Chelsea host Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) with Maurizio Sarri and Jose Mourinho in very different situations with their respective clubs.
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Sarri has yet to taste defeat as Chelsea boss since arriving from Napoli in the summer, with the Italian coach steering Chelsea to joint-top of the Premier League table playing an exciting, mezmerising brand of soccer with Eden Hazard leading the charge.
As for Jose Mourinho, his future at Man United has been questioned on multiple occasions already as they’ve accrued just 13 points from their opening eight games of the season amid plenty of haphazard defensive displays.
Below is a look at the potential starting lineups for both teams on Saturday in west London, with a few injury concerns for each coach to contend with.
Chelsea’s projected starting XI
—– Kepa —–
—- Azpilicueta —- Rudiger —- Luiz —- Alonso —-
—- Kante —- Jorginho —- Kovacic —-
—- Pedro —- Giroud —- Hazard —-
Man United’s projected starting XI
—– De Gea —–
—- Young —- Smalling —- Bailly —- Shaw —-
—- Fred —- Matic —-
—- Martial — Pogba —- Rashford —-
—– Lukaku —–
Chelsea’s main problem is whether or not Mateo Kovacic will be fit enough to start in midfield, as Ross Barkley has picked up a small knock which is a blow after his fine recent displays for club and country. Cesc Fabregas could come into Chelsea’s midfield if neither are fit, while the only real selection dilemma is whether Willian or Pedro will start out wide in support of Eden Hazard and Olivier Giroud. Sarri’s back four picks itself after a strong start to the season, while Olivier Giroud gets the best out of Hazard and he will get the nod ahead of Alvaro Morata.
For Man United, they have plenty of injury issues to contend with and that is mostly in midfield. Nemanja Matic, Marouane Fellaini and Scott McTominay are all struggling with knocks, with Ander Herrera has been rushed back to be a part of the squad for Saturday. You would think that Mourinho would be a little more defensive when it comes to his lineup given United’s defensive issues this season, so having Fred and Matic (one of whom may do a man-marking job on Hazard) in central midfield makes sense. Alexis Sanchez may not start after his late arrival back from the international break, with Anthony Martial set to start again out wide as Jesse Lingard has been out through injury.