Will Chelsea ‘babies’ make it a tearful reunion for Mourinho?
José Mourinho returns to his former club on Sunday and it will be fascinating to see how the Stamford Bridge faithful react.
The manner of his departure, after he lost the dressing room, was not taken well by some sections of supporters, who continued to chant his name but football fans tend to have short memories and the fact that he has moved to ‘arch-rivals’ Manchester United will be difficult to take for many.
United have had a good week, picking up a point at Anfield, then following that up with a routine 4-1 Europa League victory over Fenerbahce, while Chelsea will be looking to build on last weekend’s 3-0 victory over champions’ Leicester City.
Goal projections – Chelsea 1.50 Man Utd 1.09
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Team news & predicted starting line-ups for Chelsea v Man Utd
Mourinho continues to stick with his preferred 4-2-3-1 and he is likely to go with a similar line-up to the one that stifled Liverpool at Anfield on Monday.
Antonio Conte is again expected to opt for a 3-man defence, which means captain John Terry will once again have to settle for a place on the bench.
Chelsea fantasy player to watch
Diego Costa scored a stoppage time equaliser when the sides met at the Bridge in February and he was one of the players who was reported to have fuelled some of the dressing room unrest that eventually resulted in Mourinho’s departure from the Chelsea hot-seat.
The Spanish forward has been in menacing form this season, scoring 7 Premier League goals already, enough to earn him an impressive WhoScored rating of 7.6 but Mourinho is likely to have some special plans in mind for him, with a view to triggering that volatile temper.
Chelsea team news
Willian and Oscar, who both spent last weekend in Brazil for personal reasons, are expected to be available but Conte may well stick with the same line-up that comfortably defeated the Foxes.
Kurt Zouma and Marco van Ginkel are still unavailable but Cesc Fàbregas, John Obi Mikel and Branislav Ivanović could all feature, provided they shake off their respective injuries.
Predicted starting line-up for Chelsea
Man Utd fantasy player to watch
Zlatan Ibrahimović may have failed to score in his last 4 Premier League games but a potential match-up against his former team-mate, David Luiz, could be worth the entrance money alone.
The volatile Swede was sent off in a Champions League tie at Stamford Bridge in 2015 and he later accused the Chelsea players of behaving like ‘babies’, after they had surrounded the referee, following his foul on Oscar.
Martin Atkinson is likely to have his work cut out, as he attempts to keep a lid on things.
Man Utd team news
Mourinho often springs a surprise selection in big games but it’s difficult to see too many changes from the side that started at Anfield.
Perhaps Ashley Young is the most at risk of being axed, so Juan Mata, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard and Luke Shaw will all be hopeful of a start.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan is still lacking match fitness, while Phil Jones is out injured.
Predicted starting line-up for Man Utd
Will Chelsea give Mourinho the blues on his return to Stamford Bridge ?