Jose Mourinho‘s worst outing as a Manchester United manager to date came in this fixture last season.
A 4-0 defeat, hallmarked by a static defence and disorganised back four, was led by the imperious Nemanja Matic and N’Golo Kante, who added insult to injury with a goal towards the end.
However, with the former now a Man United player and the latter a major doubt for the clash, Mourinho will know where he can take control of this crucial encounter: from midfield.
With that in mind, here is a potential XI for the clash at Stamford Bridge with Matic and Ander Herrera in midfield.
Antonio Conte knows all about the sweeping, crushing presence of Matic and will simply pray Kante, his own midfield stalwart, can recover.
If not, he will find himself using Tiemoue Bakayoko and Cesc Fabregas – two players he admitted were tired after the Roma defeat – in the middle and United, through Herrera’s raw energy and Matic’s understanding of how to dictate a midfield battle (as well as getting inside the heads of his former teammates), could gain an early foothold in this clash by bullying Chelsea’s midfield pair.
The mood surrounding both sides compared to last year is markedly different and Mourinho will want to see that reflected on the pitch from minute one.