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The last time Jose Mourinho faced his former side, Chelsea, it did not end favourably. That clash back in October saw Antonio Conte’s men run rampant and tore the visitors to shreds, ending the match 4-0 with Pedro’s 29th-second goal opening the floodgates.
Chelsea have been quick to remind the world of that result with a sly dig at the Red Devils in the club’s preview of the match on its website.
“Monday’s cup opponents are enjoying a long unbeaten run in the league stretching back to October.
“It has lifted them all the way from sixth to sixth. That last defeat was, of course, the one they endured at the Bridge,” the article read.
Pedro’s 29.6 seconds goal against Manchester United in October remains the fastest goal in the Premier league this season.
While it is true that the defeat inflicted on Mourinho’s team will be savoured for a long time, especially given Mourinho’s rather hypocritical reproach of Conte’s celebrations during the match, United have since progressed from there.
The article rightly mentioned that United are unbeaten since that defeat, but they have also greatly improved their performances since then. The team is functioning better as a unit and although the results have been mixed, there is no doubt that the United that will line up on Monday will be a different proposition to the one so humbled in the league six months ago. Here is why United may have the edge.
1. Jose Mourinho
Much of everything good about United is all about him, in the same way much of all things bad is/will be about him. Mourinho is a cup specialist and has already guided this United team to EFL Cup success this season. That nous may come in handy when he takes on his former side again. Antonio Conte may still be getting used to the cup competitions in England. His side crashed out in the EFL Cup and have been fortunate to play much smaller teams until now. Both managers have promised full strength teams on Monday but it may come down to the smallest details and here, Jose has the advantage.