Chelsea and Manchester United meet this Sunday in the Premier League which could turn out to be a season-defining fixture with the top four starting to take it’s shape just nine games in.
Four points currently separates the two sides and the Red Devils have the upper hand on the home side, sitting in second place.
It’s current fan favourite Antonio Conte against former fan favourite Jose Mourinho, and with both sides challenging for the title this year, here is a starting XI featuring players from both sides who could easily march towards that trophy come the end of May.
1. David De Gea
The Spaniard has been crucial for United in securing results in 90% of their Premier League games, in-particular against Liverpool.
He has kept eight clean sheets this term and in his 210 appearances for the Red Devils over a third of them, 83, he has kept out their opponent. That is some record.
He has been ‘Mr Reliable’ for Mourinho and he could walk into any side in the world.
2. Antonio Rudiger
Those with short term memories will question this inclusion.
Yet, since his arrival in London, the German defender has been pivotal to the Blues’ defence in keeping it secure.
Rudiger puts himself out there, blocking efforts on goal and is good with the ball at feet coming out of a back three.
3. Phil Jones
Another pick you will think is a surprise, time to think otherwise.
The England defender has had a reputation of the different faces he pulls during a game but has been instrumental for United this year.
Jones has started every single one of the Red Devils Premier League games and keeping eight clean sheets, he has to be doing something right.
Progress has been made with the defender already, making ten appearances this term whereas in the whole of last season he made just 18. His progress has also been rewarded with a call-up to the national side.
4. Eric Bailly
Just like his Manchester United team-mate Jones, Bailly has played remarkably at the back alongside him this season.
United have conceded the fewest goals in the league this term and a lot of that is down to him. The versatility to play in a back three or four whenever necessary in something he is comfortable in doing, unlike Chelsea, who currently who don’t know who their best three central defenders are.
5. Antonio Valencia
The Ecuadorian easily gets into the side with preferred Chelsea wing-back Victor Moses out with a hamstring injury.
He has matured since having the captain’s armband and has proved to be a dangerous threat not only going forward but defensively as well.
6. Marcos Alonso
The Spaniard has made a huge difference for Chelsea and is categorically more relied upon than Ashley Young despite the Englishman’s recent performances.
The wing-back helped to steer Chelsea to the title last season and this year bagged a brace to claim a vital three points in the game against Spurs.
He allows Chelsea’s attacking talent to stay forward with the ability to cover two roles just like his team-mate who is going to be selected next.
7. N’Golo Kante
Back-to-back Premier League winner with two different clubs. Kante has allowed the Blues to play the system they do and without him, Chelsea have struggled.
Cesc Fabregas and fellow countryman Tiemoue Bakayoko haven’t formed a partnership to make the midfield a powerhouse.
A late call will be made for his availability but the Blues will hope he is back as he is one of the most important players in Conte’s side.
8. Nemanja Matic
The Serbian returns to the Bridge this weekend after leaving in the summer and easily gets into this XI.
He formed a title winning partnership with Kante last year and could do it again, this time with Paul Pogba who could return but has only just started training again with United.
He will be hoping to prove a point to the home supporters on Sunday.
9. Eden Hazard
Since arriving back from injury, Hazard has made an impact to a Chelsea side who have lacked that final finish.
He managed to get his first goal of the season, scoring the only goal in their win against Bournemouth last weekend.
He is still getting back into the swing of things but the ace can still produce moments of magic and although he doesn’t play in the number ten role for Chelsea very often, sitting just behind the forwards is where he prefers and is most effective.
10. Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku has given United power and pace this year after his arrival to the Theatre of Dreams.
Like his team-mate Matic, the Belgian will be looking to prove a point to his former employers despite the fact they went in for him in the summer window.
The powerhouse has netted seven times for United this season and costing a club-record fee, he has to be in this XI.
11. Alvaro Morata
Just like Lukaku, Morata joined a new side during the summer and has endured a decent return so far bagging six goals which includes a hat-trick.
Although he has had a dry spell recently, potentially due to injury, he has certainly made a difference to the Blues.
He has a slightly better minute-to-goal ratio than Lukaku but with the pair playing together, they would hurt and terrorise defences together.