Chelsea vs Manchester United
Sunday, October 23, 2016
After the draw at Anfield, Manchester United will be full of confidence after a much-needed confidence-boosting win against Fenerbahce.
Despite the level of the opposition, it’s always nice to be aware that although Mourinho set them up for a point a few days before, his side can still score goals when they’re deployed to do so.
However, will he keep the same tactics he used at Anfield for the trip to Chelsea?
There’s two points to discuss here.
First, for an argument as to why he shouldn’t, he knows this Chelsea team inside and out.
Since his departure, Chelsea haven’t changed the side drastically from when he was in charge this time last season.
So surely, Mourinho should be confident enough to understand the weaknesses of his former side, and use them to his advantage by aiming for three points.
However, the United manager may want to stray on the side of caution.
Two points, two draws from two games at Anfield and Stamford Bridge wouldn’t be disastrous, but it would show the tiniest lack of ambition when going into these big games.
Mourinho also has a selection dilemma ahead of such a big game. Daley Blind has been playing ahead of Luke Shaw for the last few Premier League games, although the Englishman returned on Thursday evening.
Will Henrikh Mkhitaryan be in the squad after being left out of the last two games? Mourinho’s been adamant that the Armenian isn’t at the fitness levels required to be up for selection, so there may be another chance for Ashley Young to play an important role.
Finally, the front three positions. Of course, Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be brought back into the side, but who’ll start on either side of him?
Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard could be favourites, however former Chelsea star Juan Mata could have something to say about that after impressing against Fenerbahce.
Mourinho will be judged after this game nevertheless. A win is needed, not just to show his ambition, but to also keep United in the title race.
Although it’s early, we’ve not seen a marker laid down by the Red Devils just yet, but Stamford Bridge would be the perfect opportunity to do so.
Manchester United could be without centre-back Chris Smalling after he was forced off at half-time against Fenerbahce with a muscle problem.
Henrikh Mikhtaryan is available after recovering from a thigh injury and could make the match day squad.
Chelsea will be without Branislav Ivanovic and Cesc Fabregas after both have been ruled out with muscle injuries.
Willian and Oscar will be up for selection after returning from compassionate leave, with John Terry expected to be fit following an ankle injury.
Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilacueta, Terry, Cahill, Alonso; Moses, Kante, Matic; Pedro, Hazard, Costa
Manchester United: De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Bailly, Blind; Herrera, Fellaini, Pogba; Lingard, Rashford, Ibrahimovic