Chelsea Vs Manchester United Match Preview
Chelsea will travel to Old Trafford aiming to take another stride towards the Premier League title. But they have to face a comparatively tuff challenge ahead as United are 21 games unbeaten(11 wins and 10 draws) after their 4-0 defeat against Chelsea in the reverse fixture.
The result will be very much important for both the teams for different reasons. While Chelsea will look to keep their 7 points lead over their London rivals Tottenham Hotspur at the top spot, Manchester United will wish to keep their Champions league hope alive.
Currently they are situated at 5th place 4 points behind Manchester City with a game in hand and a visit to Etihad left. There will also be pressure on the league leaders as Tottenham will face Bournemouth on Saturday and a win for them would reduce the gap to 4 points from Chelsea.
The clash is going to be more interesting as it will be the third meeting in this season between this two teams and Mourinho would be very much keen to avoid third straight defeat against his former club. In the reverse fixture of the league Chelsea thrashed Manchester United 4-0 at Stamford Bridge. In the FA Cup quarter final also Manchester United were thrown out of the tournament by the Kante’s strike.
This meeting will be the first time in Old Trafford this season.And while United are looking to end their worst-ever PL run against Chelsea (D4 L4), Antonio Conte’s side are chasing much more than just a rare double over Sunday’s opponents.A win for the away side would see Antonio Conte become the fourth Chelsea boss to record a Premier League double over the United, after Glenn Hoddle in 1993/94, Jose Mourinho in 2004/05 and the aforementioned Ancelotti in 2009/10.
This match will be a battle of two French Midfielders also. Paul Pogba has the last chance to prove himself more valuable than his countrymate Kante in this season. Kante netted twice against United this season. So Mourinho will have some special plans for him.
It would be a tactical battle between two managers also. Both of them are very much aware of their opponents.
Mourinho: “They have a certain style of play. They stick to it, they do it very well.”
“Not every team defends with 11 players and they defend with 11 players. Not every team is so objective in their counter-attacks.”
“They are very objective in the counter-attack and they have individual players out of the context of the game that can also resolve the problems, so they are a very strong team.”
“First of all, some guys are fresh, some guys are tired,” said Mourinho. “That’s very important in football.”
But for some reason they are top of the league, it’s not just because they are fresh. It’s also because they have individual quality and they have collective quality.”
When he was asked about the emotional attachments in this match he said “You say that word emotion”, “For me, it is just a game. One more game. No difference for me, not at all.” This despite having also been taunted by some Chelsea fans with chants of “You’re not special any more” and “It’s all your fault” – a reference to the club’s lack of European football, having finished 10th last season after Mourinho’s sacking in December 2015.
Conte: “I think it is a game like another game. The most important is the three points, we face a really strong team.”
“There are very strong physically and technically. We must pay great attention, they want to find a place in the next CL and fight for the top four.”
On United targeting Hazard in the FA Cup match,“It is very difficult to prepare for this type of situation, we are preparing tactically for this game.”
“This game will be very tough for both teams, the result is very important for us and them. But I haven’t prepared for this type of situation.”On the time of playing United at this time of the season, he said,“I don’t know, I can tell you after a good result.”
“This part of the season it is very difficult if there is the right moment to play another team. The three points are very important and I’m sure they want to play a good game at home and beat us.”
On having an advantage of not playing in Europe he said”I listen to this story from when I was the coach in Juventus in my first season. I can tell you why Liverpool is the same.”
“For sure we have more time to work with the team, it is my first season with a new club and it is important.”
“If this is the only reason to stay on top of the table it is a big mistake. We are doing a great job and we hope to play in a great competition like Champions League.”On his relationship with Mourinho he said, “I don’t see the problem, it is a sporting competition.”
“He wants to win with his team, me with mine. It is only a sporting conflict.”On the reaction of Mourinho’s statement
“No reaction, he won a lot with this team, this club has always shown him great respect for his past, if you remember I thought the same and it doesn’t change.”“I have great respect for his history of this club.”
Manchester United: David de Gea is set to return to the Manchester United’s starting line-up against leaders Chelsea. The goalkeeper missed last weekend’s trip to Sunderland with a minor injury and was an unused substitute in the midweek trip to Anderlecht.
Wayne Rooney (ankle) and Ashley Young (groin) trained before that match so will be hoping to prove themselves fit for Sunday, but Phil Jones (foot), Chris Smalling (knee) and Juan Mata (groin) are out.
Potential starting XI: De Gea; Darmian, Bailly, Rojo, Shaw; Fellaini, Herrera, Pogba; Lingard, Ibrahimovic, Mkhitaryan
Chelsea: Conte should have a fully-fit squad for the trip to Old Trafford.
Wing-back Victor Moses returned from a toe injury against Bournemouth last Saturday and came through unscathed. Conte could therefore name an unchanged side from the 3-1 win at Dean Court.
Potential starting XI: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Kante, Matic, Alonso; Pedro, Costa, Hazard.
Date: Sunday, 16th April.
Time: 16:00 GMT, 11:00 ET, 20:30 IST
TV Channels: Sky Sports 1(UK), NBCSN/ Telemundo(US), Star Sports Select HD1 (India)
Online Stream: Sky Go, NBC Sports Live, Ronaldo7.net
Head to Head Stats
Games played: 176
Manchester United win: 75
Manchester United scored: 268 goals
Chelsea scored: 204 goals