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Wednesday 29 January 2020

Chelsea v Manchester United - What the stats tell us

Jose Mourinho will be in the away dugout at Stamford Bridge on this occasion
Jose Mourinho will be in the away dugout at Stamford Bridge on this occasion

As Jose Mourinho takes Manchester United to his former stamping ground of Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea this weekend, Press Association Sport looks at what the statistics tell us.

:: For the second time in a week, Mourinho and United face a high-profile test against one of the club's traditional title rivals. After all the build-up, Monday's clash with Liverpool underwhelmed as a defensive United side settled for a goalless stalemate, leading many to suspect Mourinho will shut up shop against the Blues. T he season's statistics, though, suggest he would be better served going on the front foot.

Chelsea have conceded nine goals in eight games, a respectable but perhaps fortunate figure considering their defence has given up 7.2 shots for each goal. And it is not even that goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has been bailing them out, more a case of opponents being wasteful - the Belgian has saved only 55 per cent of shots on target, giving Chelsea the second lowest rate for any team in the Premier League.

Aside from their 2-0 win over Hull, all of Chelsea's league matches this season have seen at least three goals in total, the highest ratio in the top flight. In contrast to the Chelsea of Mourinho's tenure, this team can be attacked and drawn into high-scoring encounters - although it is worth acknowledging that a recent tactical shift to three central defenders has brought back-to-back clean sheets for Antonio Conte's side.

:: Referee Martin Atkinson could be in for a busy day. Both clubs are among the top five in the Premier League in terms of cards awarded, with United having collected 19 and Chelsea 20.

Throw in the Mourinho reunion and the established rivalry between the teams and Atkinson - who has shown 20 yellow cards and one red in seven games this season - could have his work cut out.

:: Chelsea are three points off the top of the table and, while it would take a big win and a combination of helpful results starting with a shock Middlesbrough win at Arsenal, they are one of five teams who mathematically could end the weekend at the summit. Coupled with the chance to nudge Mourinho and his new side towards - or even into, if all results fall a certain way - the bottom half, it could provide extra incentive should any be needed.

PA Media

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