One of Phil Jones’ most memorable moments of last season, apart from his array of strange faces, was the man-marking job he did on Gareth Bale in Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Tottenham at White Hart Lane.
And although he has started the campaign at right-back for the Red Devils to cover for the injured Rafael, a return to a disciplined midfield role may be a wise move for Chelsea’s visit to Old Trafford.
This is because Chelsea have looked particularly narrow in midfield in their opening two Premier League outings under Jose Mourinho, with his chosen wide men often cutting inside to further congest the central zone, rather than playing as typical wingers.
Starting either Andre Schurrle or Victor Moses wide in a front three would offer Chelsea slightly more width, but the odds are that Eden Hazard, Juan Mata or Kevin De Bruyne will start in these two roles.
Therefore, partnering Jones alongside Michael Carrick again may be best to prevent Chelsea’s abundance of playmakers from doing too much play-making.
Chris Smalling could step into the right-back role, a position he performed admirably in when called upon last season and his extra pace could be of additional use if Ashley Cole attempts to make use of the space on the overlap.
For this reason, Antonio Valencia may also be a pivotal Man Utd selection as he is undoubtedly their best winger in terms of carrying out defensive duties.
The big question is whether David Moyes will want to pick a team that best combats Chelsea’s strengths, given that he should arguably be going on the offensive with home advantage.
It is Man Utd that are favourites at 11/8 to triumph, with Chelsea 21/10 to ensure that Mourinho’s 100 per cent record since returning to the dugout continues.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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