Chelsea v Manchester United Preview: Can Conte mastermind a win against Mourinho?

Chelsea vs Manchester United Prediction, Betting Odds & Preview ahead of this weekend’s Premier League fixture.

Chelsea vs Manchester United
English Premier League 2016/17
23rd October, 2016, 16:00 BST
Stamford Bridge, London

Chelsea team news and preview

Chelsea welcome an old friend in Jose Mourinho to Stamford Bridge on Sunday. The Portuguese will be leading out Manchester United in a fixture that has almost always been a top-of-the-table clash in the past decade. Things may have changed slightly, but the sense of immense occasion still remains.

Antonio Conte‘s Chelsea are on a run of two consecutive wins and clean sheets, after the Italian switched the formation to his preferred 3-4-3. Those performances may have come against markedly inferior opponents in Hull City and Leicester City, but the confidence seems to be returning. A win against Mourinho will certainly be sweet, but that’s certainly not the major focus with which Conte will want his players approaching this game.

The Blues were without Oscar and Willian last week after both were granted compassionate leaves following the passing of their grandfather and mother respectively. It remains to be seen whether the Brazilian duo can return to full fitness in order to feature against United. Having missed training as well over the past week or so, it is unlikely that either will start.

Chelsea’s betting odds for this weekend rely on Conte’s team keeping a clean sheet and that means having the best possible defensive lineup against a potentially irresistable attacking force. Captain John Terry is back to full fitness after recovering from an ankle injury. He was available last week as well, but Conte decided to stick with Cesar Azpilicueta, Gary Cahill and David Luiz at the back. With two consecutive clean sheets, the manager now faces a dilemma over introducing his talismanic skipper, and dropping one of the current three.

Branislav Ivanovic, John Obi Mikel and Cesc Fabregas all missed out last week as well with minor knocks. They should all return to the squad, but it is unlikely that any of them will get a start.

Diego Costa, the Premier League’s top-scorer, escaped a booking last weekend which would have kept him out of this one. The Spaniard will be raring to go against the Red Devils, and there will be some fireworks in his duel with Eric Bailly.

Predicted Chelsea starting line-up (3-4-3): Courtois; Azpilicueta, Terry, David Luiz; Moses, Kante, Matic, Alonso; Pedro, Diego Costa, Hazard.

Manchester United team news and preview

It is always interesting to see what team and approach Jose Mourinho goes with in a game against the big teams. Last week at Anfield, he set up to squeeze the life out of Liverpool’s attacking threats and came away with a 0-0 draw. He could have a similar game plan against Chelsea.

The only injury worries for United in the week were Anthony Martial and Morgan Schneiderlin. The duo though, have returned to training and could feature in United’s Europa League encounter with Fenerbahce on Thursday, according to Sky Sports. The personnel on the pitch against the Turkish side will be different to the one on Sunday. A lot of predictions could be made as to who will start against Chelsea based on who starts on Thursday. The likes of Wayne Rooney, Jesse Lingard, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Memphis Depay could all be in line for leading roles in the latter.

It will be interesting to see if Juan Mata returns to the starting line-up against his former club, Chelsea. The Spaniard has been brilliant this season but was left out against Liverpool to accommodate the strength of Marouane Fellaini in midfield. This move though, also decreased the attacking threat posed by United. The experiment of playing Paul Pogba at number 10 didn’t quite work out. Chelsea are still vulnerable at the back, and leave gaps here and there which can be exposed by Mata’s vision and movement.

Predicted Manchester United starting line-up (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Smalling, Blind; Herrera, Pogba; Rashford, Mata, Young; Ibrahimovic.

Chelsea vs Manchester United key stats

Manchester United have won just 1 of their 13 visits to Stamford Bridge in the Premier League since 2003, when Roman Abramovich take over as owner of the Blues

Chelsea will be looking for their 4th win at Stamford Bridge this season. In comparison, they only won 5 in the whole of the last campaign.

This is the second time Mourinho is visiting Stamford Bridge as the opposition manager. The first was with Inter Milan in the round of 16 clash in the Champions League in 2010, where he orchestrated a 1-0 win.

Chelsea vs Manchester United betting tips

Ladbrokes are offering odds of 23/20 on a home win for Chelsea. Betting on the Blues at Stamford Bridge has always been a safe option in the past decade, barring last season. United have a shambolic record in West London in recent years. ,

The last time Mourinho visited Stamford Bridge as an opposition manager, he managed to pick up a narrow 1-0 win with Inter. You can get Manchester United to win at 5/2 with Ladbrokes.

Chelsea have kept 2 clean sheets in a row and Manchester United have scored twice in their last three. Under 2.5 goals (5/6) seem like a good bet here.

Chelsea vs Manchester United prediction

This is a very difficult game to predict. Neither side will want to lose, but both will know the huge psychological boost that a win would give. The game could begin cagily and cautiously, but a goal early on in the second half will open things up. We could have a great game of football to watch if both sets of players are given the freedom to do as they like, but the pragmatic managers on the sidelines will not let that happen. In the end, the only separator that comes to mind is home advantage. Mourinho didn’t have a season to remember at Chelsea last season, and those nightmares could come back this Sunday at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea 2-1 Manchester United

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