Sunday 23rd October. 4PM. Sky Sports 1
Another weekend serves up another heavyweight clash from the world’s most exciting league as the two most successful clubs of the Premier League era face off in what should be an intense battle at the Bridge.
The return of Jose Mourinho to his former club is set to inject another source of excitement, but neither party can afford to be sentimental. Given their respective starts, points are absolutely vital. Whatever happens, it should be better than Monday’s dour clash at Anfield.
Bring it on.
Conte To Continue 3-4-3
Slowly but surely, Antonio Conte is putting his plan into action at Stamford Bridge, with the switch to 3-4-3 already looking like a potential winner for the Blues. However, it hasn’t been a plain sailing start for the Italian in English football, so a win against the Red Devils would be huge.
Chelsea can take more positives than negatives from the opening weeks of the season. In particular, a return to form for Eden Hazard and Diego Costa is a massive source of confidence for the Blues. Moreover, in spite of their early wobble, the fact they enter the weekend just three points off the leaders is another huge plus point.
Conte does face a few headaches as Brazilian duo Oscar and Willian may be absent again due to respective cases of compassionate leave. John Terry is back in contention, however, although he’s likely to start on the bench.
Chelsea looked out of their depth against Arsenal, but have improved since then and looked assured against champions Leicester last Saturday. If they perform like that again,they’ll have every chance of a positive outcome.
Will Jose Park The Bus?
After Monday night’s showing at Anfield, it would appear that Mourinho has no problem with abandoning the typical Red Devils philosophy if it means getting points. A draw would be another acceptable result at Stamford Bridge but, make no mistake, he’d love to get three against his former employers.
Thursday’s Europa League performance against Fenerbahce was a little more like what is expected from Manchester United, and the away fans will be hoping that Paul Pogba’s two goals will inspire the Frenchman to start proving his worth here.
This is still very much a work in progress for Mourinho, but he has already established a strong defensive unit, which was underlined by Ander Herrera’s disciplined display at Anfield; the Spaniard could be crucial for the visitors once again while David De Gea should provide a reliable force between the sticks once more.
This is another difficult challenge for United, but Mourinho knows the Blues better than anyone. Can he mastermind a win to get their bid for Champions League football? One way or the other, it should be a cracking encounter.
Chelsea v Manchester United Betting
With the encounter taking place at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea are the pre-game favourites at 5/4 with Bet365. The visitors can be backed at 5/2, however, while the draw is available at 12/5.
Manchester United will probably show more attacking urgency than they did on Monday night, but Mourinho will almost certainly be looking to keep this one tight. After the way they were destroyed by Arsenal a few weeks ago, Chelsea may have a similar plan too.
It should be more interesting than United’s last Premier League game, but we think it will be another game that offers intrigue over entertainment. We’re backing under 2.25 goals in the knowledge that there’s a chance to grab a half win too.
Chances may be few and far between, but both clubs will probably need to rely on their goalkeeper at some stage. Thankfully for either manager, those No.1s are more than ready to answer the call.
With this in mind, as an outside bet, we’re backing either custodian to pick up the Man of the Match award.