Saturday 4 November 2017

Match preview: Chelsea v United

United head to west London on November 5th with Jose Mourinho plotting and scheming the downfall of Antonio Conte's champions.

Stamford Bridge has been an unhappy hunting ground in recent years, with United not having won there since 2012.
That was a 3-2 victory against nine men, secured late on by Javier Hernandez, and is our only win in the last nine visits. 

But, if there's ever a "good time" to face the champions of England on their own turf, then this is surely it, with the Blues having endured a difficult start in the defence of their title.

Conte's side come into this one nine points behind pacesetters City with three defeats from their opening ten games, and on the back of a heavy Champions League defeat in Rome last time out.

Rumours of unrest between the Italian manager and his board, injury problems, a heavy fixture schedule and a lack of depth in their squad have exposed cracks in the Blues facade that were absent during their relentless march to the title. 
The Blues currently sit fourth, just as they did at this stage last season, before a perfect November saw them go top, a position they never relinquished. 

They could welcome back key midfield man N'golo Kante after six games out with a hamstring injury, while wing-back Victor Moses remains sidelined but Gary Cahill could return after he missed the win at Bournemouth. 
Marouane Fellaini and Marcos Rojo have travelled with the squad and look set to feature after injury lay-offs, but Jesse Lingard (back) is out. 
Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young are likely to come back in after the pair were rested for our European exertions on Tuesday. 

The boss returns to Chelsea as United manager for the third time, with Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and Juan Mata also expected to be involved against their former side. 

Jose said: "It isn't a big thing. One day you are in one club, and the next day you are in another so I think this is a normal situation.
"I have to admit that it's a little bit different for me, but in the end I want to win just like I did with Inter - they also want to win like last season and it's just one more day.
"I fight for the club, I give everything I have, to get as much support for my players - because we are fighting hard and working hard. 
"That's the only thing I can do and that's the only thing we can promise."

Form guide: Chelsea L D W W W L United D W L W W W 
Match odds: Chelsea 6/4 Draw 11/5 United 9/4 (Bet365) Ant
Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)

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