A nervous Chelsea have their biggest test of the season so far

Last updated: November 1, 2017 by Leon Marshal

Game details

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Kick-off: Sunday, 16:30pm
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Coverage: Sky Sports
Home Team Form: WLLWW
Away Team Form: WWDLW
Last Meeting: Man United 2 – 0 Chelsea
Competition: Premier League

Kanté has been sorely missed at Chelsea during their last five games. A box-to-box midfielder with the tenacity to nick the ball and turn it over to the more creative players, he is the missing link that saw Chelsea capitulate against Roma on Tuesday in a disastrous match that ended in a 3-0 loss. Without him, Tiémoué Bakayoko totally flounders and Fabregas isn’t given the creative space he needs to set free attackers such as Morata and Pedro. But he should be back in time for their home game against Manchester United, which sees the return of the great Nemanja Matic to Stamford Bridge.

Without a doubt, the worst thing Chelsea did in the Summer transfer market was to give the towering Balkan to one of their biggest rivals. If United do end up bossing the midfield in this game, it will serve as a bitter punishment for such a colossally stupid decision. This could be exacerbated by Chelsea’s defensive woes, with Conte constantly tinkering the back three until they have become as useful in stopping goals as a sieve is for stopping a water leak. United, on the other hand, are nearly as water-tight as you can get, only conceding four goals the entire Premier League so far.

The Red Devils aren’t perfect however, suffering from their own issues, primarily upfront. Mourinho has been relying on Lukaku and Rashford at the top to whip in the goals, but recent results suggest that competition isn’t breeding any growth. Lukaku is in a particularly bad goal drought – especially for him – having missed the net in his last six games. Rashford, although useful in the Champions League match on Tuesday, hasn’t scored since 21st October either. Having been told not to take the penalty that went to Blind on Tuesday, Lukaku’s confidence may have also taken a knock, possibly resulting in a tight affair this weekend.

United’s recent Premier League form saw a shock loss to Huddersfield and a 0-0 draw to Liverpool. Perhaps its time for Chelsea to attempt a gegenpresse over catenaccio play, force Manchester United mistakes and pinch a lucky goal. Willian has to start ahead of Pedro, and Morata should rest ahead of the more competitive Batshauyi. If Kanté is back, look for his battles with Matic to see how this one will play out. A win could turn Chelsea’s season around: They just need to win this. Without Kanté they won’t.

Team News

Mourinho has defended his decision to stop Lukaku taking the penalty against Benfica, stating that: “The players respected my decision, end of story”

Phil Neville is still fuming over Chelsea’s decision to sell Matic, stating that: “Whoever made that decision needs sacking because it’s the poorest decision I have seen in the Premier League.”

It is worth noting how bad Manchester United have been at Stamford Bridge, winning one game since 2002… against nine men.

Thibaut Courtois gets how important this game is, stating that: “We must win games like these to remain at the top and close to the other ones. We will try to get the three points and will give our lives for it on Sunday.”

Expected Line-Ups:

Chelsea (5-2-3): Courtois; Azplicueta, Rüdiger, Luiz, Cahill, Alonso; Fabregas, Bakayoko; Willian, Morata, Hazard
Subs: Cabellero, Zappacosta, Christensen, Kenedy, Musonda, Pedro, Batshauyi
Injured: Moses
Doubtful: Kanté
Not available:
Man United (5-3-2): De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Lindelöf, Jones, Darmian; Herrera, Matic, Martial; Lukaku, Rashford
Subs: Romero, Bailly, Shaw, Mata, Blind, Young, Mkhitaryan
Injured: Lingard, Carrick, Pogba, Ibrahimovic, Rojo
Doubtful: Fellaini
Not available:

So Far This Season

. . .
Chelsea So Far This Season Man United So Far This Season
4th League Position 2nd
6 (4) Wins (away) 7 (2)
0 – 4 vs Stoke City Biggest Win 4 – 0 vs Crystal Palace
2 (2) Draws (away) 2 (0)
2 – 1 vs Crystal Palace Biggest Defeat 2 – 1 vs Huddersfield
Álvaro Morata (6) Top Goal Scorer Romelu Lukaku (7)
Y15, R3 Discipline Y14, R0
2 Failures to Score 1
7 Clean Sheets 3
50% Both Teams to Score Games 20%
60% Over 2.5 Goals 60%
40% Under 2.5 Goals 40%
  • When Man United score, the other team rarely does, but at the same token, Chelsea have only failed to score twice. Will there be goals from both teams this weekend?
  • Man United may have turned Old Trafford into a fortress but Chelsea can take consolation in the fact they have only won twice on the road.
  • With both teams featuring in games over 2.5 goals 60% of the time, will we see another goal-fest this weekend?
  • Chelsea already have a remarkable 3 red cards this season. Will Conte keep his team disciplined against Man United?

Conclusion & Betting Tips

As the home team, Chelsea have the advantage, with odds of 7/5 compared to Man United at odds of 2/1 at William Hill. These odds aren’t so great, so we would suggest combining it with something else in order to give it extra value. A great shout is Chelsea to win and both teams to score at 9/2 or the result but for Manchester at 5/1. Another great shout is to look at the under markets – with odds of 2/1 for under 1.5 goals and 6/10 for under 2.5. Our pick for the best bet, given his ability to win games, is Chelsea to win and Eden Hazard to score at 18/5. As always, take a look around to find the best bet for you. We would recommend waiting until closer to the game in order to know if Kanté will actually start!