How Chelsea Can Hurt Manchester United on Monday
The Blues have taken maximum points from their opening two fixtures of 2013-14, defeating Hull City Tigers and Aston Villa.
United themselves have got their campaign off to a promising start, first lifting the Community Shield with victory over Wigan Athletic at Wembley, following it up with a convincing display against Swansea City last weekend, winning 4-1.
As ever, Monday night's game is expected to be a close affair. These teams faced each other five times last term and four of those outings saw just a single goal separate them.
Chelsea were victorious in three of those matches, winning their last clash 1-0 at the Theatre of Dreams in May. United had already been crowned champions by that point, but it was still an excellent result for the Blues, with Juan Mata's late goal helping them secure a Champions League spot.
It's a different story this time around. Both clubs have new managers, with Mourinho replacing Rafa Benitez at Stamford Bridge, while David Moyes is busy trying to fill the considerable shoes vacated by Sir Alex Ferguson.
Will we see United at their devastating best on Monday? Or can Mourinho continue his excellent record at Old Trafford where he has lost just once against United?
The Portuguese know the task ahead is a difficult one, filled with considerable challenges. With this in mind, Bleacher Report has highlighted some key areas where the Blues can hurt their rivals at Old Trafford.
Isolate Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand
As a defensive partnership, there is no doubting Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand remain one of the Premier League's finest. But get them in one-on-one situations and they can come out worse off.
We saw that last week against Swansea when Wayne Routledge exposed Ferdinand, beating the former England international before unleashing a shot that David De Gea could only parry before Michu slotted home.
The game was goalless at the time and Untied were fortunate Swansea's Spanish striker had strayed slightly offside otherwise the result at the Liberty Stadium could have been altogether different from the eventual 4-1.
With the talent that Chelsea have at their disposal, if they can target either Ferdinand or Vidic, splitting the defence and isolating each player, they will reap the rewards on Monday evening.
Cut Off the Supply Lines to Robin van Persie
It's easier said than done, but stopping Robin van Persie from scoring isn't about man marking him or even giving the Dutch ace some rough treatment.
No, any side facing United must cut off the supply lines as van Persie without the ball or service cannot score.
Saying it is the easy part, though. Doing it is an altogether more difficult task.
Last weekend Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney were on hand for assists as van Persie bagged a brace against Swansea. Such is the talent United have within their ranks. Should he find himself on the scoresheet against Chelsea, you can bet it will be another one of his teammates teeing him up.
Mourinho's Real Madrid kept van Persie quiet over two legs in the Champions League last term, so the Special One clearly has an effective plan that, if he can execute it at Old Trafford, will severely weaken United's hopes of victory.
Start the Three Amigos
Chelsea faced United five times last season, winning three, drawing one and losing the other. They scored 11 goals in the process and every time the ball rippled the back of United's net, either Juan Mata, Oscar or Eden Hazard had been involved.
Between them, the Three Amigos scored four goals and grabbed eight assists against the Red Devils in 2012-13 (source: individual player stats from ESPNFC.com). It's an incredible statistic and one that outlines their influence.
Not many clubs could cope last season with the movement, creativity and talent the Mata-Oscar-Hazard threesome brings and United were no different.
Knowing the damage they caused last term, United's defense will be apprehensive about facing them once more.
Having strengthened over the summer, it's expected that Chelsea's attacking midfielders will be rotated throughout the season, but the clash at Old Trafford is the ideal time for Mourinho to reunite the Three Amigos.
Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @garryhayes
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