Finely balanced Old Trafford clash screams goals
Manchester United will face fellow Champions League midweek participants Chelsea in the Saturday evening kick-off back in the domestic division. The hosts surprisingly picked up a vital win away to Paris Saint-Germain in their opening fixture, relieving some of the managerial pressure off Ole Gunnar Solskjær's back. The visitors have conspired to draw many of their recent encounters, and both sides are bemoaning very ordinary looking defences at present on top of that. Read our preview here:
Good news for James
Uruguayan talisman Edinson Cavani must wait longer to make his bow in England, and could be joined on the sidelines by Mason Greenwood and the suspended Anthony Martial. The paucity of other attacking options to partner Marcus Rashford might mean a recall to the starting XI for Dan James, whose pace could certainly pose a problem for Chelsea's rearguard. Though not a striker by trade, his manager might stick with the shape that thwarted France's finest, thus deploying both an extra centre-back and auxiliary frontman. There is scope for Alex Telles to make his league debut with the left flank to himself, and his greater thrust than teammate Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the final third will ask questions.
Edouard is king
New custodian Edouard Mendy will be available for Frank Lampard to select on Saturday, giving the Londoners a clean bill of health in the squad, with the possible exception of youngster Billy Gilmour. The backline, whilst fragile and low on confidence, have certainly been boosted by the Senegalese international's presence between the sticks. The goalkeeper can expect a stern test at Old Trafford, regardless of the home outfit's erratic form. Elsewhere, Ben Chilwell will be looking to continue his impressive start in a familiar colour jersey, and his battle with Wan-Bissaka will be key to determining the course of the game. Similarly, Mason Mount will find a tough customer in Scott McTominay, and the space in the centre of the park could be squeezed considerably. Timo Werner ought to have the beating of the one-speed defence in red, but how much service he'll be able to count on is another matter entirely.
Trading blows, trading errors
None of the more fancied sides have hit their strides perfectly in a season that's beginning to look very different to previous ones, both on and off the field. United were abhorrent against Tottenham last time out in their backyard, conceding six in the process, the same amount their adversaries have shipped in draws with West Bromwich Albion and Southampton. Even if space to work in is at a premium, there's still an expectation that mistakes will occur that could stretch the game out early on. If this happens, bet365's odds of 2.5 for over 3.5 goals appears to be a lock.