This Halloween encounter sees the two sides meet only three days after an enthralling and controversial league meeting, which saw Manchester United, defeat a nine man Chelsea team 3-2 at Stamford Bridge.
The fallout from the accusations of racial abuse against match referee Mark Clattenburg appear even at this early stage to potentially have far reaching consequences, whatever the outcome of the relevant investigations. But for all the attention this has gathered, both teams will be happy to return to action and for Chelsea, an opportunity for retribution.
Coupled with the Champions League defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk, Chelsea are now in real fear of suffering three consecutive defeats in a little over a week. The league leaders will be hoping to defeat United for the first time in seven meetings between the sides.
Branislav Ivanovic, Fernando Torres and John Terry will all miss out through suspension. Frank Lampard’s calf strain means the England midfielder will miss out again. Daniel Sturridge is likely to start up front for Chelsea and the game could also see starts for Spanish right back César Azpilicueta and German midfielder Marko Marin.
Sir Alex Ferguson is likely to rest some of Sunday’s starters, including Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney and give starts to some of his fringe players. Nineteen-year-old Michael Keane could start in defence whilst another one of Ferguson’s young defenders, Belgian Marnick Vermijl, will be hopeful of some exposure also.
The Chelsea teams reaction to the defeat on Sunday, the manner of it and the latest controversy involving Roberto Di Matteo’s side, could be crucial to this games result. If they feel any injustices were served on Sunday they will be looking to rectify and a siege mentality could make them hard to beat.
Coupled with their attacking prowess in the likes of Juan Mata and Eden Hazard, a second win in a row for Ferguson’s side could be just that too much to ask.