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Manchester United are set to welcome Chelsea to Old Trafford as Arsenal and Manchester City square it off in Wembley for the EFL Cup final, in what promises to be an epic Super Sunday.
Jose Mourinho will be mindful of registering a good result, considering that his side has struggled in recent weeks, while the stakes remain ever higher for Antonio Conte who has a stretch of unforgiving games that could potentially define his season and future at the club.
Be that as it may, anything short of a win today will be a disappointing outcome for the hosts.
Retain second place
An ignominious loss to Tottenham Hotspur coupled with an unprecedented slump away to Newcastle has utterly changed the slope of the Premier League table; much to United’s regret.
Liverpool’s emphatic 4-1 win over West Ham has elevated the Merseyside outfit to second on the log with 57 points, consequently demoting the Red Devils to third; albeit a point adrift.
As such, a win for Manchester United will suffice a strong return to second place and while a draw isn’t the worst result, a loss would condemn them to third, with the possibility of further tumbling down the table seeing as they have yet to face other top four contenders.
Get one over Conte
For someone who made his Premier League debut a year and a half ago, Antonio Conte has been quite the stain on Jose Mourinho’s apparel.
The Italian has won the bragging rights on three different occasions- twice in the Premier League and once in the FA Cup- with his most recent triumph coming during the 1-0 over United in November.
Although it won’t make up for the defeats Jose has sustained against his Stamford Bridge successor, a win will be pleasant for the manager, players and Old Trafford faithful alike.
Rumors have been running amok about Jose Mourinho’s perceived frosty relationship with his players- Paul Pogba in particular.
The signing of Alexis Sanchez has diluted Anthony Martial’s purple patch while Pogba’s absence has crippled Manchester United’s creativity in the middle of the park.
With pivotal cup competitions coming thick and fast both domestically and in Europe, Manchester United simply can’t afford anything but maximum points against Chelsea.
Written by Brian Humphrey
Follow Brian on Twitter @brihum
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