Preview: Beating Chelsea on Saturday is more important than anything right now for Jose Mourinho and Manchester United…

Chelsea -v- Manchester United

Premier League

Stamford Bridge, London

Saturday 20 October 2018; KO 12:30 BST

Referee: Mike Dean

Manchester United will need to hit the ground running against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. The international break may have put a dampener on things, being that it has been a fortnight since the 3-2 victory over Newcastle United at Old Trafford, which saw United come back from a 2-0 deficit in the second half of the game with goals from Juan Mata, Anthony Martial, and Alexis Sanchez.

United have not started the season in the best of form and there have been moments when it seemed that the players had given up on playing for the club. Jose Mourinho has been put under immense pressure by the media, with suggestions that he was going to be sacked whether United won, lost, or drew against Newcastle a fortnight ago. These claims were since rejected by the club. The media feel they rule the roost when it comes to reporting fallacies as facts, all to make money. They have no shame.

United have not had many great results at Chelsea. In fact, they have won just once in their last ten visits to Stamford Bridge, which is something which needs to change. Chelsea have had a much better start to the season, sitting second in the league, with the same number of points as Manchester City, who are first and Liverpool, who are third, however, it is goal difference which keeps the teams apart. Mourinho will be seeking a victory against his former club, which, based on previous form, looks like a tough result to get.

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Pre-Match Thoughts: Beating Chelsea is more important than the upcoming Juventus match. Take one game at a time right now!

Against Newcastle, when United conceded two quick goals, again, it showed that changes need to be made, whether it be the clubs owners, the executive vice-chairman, the manager, or the players. Something needed to be done. In the second half of the match, the team played as a team, which is something that had not been all that visible in the weeks previous. The fact that Juan Mata scored will have given the team confidence, which had obviously been lacking.

Anthony Martial’s equaliser would have given the players the thought of being able to snatch something from the game, coming back from 2-0 down. The winner, scored by Alexis Sanchez will have given the squad more belief that this frustrating time the club has gone through can be changed. The only shame is that the international break was sandwiched in the middle of the two matches, which could have caused more problems, but also ended some problems at the same time.

It is going to be a very tough match for United but one which they can get the result they desire. Chelsea have been very dominant at home, especially against United, but that does not mean it is something that is going to happen time and time again. There is always that time where things do not go as planned, despite the fact this will be very hard to accomplish for this United side, who have many great players, however, most being individuals, rather than a great team together.

Team News: Injuries will cause problems for United but looking at the players that have travelled, United should have a team to beat Chelsea

Jose Mourinho has some injury problems ahead of the visit to his former club, Chelsea on Saturday. Luke Shaw, Diogo Dalot, Nemanja Matic, Marouane Fellaini, and Scott McTominay all had problems whilst representing their respective countries during the international break. Also, Jesse Lingard, Ander Herrera, and Marcos Rojo have been on the sidelines for the recent matches. Herrera is the most likely of the three to face Chelsea this weekend.

The Manchester Evening News has confirmed the players who were seen embarking on the journey to London ahead of the lunchtime kick off on Saturday with David De Gea, Sergio Romero, Lee Grant, Matteo Darmian, Luke Shaw, Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof, Marcos Rojo, Ashley Young, Eric Bailly, Paul Pogba, Fred, Andreas Pereira, Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata, Ander Herrera, Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku, and Anthony Martial all present.

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Predicted Starting XI: Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku up top, Juan Mata just behind! Why not?

United need to find a way they can play together as a team. Marcus Rashford has played well for England in a two-man-up-top formation, which could be something that will work well at United. Right now, using wingers is not an option as there is no player who is able to play, sufficiently, on the right-wing, which has been problematic for more than a few years now. Having to rely on the fullbacks will need to be something United get used to, for now at least.

Playing Juan Mata behind both Romelu Lukaku and Rashford could be key. Mata has rarely been played in a central role, which could be the role for him. His pace is not great but his understanding of the game is top-notch, which could see him bring out the best in Rashford and Lukaku, with both finding the net on international break and ready to rise to the challenge which is Chelsea. Have a three-man midfield, which could consist of Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera, and Nemanja Matic would be the best bet for this game.

The defence seems to be where the majority of the problems are this season, having the same players which had the second-best defence in the Premier League last season, which shows that the manager should have been backed in the summer. Imagine thinking that both Phil Jones and Chris Smalling were better than the players Mourinho was wanting to add to his squad, to finally solve the defensive problems. Perhaps, if backed, United would not be leaking goals this season?

Match Prediction: Manchester United to nick it with a 2-1 victory at Stamford Bridge?

Manchester United need to leave Stamford Bridge with three points. Currently they are eighth in the league, seven points from the summit. That may not sound like much but when you look at the teams in the league that United will face between now and the end of November, Chelsea, Everton, Bournemouth, Manchester City, and Crystal Palace, not to mention the fact they play Juventus twice in the UEFA Champions League, building something now will test character, ability and resurgence of the squad.

United have won once at Stamford Bridge in their last ten visits, which gives them a 10% chance of winning, which is not the greatest. However, football is not based on what happened last year and so on and is all about what happens on the day. United need to be confident in their approach. This is the second top six team they will face this season, and after losing one match already, against Tottenham Hotspur, winning this one is more important. I think United could nick it with a 2-1 victory.

Chelsea 1-2 Manchester United

copyright: JW