Event: English Premier League (EPL)
Date: Sunday, 16th April 2017
KICK OFF: 4:00pm (Nigerian time)
Venue: Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, England
A potentially explosive clash anticipated here and of course not without the ‘grudge’ flavour in it. Table-toppers all season long or at least most part of it, Chelsea, will look to end Man United’s unbeaten run of of 21 Premier League games when the pair lock horns.
United have not lost in the league since a 4-0 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in October, winning 11 games and picking up 10 draws.
The match also sees Jose Mourinho host his former side for the first time as United boss, having lost both games to Chelsea already this season – conceding five goals and scoring none.
And while United are looking to end their worst-ever PL run against Chelsea (D4 L4), Antonio Conte’s side are chasing much more than just a rare double over Sunday’s opponents.
Victory at Old Trafford would take Conte one step closer to a league triumph in his first season in England, while it would also dent United’s hopes of a top-four finish.
Meanwhile,goalkeeper David de Gea is set to return to the Man United’s starting line-up.
The goalkeeper missed last weekend’s trip to Sunderland with a minor injury and was an unused substitute in the midweek trip to Anderlecht though rumour has it that he had a disagreement with Mourinho causing him to be left out.
Wayne Rooney (ankle) and Ashley Young (groin) trained earlier and so will be hoping to prove themselves fit for it but it seems unlikely. However, Phil Jones (foot), Chris Smalling (knee) and Juan Mata (groin) are all out.
On the other hand, Conte has a fully-fit squad for the trip to Old Trafford.
Wing-back Victor Moses returned from a toe injury against Bournemouth last Saturday and came through unscathed. Consequently, Conte could therefore name an unchanged side from the 3-1 win at Bournemouth.
KEY STATISTICS TO BEAR IN MIND AS THE COUNTDOWN TICKS AWAY
-Man United are without a win in eight Premier League games against Chelsea (D4 L4); their longest ever winless streak against a single opponent in the competition.
-Chelsea are looking to achieve a league double over Manchester United for the first time since the 2009/10 season under Carlo Ancelotti.
-A win for the away side would see Antonio Conte become the fourth Chelsea boss to record a Premier League double over the United, after Glenn Hoddle in 1993/94, Jose Mourinho in 2004/05 and the aforementioned Ancelotti in 2009/10.
-United have scored just three goals in their last 10 games against Chelsea in all competitions (an average of 0.3 per game).
-Defensive midfielder N’Golo Kante has netted each of Chelsea’s last two goals against the Reds in all competitions – they are his only goals in 34 appearances for Conte’s side.
-United’s Premier League unbeaten run now stands at 21 matches (W11 D10 L0) – the joint 10th longest unbeaten run in the history of the competition.
– Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been involved in 18 goals in his last 17 Premier League appearances (13 goals, 5 assists) for United.
FORM GUIDE (all competitions, most recent first)
Man Utd: DWDDWW
VERDICT: A feisty clash to come in light of what transpired in the (last two) previous meetings earlier on this season. Though at times, clashes like this that pumps up one’s adrenaline and expectation end up turning out an anti-climax, very boring. However, I don’t see that today. Considering what happened to Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge earlier this season, so he wouldn’t want a third time occurrence. Some fans had a bit of a go and he will make it difficult for his old club. Chelsea will likely drop points here but will NOT lose.
RECOMMENDED BET: X (full-time draw) or X2