Former Manchester United captain Bryan Robson believes that Jose Mourinho’s men will beat Chelsea on Sunday if they dominate the midfield battle.
Man United suffered an ignominious 4-0 defeat on their last Premier League visit to Stamford Bridge back in October 2016 and were knocked out of the FA Cup quarter-finals by the champions back in March.
Their record away from home against the West London side is nothing short of appalling: they have only won once in the league since 2002, and that was against nine men.
But Robson, speaking ahead of the game, noted that United could go seven points clear of Antonio Conte’s side by winning the midfield battle and stopping Eden Hazard from playing.
“If United can dominate the midfield area where we don’t let Hazard get a lot of the ball and Pedro, then I think our centre halves can handle Morata,” he said.
“If we can dominate the midfield area then we’ve got a great chance of getting a result….I’m going to go for a draw…yeah I think there could be a few goals but I think it’ll be a tied game.”
United struggled at Stamford Bridge last season because from minute one they looked unable to track Hazard or Pedro. The pair gleefully skimmed across the turf, finding pockets of space, as the visitors completely failed to maintain a sturdy defensive structure.
Needless to say, Mourinho cannot fall into the same trap this time around. Conte will want Hazard and Pedro to drift infield and form an attacking triumvirate with Alvaro Morata and the biggest job for United’s entire back four – or three – will be to stop the supply route without stepping out of position.
United will only have the platform to thrive in midfield if they take care of this first, diverting the real battle away from Morata and Romelu Lukaku at either end and instead focusing attention on how Nemanja Matic matches up against his replacement, Tiemoue Bakayoko.