Hello and welcome to Sports Mole
's live text coverage of the Premier League meeting between Chelsea
and Manchester United
at Stamford Bridge.
United beat Chelsea 4-0 in the reverse fixture on the opening weekend of the season and also picked up a 2-1 win here in the EFL Cup last 16 three months ago, but they are six points behind their opponents heading into this latest tussle.
CHELSEA TEAM NEWS!
STARTING XI: Caballero; James, Christensen, Rudiger, Azpilicueta; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic; Pedro, Batshuayi, Willian
SUBS: Kepa, Tomori, Zouma, Alonso, Barkley, Mount, Giroud
MANCHESTER UNITED TEAM NEWS!
STARTING XI: De Gea; Bailly, Maguire, Shaw; Wan Bissaka, Matic, Fred, Bruno, Williams; James, Martial
SUBS: Romero, Jones, Dalot, Mata, Pereira, Ighalo, Greenwood
Tammy Abraham misses out through injury so Batshuayi has a rare chance to impress for Chelsea up top. That is one of two changes from their 2-2 draw with Leicester City 16 days ago, with Willian also coming in for the absent Callum Hudson-Odoi.
New signing Ighalo is among United's subs having trained away from his new teammates for the vast majority of the winter break. Bailly comes in for a first appearance since April 2019 in place of the ill Victor Lindelof, while Nemanja Matic is given the nod in an injury-hit central midfield.
KICKOFF: Man United get us up and running at Stamford Bridge. This is a huge night in the battle for a top-four finish, though even finishing fifth may be enough for Champions League football next season in the wake of Manchester City's suspension.
Bailly sloppily gives away possession but Chelsea's attack fizzles out. The game has started off in a high tempo, which is a great sign for the neutral.
Lampard's decision to stick with Caballero, rather than bringing Kepa back in from the cold, was a big call. Caballero has yet to have anything to do, while De Gea has also been a spectator in the early stages.
SHOT! Williams is slow getting out to James and the Chelsea full-back is able to work the ball onto his right foot. His shoot ends just wide of the goal, with De Gea at full stretch.
Chelsea initially defend United's corner but the ball comes back into the middle. Maguire nods it down but nobody in red can get on the end of it. The game has been very open in the first eight minutes.
CLOSE! Williams is being given a tough time of things down United's left. Willian uses the run of James as a decoy and cuts inside before unleashing a decent attempt. The ball keeps rising and ends high of the target.
CHELSEA SUB! An early blow for Chelsea as defensive midfielder Kante goes down off the ball and is unable to play on. The Blues are down to 10 men for a minute or so before Mount is finally ready to come on.
Fred's shot deflects behind for a corner, which is flicked on by a Chelsea player. Williams gets on the end of the loose ball but rather scuffs his shot into a sea of bodies.
This is the 11th time in top-flight history that Chelsea and Manchester United are meeting on a Monday. The Blues have won none of the previous 10 (D4 L6) with the last such game finishing 0-0 in December 2015.
James bends in a dangerous cross from the left which goes straight through without a touch. Chelsea have seen a lot more of the ball than United, but the visitors are looking just as dangerous when they get bodies forward.
Wan-Bissaka has looked a little off the pace over the last five minutes. Pedro takes the ball off him and gets in behind, but Shaw does well to bail out his teammate by getting to the cross first.
Kovacic is caught in possession by Fred. The Chelsea midfielder temporarily wins it back, but United's press pays off and they mount an attack that ultimately comes to little. Both teams have been pretty sloppy on the ball today.
Both teams are struggling when it comes to the final ball. United are now up to 59% in terms of possession but have yet to manage a serious attempt, with Martial's effort from 16 yards blocked by a Chelsea defender.
Batshuayi shoves Maguire off the ball. The United defender lifts his boot into the air and catches Batshuayi in the groin area - to put it kindly - but he avoids any punishment.
A dangerous Chelsea attack culminates in Willian pulling the ball back for Batshuayi around five yards from goal. The pass is poor, though, and Batshuayi is unable to do anything with it.
It has not been a classic so far at Stamford Bridge. We are still awaiting the first chance, and indeed the first serious attempt on target. The closest either side has come is through Willian's off-target curler early on.
CHANCE! Mount pulls the ball back to Batshuayi near the penalty spot but the Belgian striker gets his effort all wrong, miscuing the shot off target. That is by far the best chance either side has created in the opening 28 minutes.
Fred's corner is headed clear at the front post. The Brazilian has another go at it but Chelsea again deal with the danger.
Replays of that Maguire 'stamp' on Batshuayi a little earlier do not look great on the United defender's behalf. I would say he is a tad fortunate it did not go to a VAR review.
United get the ball forward quickly and Williams tries to find the run of James, but Kovacic gets to it first. The Red Devils do at least have a corner, though they fail to do much with it.
