By 90Min
February 24, 2018

Man Utd host Chelsea in a scintillating match-up for various reasons, not least the recent feud between Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte, with both bosses exchanging barbs over a number of weeks.

With second playing fourth, this is a critical game to determine the top-four hopes of the two sides, with Chelsea playing catch-up after an indifferent start to 2018. Ex-Blues forward Romelu Lukaku will be looking to strike a hammer blow to his former side's ambitions by bagging a goal on Sunday.

Classic Encounter

Jose Mourinho's first return to Stamford Bridge with United was an unhappy one, with the Portuguese suffering a 4-0 defeat in October 2016 to the eventual champions.

Having been sacked the previous December, the Chelsea legend would have loved to get one over on his former club, but instead received a drubbing from Antonio Conte's men to the delight of the Blues faithful.

Pedro opened the scoring inside 30 seconds, latching onto an errant backpass to round David de Gea and slot into an empty net for a dream start.


Gary Cahill thumped home from a corner midway through the first half to give the home side a commanding first-half lead.

Mourinho threw on ex-Chelsea man Juan Mata and Anthony Martial to try and change their fortunes, but it was the west Londoners who struck first after the break to widen their lead. Eden Hazard cut inside from the left wing to place a driven shot into the far corner and kill off the game as a contest at the hour mark.


The cherry on top came in the form of N'Golo Kante's sumptuous fourth goal eight minutes later, with the diminutive midfielder jinking his way through the Manchester United defence before slotting a composed finish past de Gea and compound Mourinho's misery. 

It was the Frenchman's first goal for the club, with his second also coming against Sunday's opponents, the only goal in an FA Cup win last March.

Chelsea saw out the game for a commanding third straight victory since moving to 3-4-3, a tactical masterclass which saw them crowned champions with three games to spare. Jose Mourinho was left smarting after his biggest league defeat in almost six years.

Recent Form

After back-to-back heavy defeats against Watford and Bournemouth at the turn of the month, Antonio Conte's job was hanging by a thread with Roman Abramovich reportedly primed to wield the axe. The Italian has arrested the slide for now: convincing league and cup wins over West Brom and Hull bringing a feel-good factor back to Stamford Bridge for the time being. 

Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

After a morale-boosting draw in midweek with Barcelona where they were unlucky not to pick up the victory, Chelsea enter Sunday with some momentum. With trips to both Manchester clubs in consecutive weeks, before further match-ups against Tottenham and the Catalans, it figures to be a season-defining period for the men from the King's Road.

Similarly, it has been a mixed month for the Red Devils, with safe passage to the FA Cup quarters and a valuable draw in Sevilla on Wednesday undermined by a 1-0 defeat to Newcastle in their last league outing.

United sit a distant 16 points behind champions-in-waiting and neighbours City, and are looking to tighten their grip on second place, with Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham all lurking behind. The home side hold the best defensive record in the division and will be confident of a result.

Team News

David Luiz, Ross Barkley and Tiemoue Bakayoko all remain out with their respective injuries, having been unavailable for the past few weeks. Alvaro Morata could make his first start in a month after returning to the team from the bench over the past week.

For the hosts, Jose Mourinho is boosted by the return of Eric Bailly for the first time since November, with the defender having been sidelined since the 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge in the reverse fixture.

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Ander Herrera will be out for a few weeks after going off early in Seville with a muscular problem. Marouane Fellaini, Daley Blind, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Phil Jones remain long-term injury concerns.

Potential Man Utd Lineup: de Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Smalling, Young; Pogba, Matic, McTominay; Lingard, Lukaku, Sanchez.

Potential Chelsea Lineup: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Cahill; Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso; Willian, Morata, Hazard.


Sunday's match will be a tight game, with both sides possessing world-class attacking talents and famously miserly defences. The Red Devils triumphed 2-0 in this fixture last season, handing Antonio Conte's men a rare defeat on their march to the title.

With a chance to go level on points with their hosts, the west Londoners will feel they can get something out of the game, buoyed by their spirited performance at home to Barcelona in midweek.

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All signs point to a fascinating spectacle for the neutral as Jose Mourinho looks to get one over on his old club, whilst keeping Eden Hazard and co at bay.

Prediction: Manchester United 0-0 Chelsea

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