It will be a huge battle when Jose Mourinho returns to his old club on Sunday. Antonio Conte has been quite successful in pulling out Chelsea from the deep hole Mourinho had led the Blues into, in his previous season as their manager.
After their convincing win over Leicester City last weekend, Conte’s men have been highly praised for their performance. Young players like Victor Moses and Nathaniel Chalobah, who didn’t experience many first team chances under Mourinho, are now performing well under Conte in the first team.
The good thing is, Chelsea have not lost any of their last 7 games against United, while United have lost more Premier League fixtures against Chelsea than any other club.
Conte’s main focus has been revamping his defence. After failing against top teams like Liverpool and Arsenal, Conte’s 3 at the back policy looks to have brought out some effect in their match against defending champions Leicester City. With Cesar Azpilicueta, Gary Cahill and David Luiz at the back, Conte has clearly stated what he expects from the back line.
Conte is already without Branislav Ivanovic and Kurt Zouma. Against Manchester United, Conte is expected to bring in John Terry at the back, pushing Cesar Azpilicueta up at the wing back with Marcos Alonso. With the experienced trio of Terry, Cahill and Luiz at the back, Chelsea would be more than assured against United.
With the return of Willian on the flanks, Conte has a huge boost against United. Although Mourinho’s ‘park the bus’ philosophy against Liverpool did the trick disallowing the likes of Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mane to create any real danger, he wouldn’t be playing for a draw at the Stamford Bridge.
With Fabregas out with muscle injury, who anyway seems to have lost the manager’s confidence, Conte will expectantly put in the duo of Nemanja Matic and N’Golo Kanté in the middle after their brilliant performance against Leicester. With the option of Pedro on the bench, Chelsea look quite comfortable in that position with little injuries.
Diego Costa has got back the form he had in their league winning season. Currently the highest scorer in the Premier League with 7 goals in the opening 8 games, there is no doubt who will start at the front. His replacement at Chelsea, Michy Batshuayi, is still gaining Premier League experience. He has scored 1 goal as of now.