Chelsea face Man Utd at Stamford Bridge on Sunday in a showdown that both Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho will be desperate to win.
The latter won’t have fond memories of this fixture from last season, as he left his former club with a 4-0 defeat and a new rivalry burgeoning with Conte after they clashed on the sidelines.
However, the pressure is on the hosts to bounce back this weekend after their disappointing 3-0 defeat to Roma in the Champions League in midweek, as they can’t afford to slip further behind their rivals at the top of the Premier League table in their bid to defend their league crown.
As for United, they’ve rattled off three consecutive wins in all competitions since their setback at Huddersfield Town, with the Red Devils scoring five and conceding none.
Whether or not this proves to be an entertaining watch for the neutral remains to be seen though, as judging from Mourinho’s tactics against Liverpool and Tottenham last month, they weren’t particularly positive but ultimately they were effective.
Chelsea are expected to see N’Golo Kante return from a hamstring injury that has ruled out him since the last international break last month, as per BBC Sport, but Victor Moses is still out.
Jesse Lingard misses out for the visitors, while Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young are set to return after being rested to give Mourinho options in the full-back positions.
Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill; Zappacosta, Kante, Drinkwater, Alonso; Pedro, Morata, Hazard.
Man Utd: De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Bailly, Young; Herrera, Matic; Mata, Mkhitaryan, Rashford; Lukaku.
Chelsea 1-1 Man Utd. Mourinho has always adopted a similar tactic in away games against direct rivals, and it’s highly unlikely that he’s going to suddenly change his ways now. In turn, this should be a tightly-contested encounter with the two sides forced to share the spoils.
In many ways, this would be an ideal time to go out and attack Chelsea given the pressure Conte is under and the home faithful will be tense. However, the same was said of Klopp and Liverpool last month and ultimately it was evident that Mourinho and United were only interested in a point or a smash-and-grab victory at best.
As a result, back this one to be a scrappy and close affair, with a goal and point apiece for the two sides.