The United boss will be out to avenge last season’s ‘humiliating’ loss.
The last time Jose Mourinho visited Stamford Bridge, it created a lot of buzz and all for the right reasons for the home side. How many times does it happen when a manager is up against his ex-club and loses 4-0? How often does even Mourinho lose without scoring? Well, he has some FRUSTRATING defeats in his memory but none like that drubbing from his old club and that is the sole reason why revenge will be sweeter on Sunday.
It created a lot of buzz, Mourinho had already lost to Pep Guardiola at home and the way Antonio Conte celebrated only added fuel to the fuming Mourinho. Regardless of the fact that he did outclass him at Old Trafford in the reverse fixture, earlier this year, but he could not get the revenge from the Italian. A thumping defeat so as to push him and the Blue fans who call their history’s best, ”The Judas”.
We all know what Jose Mourinho is made of, well he is the “Chosen One”, and he is full of positive arrogance and vengeance. All of the people or the clubs who did wrong with him, he did not forgive them. He came back haunting them like the Hound of Baskerville, like against Chelsea and Barcelona in 2010, he did prove his mettle and in order to get the better of Conte, Mourinho must take care of the following things.
The Playing XI
It is the most significant thing for a manager, and sadly for Mourinho, he has his favourite players on the hospital bed. In the last home win against Chelsea, Marouane Fellaini and Paul Pogba sat together in the heart of the midfield to protect the goal and initiate the attack in the last but though this time they both are on the injury list, making a steady recovery but not enough to be selected for the contest.
Another thing that everybody can expect is the formation of the play. Last time, he started with 3 men in the defensive area with 5 placed above them who had the role of transition of play from defence to attack real quick. Spearheading them were two players, who were a nightmare for the Chelsea defense and if Mourinho is to win then he should start with a similar formation and game style.
Get Matic to work his magic
Believe it or not, Nemanja Matic is the best holding midfielder in the league and Chelsea selling him to their direct rivals is so much hard to digest. Anyhow, Conte had bought Bakayoko but sold a player who is in his prime, let alone the player who did all of the dirty things to keep them defensively sound.
Returning to Stamford Bridge as an important player in Mourinho’s squad will be hard for Chelsea to digest and a great performance could be even harder. Matic has a sterling backline to defend and a pacey forward to supply. He has the right opportunity to prove the Italian, what a mistake it was to sell him.
Ander Herrera and Matteo Darmian are the players that every Chelsea fan hate, you wonder why? because they marked Hazard and Pedro so brilliantly that they could only create one chance and as a team, they did not register even a single shot. The two Chelsea players are really fast, superb dribblers and have a great eye for goal. United defenders will have to put in an extra shift if they are to ensure these two are not on song.
If Mourinho goes to be the typical himself, then it is most likely for us to see another masterclass of man marking, which in turn should be done to have an optimistic result.
Control the Beast
Alvaro Morata may not be in the same form as of his pre-injury but he is a constant threat for the United backline, especially on the aerial front. The Spaniard first came into limelight under Jose Mourinho himself, when the Portuguese was in Madrid and after the transfer saga of Lukaku-Morata, Alvaro will be keen to make the most of it.
Adding to it, last time United conceded in just over a minute and the vital piece was Diego Costa. It is evident that Morata is not making Blues miss his international teammate and it will be crucial for Mourinho to contain him.
The player in the hole
Mkhitaryan and Mata are undoubtedly in the elite list of #10s but the recent form of the team is affecting them really bad.
A Chelsea fan will know how vital this position is for Mourinho and once he gets a player of his demand, there is no way one who can stop him. It is going to be a fight between the United manager and Jose Mourinho, the former will look to win the game while Mourinho’s instincts will make him defend and draw. similar to what happened at Anfield last month.
There are only 2 players competent enough to play in the hole, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Juan Mata, but Jose Mourinho might not start with any of them. They both are not physically strong, yet they have the creativity but when up against David Luiz, Bakayoko and Rudiger, one has to be strong, which only Mkhitaryan comes close to. It will be interesting to see whether there will be a #10 or not. Jesse Lingard, too, could be assigned the duty.