Manchester United’s record at Chelsea is AWFUL, with just three wins in 20 league visits over the past two decades… but interim boss Michael Carrick has been involved in two of them as he plots a Stamford Bridge surprise
- Manchester United head to Premier League leaders Chelsea this Sunday
- But their record at Stamford Bridge over the past two decades is terrible
- They have won just three of their 20 Premier League visits there since 2001
- Interim manager Michael Carrick played in a 3-2 win there back in 2012
- And he was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s assistant for a 2-0 success two seasons ago
- Mostly, though, Carrick’s visits to Chelsea in the league were disappointing
While such a heavyweight Premier League clash could never be described as a ‘free hit’, Michael Carrick takes Manchester United to Chelsea this Sunday with expectations at a minimum.
It isn’t only the fact that United are still reeling from the abysmal run of defeats that cost Ole Gunnar Solskjaer his job, sparking a search for an interim manager – which has been ended by the incoming Ralf Rangnick – before the season is totally written off.
The fact is, United have such a poor record in league games at Stamford Bridge over the past two decades that Chelsea would be the favourites even if they didn’t currently top the table.
Michael Carrick (right) tries to stop Didier Drogba during Man United’s visit to Chelsea in 2011
The midfielder had plenty of entertaining encounters with Chelsea, if few successful ones – here he removes a piece of seat thrown on by angered home fans in October 2012
United have claimed only three wins from 20 league visits since the 2001-02 season, drawing seven and losing 10. It is a stadium where they rarely come away with three points.
So it is asking a great deal for Carrick, United’s interim to the interim, to turn the historical tide after just seven days at the helm.
The positive news for United is that Carrick played a role in two of those three wins at Chelsea – one as a player and one as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s assistant – and so may be a good omen.
He played in United’s midfield alongside Tom Cleverley in United’s 3-2 win there in October 2012, en route to their last Premier League title before Sir Alex Ferguson retired.
It was a hugely controversial afternoon with referee Mark Clattenburg taking most of the headlines after he sent off two Chelsea players then failed to spot that Javier Hernandez was offside as he scored United’s winner.
Carrick (right) in the dugout alongside Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Stamford Bridge in 2019
Now it’s Carrick in charge of taking United to Stamford Bridge on Sunday as stand-in manager
20 years of Stamford Bridge struggle
Manchester United’s record in Premier League visits to Chelsea since the 2001/02 season.
Biggest win: 3-0 in 2001-02
Biggest defeat: 4-0 in 2016-17
There could be no complaints about Branislav Ivanovic’s red for fouling Ashley Young as he raced through but the second yellow brandished to Fernando Torres for diving stuck in the craw for Chelsea fans.
That result lifted United above Chelsea and they remained there until May, with Carrick, then 32, winning his fifth and final Premier League title as a player.
He returned to west London in a very different capacity in February 2020, sitting alongside Solskjaer in the away dugout as goals from Anthony Martial and Harry Maguire handed United a 2-0 win.
It was a result they urgently needed, with Solskjaer under pressure following three league matches without a win. As it happened, it came at the beginning of a long unbeaten run that eventually saw United finish third.
Again though, there was a sense of Chelsea injustice. Frank Lampard and his players felt aggrieved that Maguire escaped a red card for kicking Michy Batshuayi in the groin following a VAR review.
And when Kurt Zouma thought he’d equalised at 1-1, the goal was ruled out because Cesar Azpilicueta was adjudged to have pushed Brandon Williams.
The other United league win there in the last 20 years was well before Carrick’s time – a 3-0 win in April 2002 thanks to goals by Paul Scholes, Ruud van Nistelrooy and, yep, Solskjaer.
Miserable United players during Chelsea’s 4-0 win over them at Stamford Bridge in 2016
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (right) was on target when United won 3-0 at Chelsea back in 2002
Though there have been cup and even Champions League wins for United at Stamford Bridge during this timespan, it’s mainly been a tale of woe in the league.
Carrick himself has played in four defeats at Stamford Bridge and he watched from the bench as an unused sub in October 2016 when Jose Mourinho’s team were thrashed 4-0.
Even some of Ferguson’s strongest sides, in which Carrick was a midfield metronome, would often come a cropper at title rivals Chelsea, who became ascendant after Roman Abramovich’s takeover in 2003.
United are a pale imitation of those days and even though Carrick guided them into the knockout stages of the Champions League by beating Villarreal on Tuesday, Chelsea will be a very different proposition.
Carrick challenges for the ball with Ramires during United’s 2-1 defeat at Chelsea in 2011
They’re unbeaten in 10 games, thrashed Juventus 4-0 this week and certainly aren’t leading Manchester City by three points at the top of the table by fluke.
United, by contrast, are out of form with their confidence shot and gaping holes in their defence and midfield that any half-decent opponent will exploit.
Watford did so in Solskjaer’s swansong last weekend and Chelsea certainly will. History is not on Carrick’s side either.
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