ADAM Goodwin (@agjournalism) takes a view on the Super Sunday's contest between Chelsea and Manchester United.
Chelsea vs Manchester United | Sunday 5th November 2017, 12sk:00 | BT Sport
A truly super Sunday will be rounded off by this clash of the Titans, as Chelsea take on Manchester United. Jose Mourinho will return to his former stomping ground as he seeks vengeance from the 4-0 defeat his side suffered in this fixture last season.
Antonio Conte’s side were beaten 3-0 in Rome on Tuesday and the Italian has said that the time has come for his Chelsea players “to prove they are winners or losers.” Some of their defending against Roma was comical and they’ll need to sharpen up if they’re to stop Mourinho’s Manchester United.
Chelsea boast the return of a talisman
After going four games unbeaten, Antonio Conte will have though that he might have silenced some of his critics. But that midweek Champions League defeat has raked up more rumours that his players aren’t happy and that his job could be on the line if the poor results continue. PSG are thought to be interested in Conte but, for the time being, he will remain in the Chelsea dugout.
Something that might put a smile on Chelsea fans’ faces is the likely return of N’Golo Kante this weekend. The French midfielder has been sidelined for six weeks with a hamstring injury and is set be “risked” by Conte at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Kante made a combined total of 165 tackles and interceptions last season and, along with his defensive contributions, he had an 89% pass completion throughout the 2016/17 season – he’s been missed in the centre of midfield.
Pragmatism over style points for Jose
It’d be naïve of anyone to think that Jose Mourinho will change his style of play ahead of this game. He’ll do what he does in most of the big games and look to frustrate Chelsea, just as he did against Liverpool and Tottenham this season, and Manchester City last season.
He ensured that Eden Hazard was man-marked in the last fixture between these two and I can see him doing something similar on Sunday. I wouldn’t expect there to be goals in this game, with Mourinho likely to be happy with a 0-0.
Just like Mourinho, Romelu Lukaku will face his former employers this Sunday. The Belgian striker played just ten games for the Blues, without even scoring a goal. He’s scored seven in his first ten games for Manchester United since joining them, and he’ll be hoping to prove to the Chelsea board that it was the wrong decision for them to sell him back in 2014.
As I mentioned earlier, Mourinho will be happy to shut-up-shop and stop Chelsea from creating many chances at Stamford Bridge. United have only scored two goals in their last three games and with Romelu Lukaku on a six-game goal drought, I think goals will be at a premium. Under 2.5 goals is 17/25 with Marathon and with Jose’s recent record in big games, this looks great value.
Chelsea v Manchester United – under 2.5 goals (17/25 Marathon)