Chelsea welcome Manchester United to Old Trafford for their first Premier League game following the international break. Maurizio Sarri’s side have not put a foot wrong since the Community Shield defeat at the hands of Manchester City and their unbeaten run sees them within goal difference off table-toppers Manchester City.

On the contrary, United have experienced one of their most disappointing starts to a Premier League campaign and they have managed to win just half of their opening eight matches this term. Jose Mourinho’s men are presently eighth on the Premier League standings with a seven-point deficit to their cross-town rivals and league leaders.

Previous meeting:

The last encounter between the sides was in the FA Cup final in May where the Blues won by a 1-0 scoreline. The sole goal was scored by Eden Hazard in the 22nd minute from the penalty spot and the Blues thereafter held onto the advantage with a defensive-minded game which worked in their favour. The last league game at Stamford Bridge saw the hosts come up triumphs by the same scoreline. Alvaro Morata scored off a header during the early stages of the second half.

Players to watch for:

Eden Hazard – Chelsea: The Belgium international has looked a different player since returning from the summer World Cup and this has largely been attributed to the free role offered by new boss Sarri. Unlike in recent seasons, Hazard has been relieved of the defensive duties on hand and this has seen him flourish with seven goals and three assists already in the top-flight. As such, he has managed to contribute a goal or an assist in seven of the eight league matches this term and he should relish the opportunity of testing a fragile-looking United backline this weekend. United have already conceded 14 goals in the top-flight which is already half of the tally shipped during the course of the previous campaign.

Romelu Lukaku – Manchester United: Hazard’s compatriot Lukaku has started the season in a decent fashion with four league goals but there remains a sense of frustration especially with his finishing. Lukaku has been guilty of missing clear-cut chances in nearly half of the club’s matches this campaign and he is presently on a lean run after drawn blank in six straight games across all competitions. Despite this, there remains a motivation factor for Lukaku whenever he is up against his former employers and he has another opportunity to find the scoresheet against them whilst ending the goal drought of his own. Lukaku scored in one of the three meetings against Chelsea at Old Trafford last term.

Prediction:

Chelsea 2-0 Manchester United

 

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