MANCHESTER — Louis Van Gaal gets his first test vs. the top four as Manchester United take on the league leaders, Chelsea at Old Trafford on Saturday.
This fixture looks to be a crucial three points for both clubs. For Chelsea, the goal will be defending their undefeated record as Manchester United will have their first opportunity to take on the Blues. This of course would be the first meeting between the clubs this season and a reunion for Jose Mourinho and United Boss Van Gaal.
Manchester United’s goal of returning to the top four was blindsided by a 2-2 draw against a struggling West Bromwich Albion side on Monday.
As for Chelsea, Mourinho has put the Blues in the driver’s seat this week destroying Slovenian club, NK Maribor in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday night in West London.
Chelsea Team News: Chelsea currently top the English Premiership table with a 7-1-0 record with their only blemish being a 1-1 draw against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium back in September. Chelsea currently leads the league in goal scoring with 23 goals scored and only conceding eight goals for the season so far. Chelsea striker, Diego Costa is likely to be inactive against the Red Devils because of a stomach bug that hospitalized the Spanish international earlier in the week along with re-injuring his hamstring.
Mourinho commented on Costa’s condition saying “He has a chance, a little chance,” Mourinho said. “He had to go to hospital with a viral situation, had to spend one night, before [Tuesday’s 6-0 Champions League win over] Maribor.” “The problem is being ill didn’t help his recovery process, because we couldn’t have him here at Cobham.” Despite the details coming out on Costa’s possible absence from Sunday’s match doesn’t mean for sure that he won’t be fit against United.
Louis Van Gaal said earlier this week that despite the contrary, he expected Costa to play saying:
“I think Costa will play,” Van Gaal said. “He can play maybe because of what I have heard and what I have read on the websites that he has trained this week. “I also have my eyes open! “He has scored nine goals out of seven games, which is remarkable. He is in good shape but he was ill yesterday, so who knows?”
All in all, Chelsea look to be strong coming into this match in all aspects of the game.
Manchester United News: Under the leadership of Louis Van Gaal, Manchester United is on a quest to return to it’s original 2012-2013 form as a title challenger this season. Unfortunately, Manchester United has moments where they look really good and other times they look really bad. Manchester United currently sits at sixth on the EPL table just short of a Europa League spot with a 3-3-2 record.
This weekend could change that with a win over Chelsea. United is coming off a 2-2 draw against West Brom last Monday night.
Despite the blemishes early on this year, expect United to step up their game here within the next couple of weeks with fixtures against City November 2nd at the Etidad. November 8th, United host Crystal Palace at Old Trafford and finally on the 22nd, travel to North London to face long-time enemy, Arsenal at the Emirates.
As for this match against Chelsea, expect United to come in at full force in the forward position with Angel Di Maria likely to play this weekend and has lived up to many United Supporters expectations so far this season Van Gaal commented on Di Maria’s health saying, “Di Maria it should not so heavy and it is not heavy,” said Van Gaal. “He only did not train on the first day, but he has trained since Thursday.”
“But I cannot say that one other player is returning. Michael Carrick will play in London tonight against West Ham reserves, because I believe he needs to play matches especially when you are out of five months.”
Van Gaal also expects Chelsea to be the team to beat this season saying: “They are one of the top and so is Man City and Jose has worked more than one year with his team and he didn’t win any prizes.”
“You have to build up and playing like a team. I want my teams to do that. Play like a team for 90 minutes. We did that I think vs West Brom, but we made individual errors.”
Mourinho was content to play it safe when settling for a goalless draw at Old Trafford last season but insists he wants a win this time around.
“We are playing well, we are confident, we are top of the league and we are in a good position to qualify in the Champions League,” he said. “The camp is happy and we are ready for the game.” “We go to every match to win but sometimes during a game a point is a positive point and a positive result.
“Last year, at a certain moment the game was very difficult to win and I think both teams accepted the point as a normal result.” “On Sunday we go to win. If you give me one point now – and we don’t have to play the game – I will not accept it. I want to fight for the three points.”
Essentially this game will prove to be yet another eventful chapter to what is unwinding as an eventful season within the Barclay’s Premier League this year expect a title contested fixture with plenty of goals and drama.
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