Chelsea host Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon in this weekend’s most highly anticipated Premier League clash. Both clubs go into the fixture in similar form and in similarly flat circumstances. Under new management which has yet to really invigorate either side, this match may be the perfect start to ignite the season of either club.
The hosts have slowly begun to improve in recent weeks following their 3-1 thrashing by Liverpool prior to the last international break. The Blues put Leicester City to the sword last time out, swatting away the Premier League champions 3-0 on the day, with Diego Costa continuing his return to form.
That result means Chelsea have put together consecutive wins – a much needed run of results given they had lost their two Premier League matches before that. The Blues sit 5th in the table, trailing this season’s Premier League darlings Liverpool by only one point. In a similar vein to the Blues sit Manchester United, who sit 7th in the table, trailing the Blues by two points.
On Monday Manchester United travelled to Liverpool, playing out a dour 0-0 draw at Anfield. While Jose Mourinho’s detractors will point out the Red Devil’s complete lack of attacking purpose to their play, his supporters will vociferously note his side’s ability to quell Liverpool’s high-energy press and exciting attack. Whether such a display will be quite as accepted against Chelsea on Sunday however remains to be seen.
What changes things slightly is Man United’s 4-1 victory at home to Robin Van Persie-led Fenerbache on Thursday night as Old Trafford. Paul Pogba hit a brace on the night (one penalty), while Jesse Lingard scored a cracker, and Anthony Martial scored via another penalty too. While the performance wasn’t perfect nor the opposition very good, such a result may force Mourinho’s hand with regard to attacking intent for Sunday’s Premier League fixture.
Antonio Conte was without his Brazilian midfielder Willian when his side beat Leicester City last weekend following the death of his mother and it remains to be seen whether he is in the right frame of mind to return this weekend. The former FC Barcelona Pedro is on standby to retain his place if Antonio Conte is without the Brazilian. Furthermore, John Terry has reportedly suffered another ankle injury and is not expected to feature against Manchester United.
Comparatively, Phil Jones is the only injury concern for Manchester United as Mourinho prepares to return to Chelsea for the first time since being sacked by the club in December. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is back in training and fine to play but Mourinho said he lacks match intensity and that should mean he misses out on the chance to start at the weekend.
Marounane Fellaini could also keep his place in the team, although Juan Mata also impressed in midweek and will want to play against his former club. Wayne Rooney may also return to the bench after starting on Thursday. However all things considered Mourinho could stick with the same team that earned a 0-0 draw away to Liverpool on Monday. This could see Ashley Young retain his spot in the team after impressing at Anfield, despite Anthony Martial scoring on Thursday night.
Chelsea have seen under 2.5 goals in seven of their last eight matches against Man Utd in all competitions, while Chelsea are undefeated in their last 10 matches against Man Utd in all competitions. Furthermore, there have been over 2.5 goals scored in seven of Chelsea’s last eight home games in the Premier League.
Recommended Bet: Draw & both teams not to score @9.00 at Bet365
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