The Blues are unbeaten under new manager Graham Potter, winning three out of their four Premier League games. The Potter-managed side’s three-game winning run came to a halt on Wednesday evening when Brentford held them to a 0-0 draw in the west London derby.
As for Manchester United, Erik ten Hag’s side have won three of their last five league games. Their 2-0 win over Tottenham at Old Trafford lifted them to fifth in the table, just a point behind their weekend’s hosts Chelsea.
On that note, let us take a look at the key battles that could define the outcome of the game.
#Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang vs Lisandro Martinez
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came off the bench for Chelsea in the 0-0 draw with Brentford on Wednesday, but there is a huge possibility he will start against Man United.
The Gabonese has been among the goals for the Blues of late, netting three in his last six games. With his link-up play, movement and runs in behind the opposition backline, he will hope to cause problems for Man United.
Standing in Aubameyang’s way will be Lisandro Martinez, who has transformed Man United’s defence since his summer arrival from Ajax. The way he marshalled Tottenham striker Harry Kane in midweek was a testament to his defensive prowess and game-reading skills.
The diminutive Argentinean should have gained a lot of confidence after keeping one of the Premier League’s best strikers in Kane quiet at Old Trafford, and he will be hoping to build on that performance by stopping Aubameyang.
#Mason Mount vs Casemiro
Mason Mount has been Chelsea’s most impactful player so far under Graham Potter, impressing with his chance-creation, assists and goals. On the back of a double in the 2-0 victory at Aston Villa last weekend, he was handed a start at Brentford, although the creative midfielder was substituted after just 61 minutes as Potter introduced fresh legs.
Mount has started in every game Potter has been in charge of the Blues, and the theme is set to continue when Man United visit Stamford Bridge. The England international has found his lost mojo and will be hoping to make things click with the Chelsea forwards in the final third.
Now a certainty in Man United’s midfield, Casemiro must work tenaciously to deny Mount time and space on the ball to create openings for his team. The Brazilian made his third consecutive start in the Premier League in the 2-0 win over Spurs, bossing the midfield along with his compatriot Fred.
After being slowly integrated into the side, Casemiro is now well and truly up to speed and showing his class in the middle of the park. Keeping Mount’s form in recent weeks in mind, Ten Hag’s side will bank a lot on Casemiro to nullify the Chelsea star’s threat.
#Marcus Rashford vs Kepa Arrizabalaga
Man United were excellent in their 2-0 win over Spurs in midweek. Ten Hag’s side were lively, energetic, relentless with their press and controlled the game from start to finish.
They could have scored a lot more had Hugo Lloris not been in an inspired form in Spurs’ goal. In fact, Marcus Rashford could have had a hat-trick on another evening as Lloris made a few crucial saves to deny the Man United forward.
Rashford would have been frustrated after 90 minutes, and if there was anyone who deserved a goal after such a terrific performance against a strong Tottenham side, it was him. He will hope to get his shooting boots on at Chelsea, who should have Kepa Arrizabalaga in goal at the weekend.
Kepa has been brilliant since stepping in goal at the start of September following Edouard Mendy’s early injury, and he has not looked back since. With five clean sheets in a row in all competitions, including shutting down an exciting Brentford attack in midweek, the Spaniard is simply brimming with confidence at the moment.
Thus, it promises to be an engaging battle between Rashford and Kepa, as both the players will be bidding to come out on top in west London on Saturday.