Manchester United v Chelsea
Sunday 27th October
Unquestionably the biggest match of the weekend, Manchester United play host to a rampant Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. Though traditionally one of the titanic Premier League fixtures, this is not the clash of title rivals that we’ve seen in years gone by.
A traditionally tight affair, goals are generally at a premium when these two meet. However, with Van Gaal’s United side so lax at the back and Chelsea now free flowing in the attack, that could be subject to change.
In all competitions, Chelsea have come out victors in four of the last six meetings. Undefeated in the league this season and five points clear at the top of the table, they are unquestionably the favourites and form team.
Meanwhile United, struggling for real consistency have at least managed to improve their home form with three wins on the bounce at Old Trafford.
Manchester United- DWLWWD
Last Time Around
Man United 0-0 Chelsea, October 2013
Falcao v Hazard
Injury, fitness and jet lag have all conspired to strip Radamel Falcao (£14.2m, GW8 90 pts) of a dream start, but there is no denying his quality. With a goal and two assists already to his name he’s hardly underperformed, but the world awaits the return of the explosive goalscoring machine we saw at Atlético Madrid. A player for the big occasion, this game may be the time and place for his second coming.
Chelsea have plenty of injury woes in the frontline with Costa, Remy and Drogba all doubts for this fixture. In any case, Chelsea have the benefit of a free scoring midfield and Eden Hazard (£13.6m, GW8 430 pts) poses a particular threat in this respect. The Belgian has had a positive start to the campaign without really hitting the lofty heights he’s capable of. His personal account currently stands at two assists and two goals; expect him to add to that on Sunday.
Di Maria v Fabregas
The creative heartbeats of each side, both arrived on English shores this season with large transfer fees and even bigger reputations. Fabregas (£13.3m, GW8 1450 pts) has reacquainted himself with the Premier League and bedded into the side seamlessly; he is arguably the standout midfield player this season, clocking a goal and seven assists in eight games.
Di María (£13.6m, GW8 1380 pts) has fared just as well, if not better, notching three goals and four assists in a mere six appearances. The Argentine has been at the core of every positive display from United so far this campaign and his teammates will be reliant on his dynamism and creativity if they’re to catch a break against this Chelsea defence.
Though a little top heavy, United do possess undoubted quality. It’s their capacity to strike the right balance that will determine their chances for success on Sunday.
Mourinho, on the on the other hand, appears to have assembled the final components for his Chelsea 2.0 model, but it’s the absence of a vital cog in Diego Costa that could prove the defining narrative of this fixture.