Keown explains why Manchester United can be the team to stop Chelsea going unbeaten all season

Old Trafford

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown believes Manchester United have what it takes to end Chelsea's unbeaten run when the Premier League leaders visit Old Trafford on Sunday.

Responding to the Daily Mail readers in his weekly Q&A session, Keown expressed his belief that the Red Devils could emerge with a shock result when they face Jose Mourinho's high-flying side this weekend. The Red Devils currently sit 10 points behind the Premier League pacesetters, in sixth place.

Keown believes the outcome of the match will be determined by the tactics Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal adopts. Essentially, whether the Dutchman will set-up his side to attack Chelsea, or whether he will opt for a more negative mindset, in an attempt to hold the league leaders. 

The former Arsenal defender stated, "With all the great attacking players they have at their disposal, of course they’ve got a chance. But is Louis van Gaal going to set up a team to stop Chelsea or go for it?"

"If they’re going to go for it they need to be a lot more secure defensively. They don’t want to be embarrassed. Does Van Gaal think his team can outwit and outplay Mourinho’s? If you talk about Chelsea going unbeaten all season, this is one of the biggest hurdles."

We witnessed Van Gaal's tactical ingenuity throughout his performances with the Netherlands national side at the summer World Cup. In Brazil, the 63-year-old transformed a relatively weak Dutch side - lacking the presence of key man Kevin Strootman - into a team capable of taking on, and overcoming, the world's very best sides. 

"Going to Old Trafford is a difficult trip for anyone," Keown continued. "United are lacking consistency in 90 minutes, let alone game to game. But if they can get that consistency together for a full game they could be the team that finally slows Chelsea down."

  TeamGoalsAppsMins
Sergio Agüero Man City 9 8 528
Diego Costa Chelsea 9 7 589
Saido Berahino West Brom 6 8 719
Graziano Pellè Southampton 6 8 710
Diafra Sakho West Ham 5 6 469

Chelsea travel to Manchester United, possibly without striker Diego Costa - the Premier League's joint-highest top scorer. With nine goals in just seven appearances for the Blues, he has made a considerable impact since his summer arrival from La Liga outfit Atletico Madrid. His absence on Sunday will prove a huge boost for Louis van Gaal's side, although Keown reserves doubts about the player's reported injury status. 

"It wouldn’t surprise me if Costa plays though, the way Mourinho is," he said. You have to expect the unexpected with him. Even if Costa plays, it’s not a foregone conclusion. It would be a huge boost to Chelsea because he has been a revelation but with the firepower United have, and the home crowd behind them, they do still have a chance."

The Red Devils have saved their best form for at home this season, with all three of the club's league wins coming at Old Trafford. After a season of uncertainty under David Moyes last term, Van Gaal will be determined to re-establish the 'Theatre of Dreams' as the fortress it once was. 

Keown concluded, "This is one of those weeks where Man United have had an extra few days to prepare without the Champions League to worry about. This is where we see how good a coach Van Gaal is and how much work he’s done on the pitch."

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