Manchester United travel to Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon knowing that, depending on events at the Etihad Stadium where Manchester City host Southampton, they could well be eight points off the Premier League summit by the time kick-off arrives. As such, Jose Mourinho and his side will be acutely aware of the need to offer more threat in the final third than we saw during Monday night’s 0-0 draw with Liverpool at Anfield.
Thursday night’s 4-1 victory over Fenerbahce in the Europa League certainly gave Mourinho a few things to consider; Wayne Rooney was far more involved and useful up front than Zlatan Ibrahimovic was against Liverpool, and both Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard were useful on either side of the club’s captain, but given than Ander Herrera, Marcus Rashford, Marouane Fellaini and Ashley Young were all rested on Thursday night, it wouldn’t be a shock to see the same starting XI tomorrow that we saw on Sunday.
David De Gea was a surprise starter against Fenerbahce on Thursday; the match seemed a perfect time to rest the Spaniard and bring in Sergio Romero considering that De Gea will almost certainly have to start against Manchester City in the EFL Cup next Wednesday, too. But it’s Mourinho’s call to make, of course.
The only real doubt about United fielding the same back four is Chris Smalling, who was substituted at half time on Thursday with what was described as a muscular injury. Should he be fit, Daley Blind and Antonio Valencia will come in at left and right back, with Smalling and Bailly in the centre. If he isn’t fit, Blind will likely be drafted in to replace him with Luke Shaw taking his place on the left.
The midfield trio of Herrera, Fellaini and Paul Pogba most worked quite well last Monday, but the Frenchman needs to offer a calmer head and more poise when United attack after some wasteful moments and generally poor use of the ball. Young will likely start ahead of Martial having not taken any part in the Fenerbahce win, with the former Aston Villa winger on the left with Rashford coming back into the side on the right of attack.
Much more will be needed from Zlatan Ibrahimovic after the former Swedish international’s poor performance against Liverpool. His touch and ability to hold the ball up were both terrible, and he needs to be much sharper in Sunday if United are to make this line-up work.
In the last eight times both Manchester United and Chelsea have clashed, there has been under 2.5 goals (8/11) in seven of the games. And considering both Jose Mourinho and Conte are knowing for preferring defensive systems, there is certainly money to be made here.
Manchester United have been impressive in the last few games. You can get them to win at 14/5 with bet365.
Chelsea are available to win at 23/20 at Bet365 which is a great deal considering how excellent Manchester United have been against the Red Devils.