Jose Mourinho returns to Stamford Bridge for the first time since taking charge of Manchester United as his new side take on Chelsea in the Premier League this weekend (4pm Sunday, Sky Sports 1).
Antonio Conte’s charges made it two wins from two last time out, with champions Leicester City comfortably beaten 3-0 in west London. Chelsea were excellent, particularly in the first half when they dominated possession and overwhelmed the visitors with their quick combination play and regular circulation of the ball, with the Blues superior in each and every department.
Although they did cede more territory after the interval, Conte’s charges were successful in preventing Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester from creating clear-cut chances, with Victor Moses wrapping up the victory up in the 80th minute following strikes in the first half from Diego Costa and Eden Hazard. Chelsea again looked terrific in their new 3-4-3 formation, although in a strange way Conte may have hoped for the shape to be tested more than it was by the insipid Foxes.
Man Utd will be buoyed by their 4-1 demolition job on Fenerbahçe on Thursday night but they have now drawn each of their last two outings in the Premier League. They will have been much happier with the point obtained at Anfield than the previous one they collected at home to Stoke City before the international break. Mourinho set his side up not to lose against Liverpool on Monday, with United fully focused on stopping the Reds from getting into their rhythm in front of their own supporters.
The Portuguese instructed his team to play long balls forward from the back to bypass the Liverpool press, while the inclusion in the starting XI of the likes of Ashley Young and Marouane Fellaini showed that Mourinho was keen for his players to remain disciplined throughout. There is still work to be done if the Red Devils are to contend for the championship crown this term, but a 0-0 draw at Liverpool will go down as a positive result given the pair’s recent form.
Chelsea captain John Terry is available for selection once more and could come into the three-man backline in place of either Gary Cahill or Cesar Azpilicueta. David Luiz may shift to one of the outside centre-back roles if Terry does return, with the former England international lacking the mobility to cover the wide areas as is expected from the players in those positions.
Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso will continue at wing-back, but this match may come too soon for Willian after the Brazilian was granted compassionate leave following the death of his mother. Diego Costa, who has scored seven goals in the top flight this season, could prove a handful for the Manchester United defence.
United will have to make do without Phil Jones, but Henrikh Mkhitaryan has recovered from a thigh problem. Young and Fellaini are likely to retain their places in the team after accomplished performances against Liverpool, while Wayne Rooney will probably have to make do with a spot on the substitutes’ bench once more. Paul Pogba was deployed as a No.10 last time out and is likely to be used behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic again, with Ander Herrera having nailed down the holding midfield position with some fine displays in recent weeks.
It will be interesting to see whether Mourinho shows more ambition at Stamford Bridge than he did at Anfield last weekend, with Man Utd perhaps needing to pose more of a threat on the counter-attack this time around.
While this match could therefore be a little more open, there will probably not be a great deal to choose between the two sides. So this preview believes that a 1-1 draw could be the result when Chelsea and United lock horns on Sunday afternoon, with Marcus Rashford (pictured) a potentially good value betting tips’ selection for anytime goalscorer.
- Betting Tip: Chelsea and Manchester United to draw 1-1 at a best price of 13/2 with BetVictor and William Hill.
- Betting Tip: Take Marcus Rashford to score at anytime at best betting odds of 31/10 with Unibet.
- There is a great 33/1 bookies’ enhanced odds offer, which is detailed along with the other free bets on our home page, for Chelsea to win this Premier League match against Man Utd.
Greg Lea is a freelance sports writer. Read the articles that he has written at Just Bookies.