As we go into the tenth day of the new Barclays Premier League we are faced with the first big meeting of the season as two of last season’s top four come together. The last time these two sides met, the Reds had already won the championship, with the Blues still chasing a Champions League qualifying place. The game ended in a 1-0 loss for United after a deflected finish from Juan Mata in the 87th minute.
The Reds began their season with an impressive 4-1 win over Swansea last weekend at the Liberty Stadium. With the Swans being quite impressive at home last season, the game could have been gone either way for the champions. Facing Chelsea will certainly be a big test for new manager Moyes, who hosts the Blues for his first home game as Manchester United manager. Previous to this his side have faced relegated Wigan Athletic and Swansea City, teams that many would argue are not real challenges for United. However with Mourinho back in the driving seat at Chelsea, the game on Monday evening will provide a more accurate measure of just what Moyes’ men can do.
A central figure in this game will of course be Wayne Rooney. After an entire summer of speculation over a Chelsea move, whether the striker starts, is a substitute or is nowhere to be seen, all eyes will certainly be on him, adding to the already electric atmosphere that is expected to welcome the new manager to his new home.
United are still without Young (ankle/foot), Hernandez (hamstring), Nani (groin/pelvis) and of course Fletcher, all of which have no return dates yet. Rafael’s suspension is now over but the Brazilian is still out with a hamstring injury, although he is expected to return to fitness by 14th September.
After success in Italy and what can only be described as a confusing and disappointing spell with Real Madrid, the ‘Special One’ has returned to Stamford Bridge after a six year absence. Mourinho’s side have got off to a great start with a 2-0 victory over Hull City last weekend. The Blues also sealed another win over Aston Villa on Wednesday, with the extra mid-week game being set up to make space for Chelsea’s clash with Bayern Munich in the European Super Cup.
Thanks to the mid-week game, many could say that the Reds have the upper hand with Chelsea potentially being fatigued from their extra game, however with the season only just beginning, it may have worked in the Blues’ favour, improving the match fitness of Mourinho’s side.
Chelsea have only two injury worries, with Kalas being out until December with a broken leg and David Luiz who is out with a hamstring injury, however a late fitness test could mean that the Brazilian could feature on Monday evening.
Taking charge will be Martin Atkinson, who United fans will know as the ref who gave us a little extra ‘Fergie Time’ in that 4-3 win against Manchester City back in 2009. With 11 seasons of experience under his belt Atkinson is one of the most qualified officials in the game. The Reds last saw him in January in a 2-2 draw against West Ham in the FA Cup.
In 42 Premier League games between the two clubs, United have won 13, Chelsea have won 14 and there have been 15 draws.
Manchester United lost three Premier League games at home last season – their highest number of league losses at home since the 2003/04 season.
In the 42 Premier League games between the two sides, only three have been goalless draws (April 1995, December 1998, May 2007).
The highest-scoring match between the two clubs was a 6-5 Manchester United win at Stamford Bridge in October 1954.
Wherever you’re watching the game, enjoy it!
Follow me on Twitter, @AngelinaKelly