Manchester United return from Champions League midweek to face Chelsea in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
We start the weekend in second place, five points behind leaders Manchester City and four ahead of Chelsea.
The defending Premier League champions are coming off the back of a 3-0 hammering at AS Roma in the Champions League on Tuesday night, whilst we were 2-0 winners over Benfica at the same time.
Here’s the team I think Jose Mourinho will field at his former club:
David de Gea
The Spaniard has been in excellent form again this season and made two outstanding saves versus Benfica midweek. David de Gea can be expected to be tested by the likes of Alvaro Morata and Eden Hazard on Sunday.
Antonio Valencia may not be able to venture forward too far in this one as both Eden Hazard and Marcus Alonso are excellent attacking players down Chelsea’s left. The former loves to drift inside as well as attacking the flank, so Valencia will need support from midfield, whilst Alonso fires crosses in from the left and gets among the goals.
The Ivorian looked a little off his game midweek, potentially not fully match fit after a recent injury so I hope the 90 minutes versus Benfica has done Eric Bailly the world of good as he’s capable of shutting out Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata if fully fit.
Another defender who has had a knock or two of late is Phil Jones, but the centre-back is fit to face Chelsea on Sunday. Jones has been making some good blocks and interceptions this season and I think he’ll get the nod ahead of Chris Smalling.
The Italian started against Chelsea at Old Trafford earlier this year and I think Matteo Darmian will start on Sunday to keep Pedro quiet down the right wing. The Spaniard has been involved in more goals than any other Chelsea player this season and Darmian is a good man marker to counter this.
Facing his former club for the first time, Nemanja Matic has been instrumental in our midfield this season in helping to win the ball, maintain possession and start attacks. N’Golo Kante may be back for Chelsea which should make for an intriguing midfield battle.
A player who can offer similar levels of energy and stamina to Kante in our midfield is Ander Herrera. The Spaniard is set to start unless there’s an unlikely return for either Paul Pogba or Maourane Fellaini. Herrera hasn’t offered much going forward of late but will be busy defensively in this one with Hazard and Pedro drifting inside and either Tiemoue Bakayoko or Cesc Fabregas starting in the middle for Chelsea.
Jesse Lingard picked up a knock midweek and hasn’t been confirmed whether he’s fit to start this one. I don’t think Juan Mata to be named in Mourinho’s eleven either so I think the pace of Ashley Young down the right wing has the potential to get in behind Marcos Alonso and cause the Chelsea back three problems.
Although Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s form has dried up of late I still think Mourinho prefers him to Juan Mata in the number 10 role. The Armenian hasn’t been creating too much of late and should N’Golo Kante be fit then he’ll have a difficult time again on Sunday. However, if he’s on his game then the Chelsea defence has been all over the place at times this season so there could be spaces available for Mkhitaryan to exploit.
The pace of either Marcus Rashford or Anthony Martial will hopefully cause numerous problems for the Chelsea defence. Both like to run at defenders, cut inside and get shots in on goal. I think we’ll see Rashford start with Martial introduced in the second half.
Romelu Lukaku went through the whole of October without scoring a goal for us but should have an excellent opportunity to get back on the scoresheet to start November when he faces his former club in two days’ time. David Luiz is a liability at the back and poor at dealing with crosses so I’m confident Lukaku can nod at least one in.
Here is how Jose Mourinho’s team line up on paper: