Red Devils vs Blues – A No-Win Fixture in Abramovich’s Era

Ever since Roman Abramovich took over Blues’ Crosier at Stamford Bridge, Manchester United and Chelsea dominated Premier League by winning 8 titles amongst them (5 and 3 respectively) out of 11 seasons. In this period (since 2003-04 season), the games between the 2 most successful clubs in England were always highly competitive. But why are they “No-Win Fixtures”?

Both the clubs started 2014-15 season pretty differently. While Chelsea started very strongly by making early signings of Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa and Felipe Luis, Manchester United started well pretty late by making late signings of Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao and Daley Blind. However, a game between these sides is always a tough encounter deploying adept tactics. This weekend’s battle at Old Trafford is more special because of Jose Mourinho meeting his mentor Louis Van Gaal for the first time since their encounter in Champions League Final 2009-10. Let’s analyze this fixtures’ data along several parameters to understand why its a “No-Win” fixture.

Blues have dominated Red Devils in Roman Era
    Chelsea vs Manchester United - Head to Head in Roman's Era
Chelsea vs Manchester United – Head to Head in Roman’s Era

Chelsea has won 44% of games and United has won 32% of games. In Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup, Chelsea has won 50% of games and United has won just 21% of games. Clearly Chelsea has performed better head-to-head against Manchester United after Roman took over the club.

Chelsea are stronger at home than United are

Chelsea has won 60% of games at Stamford Bridge against United, but United has won just 43% of games against Chelsea at Old Trafford. On other hand, Chelsea has won 28% of games at Old Trafford whereas United has won only 13% of games at the Bridge. Stamford Bridge has been a tough place for United to play.

Chelsea vs Manchester United Recent Games
Chelsea vs Manchester United Recent Games

In these 11 seasons, both teams have played well alternatively. From 2003-04 season to 2006-07 FA Cup Final, Chelsea dominated and let United to grab only one win in 11 games. From 2010-11 season to the first game in 2012-13 season, United dominated and let Chelsea win only once in 8 games. Ever since, Chelsea has maintained an unbeaten run of 6 games against Manchester United.

Chelsea versus United is a Loss-Loss (No-Win) Fixture

Analyzing the points Chelsea and Manchester United have amassed (during Roman Abramovich’s era – Since 2003) by playing against all the Premier League clubs, the following charts are drawn.

Chelsea Points Per Game Against Premier League Opponents
Chelsea Points Per Game Against Premier League Opponents (only teams which played more than 5 seasons)
  • Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Aston Villa and Newcastle are the teams against which Chelsea has struggled to get points or has scored very less points.
  • Portsmouth, Sunderland, Wigan Athletic, Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers are the lucky teams against which Chelsea has accumulated a lot of points.
Manchester United Points Per Game Against Premier League Opponents
Manchester United Points Per Game Against Premier League Opponents (only teams which played more than 5 seasons)
  • Chelsea, Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers, Arsenal and Middlesbrough are the top 5 teams against which Manchester United has struggled to score points.
  • Wigan Athletic, Bolton Wanderers, Aston Villa, Stoke City and Sunderland has been the lucky teams for Manchester United.

As you could see, United has scored the least points per game (1.09) against Chelsea and Chelsea has scored the second least points per game (1.64) against Manchester United. These suggests that

  1. Manchester United versus Chelsea fixture has been in favor of each team alternatively
  2. This fixture is a low yielding game (low points per game) over the years for both the teams
  3. It’s a zero sum game (tight fixtures) where no team gains much at the end

Such a No-Win fixture between Premier League heavyweights is coming up this weekend (26-Oct-2014). Who will win this fixture? Share your thoughts!

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