AFTER the Halloween horror present in opposition to Roma comes a go to from a ghost of the previous for Chelsea.
Jose Mourinho, probably the most profitable supervisor within the Blues’ historical past, returns to Stamford Bridge on Sunday together with his Manchester United facet.
At the beginning of the season the 2 golf equipment’ ambitions had been aligned.
Each wished to win the Premier League title, each wished to problem within the Champions League and each would compete as finest they may for the home trophies.
However two-and-a-half months into the season, it’s slightly completely different.
Chelsea have been very inconsistent beneath the steering of Antonio Conte and look unlikely to retain the title they received so impressively final season.
In addition they face a struggle to prime their Champions League group following the Three-Zero mauling by the hands of Roma.
Issues have been extra simple for Mourinho.
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In Europe his facet have certified from their group with two video games to spare, however in England they’ve not saved up with the unbelievable tempo set by Manchester Metropolis.
The Crimson Devils are, nevertheless, higher geared up to problem Pep Guardiola’s facet for prime spot within the Premier League, as our buddies at Soccer Whispers clarify.
The squad sport
It grew to become very clear over the summer time that Conte was not a cheerful man.
He usually complained concerning the lack of signings made by Chelsea and admitted his squad was not as sturdy as he’d prefer it to be.
The Italian definitely had some extent and the second the Blues sustained a couple of accidents, issues began to unravel.
The largest loss has undoubtedly been N’Golo Kante.
The French midfielder has missed the final six video games after struggling a hamstring damage whereas on worldwide responsibility with France.
Within the six video games Chelsea have performed with out Kante, they’ve conceded 11 objectives.
Cesc Fabregas and Tiemoue Bakayoko have been the central midfield partnership in these video games however the two don’t complement one another and the Blues have suffered consequently.
Conte can be forgiven for wanting on enviously on the depth Mourinho has at his disposal.
The Crimson Devils have had their fair proportion of accidents to key gamers this season – one thing the United supervisor would by no means talk about within the press…
However they’ve nonetheless been capable of put produce spectacular performances.
Towards Tottenham final weekend, United had been with out Paul Pogba, Marouane Fellaini, Michael Carrick, Marcos Rojo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
And but their facet didn’t look weak and so they duly recorded a 1-Zero victory.
Anthony Martial scored the winner for the Crimson Devils in opposition to Spurs whereas Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku are the opposite placing choices open to Mourinho in Zlatan’s absence.
Conte has summer time signing Alvaro Morata and Michy Batshuayi as his two strikers, and no one else.
So Man United have ensured Mourinho is healthier geared up to launch a title bid than Conte.
Whereas, when everyone seems to be match, the 2 sides’ beginning XIs are of comparable high quality, soccer is a squad sport and Chelsea’s is weak.
Key battle: Eden Hazard vs Ander Herrera
The final time these two sides met, the Belgian had one in every of his quietest video games in a Chelsea shirt due to Herrera.
In April, with the Blues on path to the Premier League title, they visited Previous Trafford to tackle Mourinho’s facet, who had been in a battle for fourth place.
The Portuguese had a plan of how one can cease Conte’s facet and it labored to perfection.
Herrera would observe Hazard wherever he’d go and, basically, cease him from being concerned within the sport.
The Spaniard made 4 tackles and 4 interceptions through the 90 minutes and Hazard failed to finish a single tackle.
It is going to be intriguing to see if Mourinho deploys the identical tactic at Stamford Bridge.
With former Chelsea participant Nemanja Matic alongside him in midfield, Herrera might simply carry out the identical position.
And, if that’s the case, it’ll be intriguing to see if Hazard has realized any classes from his Previous Trafford expertise.
Too usually in that sport, he remained infield and it performed to Herrera’s strengths.
Staying out large and, basically sacrificing himself for the workforce, would’ve been the smarter possibility and one the sensible Belgian could should take at Stamford Bridge.
Match winners: Alvaro Morata and Romelu Lukaku
If Chelsea hadn’t made a large number of signing Lukaku in the summertime, then he can be lining up for the Blues tomorrow and Morata can be carrying the purple of United.
As a substitute it is going to be the other. The Crimson Devils paid Everton £75m to signal the highly effective Belgian forward of Chelsea, who ended up spending £60m on Morata.
Each gamers have made instantaneous impacts at their new golf equipment.
Lukaku has 11 objectives and three assists in 16 video games, whereas Spain worldwide Morata has netted seven instances and registered three assists in 14 video games.
Neither have, nevertheless, scored of their final six video games and each can be seeking to finish their respective runs and show some extent at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Lukaku is undoubtedly extra of a match-winner than Morata.
The Man United striker can flip a sport together with his tempo and energy… the Chelsea striker is extra nuanced however he wants service if he’s to be at his finest.
If the Blues are unable to supply it, then he’s more likely to battle in opposition to what we anticipate can be a again three.
Conte ought to have the ability to welcome again Kante however Victor Moses is dominated out.
The Italian could want to make modifications to his again three, although, after the had been ripped aside by Roma in midweek.
Mourinho can be with out the gamers talked about above whereas Jesse Lingard is an damage doubt after coming off in opposition to Benfica within the Champions League.
After it had nice success in opposition to Spurs, the Portuguese could preserve the Three-Four-1-2 system in place to threaten Chelsea’s shaky back-line.
Man United have netted ten objectives within the final ten minutes of Premier League video games this season, 43 per cent of their complete.
Lukaku has been concerned in ten Premier League objectives for Man United this season, a joint Premier League excessive with Sergio Aguero.
Morata has contributed to 9 objectives in his 9 Premier League video games (six objectives, three assists).