The Red Devils are the form team heading into Sunday’s clash in West London, but their poor record at the Bridge speaks for itself and the Blues will be looking to bounce back from their embarrassing midweek loss against Roma.
With Manchester City positioned to run away with the league title, a draw would suit neither second-placed United or the Blues, who are further back in fourth, but a stalemate seems the likeliest conclusion for the weekend’s highlight clash.
Antonio Conte may be adamant that his job is secure, but the Italian tactician is surely feeling the heat after a 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Roma in the UEFA Champions League.
Their Premier League title defence hasn’t begun on the best of notes and a home defeat at the hands of the man he was hired to replace, Jose Mourinho, would be nothing short of disastrous.
Defensive midfielder N’Golo Kante has been missing for a while with a thigh complaint but the diminutive Frenchman will have to be risked by Conte as the Blues look susceptible in defence without him.
Their three-man defence has been leaking goals since the start of the season and Gary Cahill will be the one tasked with keeping United forward and former Chelsea man Romelu Lukaku quiet.
Up top, the onus will be on star winger Eden Hazard to be at his sublime best, while club-record signing Alvaro Morata will look to rediscover his goalscoring touch after suffering a slight drought of sorts.
United are likely to defend deep, as Mourinho has shown in recent ‘big’ games and breaking them down won’t be easy, but Hazard and Morata possess plenty of quality and will be backing themselves to come good.
Talking Corner: When you play against United, Man City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham it’s always a big game. This type of game must excite the players, to play in a fantastic atmosphere and to know a lot of people will watch the game around the world — Chelsea manager Antonio Conte
Injury concerns: N’golo Kante (thigh) and Victor Moses (hamstring).
Suspension Alert: None
No good news on the injury front for the Red Devils, as they continue to be without the services of Marouane Fellaini and Paul Pogba in midfield.
That means Nemanja Matic—returning to the Bridge for the first time since his summer move to United—will partner Ander Herrera in their two-man midfield pivot and the duo will have to be on their toes if it has to shackle Hazard and co.
Up front, the pressure is on forward Romelu Lukaku to deliver against a ‘top’ side and while the £75 million acquisition is a fine player, if he really wants to be in that elite bracket, a noteworthy performance against his former employers would be an ideal place to start that conversation.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s form has tailed off after a blistering start but the Armenian is expected to start against the Blues and his craftiness will come in handy if United are to nick a win.
Anthony Martial, who came off the bench to score an excellent winner against Tottenham, should make the starting XI and his clinical finishing will be key as chances will be at a premium with United expected to set up for a counter-attacking style.
Talking Corner: They haven’t started as well as they did last year, but Chelsea is a big team and they’ll certainly try to beat us. Both clubs are really great teams so it’ll certainly be a difficult match, but the most important thing is that we try to come away with a victory at the end of the day-Manchester United winger Anthony Martial (MUTV)
Injury concerns: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (knee), Marcos Rojo (knee), Paul Pogba (hamstring), Michael Carrick (illness/calf) and Marouane Fellaini (knee).
Suspension Alert: None