Chelsea vs Manchester United preview, betting tips and prediction: Tight game expected with Mourinho back at the Bridge
Draw and under 2.5 goals @ 13/5 with Betfair
Chelsea to win 2-1 @ 9/1 with Betfair
Draw in both halves @ 7/2 with Betfair
Manchester United head to Chelsea on Sunday desperate not to see a repeat of the corresponding fixture last season. In Jose Mourinho return to Stamford Bridge after his second Blues departure, Antonio Conte’s men ripped his side to shreds in a symbolic 4-0 win that proved Chelsea had finally moved on from him and his successful career in West London. This time, United are in much better shape and Mourinho will be confident of a better result. We are backing a low scoring draw.
Mourinho is known for keeping it tight in big games, especially away from home. His idea is to frustrate rivals and beat the other teams to accumulate enough points for the title. He earned criticism for his tactics against Liverpool, and Chelsea have been just as open in some games recently.
Manchester United have started this season in excellent form. Mourinho laid the foundations in a tricky first year at Old Trafford, but looking at the big picture, things are starting to take shape. Sitting second in the league, the Red Devils are challenging their City rivals for a first title since 2013. Romelu Lukaku scored seven goals in his first eight games and it was all going well. Since the 0-0 draw at Anfield, though, the wheels have started to come off; they are no longer free scoring and have reverted to the awkward style of last season. Defeat at Huddersfield two weeks ago, their first of the campaign, was the low point, but Mourinho showed why he can be relied upon in big games by beating Tottenham 1-0 at Old Trafford.
It has been a strange campaign for Premier League champions Chelsea, too. After a summer of distractions and discontent, they got off to an awful start this season by losing 3-2 at home to Burnley. Back to back defeats to Manchester City and then pointless Crystal Palace sent the crisis alarms ringing again, but victories over Watford and Bournemouth have steadied the ship since. Even at this early stage of the season, some have said Chelsea’s title defence is already in tatters, but victory over United would leave them just two points behind their opponents and surely within a shout if City do stutter at some stage during the season.
The biggest news in a positive sense for Chelsea is the possible return of N’Golo Kante. The Frenchman has been out of action since picking up an injury on international duty at the start of the month. His absence has been a real body blow for Chelsea and has coincided with their struggles in the league. They also let a two-goal lead slip in the Champions League against Roma without him, too. His return will be vital.
United do have much deeper-running problems. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo are among the long-term absentees while Marouane Fellaini is unlikely to be fit either. Paul Pogba is believed to have a hamstring injury; he picked it up in the Champions League against FC Basel and rather worryingly for fans Mourinho has claimed he doesn’t know where he is weeks later. Pogba will not feature but Romelu Lukaku, Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic could all start against their former club.