Chelsea’s big Bruno Fernandes problem and how Frank Lampard can expose Man United

Chelsea are back in action on Monday night following the winter break, and there are a number of huge fixtures on the horizon.

Frank Lampard’s side will welcome Manchester United and Spurs to Stamford Bridge in consecutive games that could have a decisive impact on the race to secure a top four place this season.

Following those games, it’s the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 clash against Bayern Munich, again at Stamford Bridge.

To say the Blues need to get off to a flying start as the season enters the home stretch is an understatement. With six sides realistically fighting for fourth spot in the league, matches against rivals will likely be crucial.

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So what can Chelsea expect to see from Manchester United on Monday?

Neither side has been particularly impressive this season. Chelsea have managed to concede 34 goals in their 25 league games so far, while United have won just nine of their 25 matches.

Ahead of the game, we asked Chief Manchester United writer for the Manchester Evening News Samuel Luckhurst about United’s strengths and weaknesses, and where Chelsea should be targeting their top four rivals tactically.

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United’s Strengths

Rashford’s loss is significant but Chelsea are such a porous side the other United forwards should fancy themselves against their defence. The winter break could revive Anthony Martial and Daniel James, both scorers against Chelsea in August, Bruno Fernandes has enhanced the midfield and Juan Mata performed twice at Stamford Bridge last season.

Juan Mata arrives arrives at Stamford Bridge for Chelsea vs Manchester United in the Carabao Cup
(Image: John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Defensively, United have looked more assured in recent weeks, having reverted to the clear and obvious back four they started the season with….