pool via REUTERS/Oli Scarff]

Chelsea take on Manchester United on tonight in a potentially huge clash for both sides as the race for the top four hots up.

The Blues have been in inspired form since Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard, and have put themselves back in contention for a place in the Champions League qualification spots.

Tuchel faces his toughest test for far though when his side play host to United, who are on a decent run of their own.

The late afternoon kick off will be decided by a number of key battles all over the pitch.

So here are the three main individual tussles to keep an eye on ahead of the clash.

Rashford vs Azpilicueta

Manchester United are awarded a penalty after Marcus Rashford is fouled by Chelsea's Kurt Zouma [REUTERS/Phil Noble]

Marcus Rashford’s electrifying pace is sure to cause Cesar Azpilicueta a nightmare on the right side of the three centre-halves.

The versatile Spaniard has seemed revitalised under Tuchel in a new role, but his lack of speed always makes him vulnerable.

And if there’s one man you don’t want running at you, it’s probably the deadly Rashford, who doesn’t miss many once he’s in on goal.

Azpilicueta will need to have Callum Hudson-Odoi covering well to deal with Rashford and allow him to get stuck in a little deeper.

Fernandes vs Kante/Jorginho

Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes with the ball while referee Craig Pawson refers to VAR [Pool via REUTERS/Naomi Baker]

Whether it’s N’Golo Kante or Jorginho playing in the deeper role for Chelsea, they will have their hands full all game against Bruno Fernandes.

This is where the game will be won or lost, with Fernandes’ game-winning ability likely to be the catalyst for United in attack.

Jorginho, and Kante especially, are no strangers to nullifying threatening playmakers, though they will need to be on their A-game with Fernandes.

But, if the Portuguese is allowed to pull the strings like everyone knows he can, Chelsea face an uphill battle to get a result.

Abraham vs Maguire

Maguire in action with Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta [Pool via REUTERS/Oli Scarff]

If there’s one person who can cancel out the physical threat of Tammy Abraham, Harry Maguire could definitely stake a claim to be that man.

Abraham is always a threat when he has the pace of Timo Werner and the ability of Mason Mount behind him, and there’s a reason he has been so impressive under Tuchel so far.

If he manages to escape Maguire though, Victor Lindelof could be in serious trouble, not for the first time.

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