Premier League holders Chelsea will look to keep within reach of league leaders Manchester City when they host Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United this weekend. Both teams are capable of coming up with a strong result on their day, but the Blues could hold a slight advantage with just one defeat in their last 15 meetings versus United at Stamford Bridge. With the clash starting in less than 48 hours, Calcio Insider looks into a combined XI taking the strengths and weaknesses of either side into account.
Goalkeeper: David de Gea (Manchester United)
Both Thibaut Courtois and David de Gea has been top-class performers for Chelsea and Manchester United respectively but the latter makes the cut with eight clean sheets in just 10 outings this term. Courtois has kept just half the number of clean sheets.
Centre-backs: Phil Jones, Eric Bailly (both Manchester United) and Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)
Phil Jones and Eric Bailly have been the key towards United’s success with the latter ever-present in the league campaign. Likewise, Azpilicueta has been Antonio Conte’s goto man playing in the central defensive role primarily.
Wing-backs: Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young (both Manchester United)
Valencia is undoubtedly the better right wing-back for the game – considering Davide Zappacosta probably making the cut for the Blues. Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso was the standout left wing-back in the early part of the campaign, but Ashley Young has impressively revived his United career in the position.
Midfielders: Nemanja Matic (Manchester United) and N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)
Once, former teammates, Matic and Kante have emerged as key players for their respective sides this term. While Matic has been the lynchpin in the United midfield, the Blues have missed Kante of late with a muscular problem. The Frenchman is, however, in line to make a start this weekend.
Forwards: Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata (both Chelsea) and Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)
Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata have quickly formed an impressive partnership in the Blues attack front. Morata is on a mini goalscoring drought similar to United’s Romelu Lukaku but he makes the cut due to his extra agility on the field. Marcus Rashford has been Mourinho’s favourite pick ahead of Anthony Martial, and the Englishman is bound to make his tireless runs upfront.
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