Old Foes Meet at Old Trafford as Conte and Mourinho Go Head to Head
Chelsea’s tough run of fixtures continues at Old Trafford as they face Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United. After a couple of underwhelming performances lately, the Red Devils will want to put on a show against a Chelsea side who have bounced back from the damming defeats to Bournemouth and Watford. Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho will renew their bitter rivalry and the game will see a few familiar faces line up against the Blues in the likes of Nemanja Matic and Juan Mata.
David Luiz, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Ross Barkley will all miss the trip to Manchester through injury and Conte is expected to name a similar side to the one that faced Barcelona on Tuesday.
Manchester United will be without Ander Herrera, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind, Marouane Fellaini and Zlatan Ibrahimovic through injury but Eric Bailly could feature.
Probable Manchester United XI (4-3-3): De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Lindelof, Young; McTominay, Matic, Pogba; Martial, Lukaku, Sanchez.
Probable Chelsea XI (3-4-3): Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Fabregas, Kante, Alonso; Willian, Morata, Hazard.
Manchester United will be without Ander Herrera this time around and Eden Hazard will be relieved to hear that after the Spaniard man-marked him out of the game last time the Blues visited Old Trafford. Hazard can expect some rough treatment from the United players and Scott McTominay could be tasked with looking after him.
N’Golo Kante will have to nullify the threat that Paul Pogba can bring. Pogba’s poor defensive positioning can be exposed if Kante can stifle the service to him and the service that he provides to his teammates.
In the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge in November, Andreas Christensen did a job on Romelu Lukaku and restricted him to very few chances and he’ll have to do the same again if Thibaut Courtois is to keep his clean sheet.
Chelsea’s record at Old Trafford
Before United’s 2-0 win during last season’s encounter, the Blues were unbeaten since 2012 at the Theatre of Dreams but their last win came back in 2013 when Juan Mata’s late winner took all three points from the Premier League champions-elect.
Goals come at a premium in this fixture with an average of just one a game over the last five seasons so expect at least one clean sheet to be kept in this one.
Jose Mourinho has won on both occasions when Chelsea have visited his current team. That record includes last season’s 2-0 win and Inter Milan’s 2-1 victory in the Champions League in 2010.
The media speculation will focus on the bitter feud between the two managers but once the game gets started, former teammates will face each other and there will be subplots all over the pitch so this one is not to be missed.