It will be a battle of tactics, a battle of philosophies and a battle of answering the critics when Chelsea host Mourinho’s Manchester United this Sunday. The Portuguese doesn’t expect a very heart-warming welcome to his former club, but he would none the less want to make a point. Especially, as Manchester United’s record against the Blues in the past has been quite a one to forget.
3 key battles
Zlatan Ibrahimović vs John Terry
John Terry is highly expected to take his place at the centre. With Branislav Ivanovic not in Conte’s good books at the moment, the gaffer is expected to play his most experienced player at the heart of the defence considering his successful history against the club.
It will be a crucial battle between the two old generals of the game. While Terry is fully aware of his lack of aerial ability against the towering Swedish forward, he surely will be having other tricks up his sleeves, when they both meet. He might also be zonal marking Zlatan.
Zlatan has, however, not been the lethal striker this season. He was absolutely shut down by the Liverpool back line with him hardly getting any service. Expect the same this Sunday as Conte’s side will play deep and try to cut the supply.
Paul Pogba v N’Golo Kanté
When both the French internationals meet at Stamford Bridge, it will be battle to watch out for. Having shared the dressing room for France at the Euro 2016 tournament, they are very much aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
While Pogba will win almost all the aerial duels against his compatriot, Kanté is sure to outrun Pogba with his pace and agility. With the former having more of an attacking mindset player, Kanté will be busy through the match covering him. This would also give Nemanja Matic space to move up front to help Hazard and Willian.
Diego Costa v Eric Bailly
The list of intriguing battles does not seem to end. Things are bound to get dirty when Diego Costa will come up against Eric Bailly, as both are infamous for their aggression. Referees will be wary of the two especially during the aerial duels. Especially, after Costa’s eye shielding act of Laurent Koscielny in their match against Arsenal, the officials have been allegedly stringent particularly towards the Spaniard.
Bailly had shown a very disciplined performance against Liverpool by hardly putting a wrong foot and he will like to keep it that way.
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