The Premier League is back with a bang this weekend after two weeks off due to another international break. After a World Cup summer, it’s only mid-October and the players have already been sent out for two separate so-called breaks and we all wonder whether too much is demanded of footballers.
Manchester United travel to Stamford Bridge on Saturday to face a high-flying Chelsea side playing easy-on-the-eye football under Maurizio Sarri. Their season so far has been quite a contrast to that of United, with the Blues sitting second and looking set for a title charge with current champions Manchester City and last season’s Champions League finalists Liverpool.
The Reds are down in eight after a stuttering start to the campaign, which sees under-pressure manager Jose Mourinho clinging on to his job. It will be interesting to see how Chelsea fans react to his return to Stamford Bridge.
Date: Saturday, October 20
TV Info: Sky Sports Premier League
Stream: Sky Go
Match Odds – via Oddschecker.com
Chelsea win: 19/25
Manchester United win: 17/4
A defeat against his former club will increase the scrutiny on Mourinho, but this a man who made a name for himself in football by winning big matches. United should aim to build on the dramatic comeback win against Newcastle, which undoubtedly bought ‘The Special One’ more time in the Old Trafford hot seat. Losing here will set us up horribly for Tuesday night’s UEFA Champions League encounter against Serie A champions Juventus.
It doesn’t help that United have a poor record away at Chelsea, as stated by ESPN’s Alex Shaw:
Any Mourinho replacement will probably want to wait until Chelsea away. Man United record at Stamford Bridge in PL since 2002:
*an offside winner against 9 men.
— Alex Shaw (@AlexShawESPN) October 6, 2018
Chelsea, on the other hand, are enjoying life under Sarri. It seems they easily get sick of managers at Stamford Bridge, but take to new arrivals as quick as they show them the door.
There’s no reason to believe it will be any different for the Italian coach.
However, he has the Blues playing attractive, attacking football and he’s certainly getting the best out of talisman Eden Hazard.
Sarri when Eden hazard finally gets his long overdue move to Real Madrid pic.twitter.com/v13RacnXtb
— – (@returningLuke) October 18, 2018
How United plan to stop Hazard remains to be seen and it should have a say in what way the game goes, though Mourinho has previously asked Ander Herrera to man-mark the Belgian. The Reds will also need to keep a close eye on Jorginho in midfield. He’s adapted to life in England very quickly and it’s no wonder so many top clubs were chasing his signature.
Chelsea have taken 10 points from a possible 12 at home this season, explaining why the London club are favourites ahead of the clash.
Mourinho has a big task on his hands.
Scoreline prediction: Chelsea 1-1 Manchester United