Chelsea v Manchester United preview: Jose Mourinho makes Stamford Bridge return

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Chelsea v Manchester United preview: Jose Mourinho makes Stamford Bridge return

Chelsea insist John Terry has fully recovered from an ankle injury but it remains to be seen whether he starts, having begun on the bench last weekend.

Willian and Oscar have returned to training after compassionate leave but Cesc Fabregas and Branislav Ivanovic are again out with muscle injuries.

Manchester United will assess Chris Smalling, who was forced off against Fenerbahce with a muscle problem.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan has recovered from a thigh problem and may be available.

MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTES

Steve Wilson: “In 2004, Chelsea versus Manchester United was Jose Mourinho’s first ever game in English football.

“In 2016 it may have been the first date which Mourinho scribbled into his diary when the new fixture list was unveiled.

“Mourinho in west London: it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Two spells, seven major trophies, two sackings.

“There were players who loved him, and players who fell out of love with him. After the ugly ending 10 months ago, Chelsea’s fans booed those who they felt had betrayed him – and many of those players are still at the club.

“Beating Mourinho may be the best way, perhaps the only way, for Antonio Conte to help those fans move on.”

WHAT THE MANAGERS SAY

Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte: “I want to see progress on Sunday compared with the Liverpool and Arsenal games and I am confident I will.

“It will be a tactical game on Sunday but the fans have a big part to play and can be an advantage.

“I have great respect for [Jose] Mourinho. He deserves a good reception. He was an important man for Chelsea and wrote part of the club’s story.”

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho: “I don’t have to analyse [Chelsea’s] start to the season but, when you look at the table and you see where they are, in the middle positions, it cannot be bad.

“I knew that working in England, staying in the Premier League, I would, sooner or later, have to play against Chelsea and I would have to go to Stamford Bridge. The computer has decided that I have to go now, so we go.”

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 10 league and cup games against Manchester United (W5, D5).
  • The Red Devils’ only Premier League win at Stamford Bridge since 2002 came in October 2012.
  • Victory would give Chelsea their 50th win against Manchester United in all competitions.
  • There have been four red cards shown in the last six Premier League meetings at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea

  • The Blues could keep three consecutive Premier League clean sheets for the first time since April 2015 under Jose Mourinho.
  • Chelsea have won three of their last four Premier League home matches, as many as in their previous 14 games at Stamford Bridge.
  • Diego Costa has had a hand in 50 Premier League goals for Chelsea (39 goals, 11 assists) in just 62 games.
  • Nemanja Matic has registered three assists in eight Premier League games this season – compared to just two in 33 matches last term.
  • The only previous competitive game between sides managed by Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte was on 13 December 2009, when Mourinho’s Inter were held to a 1-1 draw by Atalanta. However, neither coach was on the bench as both were serving touchline bans.

Manchester United

  • The Red Devils have not won a Premier League game in London since May 2015, when they beat Crystal Palace 2-1.
  • They could draw three successive top-flight games for the first time since October 2010.
  • After scoring with four of his first 15 shots in the Premier League, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has failed to find the net with any of his last 26.
  • Ibrahimovic scored in both of his appearances for Paris St-Germain against Chelsea in last season’s Champions League.
  • Jose Mourinho has lost two of his first eight top-flight matches as Manchester United manager. His third defeat as Chelsea boss came in his 64th Premier League fixture.