Chelsea’s underwhelming form since the turn has finally turned for the better. After two comfortable wins against weak opposition, they put in an impressive performance against Barcelona at Stamford Bridge, with the 1-1 draw going some way to stave off talk of crisis.
Meanwhile, Manchester United, who they meet on Sunday, are just three points ahead of them in the table and are part of the battle for Champions League places in the Premier League. Managers Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte have had plenty to say about each other in recent months and now have the opportunity to go head to head.
David Luiz is currently out with an ankle injury and Tiemoue Bakayoko has a knock that he sustained in training. The duo are the only two players currently unavailable for the Man United game.
Bakayoko hasn’t featured since Chelsea’s shock 4-1 defeat to Watford at the start of the month, where his early red card proved costly.
Ross Barkley wasn’t selected in Chelsea’s matchday squad to face Barcelona in midweek, but he has joined in first team training sessions.
Chelsea currently have no players suspended. Spain striker Morata is, however, two yellow cards away from a two-match ban after accumulating eight bookings.
POTENTIAL STARTING LINE-UP
Chelsea’s newest recruit, Olivier Giroud, seems to have already settled in well to the squad and he notched his first goal against Hull City last Friday in the FA Cup.
Conte faces a dilemma over whether to use Eden Hazard as a false nine again, as he did against Barcelona, or utilise Giroud or Morata as a classic striker.
Conte will likely use the strongest line-up that he has available to him, despite his squad putting so much into the midweek game. Manchester United played a day later than the Blues and had to fly back from Sevilla after their match, so they have the edge in that regard.
MANCHESTER UNITED TEAM NEWS
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has returned to training ahead of the match against Chelsea on Sunday as he bids to return from a knee injury.
Both Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones missed the trip to Sevilla due to knocks. Marouane Fellaini is almost certain to be out with a knee injury, while Ander Herrera came off with a foot injury in Seville.
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BEST OPTA MATCH FACTS
Manchester United have won just one of their last 14 matches in all competitions against Chelsea (D5 L8) – winning this exact fixture last season in the Premier League (2-0).
Manchester United have lost more Premier League games (18) and conceded more Premier League goals (67) against Chelsea than they have against any other side in the competition.
Antonio Conte has won three of his four meetings in all competitions as Chelsea manager against Jose Mourinho (W3 L1) – twice in the Premier League and once in the FA Cup.
Mourinho has lost three matches in all competitions against Chelsea as Man Utd manager, more than against any other opponent.
Eden Hazard has found the net with each of his last three shots from open play – he had scored with three of his previous 31 open play efforts.