This latest Chelsea corner is headed clear by Maguire. The defences are coming out on top at both ends so far. United are getting players behind the ball in the hope of springing a counter-attack.
YELLOW CARD! Referee Anthony Taylor cautions Willian for diving. The Brazilian forward appeared to be sent crashing to the floor just outside the box by Fernandes, but the referee disagrees.
Martial and Fernandes exchange passes and the former fires wide from an angle. That is pretty much as good an opening United have created so far, as Shaw blasts over from this latest attack.
STAT! Willian's booking was Chelsea's third for diving in this season's Premier League - no side has had more (level with Man Utd). The Brazilian will argue that Fernandes made contact on him.
This game is crying out for something to happen to properly spark it into life. The teams are continuing to cancel each other out as we fast approach half time. Will either side find a breakthrough in the next few minutes?
Christensen has taken a whack to the face and needs to leave the field to clear up his bloodied nose. After 30 seconds or so of treatment on the sidelines, the centre-back is allowed back on.
GOAL! CHELSEA 0-1 MANCHESTER UNITED (ANTHONY MARTIAL)
From pretty much out of nowhere, Martial has given United the lead on the brink of half time. Wan-Bissaka twisted and turned down the right and sent in a delightful cross for Martial, who got in front of Christensen - perhaps still groggy from the blow to the face - and nodded inside the far post.
That Martial goal has silenced Stamford Bridge, the away section aside. The opening goal of the game came from the first shot on target of the game.
Batshuayi exchanges passes with Pedro and drags his shot horribly wide of the target. The home fans let out a collective groan - that should be that in terms of the first-half action.
HALF TIME: CHELSEA 0-1 MANCHESTER UNITED
Manchester United take a 1-0 lead into half time thanks to Anthony Martial
's header just before the interval.
Wan-Bissaka sent in a good cross from the right and Martial got in front of Christensen to head in from the game's first on-target attempt.
Batshuayi missed Chelsea's best opportunity when side-footing wide from 12 yards.
CHELSEA SUBS: Kepa, Tomori, Zouma, Alonso, Barkley, Giroud
MANCHESTER UNITED SUBS: Romero, Jones, Dalot, Mata, Pereira, Ighalo, Greenwood
Chelsea boss Lampard may well be tempted to turn to his bench at the interval.
Giroud will be wondering exactly what he has to do to get some minutes on the back of his side's first-half display, while Barkley is another is currently out of the picture.
As for United, who were lucky not to have Maguire dismissed in the first half, they have Greenwood, Mata and Ighalo among their attacking options should Solskjaer wish to gamble.
STAT! Anthony Martial is only the third Manchester United player to score home and away Premier League goals against Chelsea in the same season, after Wayne Rooney in 2011-12 and Eric Cantona in 1992-93.
Chelsea get us back up and running at Stamford Bridge! There is news of a half-time change to bring you - Zouma is on for Christensen, who may have suffered a possible concussion in the moments leading up to Martial's opener.
YELLOW CARD! The atmosphere around Stamford Bridge is very subdued at the moment. Chelsea need to get some momentum into their attacks to get their supporters back on their side. Rudiger is cautioned for stepping into Fernandes' path - he knew exactly what he was doing.
It has been a familiar story for Chelsea in the first five minutes of the second half. Willian gets into a promising position on the right but overhits a cross right the way through the box. Solskjaer will happily take another 40 minutes of this.
There has still be just the one effort on target this evening - Martial's header for the opening goal. Chelsea are bossing possession at the moment, but that is mainly because United are allowing them to do so. Lampard must surely be tempted to chuck on Giroud.
James' cross causes panic in the United box. It drops to Mount and his powerful drive crashes back off the post. However, the referee had already blown for handball against Batshuayi in the build-up.
GOAL! CHELSEA 1-1 MANCHESTER UNITED (KURT ZOUMA)
CHELSEA GOAL DISALLOWED BY VAR! Chelsea thought they had levelled up through Zouma's volley from a corner, but Azpilicueta pushed Williams at the front post and the video technology rules it out.
There is no doubt that Azpilicueta pushed Williams, but Chelsea's argument is that Fred also pushed Azpilicueta beforehand. They may have had a goal ruled out, but Chelsea have been steadily building momentum and have plenty of time to find a couple of goals.
YELLOW CARD! Zouma lunges into Martial near the touchline and that leads to both sets of players coming together. At the end of it all, Fred is booked for something he said or did to Azpilicueta.
YELLOW CARD! Zouma is also shown a yellow card for the initial challenge on Martial that sparked the mini melee. This game is threatening to boil over now.
United were given a warning of sorts with that disallowed Zouma goal. Solskjaer may well be tempted to bring on another midfielder because his side are ceding a little too much control of the game now.
