London - Stamford Bridge is set to host a titanic Premier League battle when Chelsea lock horns with Manchester United, and former manager José Mourinho, on Sunday.
The Blues come into the clash on the back of two big wins in the league. Antonio Conte’s men beat Hull City 2-0 away from home before a 3-0 thrashing of defending champions Leicester City last week.
The London outfit have also had a full week to prepare for the clash, which Conte believes is an advantage for his side. He was quoted in the Evening Standard saying: “Does that give us an advantage? Yes. We have a week to prepare, to have the training sessions. When you have a week you have more time to improve your team on the tactical and physical aspects.”
United’s form also makes for good reading as they are unbeaten in their last five games, hammering Fenerbahce 4-1 in the Europa League on Thursday following a goalless draw at Liverpool on Monday night.
The head-to-head stats strongly favour Chelsea, who have not lost to United since October 2012.
They have since beaten the Red Devils five times in all competitions, drawing the other five games.
However, Mourinho has not lost against Chelsea yet, beating them twice.
In team news, Conte will be without the services of long-term absentee Kurt Zouma, while John Terry is doubtful. Mourinho is still unable to consider the injured Phil Jones for selection.
Chris Smalling also picked up a knock during the Fenerbahçe win on Thursday and was subbed at half-time. Mourinho confirmed that the defender’s fitness is in doubt.
He told the Manchester Evening News: “He had a bad muscular feeling. We were 3-0 up so we decided to change. Hopefully he can recover for the weekend.”
In the day’s only other fixture, Manchester City will be hoping to bounce back swiftly from their midweek Champions League disappointment when they host a resurgent Southampton.
After a sensational start to their Premier League campaign, City have recently hit a dip in form, losing at Tottenham before a 1-1 draw against Everton. In midweek those problems were compounded as Barcelona trounced them 4-0.
In contrast, Southampton seem to have hit their stride as they were unbeaten for seven games in all competitions before the narrow 1-0 defeat at Inter Milan in the Europa League on Thursday night.
In head-to-head stats, City have won four of the last five Premier League games against Southampton, but the last encounter saw the Saints pull off a 4-2 victory.
Pep Guardiola’s charges were in first position in the standings ahead of the weekend’s fixtures, while Southampton had improved to eighth place after an unbeaten run of four games.
On the team news front, the Sky Blues were sweating over Vincent Kompany, who is a doubtful starter for the game as he is still recovering from a groin strain.
The Saints, meanwhile, are without the services of Jeremy Pied, Cedric Soares and Ryan Bertrand. – TEAMtalk Media