Man United v Chelsea Preview: Spotlight shines on Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney

Manchester United and Chelsea meet at Old Trafford in the first battle of two title rivals on Monday night.

Last season: 0-1

Odds: Manchester United 6/4, Draw 5/2, Chelsea 11/5

Undoubtedly the biggest clash of the weekend has been saved until last, but will it be the best as these two sides meet for an early test of their title credentials at Old Trafford?

Both managers have made winning starts in their new jobs with David Moyes winning his first Premier League match in charge emphatically at Swansea with Mourinho marking his return with a comfortable home victory over Hull City, whilst also having midweek involvement against Aston Villa where they were forced to work hard for a 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge.

A lot will depend on whether Mourinho will set up Chelsea to head to Old Trafford not to lose or take the game by the scruff of the neck, and how they plan to deal with Robin Van Persie. The movement of Oscar, Mata and Moses (though it’s likely that Hazard will play ahead of him), gave United some trouble last season, it’ll be interesting to see if Kevin De Bruyne will be considered to start after impressing, and whether Romelu Lukaku will lead the forward line after Torres then Ba lead the line against Hull and Villa respectively.

A lot of focus on this game will be surrounding whether Wayne Rooney will play any part after being linked with Chelsea for much of the summer transfer window – though there are still question marks about his fitness, he did play a part at Swansea coming off the bench so he may be required to play a similar role here, especially given that both Danny Welbeck and Van Persie got on the scoresheet at the Liberty Stadium.

Both midfields will try and starve the opposition of possession but it wouldn’t surprise anyone if this a cagey affair with very few goals at such an early stage of the season. Both teams carry great attacking threat, so it could be a moment of brilliance that decides this game. A tough one to call.

Last time they met

Manchester United 0-1 Chelsea

A massive victory in Chelsea’s season as Juan Mata struck late on with the help of a Phil Jones deflection to give Chelsea all three points five minutes from time as the Blues strengthened their grip on third place in the league. Manchester United had already been crowned champions at this stage in the season but soon after Mata struck for Chelsea, United were reduced to 10 men after Rafael was sent off for kicking David Luiz, leaving Luiz smiling rather than grimacing.

image: © Audrey Pilato

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