OFF THE POST! Pedro grabs hold of Fred and throws him to the floor. The initial contact happened a yard outside the box so it is only a free kick. Fernandes bends the ball around the wall and catches out Caballero, but the post comes to Chelsea's rescue.
GOAL! CHELSEA 0-2 MANCHESTER UNITED (HARRY MAGUIRE)
Martial's header was impressive in the first half - this one was even better from Maguire! The United skipper watched the corner all the way and planted a header past Caballero to double the visitors' lead.
It is worth asking the question again following that goal: Should Maguire even been on the field? Chelsea's supporters will argue not, given he kicked out at Batshuayi in the first half. Lampard is getting Giroud readied to come on.
CHELSEA SUB! Giroud's minutes have been limited this season but he has 20 minutes here to rescue Chelsea. The French striker is on for Batshuayi.
A deep cross is headed back across goal by Maguire towards Martial, but Azpilicueta gets to it first at the expense of a corner.
STAT! Manchester United have scored with both of the only two shots on target of this match, scoring two headed goals in a Premier League match for the first time since November 2017 against Newcastle United.
James gets his free-kick delivery all wrong and the ball sails straight out of play for a goal kick. Chelsea have gone off the boil since Maguire powered in United's second. That said, Bailly has just produced a big block to deny Kovacic from eight yards.
Rudiger produces a good tackle to halt James' run into the box. The ball goes behind for a corner, which is headed as far as Williams on the edge of the box. The young full-back passes it straight to an opposition player.
YELLOW CARD! Anthony Taylor reaches into his pocket to show Williams a yellow card after the full-back pulled back on Willian.
GOAL! CHELSEA 1-2 MANCHESTER UNITED (OLIVIER GIROUD)
CHELSEA GOAL DISALLOWED BY VAR!
The hosts have a second goal ruled out by VAR - this second one for an offside infringement. A bit of Giroud's foot was offside so that was the correct call. It was a brilliant header from the substitute - it is a shame for the contest that it will not stand.
YELLOW CARD! Wan-Bissaka is not happy with Azpilicueta's challenge and squares up to the Chelsea captain. The referee is quickly over and shows Wan-Bissaka a yellow card.
MANCHESTER UNITED SUB! Pereira is on for James in United's first change of the contest. Solskjaer will pad out his midfield for the final 10 minutes, it seems.
STAT! Chelsea are only the second team to have two goals awarded on the field only to be later ruled out by VAR in the same Premier League game, after Sheffield United vs. Brighton and Hove Albion in December.
Lampard's men are still desperately pushing for a goal. They win a corner and Willian is quickly over to take it, but Maguire heads it clear. The danger is not fully over, with Kovacic's drive hitting a sea of bodies.
United have done well to take the sting out of the match. With five minutes of normal time to go, the visitors are looking pretty comfortable. Make no mistake about it - the race for Champions League football is now wide open.
The game has become a tad stop-start over the last five minutes, which will suit United just fine. Chelsea have not given up just yet, but they are struggling to create much of anything.
Azpilicueta wins a corner for Chelsea and everyone in blue gets forward. The ball is flicked on at the front post and a couple of shots, including a powerful drive from Pedro, are blocked.
OFF THE POST! In almost identical circumstances to Fernandes' near-miss for United a little earlier, Mount catches out De Gea from a free kick and comes within inches of scoring. The ball is curled around the wall but hits the post and is cleared. De Gea clattered into the upright and is in need of treatment.
MANCHESTER UNITED SUB! Debutant Ighalo and Dalot are on for Martial and Fernandes. De Gea is back to his feet for the visitors after injuring himself in attempting to keep out Mount's free kick.
SAVE! So nearly a dream debut goal for Ighalo, just a minute or so after being introduced from the bench! Caballero is quickly off his line and denies the substitute strike from the one-on-one.
STAT! Odion Ighalo is the 200th player to play for Manchester Utd in the Premier League, and the first Nigerian to do so.
FULL TIME: CHELSEA 0-2 MANCHESTER UNITED
The full-time whistle sounds at Stamford Bridge! Manchester United have defeated Chelsea for the third time this season in all competitions thanks to headers from Anthony Martial and Harry Maguire
The Blues had a couple of goals ruled out by VAR - one for Kurt Zouma and another for substitute Olivier Giroud - while both teams hit the post from free kicks.
This is a massive win for United on their return to Premier League action, a victory that takes them into seventh place and within three points of fourth-placed Chelsea.
The battle for Champions League football is well and truly alive!
That will be all from Sports Mole
for this match. Thank you for joining us this evening and we hope to see you again soon.
If you would like to read our on-the-whistle match report, you can do so by clicking here. Goodbye for now.