The Premier League will return this weekend with one of the highlight games of the season when Chelsea host Manchester United. Here are the Three Keys to this fixture.
Hazard v Mourinho
Eden Hazard is proving absolutely crucial for Chelsea and recent performances are evidence to that. The Belgian maestro has already scored seven Premier League goals this season, with three assists on top of that. This makes him the first player to record an involvement in ten Premier League goals in the current season. This is despite the fact that he has only started in six of the eight games played so far. Hazard’s job will be made easier by Manchester United’s atrocious defensive form and we think he will have a big say in the outcome of this fixture.
Jose Mourinho, on the other hand, knows too well how to defend against the Belgian. All their defensive issues aside, Mourinho’s reputation for keeping lethal players at bay is unmatched. He will be facing his former club at a time when they are enjoying a good run of form. Therefore, he will need to apply breaks on Hazard to stand a fair chance of coming out of this fixture with something. Man marking the diminutive playmaker has worked in the past, though it is a risky approach. He will want to have his defenders closer to each other and force Hazard out wide.
Sarri ball v Mourinho’s bus
The arrival of Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea brought about sudden changes to the way they play and you can’t help but notice how much they like to keep the ball. The arrival of Jorghino and David Luiz’s return to the starting line up has made the transition very easy. The Blues like to win the ball back quickly whists they press very high up the pitch with the defenders equally asked to move with the rest of the team. This new style has allowed Chelsea forwards, and particularly Hazard, unparalleled freedom to cause havoc to opposition defenders.
Manchester United for their part will be very pragmatic in their approach as is typical with their coach. They will not want to compete with Chelsea’s midfield for the ball as they are not very settled at the moment. This has always come at a cost as they are less entertaining but very effective in eliminating the opposition’s threat. On occasion, they have come out on top this way as they have players to launch quick counter attacks. The Portuguese has come under sharp criticism in the past for this, but he has never shied away from doing what he must.
Chelsea’s brilliant form v United’ lackluster form
Chelsea are in high spirits heading into this fixture as one of the three sides yet to lose a match in the Premier League so far alongside Liverpool and Manchester City. Their unbeaten run has seen them manage two draws against West Ham and Liverpool and they will relish the chance to move ahead of their title rivals. It must not be lost that the hosts have an incredible home record against the visitors, who last won here in 2012.
Manchester United have lost away to both Brighton and West Ham so far this season, conceding three times in both of those games. Interestingly too, Mourinho has lost in four of his last five away games against sides he’s formerly managed. Under the prevailing circumstances, it will be extremely hard to get something out of a Chelsea side trying to pull away from the park. That said, this is football and we really never know who will be the better side come Saturday.