Did you know: The Reds' trip to Stamford Bridge is the first of a double-header against Chelsea, with a Capital One Cup fourth round tie scheduled for next Wednesday on 31 October. Sunday's meeting with the Blues is also United's first of six forthcoming away games in just seven fixtures.
Opposition boss: Following the dismissal of Andre Villas Boas last March, Chelsea steadied the ship by appointing club legend Roberto Di Matteo as interim manager. The Italian made a remarkable start, quietly working towards victory in both the FA Cup and Champions League finals, leading to his appointment as full-time boss in the summer. Since then, the Italian has revolutionized the now European champions, adopting a fresh energy and more fluid attacking ethos – a bold move aided by marquee signings Eden Hazard and Emboaba Oscar.
Star man: Juan Mata, Chelsea fans’ Player of the Season in 2011/12, is one third of a fluent, interchangeable midfield trident alongside diminutive inventors Hazard and Oscar. Charged with creation, the Spaniard is a phenomenal attacking force for the Blues, regularly cutting inside from the right with a view to utilising a cultured left foot. “I like playing with Oscar and Eden, as they’re like me,” says Mata. “We understand each other very well but we can improve.”
Quote/unquote: “I think the manager has been good at rotating the squad over the years. He always seems to get it right. Whereas Chelsea always seem to play a full-strength squad in most games so it may give us a wee bit of advantage going into the game.” - Jonny Evans.
Sub-plots: Rio Ferdinand faces Ashley Cole for the first time since the Chelsea man gave evidence in support of team-mate John Terry, who was deemed to have abused brother Anton Ferdinand last season. On Thursday, the Mirror claimed Rio will shake hands with both Cole and Terry.