Date: Sunday 16th April 2017
Venue: Old Trafford
Kick-off: 16:00 GMT
Before the engine has even had time to cool on the Spurs party bus after yesterday’s celebrations, this afternoon’s game sees us up against Manchester United for the third time this season. But are they a much improved Manchester United under Jose Mourinho? The unbeaten run might suggest that’s the case, until you google ‘draw’ and it throws up Mourinho’s latest excuse. They had managed to move up to the dizzy heights of 5th in the league before yesterday’s games, so that in itself will feel like progression, scintillating, attacking football as per ‘the United way’ though? Clearly they’re not there yet.
So what should we expect from them today then?
It’s Jose Mourinho and his side have already lost to us twice this season, so although he’s bound to mention at some point how much more tired they are, you can bet your arse he’ll be sending them out to ‘not lose’, whilst priming Ibrahimovic to take every opportunity to give Courtois a tough day.
As for Antonio Conte, I’d expect him to treat this game the same way he’s treated every game this season. He’ll send the players out there to win, he’ll leap around for 90 minutes like his shoes are on fire – and the rest is up to them.
Going into today’s game, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says “It’s not for no reason that they (Chelsea) are top of the league. It’s not just because they’re fresh but they have individual quality and they have collective quality. They have a certain style of play, they stick to it, they do it very well. For me, it is just a game. One more game. No difference for me.”
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte meanwhile, says “I have zero problems [with Mourinho]. It’s only a sporting competition between him and me. There is a game of football. I want to try and win with my team. He wants to try and win with his team. It’s normal to be at conflict during the game, but only a sporting conflict.”
For Manchester United, De Gea (hip), unsurprisingly is expected to start and both Wayne Rooney (ankle) and Ashley Young (groin) are also available.
For Chelsea, Antonio Conte has a full-strength squad and could name an unchanged side.
MANCHESTER UNITED (Possible line-up): De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Rojo, Blind; Herrera, Fellaini; Martial, Pogba, Mkhitaryan; Ibrahimovic
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Luiz; Moses, Kante, Matic, Alonso; Hazard, Costa, Pedro
Manchester United 0-0 Chelsea (28th December 2015)
MANCHESTER UNITED: WDDWD
~ Chelsea are unbeaten in 12 matches against Manchester United in all competitions
~ United are without a win at Old Trafford in the last four Premier League meetings
~ Manchester United have gone 21 Premier League games without defeat (W11, D10)
~ Manchester United have only lost once at home in 37 matches in all competitions
~ Manchester United have drawn five of their six Premier League home matches in 2017
~ Jose Mourinho has lost both games against Chelsea since taking charge at United
~ Chelsea have lost just once in 11 Premier League games
~ Chelsea have the division’s best away record, with 11 wins and 36 points from 16 matches.
~ Chelsea have conceded in nine consecutive Premier League games