All eyes will be on Stamford Bridge on Sunday as Chelsea host Manchester United in the Premier League.
The Blues are currently at the top of the league table with 29 points from 12 games. They have lost just once in their campaign so far: a 1-0 defeat against Manchester City.
The Red Devils, meanwhile, have started life without manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The Norwegian was sacked following a humiliating 4-1 loss to Watford last weekend.
With only five wins from 12 games, they’re trailing their London rivals by 12 points. They will be eager to stitch up a ruthless winning streak to boost their top-four hopes.
Ahead of kick-off, let’s look at five key battles that could shape the outcome of the clash:
#5 Timo Werner (Chelsea) vs Eric Bailly (Manchester United)
Fresh off scoring off the bench against Juventus in the Champions League, Timo Werner will be soaring in confidence. He has only returned from a lengthy injury spell.
Either way, Eric Bailly won’t have it easy against the German. He will have a rare chance to start in Harry Maguire’s absence due to suspension. Bailly will have to muster his A1 game if the Ivorian were to stake a claim in the starting role.
#4 Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United) vs Thiago Silva (Chelsea)
Cristiano Ronaldo has made a sensational return to Manchester United this summer. He has wasted no time in proving his value to the squad, netting 10 goals in all competitions already.
Most of his strikes have come at crucial moments, when United needed a late winner or a breakthrough. This demonstrates his ability to step up when the chips are down.
Mason Mount’s meteoric rise with club and country is well-documented. The England international has come of age for his movements, passing, shooting and deft footwork.
All three of his league goals this season have come as part of a hat-trick against Norwich City. It was his first hat-trick in the top-flight and he was just the 20th player to register the feat for the Blues. It showed how dangerous he can be on his day.
Scott McTominay will have to be wary of giving him too much time and space on the ball as Mount can seriously hurt United.
The Scotsman hasn’t had the best season thus far, looking off the pace, giving the ball away and easily beaten by his markers. These weaknesses could prove costly again on Sunday.
#2 Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United) vs Jorginho (Chelsea)
No player in the league has created as many chances as Bruno Fernandes. His playmaking brilliance has given the likes of Ronaldo a platform to score a glut of goals from.
He offers the energy, invention, flair and goals. Fernandes has struck four league goals this season from midfield that few others in his position are capable of.
The former Sporting CP star’s long-range shooting and ability to pick out a pass is something Jorginho will have to deal with. However, the Italian is no slouch either.
He’s been in fine form for Chelsea this season, making excellent ball recoveries, timely interceptions and displaying his range of passing.
The winner of this duel will have a huge say in the game’s outcome.
#1 Reece James (Chelsea) vs Alex Telles (Manchester United)
Reece James is without a doubt the most in-form Chelsea player right now. He has contributed the most league goals in the squad with eight despite only being a right-back!
He’s evolved massively under Thomas Tuchel, using his speed and explosive energy down the flanks. He possesses a huge threat going forward, whilst possessing an exquisite crossing ability.
His movements will require the utmost attention from Alex Telles. He’s likely to start at left-back ahead of Luke Shaw, who’s an injury doubt for the clash.
The Brazilian hasn’t started a single game in the league this season. But his performances in Europe have been promising, although James will pose his toughest examination yet.