Stamford Bridge, Chelsea, London
Premier League 2016/17
Saturday 23rd October 2016 – KO 16:00 [Live on Sky Sports]
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Assistant Referees: Stephen Child and Stuart Burt
Fourth Official: Andre Marriner
Manchester United travel to Stamford Bridge on Sunday to take on Antonio Conte’s Chelsea in the Premier League, Jose Mourinho’s first visit to his former club after being sacked in December last year. United have not been the best side against Chelsea for a long time, last winning in the league on the 28th October 2012 with David Luiz, now back at the club, scoring an own goal in the fourth minute of the match, Robin van Persie scoring eight minutes later, Juan Mata getting a goal back for Chelsea just before half-time, Ramires equalising inside the first ten minutes of the second half and Javier Hernandez scoring the winner 15 minutes from time. United then travelled to Stamford Bridge three days later in the League Cup, losing 5-4 after extra time in a thrilling encounter. United were happy of the three points in the league, though, which came ten years after their last win at Stamford Bridge on the 20th April 2002 with Paul Scholes, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scoring the goals in a 3-0 rout.
Jose Mourinho is a hero at Stamford Bridge and he will enjoy his return to his former home stadium, especially if he manages to take three points back to Old Trafford. United need to win, they need to lengthen their unbeaten run, but instead of playing a tactical game, they need to go all out to win, then get tactical. Chelsea has three players on the sidelines, two of them with minor injuries who offer something good to the side, and with both Branislav Ivanović (muscle injury), Cesc Fàbregas (thigh) out of the match, United will have more of an advantage. Mourinho has a few injuries himself with Phil Jones on the sidelines (when is he not), Morgan Schneiderlin who missed the visit to Anfield and the visit of Fenerbahçe in the past week and Chris Smalling, who is a doubt but has travelled with the team to London. Wayne Rooney will miss the visit to Stamford Bridge with a muscular injury of his own.
Manchester United have started the season well, even if you factor in the three-match losing streak after the first international break of the season. United were in all the newspapers, Jose Mourinho was being tipped by the bookies for the sack for the second season in a row and United were slated for making that appointment, spending £89 million on Paul Pogba, who has glimmered at times, but not to the media’s satisfaction and blah, blah, blah. Meanwhile, the famous Manchester City, led by the legend that is (apparently) Pep Guardiola, have not won a match since they beat Swansea City 3-1 almost a month ago. They have since drawn 3-3 with Celtic, been beaten 2-0 by Tottenham Hotspur, drawn 1-1 with Everton and been humiliated 4-0 by Lionel Messi (three goals) and Barcelona. Southampton could slump more misery on the #BaldFraud, which should unleash a lot of discontent by the media, but who wants to read about Manchester City when there is Manchester United to talk about. Whether it is criticism or praise, Manchester United always make the headlines. People love to read about their success and failure, almost more than they want to read about their own teams.
“He was an important manager for Chelsea. With the club and the players, he wrote a part of the story of this club. He deserves a good reception.”
“I knew that working in England, staying in the Premier League, I would, sooner or later, have to play against Chelsea and I would have to go to Stamford Bridge. The computer has decided that I have to go now, so we go.”
Manchester United Form:- WDDWW
Fenerbahçe 4-1 W, Liverpool 0-0 D, Stoke City 1-1 D, Zorya Luhansk 1-0 W, Leicester City 4-1 W
Manchester United are a team on a six-match unbeaten run, which ended their three-match losing streak last month. Far from the best side they have been and can be, Jose Mourinho’s men will be looking to claw back some of the points the separate them and their rivals, who all seem to be above them. Tottenham Hotspur dropped points on Saturday, which could be costly in the coming weeks, Arsenal only drew with Middlesbrough, again something which could be costly and if Manchester City slips up against Southampton, which is possible, Pep Guardiola’s side, who have currently not won in four matches, could become a painful period for the genius that apparently is Guardiola.
Chelsea Form:- WWLWL
Leicester City 3-0 W, Hull City 2-0 W, Arsenal 3-0 L, Leicester City 4-2 W, Liverpool 2-1 L
Chelsea are a different team under Antonio Conte than they were in the whole of last season, still the same side, apart from a few acquisitions in the summer. Chelsea massively underachieved last season and now seem adamant to get back to the pinnacle of their success, which will not be easy for them. Recent defeats against Arsenal and Liverpool show have vulnerable they can be under pressure and that is something that Manchester United and Jose Mourinho need to throw at them. United have played well at times this season, despite the consistency not quite being there. United have not won at Stamford Bridge since 2012, almost four years to the day, so they will be looking to achieve that after getting a draw last season.
Manchester United Top Scorers:
6 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 4 – Marcus Rashford, 3 – Paul Pogba, 2 – Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Anthony Martial, 1 – Michael Carrick, Ander Herrera, Wayne Rooney, Chris Smalling
Chelsea Top Scorers:
7 – Diego Costa, 3 – Michy Batshuayi, Eden Hazard, Victor Moses, 2 – Willian Borges Da Silva, Cesc Fàbregas, 1 – César Azpilicueta, Gary Cahill
Manchester United Squad;
Manager: Jose Mourinho
Goalkeepers: David De Gea, Sergio Romero, Sam Johnstone
Defenders: Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind, Luke Shaw, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Antonio Valencia, Matteo Darmian, Axel Tuanzebe
Midfielders: Paul Pogba, Memphis Depay, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Michael Carrick, Ashley Young, Ander Herrera, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marouane Fellaini, Morgan Schneiderlin
Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford
Injuries and Suspensions: Phil Jones (knee), Morgan Schneiderlin (knock), Chris Smalling (muscle injury), Wayne Rooney (muscular injury)
Manager: Antonio Conte
Goalkeepers: Asmir Begović, Thibaut Courtois, Eduardo
Defenders: Branislav Ivanović, Marcos Alonso, Kurt Zouma, Gary Cahill, John Terry, César Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Ola Aina
Midfielders: Cesc Fàbregas, N’Golo Kanté, Oscar, Eden Hazard, Pedro, John Obi Mikel, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Victor Moses, Nemanja Matić, Willian, Nathaniel Chalobah
Forwards: Diego Costa, Michy Batshuayi, Dominic Solanke
Injuries and Suspensions: Kurt Zouma (ACL), Branislav Ivanović (muscle injury), Cesc Fàbregas (thigh)
Predicted Starting XI:
Chelsea 1-3 Manchester United