Two of the Premier League’s elite clubs will lock horns this Sunday at Old Trafford as Manchester United welcome pacesetters Chelsea on game-week 9. There is another fierce battle involved on the touchline as well with Louis Van Gaal set to entertain his former apprentice Jose Mourinho in what is expected to be an intriguing battle of ‘footballing philosophies‘. The home side came away salvaging a 2-2 draw at the Hawthorns last weekend but their home form has been one of the few positives this season as Man United have managed to win 3 successive games at home, though they will face the sternest test of all come Sunday afternoon in the shape of Chelsea, who Louis Van Gaal described as ‘another biscuit’ acknowledging their superior quality and depth to the rest of England.
The West London outfit have made a brilliant start to the league with an astounding 7 wins and 1 draw (at champions Man City) from 8 games and will travel to the red half of Manchester brimming with confidence and understandably so. With a 5-point lead at the summit, Jose Mourinho is expected to set his team up for a win at Old Trafford this time unlike last season where the Blues ground out a 0-0 stalemate. In midweek, Jose Mourinho’s side got the job done in the Champions League after completing a 6-0 rout of Maribor, cementing the top spot in their group. It will be interesting to see how his rounded Chelsea will line-up after the injury concerns surrounding his forwards and the top heavy Manchester United side they will be facing, this time.
Both summer imports were substituted during the 2-2 draw at West Brom on Monday but are available to take on the league leaders at Old Trafford this weekend.
“Ander was already fit for the last game and, with Di Maria, I said after the match that normally it [the injury] should not be so heavy and it’s not heavy,” stated van Gaal at his pre-match press conference at the Aon Training Complex.
“So he has trained. It was only the first day that he didn’t train so he has trained from Thursday, no problem. I’m sorry to say no other players are returning. Even, for example, I let Michael Carrick play this evening in London for the reserves [at West Ham] because I believe that he needs that. He needs to play matches, especially when you are five months injured. He told me it [will be] his first appearance in the second team.
“Antonio Valencia and Jonny Evans are not fit enough, I think,” added the boss on his pre-match press conference.
Striker Diego Costa could return from a hamstring injury and illness for Chelsea’s Premier League clash at Manchester United on Sunday, as he has got a ‘little chance’ to do so according to Jose. Fellow forward Loïc Rémy is out, while midfielders John Obi Mikel (foot) and Ramires (groin) should be available, along with André Schürrle, who has recovered from illness. Full-back César Azpilicueta is suspended for the first of three games following his dismissal at Crystal Palace last weekend.
Possible Starting XIs
Man Utd (Possible, 4-1-3-2): De Gea; Rafael, Jones, Rojo, Shaw; Blind; Young, Mata, Di María; Falcao, Van Persie.
Chelsea (Possible, 4-2-3-1): Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Luis; Fabregas, Matic; Schürrle, Oscar, Hazard; Drogba.
- Manchester United have won three of their last 4 home games – (4-0 v QPR, 2-1 West Ham, 2-1 v Everton), scoring 8 and conceding just 2.
- Chelsea have accumulated 22 points so far, 5 more than at this stage last season.
- Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 6 games against the home side, stretching back to October 2012.
- David De Gea could keep his 50th clean sheet for United during Sunday’s match. He’s conceded 12 in the last 7 games against Chelsea though with a rare clean sheet he managed to keep in the same fixture, a year back.
Angel Di Maria – Manchester United
Angel Di Maria has been the best signing for Louis Van Gaal’s side, at least statistically, as the former Real Madrid midfielder has already contributed to 7 of the home side’s 15 goals (4 assists and 3 goals). This shows the impact on his new side, from an attacking point of view. With an average pass length of 22 meters and a pass success rate of 81%, Di Maria has continued from where he left off last season, proving to be the breath of fresh air down that left flank, the side Manchester United were desperately craving for. With the ability to turn up during the big games as he famously did in the European cup final last season and in so many other crunch ties for Los Blancos, it is of little doubt that the Argentine can make the difference for the Red Devils in Sunday’s headline clash against Chelsea.
Oscar – Chelsea
Chelsea’s little Brazilian Oscar has got so much in his locker that the manager preferred him to stay in the side over Juan Mata, who is now plying his trade for Sunday’s opposition Manchester United. With 2 goals to his name that includes the spectacular free kick last week at Selhurst Park, Oscar has proved he has the all-round ability to help his side in tough scenarios. The midfielder enjoys a remarkable passing accuracy of 86% and a commendable ratio of shots on target – with 58% of his shots been hit goalwards. His work rate being his key asset, Oscar has managed to be involved in 3 defensive actions per game, which makes him a vital player for the Blues to get a positive result come Sunday.
New signing Cesc Fabregas has been among the assists, as we know, the 27-year old has already set up 6 goals in the league – in 8 appearances. I don’t see why he can’t add to his tally at Old Trafford, which is now priced at 4.00 on Tailorbet. To create a bet, you can click the link below.
There should be goals, quite a few, as both sides will be going for the win. Chelsea’s defensive maturity though, should see them through.