Mourinho goes back to Chelsea’s home ground in charge of Manchester United and still under pressure following a poor start to the season. The Portuguese coach saved a possible ‘match-ball’ when his side fought back from 2-0 down at home to Newcastle United to win 3-2 thanks to an injury time goal from Alexis Sanchez.
Defeat to Newcastle would almost certainly have cost Mourinho his job, but Alexis’ late goal now sets up a fascinating encounter against a Chelsea side that is currently second in the Premier League and level on 20 points with league leaders, Manchester City. New Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has implemented a free-flowing attacking style of play that his players are clearly enjoying and that contrasts with Mourinho’s conservative approach.
Although the London-based club perhaps lack a truly world class center forward, with Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud guilty of missing chances, they have Eden Hazard in outstanding form as rumors over his future don’t seem to be affecting the Belgian international.
The game sees some fascinating individual battles with French international midfielders N’golo Kante and Paul Pogba on opposite sides, while Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and his Manchester United counterpart are currently second and first choice in the Spanish national team.
More than anything, the game will be about contrasting styles: Chelsea’s willingness to attack and to get their full backs into advanced positions and Mourinho’s instincts to defend. However, the Newcastle game showed that one thing is clear – when Manchester United do attack, they do it well. Two weeks ago Mourinho had no alternative other than to throw his players forward and they responded by saving his job, could he spring a surprise at Stamford Bridge or will he revert to defensive type?
Saturday also sees Manchester City in action as they entertain an improving Burnley. Kevin de Bruyne could return in some capacity for Pep Guardiola’s side after suffering a knee injury earlier this season.
Liverpool travel to face a Huddersfield side who are without a win this campaign, while on Sunday, Arsenal look to make it 10 consecutive wins under Unai Emery as they entertain Leicester City.
There is a south-coast derby between sixth place Bournemouth and Southampton which should provide goals and a tense London derby between West Ham and Tottenham Hotspur.
Newcastle United will hope that Brighton can provide their first win of the campaign, while Cardiff City also aim to claim their first triumph since returning to the top-flight at home to Fulham.
Wolves entertain Watford, whose bubble has burst spectacularly after winning their first four matches of the season. Everton look to consolidate their improvement under Marco Silva at home to Crystal Palace, who need to recover some of the form they showed at the start of the season in order to calm a few nerves.